Happy Children Equal Happy Mom

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Today is the day. The day I spent waiting for the phone to ring with our Nutcracker results. The call came in at 10:50 and like any neurotic mom, I answered on the first ring, trying to sound casual. The results were in! My older daughter is a Lead Angel (a newly created role) and a Ginger Clown, and my younger daughter is a Scurry Mouse and an Angel. My younger daughter got exactly what she was hoping for. My older daughter didn’t get the roles she was hoping for, but I had a feeling she was going to be excited because I knew the main thing was she wanted to be in something other than the Battle scene this year.

She was a soldier and an angel last year, so she was so excited to be named a lead angel, even though we have know idea what a lead angel does, and the ginger clowns get to run and be silly, and I have a feeling she got that because she did a really great cartwheel as her audition trick and a lot of the ginger clowns do cartwheels. So, thankfully, there was a lot of happiness and joy in my house this afternoon!

My niece is also a Scurry Mouse and an Angel, which is, well…I guess good. The girls are happy. I just think of the Nutcracker as my thing to do with my girls. I’m bitchy that way. The in-laws always hated the Nutcracker until my niece did it. My mother-in-law fell asleep during my older daughter’s first performance. I had to tell my husband to wake her up before my daughter went on stage.

I wish I can say I kept to my workout regimen and did some cardio today, but I did teach a really tough class with a lot of lunges. I just didn’t have the energy to do cardio today. I’ll get back on it tomorrow with a long walk, and possibly attempt the hills again since my shins seemed better today. I did a lot of shin warmups and stretches.

Tonight is significantly colder than it has been the past few nights. I bought myself a new heated throw blanket, but I haven’t put it on the bed yet. I have my heating pad in my low back, and I used it on my hands this morning. I’m managing. I just feel like I can’t stand saying that. I’m managing. Is that the way you get through the day, too? I mean, it’s not that I never have a good day. I have good days, but I don’t remember the last time I had a completely pain-free day. It comes down to whether the pain is manageable or not.

I can see where people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, etc. suffer from depression. It’s not easy feeling like crap day-in and day-out. I mean, I have days where I’m thinking, wow–I’m good enough to go for a long walk, but that doesn’t mean my hands aren’t hurting or my hip isn’t bothering me. It just means the pain isn’t so severe that I can’t do anything. I think that’s where most people get confused. First of all, it all goes back to the fact that people with autoimmune issues look fine, for the most part (unless I’m using my flamingo cane!). On the average day I may have a small limp, but it’s unlikely anyone would really notice.

I don’t discuss my RA, Raynaud’s or fibro 24/7. I blog here to get my autoimmune thoughts out, but I don’t discuss it all day. The real reason behind that is so few people really understand anyway. I have my Facebook support groups, and people that I know who are dealing with autoimmune issues, but other than that, people sympathize, but they don’t really get it.

I didn’t intend to have an autoimmune rant tonight, but that’s kind of what this has turned into. Sorry about that. Sometimes you just need to let it out. I think I was more let down by my own body yesterday when I wanted to jog and I could hardly walk the track. Tomorrow is a new day. I had a lot of positives today and I’m so thankful for that. Happy kids equal a very happy mom! It meant the world to see my girls so thrilled about their Nutcracker roles. Everything else was secondary.

It’s My Baby’s Birthday

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Today is my son’s birthday. He waited up until midnight so he could celebrate, and then said, “I can’t believe I’ve been alive for eleven years. That went by so quick!” He’s not kidding! It seems like yesterday when my water broke and I was concerned about taking a shower and shaving my legs before going to the hospital. Heck, I had no contractions, so there wasn’t a real issue.

When my contractions started, about a mile from the hospital, they were intense and two minutes apart. That certainly wasn’t how the woman at the birthing class explained it would be. I heard things about laboring for hours and contractions being 15 minutes apart for a day. When I got to the hospital, I was 8.5 cm dilated. I got my epidural and had my baby two hours later. I waited years to have baby and there he was.

I look back on all the things I’d do different. I was a new mom who had never changed a diaper. I’d have held him more, snuggled more. Those moments just go by so quick. I remember rocking him one evening when I was pregnant with my daughter. It was late and he really didn’t want to go to sleep. I started singing a lullabye and for whatever reason he thought one verse was the most hysterical thing ever. He had the best belly laugh. So of course I kept singing it, and we’d laugh together until I was crying I was laughing so hard.

My son isn’t an easy kid. There is no manual that came with him. He’s got terrible anxiety, puts way too much stress on himself, is insecure, and has issues with reading and learning. Things are a bit of a struggle at times. Then again, I can turn it around and tell you that my son opens up and tells me anything and everything he’s feeling. We are emotionally very close. We have the same warped sense of humor, and when he needs someone to pick him up when someone has kicked him down, he knows I’m his biggest fan. I also get him to see the best in himself (okay, that’s a work in progress), but it is happening. My wish for him is that he’d see what I see when I see him. He’s handsome, smart, funny, and friendly. He’s thoughtful and kind.

Other than the birthday…which translates to me having to rush around and clean the house with no nap, I have to figure out how to decorate and get everything done. I’m not cooking, but I still feel like I need appetizers, plates, beer, soda, etc. Oh my mother in law is bringing the cake because the needs to show the world that her cake is the best.

I had my appointment with the ENT today. He numbed my nose, stuck a think scope up my nose and down in my throat to look around. I was asked to breath, and to make humming noises so he could watch the vocal chords do their thing. He said everything looked ok, which is good news. I asked if he was able to see my thyroid and he said no, but that if there were anything like thyroid cancer, the vocal chords would be affected. So his only advice was to try not to talk as much. Um…is he for real?

I’m Italian! I yell all the time. I will be quieter when the kids go back to school, but I don’t think I’m that loud. I’ll give it a try resting my voice. I mean it’s not like I’m talking during all the extra sleep I’m getting.

I’m debating on calling for my bloodwork tomorrow. I don’t usually do it. I usually think if it’s bad they call, and if not that don’t. But this time I want to know. I want to know my numbers and next steps. I want to know if I should have a endocrinologist look at my labs to see if there is anything else that should be tested. I will worry about it all tomorrow and I will remember to ask for the numbers and then look up everything they mean. I can’t ask questions without the information.

As I’ve learned throughout this, you aren’t going to learn f you don’t ask questions. There are so many people willing to help! Just ask!

But for now the Ambien is kicking in and I’m off to bed.

 

 

That’s Right…I’m a Dance Mom

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My daughter’s had their big dance recital this weekend. Because of a conflict with the town’s eighth grade dinner dance, the usual Friday and Saturday shows were nixed in favor on two shows on Saturday to accommodate all the eighth grade dancers that wanted to attend both the recital and the school dance. Believe me, I can understand that, but it sure made for a long day!

We got to the school where the recital was taking place around 10AM because I was volunteering backstage for the first show. I’m such a team player. I like that stuff and my older daughter is very shy. It helps her to get settled if I’m there. They had a very nice set up for the girls with a large screen tv to watch the show while they weren’t performing. This made my life as a backstage mom much easier. No one was bored.

This is our first year at this dance studio so it was a new experience for us and I was surprised to learn that parents were allowed to go into the audience to watch their child’s performance even if they were volunteering. The owner feels strongly that everyone should see their child perform. Perhaps she should send that memo to the other studio in town. That would never happen over there.

Anyway, my girls did awesome. I was so proud of both of them. My little one was so darn adorable up there. You could tell she just loved every moment of being in that flowy dress and twirling around. My older daughter really has grown as a dancer this year. It was a very proud mom day for sure.

It was also a tough mom day in that I was on my feet from about 10AM to 7PM with a break from 3-5pm. It was a lot on my feet and legs. When I got home last night my head was pounding and everything hurt. I attempted to start a blog, but I ended up putting ice over my eyes and turning out the lights. It was clear I did too much yesterday, but it was one of those days where, what choice did I have? As a mom, you just need to do it some days!

The begs the question, as a mom what do you do? What do you do when you know you’re pushing it way too far and it’s going to cause a flare or a migraine or major pain later? For me, if it’s something involving my kids, I usually push through and do it if at all possible. They are only going to be young once.

Remarkably I felt pretty good today. Then I had to trek about a quarter of a mile or more carrying a shit load of flyers and handouts for the nonprofit organization that I work for. I was volunteering at a Special Olympics event, which was so much fun. I got to meet so many great people and some of the athletes, but I didn’t give one shred of thought to how far I’d need to cart all the crap. Suffice it to say, I got my workout and then some today. My right arm is really sore tonight.

I’m actually looking forward to Monday tomorrow. It’s one of the last school days left and I can go back to sleep after I put the kids on the bus. I live for those days. I’m just not a morning person at all. I do have a goal for tomorrow of cleaning out my daughters’ room, though. It’s a pig sty. I need to get rid of crap before school gets out, so the goal is to take care of their room tomorrow and my son’s room on Tuesday, but his room isn’t nearly as bad.

We’ll see how motivated I am tomorrow…

 

 

 

All in the Day of a Mom

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Another day of waking up nauseous, but it faded pretty quick this time. I was able to teach a killer class that involved walking lunges, wall sits, abs with weights, dead lifts, and crazy planks with weights. Needless to say, I wasn’t in too much pain this morning, and I was able to do a lot more than usual. It was one of the first mornings in a while that I was able to grasp my hands around 8lb weights without feeling like my hands were going to drop them at any moment.

Needless to say, I had a lot of fun with my this morning, and that set the tone for my day. It was a busy day and I didn’t have a lot of time to relax, so it was lucky that I felt pretty good. I had to pick my son up early for a doctor’s appointment, only to find out that he fell at recess and hurt his arm. Not sure if I’ve mentioned this before but of all of my children, my son is the one I refer to (behind his back) as Sophia Loren. Any injury leads to his Oscar reel performance of pain and suffering, so he gets into the car with his sweatshirt tied around his arm like a sling.

He explained what happened an I did notice a bit of swelling, so I got irritated that I had to hear it from him and not the nurse. I went into Mamabear mode and called the school nurse who said she didn’t notice any swelling, which is why she didn’t call me, but she did give him Advil for the pain. We were on our way to his monthly therapy appointment for his ADD meds and one would have thought his arm might fall off from pain.

He wanted to go to the doctor, but being the wonderful mom that I am, I explained that I had to take an online webinar from 3-4:30 today that I could not get out of. I told him we’d go home and ice it, and if it still bothered him at 4:30 we’d go get an xray. By the time 4:30 rolled around he wanted a cast, but I reminded him that he had baseball tryouts on Saturday and that it was his left arm (he’s a lefty). He got quiet, and thought for a while.

“What if they just give me a sling?”

“Then you can’t tryout for travel baseball, and we should probably cancel your sleepover tomorrow night since you’re in so much pain.”

…silence…

A short while later, shockingly, he felt a lot better! He thinks it was the Advil, I’m thinking it was the threat of losing the sleepover. Now I’m going to feel like the worst mom ever if his arm is broken, but I really think he’s fine.

The only thing I missed out on today was my walk. Although I taught I good class this morning, I didn’t get to any cardio exercise today. I’ll try and do something more tomorrow. What I’m finding difficult is not have a snack at night. I’m eating reasonable, small portions during the day, but if I eat at 5:30-6pm I’m hungry at 8:30-9pm. Tonight I had a rice cake with peanut butter…then I had a small bowl of cereal. Now I’m stuffed.

I could have done without the damn cereal. Tomorrow’s goal is not to have anything but one rice cake with peanut butter after dinner. I am also trying to wait until I’m really hungry to eat. I think I eat because I’m supposed to eat, not because I’m really hungry. I’m working on that too.

Now that it’s the end of the day, I’m pretty sore. My knees are more than pretty sore, which might be the RA and it might be the lunges (or a combination). The rest of me is just very stiff. After I’ve been sitting a while, it’s so difficult to get up and walk. I’m hunched over and holding onto a walk as I go down the hall. Let’s be honest — that just plain sucks!

Don’t forget to join our Facebook Autoimmune Mama Group for anyone suffering from an autoimmune disease. We’re off to a nice start, so please feel free to share the page with anyone you know that has rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus, MS, MCTD, Raynaud’s Psoriasis, or any other autoimmune disease.

Also, don’t forget to email or send comments on the “best” bad comments you’ve received regarding your autoimmune disease. I’m compiling a list for an article and I know we’ve all heard some doozies at one time or another, whether it be the well-meaning advice, or someone who can relate because they have arthritis in their pinky toe 🙂 I want to hear your story! You can email me at autoimmunemama@gmail.com or comment on this article.

 

Making a List of Dumb Autoimmune Questions

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I’m making a list and I need your help. What’s the dumbest thing someone has asked you or told you regarding you autoimmune disease? Please share it with me for my list by emailing it to autoimmunemama@gmail.com or by commenting on this blog post.

I hope to put together a list so we can laugh at the humor of it all. Either well-meaning comments or negative thoughts…I want to hear them all.

Also, don’t forget to join the Autoimmune Mama Facebook Group to connect with others suffering from autoimmune diseases.

 

A Late Night…

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I just looked at the clock and realized that it was almost 11:30PM and I hadn’t even thought about a blog for tonight. I’m crazed doing work for a baby food client and if I never see a jar of baby food again it will be fine by me.

Tonight was my daughter’s opening night of the play she’s in. I saw it on her face walking in the school — she was scared and freaking out. I tried not to look at her as she lined up to go on stage because I knew she was about to cry. And then it happened. She finished the song and came running into the room telling me how much fun it was! I almost keeled over.

I’m not going to sit here and say my daughter is the best actress or singer, but she has talent. She has always let her fear stand in her way. So even with the tiniest part in show, it’s a huge deal that she got up there, did her thing, AND had fun. It was a big night. I am going to watch the show tomorrow night.

In terms of pain, I was a lot better than yesterday. Again, I had the tingly, numb fingers for most of the morning. It’s starting to piss me off. I can’t even open a jar of juice without asking me kids for help. I was able to teach my class without dropping the weight (a bonus) and I really felt pretty good until this evening when I started getting a sharp pain down the front of my thigh.

I taught a tough class this morning, so I’m not ruling out self-inflicted muscle pain, but it’s weird that it’s in one leg and not the other. It seemed to get a lot better with naproxen, which brings me to my question of the night: What are you taking (if anything) for an anti-inflammatory?

I have tried the prescription Naproxen and Meloxicam, but I really didn’t notice a huge difference taking it daily so I stopped. I take the over-the-counter naproxen sodium when I’m in pain or I have a lot of inflammation, but I don’t take anything daily. I’m just wondering if anyone out there in autoimmuneville feels like a daily anti-inflammatory has helped them. I’d certainly love to know if you feel better with the one you’re taking.

Before I go back to working on baby food, I thought I’d give a shout out to Renee, who had me using the term Google Degrees all day. She made the comment on last night’s blog regarding the person who suggested that I  might have MS, and it’s so true. People have their Google degrees after reading one article on rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibrmyalgia, etc. and they know everything! I feel lucky to have connected with so many people who truly understand what I’m going through dealing with autoimmune issues. It sure saves me from going postal.

An Unwelcome Rheumatoid Flare

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I went to sleep with a migraine, and woke up headache-free, but unable to walk today. At the moment we’re having a storm, and I suppose that might have something to do with it, but I was useless for the first half of today.

It’s frustrating because I’m actually crazy busy with work, and I have a big project that’s due on Friday. This didn’t stop me from going back to sleep after the kids left for school and sleeping until 11:30. I’m back to being completely freezing and that’s sure not helping things.

Because of the high pain-level, I didn’t exercise at all today, which bothers me. It’s very hard to establish a routine when you don’t know when you’ll have a rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia flare…or in my case both at the same time.

I don’t really know how to gauge the difference between the pain, but I guess if I’m having a lot of joint pain (like today), I blame the RA. If it’s all over pain and fatigue, fibromyalgia is to blame. That’s my rationale, anyway. My neighbor was nice enough to suggest that I have MS today because I was in so much pain. For me, they have ruled out MS, but don’t you just love how people become instant experts after watching a Dr. Oz episode?

I try not to get mad when people say helpful things like that, but it’s not always easy. If one more person tells me to give up gluten, dairy, and sugar, I might scream. Hello! I know sugar isn’t good for me. If I give up chocolate I’m going to be a major bitch, and no one wants that!

Did you notice that you are hearing about more and more people with autoimmune diseases? I feel like lately, so many people I know are telling me they have fibro, lupus, or RA. I don’t know whether it’s because I’m open about my autoimmune struggles, or if more and more people are getting diagnosed. I think if I wasn’t hit like a ton of bricks I’d likely have waited to go to the doctor.

I’m not someone who goes to the doctor for aches and pains. It definitely would have taken me longer to get a diagnosis. I didn’t have the experience of things coming on slowly. I went from walking to not being able to walk literally overnight. It was drastic and it was scary.

I’m glad to hear that more and more people are talking to their doctors about how they feel. As a mom, exhaustion was just part of my life. Three kids = busy. I know it would be like me to ignore things for a really long time if my symptoms didn’t start in a full flare.

I guess if I really look back, though, there were earlier signs. I blames the pain in my hands on knitting. I blamed hip and back pain on teaching classes. I think it was easy to shrug it off…possibly for years. I’m interested to hear how your symptoms started. Did you notice an immediate change? Did you possibly ignore symptoms for a while before seeking help?

I want to write up a list of warning signs for autoimmune issues, and would love your feedback. I’m going to try and close my eyes now, as I’m going blind looking at nutrition information for like 100 different kinds of baby food — and not only in English, but also in Spanish! Don’t be jealous…this is my life!

11 Anti-inflammatory Foods You Should Be Eating

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Anti-inflammatory medication is prescribed for many different chronic ailments, including arthritis, lupus, and it is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes. While these medications may provide quick relief, long-term use of some anti-inflammatory medications such as NSAIDs and steroids can actually weaken our immunity or cause unwanted side effects.

Perhaps the term diet isn’t appropriate here. Instead of considering this a diet, it’s best to look at it has a life-changing plan. I think I’ve proved I can’t stick to anything with the label “diet” on it. Instead of counting calories, you can simply add more of these foods/spices into your diet. Not only are they naturally good for you, they have the added benefit of reducing inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Foods

    1. Wild Alaskan Salmon: It’s no secret that salmon contains omega-3s and has been known to help numerous ailments. It is important to note that wild caught salmon has a much higher omega-3 content, than farmed raised. For those of you that are not fans of fish, there are many fish oil and omega-3 supplements that will provide these important nutrients.
    1. Kelp: Yep, I’m telling you to eat seaweed. It contains fucoidan, a type of complex carbohydrate that is anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, and anti-oxidative. It is also high in fiber, which helps your body feel full and will aid in weight loss. It’s best to buy organic kelp and avoid some of the seaweed snacks that are loaded with vegetable oil and salt.
    1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil: This oil provides a healthy dose of fats that fights inflammation. It can also help lower the risks of asthma and arthritis, as well as protect the heart and blood vessels.
    1.  Blueberries: These tiny berries not only reduce inflammation, but they can protect the brain from aging and prevent diseases, such as cancer and dementia. It’s easy enough to throw some blueberries on oatmeal or in smoothies, or have them alone as a snack.
    1. Dark Leafy Greens: I’m it’s no shock that dark leafy greens are loaded with antioxidants. They are high in inflammation-fighting carotenoids, vitamin K and vitamin E.
    1. Turmeric: This Asian spice has received a lot of attention lately. It contains a natural 6217216441_4c282c4067_qanti-inflammatory compound called curcumin, which is often found in curry blends. Turmeric also has pain relieving properties. Among the other spices that can help with inflammation are oregano, garlic, and rosemary. If anyone has any recipes using turmeric that you want to pass along, let me know. I’m not big on curry, but I’m willing to try.
    1. Ginger: You may know that ginger is good for digestion and relieving nausea, but it also helps reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. I’m not a big fan, but I have found an herbal tea with ginger that I like.
    1. Broccoli:  This highly nutritious vegetable that contains anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer phytonutrients such as sulforaphane. It helps the body to get rid of potentially carcinogenic compounds.
    1. Green Tea: Containing anti-inflammatory flavonoids, green tea is something that should be in your diet. Recent studies have shown green tea can potentially have positive effects on everything from weight loss to liver disorders to to diabetes. It may even help reduce the risks of certain cancers.
    1. Sweet Potato: A great source of complex carbs, fiber, beta-carotene, manganese and vitamin B6 and C, these potatoes actually help heal inflammation in the body.
  1. Papaya: This fruit contains papain, a protein-digesting enzyme. Together with other nutrients such as vitamin C and E, papain helps to reduce inflammation, and improves digestion and healing from burns.

Food to Run From

It’s pretty basic knowledge that it’s best to try and limit processed foods, sugar, and trans-fats. With inflammatory issues, dairy is also tough on the body. It has a common allergen that can trigger inflammation, as well as breathing and stomach issues.

Foods with aspartame and MSG are two common food additives that can trigger inflammation responses. There’s no time like now to give up those diet soft drinks and foods with these additives.

Choose grass-fed meats when possible. Feed lot animals consume large quantities of corn and soy, which may aggravate inflammatory issues. These animal are also injected with hormones and antibiotics, which can cause a whole range of other issues.

Using Common Sense 

Chances are if you are suffering from an autoimmune disease like lupus, fibromyalgia, or rheumatoid arthritis, eating an anti-inflammatory diet is probably not going to be a substitute for medication. It can however, ease day-to-day symptoms of inflammation that accompany those diseases. It’s worth a shot! Let me know if you feel a difference after adding more of these foods into your diet.

Leaky Gut–One More Thing to Worry About

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You have to be living under a rock if you haven’t heard mention of Leaky Gut in the last few weeks. Dr. Oz has done several segments on it, and it’s being linked to autoimmune diseases. So let’s go over what we know. Like many autoimmune issues and chronic pain, leaky gut, which is also called increased intestinal permeability, can be difficult to diagnose.

First, there is no specific test to determine if someone has leaky gut. It has a wide range of symptoms and can present itself different in each person. Because of this, as with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, there’s a fair amount of skepticism in the medical community about the legitimacy of leaky gut. But with Dr. Oz talking about it all the time and the term being thrown around in autoimmune forums and communities, it’s getting more and more attention.

Okay, But What the Hell Is It?

The lining of our digestive system acts like a net with tiny holes that only allow through certain substances that are very small. It also keeps out substances that it deems undesirable. When a person has leaky  gut, this net becomes damaged, resulting in bigger holes that allow more things to pass through that ordinarily couldn’t.

When this happens, bacteria and viruses, as well as undigested food can leak from inside your intestines into the blood stream. That grossness can trigger your immune system to react. This is where it can affect those of us in the autoimmune community. The end result is inflammation in various parts of your body, causing a wide variety of symptoms like bloating, cramps, fatigue, food sensitivities, flushing, achy joints, headache and rashes. Any of those sound familiar?

So let’s get this straight. I have bloating, achy joints, and headaches. This is why I tend to stay off WebMD. I over-diagnose myself, but I do think there is some information here that is worthwhile knowing as we treat our autoimmune diseases.

According to DrOz.com, “Multiple food sensitivities are another hallmark of leaky gut, because partially digested particles of protein and fat may leak through the intestinal wall into the bloodstream and cause an allergic response. Increased intestinal permeability may potentially cause or worsen a number of other conditions, including Celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD, which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and asthma.”

As you know from previous blogs, I’m attempting to eliminate gluten from my diet to see if it is impacting and worsening some of my rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyaglia symptoms. My goal is to be on as little medication as possible, but I’m also at the point where I’ve been in so much joint pain that I’m missing out on normal activities. Everyone needs to weigh their decisions about medications for themselves. But let’s be honest, some of these medications are scary. For many of us, the benefits outweigh the risks, though. It’s not an easy place to be.

And guess what else can lead to leaky gut? Stress. And who among us doesn’t have that in their life? I’m a mom of three kids ages 7, 8, and 10. I run around like a chicken with my head cut off most of the time trying to juggle activities, homework, dinner, baths–all while being a working mom. I don’t think I know anyone that can say they have no stress, but boy it sure would be nice.

How Do I Know If I Have It?

While there’s no specific test that can tell you with 100% certainty that you have leaky gut, a positive Intestinal Permeability Test is strongly associated with the condition. This test measures the ability of two non-metabolized sugar molecules – mannitol and lactulose – to get through the digestive lining. With test combined with symptoms you are experiencing, doctors can make a diagnosis.

What Can I Do if I Have Leaky Gut?

Like everything else in the vast array of autoimmune diseases, there is no miracle pill or cure. An anti-inflammatory diet that eliminates refined sugars, dairy, gluten, alcohol and artificial sweeteners like aspartame can be very helpful. While I don’t promote products or get involved with things like that on this personal blog, I truly advise those of you who haven’t eliminated aspartame to do some research. You can also looking for an upcoming blog post on the subject. Believe me, I was a diet soda drinker at least once a day. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss it, especially when I eat pizza, but when I cut out the diet soda I found that my cravings for sweets also lessened.

So what can you eat? Eating lots of anti-inflammatory essential fatty acids in fish and nuts, and filling up on green leafy vegetables, high-fiber and fermented foods that help to promote the growth of good bacteria is also crucial. It’s also a good idea, according to my own doctor, to take a probiotic daily. This can help heal a damaged intestinal lining.

Most people will notice improvement within 6 weeks depending on how serious the condition is within the body. So here’s what I’m thinking. I’m working hard on giving up gluten (I did eat some cupcake batter today, and I’m not sorry about it), I don’t eat foods with aspartame, and I hardly drink alcohol. What’s left is refine sugar and dairy.

To be honest, despite how many people who are on a clean eating program without sugar, gluten, and dairy are saying how much better they feel, I don’t want to set myself up for failure. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a goal of cutting way back on sugar. I think I was supposed to start that this week, but did I mention how much pain I’m in and that my kids are home for February break? Did I mention that we just got almost a foot of snow and that we’re getting more tomorrow morning?

I can’t make it through without my chocolate. I know my limitations! My point is I’m going to try and be conscious about the processed foods and sugar. I’m not going on any diet that won’t allow chocolate, but if some small modifications can help with my swelling and pain from fibro and RA, it’s worth a shot.

Dairy is the other thing that I would have a hard time with giving up. While I’m not a milk drinker, I do enjoy my Greek yogurt (personal note: have you tried Yoplait Greek? It’s delicious!) and I like cheese. I eat fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes for lunch–and if you read my blog on nightshade vegetables, you know that’s not recommended either.

I just don’t believe in setting myself up for failure, especially now when I am down on myself. I’m heavier than I every have been and feel and look awful. Hell, I felt so ugly one day that I bought those Cindy Crawford creams with the super melon from France that’s probably a cantaloupe — they do make my skin very soft, by the way.

My point is that a complete elimination diet is not within reach for me right now. I’m doing pretty darn well eating gluten free, and now I’m going to cut down on the sugar and make sure I’m drinking a lot more water to flush things out of my system.

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been diagnosed with leaky gut. What are your symptoms and does the elimination diet truly make a big difference? Please keep the conversation going either by commenting her or on the Autoimmune Mama Facebook page. Don’t forget to like the Facebook page or follow us on Twitter @AutoimmuneMama1. Feel free to use the Facebook page to start your own conversations and ask questions. We can help each other both through information and support. You all have no idea how much you’ve helped me already. Thank you!!

Of Course the Pain Is Gone

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I believe I called it in yesterday’s blog that I’d wake up and feel much better today since I scheduled a doctor’s appointment for this morning. My hands were hardly swollen and other than feeling like a migraine is coming on, I’m doing pretty well.

My rheumatologist really wanted to believe I just had fibromyalgia since I really do fit that mold. I think he was hoping that because my swelling was minor, that it wasn’t early rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. He wants to do a bunch of blood work to check my levels. Chances are I won’t get that done tomorrow with the wonderful storm coming in, but I’ll get there on Friday.

He said that the fact that my hands were significantly swollen and stuck for two to three days before the appointment, that really is more of a rheumatic symptom. Fibro is pain all over with tenderness at the trigger point areas. I definitely have fibro. There is no question in his mind or mine, but now he is thinking that the early RA diagnosis is also correct. We’re going to see how my blood work comes back and how my pain level is over the next week.

If my blood work comes back the same as it has been, with an elevated ANA being the only thing that’s off, we are going to consider Lyrica. I need help people!! Please give me some feedback if you are on Lyrica. You can either comment on this blog post or start a conversation on the Autoimmune Mama Facebook page. I’m hoping that more of my readers will start to post their own questions or vents on the page. That’s what it is there for. I so appreciate the positive feedback. It’s just so nice to connect with people that understand what my life is like with an autoimmune disease. You all have helped me more than you know.

If my blood work comes back with an elevated RA level, I will go back on Plaquenil. I guess my main concern is that I’m currently on a ow dose of Celexa for anxiety. I tried to go off of it completely a few months ago, and I was downright evil. I think I scared my kids one day when I snapped at them. Lyrica is also for anxiety, so in my head, the plan would be to start Lyrica and go off Celexa.

My rheumatologist said it is fine to be on both as they do very different things, even though they both work for anxiety. I just don’t want to be on so much medicine. I’m trying this gluten-free diet and pretty soon I’m cutting down on sugar. I think I was supposed to start that today, but it’s my daughter’s birthday and dammit, I had ice cream and it was delicious!

I know as my condition gets worse, I will likely need more meds or different kinds of meds, but my goal is to get the pain under control with the least amount of medicine possible. The doctor did give me more pain medicine for days like I had earlier this week. I don’t mind that because I take those only when I really need them — sparingly. It’s really just the every day factor that bothers me.

So for now I’m doing nothing different until my lab work comes back. I’m going to take another muscle relaxer to help with my migraine and try and relax after a long day.

I was one of the room moms for my daughter’s class Valentine’s party, and we went out to dinner for her birthday. All three kids are still up because they are off from school until next Tuesday for February break (yay me!). All the area towns that were supposed to have school tomorrow have already announced that they will be closed because of the impending storm. Looks like we’ll be going stir crazy tomorrow since we won’t be leaving the house.

I have to laugh at all the crazy people buying enough food to be snowed in for a week. Come hell or high water, I’ll be leaving the house at some point on Friday. I hope those of you getting the storm (practically the whole east coast) stay safe and warm, and of course, pain free.

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