Hope & Eilish

Hope arrived last night.

After 10 months.

I suspect it could take a year to explain, but I also suspect it could take three. History could repeat itself you know: a year of memories could take… umm…. 5… and counting. 😉

I didn’t get the target-specific drug because… insurance. It took 10 months of tests, two weeks after the last results, one more week and a few meltdowns, but I got the 2nd best-recommended antibiotic, instead. And I was damn happy about it because I was desperate.

For months I’ve been in pain and exhausted. No mere fatigue – physically, emotionally, mentally exhausted. I’ve been overwhelmed, confused, forgetful, unable to recall or say the correct word. I would pick up a pen and by the time I blinked, I had no idea what I was after.

Last week, I realized I’d forgotten to complete a crucial work task, had a mini melt-down, scrambled pre-holiday to make it right, only to discover I had not forgotten. I’d done it the previous week. Completely, correctly and with absolutely no recollection of doing so. But the proof was there with my name on it, and after 10 months I was suddenly scared.

Maybe I’d had a stroke? Daily for months, I’ve been teary. Some days, tears would trickle out. Some days, I cried. My balance was off, I stumbled into walls and desks and doors.  My ears constantly rang. I dropped things no matter how hard I tried not to, sometimes repeatedly.

I had a lot of tests, a lot of scans. The most ridiculous was the supposition of a fractured hip. I doubted I had a fractured hip, but I had enough non-answers and medically-induced doubt of my own knowledge of my body that I subjected myself. My self-diagnosis had been kidney stones. I was correct about that part.

I refused a good number of tests, as well. I declined two of the last three offerings, one of which was eating a radio-active egg so it could be tracked through my digestive system in real-time. I declined the other because we didn’t have a diagnosis, so what sense would seeing a specialist in that field make?

I accepted the seemingly innocuous Hydrogen Breath Test, and it completely wrecked me. I wasn’t expecting side-affects from spending three hours breathing into bags. My symptoms got worse; way worse. Meltdown I-have-no-idea-what’s-going-on, spontaneously-bursting-into-tears worse.

The day after Christmas meltdown was due to a recorded message from my pharmacy informing me that they could not fill my prescription because… insurance. I went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried.

Friday morning, I went to Meijer, where I did happily run into someone I adore who shared some much appreciated yet sad information. I had my third meltdown of the week after dropping a jar of tomato sauce, splattering shards of glass and globs of red goop all over the woman in front of me. She tried to wipe her white cable-knit boots off and ended up with slivers in her fingers. Phrases like ‘pay for this,’ ‘liability insurance,’ and ‘I’m sorry,’ flew back and forth between us. Things changed when I burst into tears. She and her friend hugged me. She told me not to worry, that it could have just as easily been her because she drops things all the time.

I cried all the way to the car, went home, napped, cuddled Blu and cried some more.

Friday afternoon, I received a robo-call that my antibiotic was ready for pick-up. At that point, I knew I wasn’t getting the other one, hadn’t expected to get anything until after the holidays, so I ecstatically accepted what I could get.

I decided chicken wings would help – no sauce, of course. Only salt & vinegar, carrots, celery and blue cheese. I took my to-go order home, and following in the theme of the day, sadly discovered I had no blue cheese. I did have someone else’s smooshed chocolate cake, lumped into a bowl. It was gross, so I threw it away and moved on.

Dose 1 of the Augmentin horse-pill made me more nauseous than I already was.

Dose 2 induced 24 non-stop hours of volcanic belching and prolonged gassing, alternately terrifying and offending HBlu.

At dose 3, it sounded like I’d swallowed the MGM lion and he really wanted out of my internal mess.

By day 3 (dose 4 & 5), the expected antibiotic effects kicked in, the lion was still protesting and it occurred to me that not as much liquid was coming out as I was forcing in. I gave myself a pass. Recliner and mindless phone games all day.

Day 4. I could… think. I thought about my ambitious list created pre-holiday time off. I thought, figures. Major projects thwarted, again. My biggest achievement was taking out the garbage and sleeping in 4-hour segments.

Yesterday, I did some minimal straightening up. Which after months of not doing any straightening up was monumental for me.

I put away my Christmas-themed socks to make room for 6 pairs of Christmas-gifted socks. I took a shower.

I read the provided one-sheet on SIBO diagnosis. It had been explained to me and was easy to understand. Bacteria is a normal part of large colon health. It is not normal in the small intestine. The small intestine bacteria eat your food, then excrete hydrogen and methane. You’re being robbed of nutrients and energy and infused with gasses.

Small intestine bacterial overgrowth symptoms: abdominal bloating/distension, GI issues, nausea, vomiting, body aches, malabsorption, malnourishment, brain fog, mental confusion, poor short-term memory, difficulty concentrating, exhaustion, severe fatigue, slurred speech, gait disturbances.

That’s when Hope showed up.

It might as well have been a physical flick of a lighter in a cave. I got it. I suddenly got it all, connected the dots. Low food absorption – low absorption – of everything. Low absorption of the extra vitamin D and iron and ibuprofen I’d been taking to help combat symptoms. Low absorption of allergy medications, fibromyalgia medications.

10 days from now, treatment for this bacterial monster will be complete. Realistically, it may take another dosing, it may take months until my body’s re-absorbed optimal levels of nutrients. That’s not ok.

I’m already impatient with Hope, so I will go one step further.

Lord, I ask you for healing with faith that it will come.

So, here’s to reasonable medical explanations, modified diets, and a healthier 2020 than 2019.

Oh, Billie Eilish, right?  Day 5, partial re-possession of brain, getting lost in hours of video, interviews, raw music, concert footage, fanzines, endless articles. Oh, and Bellyache, yeah.

Quote for the week: 2019 12 31 popular theory clusterfuck jakorte

ps. rock painting by paula pruitt

 

 

Nutritional Upheaval

I’m not that old, but like many others I’ve been through countless diets, life changes, recommendations, scientifically based sort-of facts-for-now stuff.

Along the way I have discovered a few things I probably could have gotten large government grants for. Too strict does not work. Too lax does not work. Reasonable works. Reasonable works even better with exercise.

Results are even more pronounced when everything else is in order: chakra, auras, spirits, godliness, centering, being comfortable in the universe. I have a hard time believing anyone is 100% comfortable in or with their own being 100% of the time. The odds just aren’t in that scenario’s favor. But, as long as we are operating with a more-good-than-bad mentality, things can mostly go well.

Five months into an enthusiastic recommitment to my own well-being, well…  I experienced a nutritional upheaval. Not in a good way; in a birthday-triggered sort of way. Celebrations tend to derail me. Luckily they are mostly scattered among weeks of normalcy. Last week, I abandoned normalcy. Back on the “food is fun” band wagon, I barreled straight through the swinging kitchen door of delights and kept going.

Monday: Max & Erma’s, lunch with friends, and a little pre-birthday celebrating last year plus one.  Economically, it didn’t make sense to avoid the lunch special – tortilla soup and a cheeseburger and fries and a cookie. About half of the fries were abandoned. Afternoon sluggishness isn’t uncommon when I indulge. I argued myself out of my evening walk, and took a 4:30 PM intentionally short nap. I define an intentional short nap as one that I set an alarm for, fully expecting to be productive later on.

Waking up at 6:00 pm is disorienting. My two most common mistakes are napping and not eating. I wasn’t hungry for dinner, so I grabbed a homemade chocolate-chip Miralax muffin. There’s that age birthday-connected thing again. Fiber: I need the stuff. Might as well enjoy it.

Tuesday: The Buffalo Wild Wings experience: Margarita, Salted Caramel, Honey BBQ and Fiery chicken flappers, split 4 ways with one basket of onion rings, and an iced tea. One took a slippery jump and did a terrific tumble down my dress shirt. While unsuccessfully attempting to minimize the disaster, I slapped the iced tea sending a wave across the table into a lap, and ended up letting the sticky blob plop onto my pants. Coincidentally, I had difficulty dressing for the non-Michigan summer-fall routine we have going on here. I grabbed an extra, slightly heavier, long sleeve shirt just in case the air conditioner didn’t get the 65 degrees in July memo. The change left me too warm, but less embarrassed. Tuesday is a dedicated non-walk day, and I didn’t. I also didn’t eat much again. I was excessively thirsty. I was also up stumbling around a few times taking in and letting out liquids.

Wednesday: Rising earlier than usual was harder than usual after my interrupted evening. I noticed my ankles weren’t looking like ankles. I couldn’t even see my ankle bones. Obviously retaining fluids – the wings were covered with sea salt, so that made sense. Still, I was sore and headachy and unenthusiastic. I mustered.

Long, unusual, and unpredictable days demand early morning substantiality. At 7:30 AM, armed with a Sausage McGriddle (no egg) and a diet coke (no hash browns) I parked in my usual headed-to-Detroit ride-share spot at Sam’s. The first three hours of paper sorting, cardboard piling and kilo-watt generating were followed by baked ziti, a nice salad, a glass of sugary punch and a cookie. I skipped the roll and butter. The second three hours of learning, watching, doing were interesting and a bit nerve-wracking. The wind-down dinner break was a planned roll to Corktown’s Taqueria Mi Puebla (on Dix.) The headache never really cleared, and I didn’t have the energy to care.

Hard work makes me less hungry, but I know by now I have to eat even if I don’t feel like it. The big meal thing wasn’t going to happen but splitting one meal and adding a small dish seemed like a good idea. Even shared, there was still plenty of food. I didn’t finish my halves, and experientially ignored the rice, mostly likely, because I was introduced to Horchata. Ordering a small was a good call on my part, as was adding a request for water. I loved it. It was creamy and sweet, and would have happily helped me avoid dessert, except for the even sweeter kindness of a friend and the cooperation of waitresses. One 30 gallon red-velvet, silver embellished sombrero, a serenade en Espanola and half a piece of Tres Leches cake, I was pretty happy. And pretty buzzy, too. And a little teary-eyed. And achy. And sore.

Before falling into bed, I munched on another convenient homemade chocolate-chip Miralax muffin.

Thursday: I woke up with donuts on my mind. Actually, I woke up a little nauseous and carb-crazy. The only way to get out of bed was to slither to the edge. My ankles were still pretty solid. My rings didn’t fit on my fingers so I didn’t wear them. An incoming call about the availability of vase, determined that I would not be stopping for donuts. I did, however, stop for a medium iced Mocha, and a diet Coke. The diet Coke wasn’t for me.

Donuts. I can never resist donuts. It’s well-known enough that I am frequently offered post-meeting baked goods. I know I ate two donuts. I think I might have had an extra half. I know I added jittery and spacy to my list of growing symptoms. But, that didn’t deter me from the boarding the next celebration train. Pulling into Red Lobster, I decided to eat sensibly. Another round of round-shape inducing food ensued. One cheddar biscuit, two cheddar biscuits and a “can’t count this as vegetables” creamy Caesar salad later, I realized I wasn’t even trying. After the side potatoes, salad and biscuits, only 3 coconut shrimp (no pina-colada sauce) were consumed. Dinner, 3 more shrimp.

Friday: Disgusting. That’s how I felt. My previously control fibromyalgia was solidly uncontrolled. Every joint was swollen, every limb puffy, and my tummy uncomfortably bloated. My mind was cloudy. My head was approaching migraine achy. I did not pack a lunch. I had nothing readily available to eat in the house, and I was out of those easy-eat muffins. I’m really not that fond of smoky burgers, but it seems Burger King has turned into a semi-regular Friday lunch run with a few women I don’t see very often. So, of course, I went with justification. There are always coupons to be used. A Whopper with cheese, a small fry, a small diet root beer and what I considered to be my last fling of unreasonableness, a rather small hot fudge sundae, filled my eat-in tray.

So, there you have it. A week in a non-dieting mode had ended. Voila! Done with the episodic nutrition-lacking stupidity!

Shortly after sluggishly returning to my desk, a coworker arrived with a salad bowl full of individual ice cream cups from Stucchi’s. Luckily, I didn’t care much for the flavor I was offered. Unluckily, I was feeling feisty enough to go back to the break room and trade it in for another flavor. To my food-dazed credit, I realized that it probably wasn’t in my best interest to have another round of ice cream.  I stuck it in the freezer, for the moment, and then lugged it home at the end of the day. Why? I guess, because, I could.

Before that, before I could make it safely home, before I even left the office, there was one more opportunity for obstinate denial. The birthday celebration cake: Busch’s really does make a tasty sheet-cake. Have I mentioned my birthday? Yep, I went for cake. By the time I got there was no longer a determinable decorating theme, but it didn’t matter. There on the counter, cut into unusually large pieces, were dozens of pieces of cake. I did not choose the petitest marbled piece. It went down quickly in a completely unmemorable kind of way and left me with a sugar cough, incredible thirst and a deep blue melancholy tinged with a little anger.

I hadn’t even made a serious half-attempt at control. So, I rounded it out for good. Dinner was the 4 remaining left-over coconut shrimp, the last homemade chocolate-chip Miralx muffin and the formulation of a repair the damage plan.

Saturday: I spent a lot of time prone. Switch the laundry; lie down. Make the bed; lie down. Empty the dishwasher; lie down. That’s when it occurred to me. I had food poisoning. Not the traditional kind, but my special brand of “keep ignoring the signs and symptoms, dummy.” Within one week, I exacerbated every quirk physical quirk and concern I have: high sugars, low sugars, rampant FM weakness and pain, headaches that turn into migraines, thirst, exhaustion, fluid retention. It was also hard to breathe after one staircase, and more than once a leg felt as if it would buckle. I dropped a lot of things. It brought back memories of 298 and misery.

I weigh myself Monday and Friday each week. Monday, at the start of this debacle, I was something something 4.2. Friday, I was something something 8.6. In one week, it seemed I had lost almost everything I had accomplished in the last five months.

I also devoted two days to detox. Not in the traditional way, but in the chicken-fruits-vegetables-antioxident tea and water routine. Two days of reasonableness helped somewhat. Monday, I began to feel less cloudy; more awake. I almost ruined the day with a sweet coffee drink, but saved it with a veggie laden lunch at Leaf and fruit salad and more chicken for dinner.

Tuesday: today. I made myself walk to work. After work, getting out the door to make the short loop around the neighborhood took longer than the trek. 40 minutes to mentally prepare for 26 minutes, 1.2 miles, 19:33 pace and a measly 180 kcal wasn’t a bad restart. It also isn’t the 42 minutes, 2.47 miles, 19:13 pace or 336 kcal of the dance/walk two weeks ago.  I delayed weigh-in by one day. This morning I was something something 4.6. Net, not so bad – everything else, not so good.

Sometimes, when we do unintelligent things, we console ourselves with the thought that we will be too intelligent to ever make the same mistake again.

Sometimes, we aren’t. More importantly, sometimes, we are.

Quote for the week:

You are strong when you know your weaknesses. You are beautiful when you appreciate your flaws. You are wise when you learn from your mistakes. ~ Unknown

Enjoy this week’s Discovery Links:

Determining Pace: http://walking.about.com/od/measure/f/howfastwalking.htm

“Fibroglycemia”: http://www.fibromyalgia-symptoms.org/effect-of-carbohydrate-consumption-on-fibromyalgia

Drop the Fatitude: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=1366

Sometimes, when we do unintelligent things 07 29 2014