Search This Blog

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cooking, Cleaning and Resting

I have a pretty moderate headache today after my not-so-stellar-eating day yesterday.  No wheat that I know of, but since I was caught out and about, I ate things I normally would not.  I say that.  I am eating too much sugar, on occasion, and that's because I have been feeling like it won't matter until I get this thyroid thing checked out.  But it does mess with healing my insulin resistance, so I need to stop that.  I go to the doctor this week, so definitely time to shape up and get it together on that end.

I didn't go to bed until almost 2:00 last night.  I don't know why; I just felt like I wouldn't be able to drop off to sleep if I tried, so I kept doing stuff.  I was giving my dog a little haircut at 1:30 in the morning because I had tried to lay down at that point and he kept chewing on an area on his hip (and has been very several days), so I decided I needed to see what was up with that.  I think the fur had just become matted and tangled enough that it was irritating him.  After clipping around on him a bit (he doesn't look well-groomed, that's for sure), we settled down and went to sleep.

So far today I have been cooking, cleaning and resting.  Probably in equal amounts.  Maybe a little more on the resting side.  I made these low-carb breakfast balls for breakfast and they were off the chain!  (The only difference was I added a little garlic powder to the mixture.)  I have eggs, sausage and cheese all the time, but the difference in this was the texture.  When you make these little meatballs and bake them in the oven, they get this wonderful, chewy, crispy crust on the outside, particularly on the bottom, and that makes all the difference.  The recipe made 4 dozen of them and I have divided them into snack-size baggies, putting 2 or 3 in the refrigerator for breakfast this week and the rest in the freezer for later.  Here is a picture of the breakfast balls:


(Photographer I am not, but I turned one over to try to show the crispy bottom.)

Next I am attempting to make a pizza with a crispy cauliflower crust.  As I write this, I am in the middle of doing it.  I feel tired after being on my feet for a bit (I have been trying to clean up as I go).  I have riced the cauliflower, which was a breeze in my Ninja blender.  I just pulsed it a few times and it was there.  I am using a half a head of cauliflower (I looked up how much cauliflower was 2 pounds and it said a head of cauliflower was 4 pounds).  I have cooked the cauliflower rice and it is draining in a fine mesh strainer, but I needed a break.  I think it will be fine to get up and start squeezing the water out in a few minutes.  I haven't given much thought to toppings yet.  I have a little pouch of Boboli pizza sauce left and I had planned to use that.  However, after checking the ingredients, it has both high fructose corn syrup and modified food starch (which if not wheat, is grain based), so I will have to do something different for the sauce.  (I found a Paleo sauce recipe and used it, adding a little this and that after tasting it.)  I will either add some ground meat or sausage, and some veggies, along with some mozzarella cheese.  I'm not hungry right now, so I am not in a big hurry to get it done.  *So, now it is done, and here it is!

First, the crust before baking it:


Now, after it was baked (I forgot to take the picture before putting the sauce on it).


Now the complete, baked pizza.  Toppings were some sausage, sautéed shallots (some of them were more like charcoaled, but I kind of liked them that way) and some roasted red peppers (from a jar).


This crust was supposed to hold together, so you can pick it up.  It worked!


Verdict?  A little different, of course, but tasted like pizza!  The thing I would tweak next time is the sauce.  It was a little heavy.  And I think I will add some grated parmesan to the crust to add some good flavor and more texture to the crust.  Otherwise, very tasty.  I was only hungry enough for the piece in my hand.  That was 1/3 of the pizza.

At the same time, I am making a recipe I have been seeing on Facebook, an Amish Broccoli Salad.  I am dividing the recipe because I could never eat this much before it spoiled.  I am trying to eat more of my veggies raw, when possible, so this will be good for that.  I will likely alter the sugar in some way (maybe use some honey and probably a lot less than is recommended).  This will be easy to grab for a work lunch or after having to work late.  I can even eat some with my breakfast.  *I did use just a little honey.  I didn't want it really sweet, which I think it would have been with the amount of sugar it called for.  If I want a little more sweet sometime, I could drop a few craisins -- just a touch -- on it and I think that would be good.

I was also going to make the filling for lettuce wraps, which is an easy after-work meal to put together, but a couple of bags of groceries were left in my daughter's car, including a couple of ingredients I need.  So I will have to make those later.

I will also be assembling the makings for salads to take to work several days for lunch.  Probably will have to make a homemade dressing or two, also, because I didn't buy any.

Hopefully all of that will get me through the week smoothly.  :)  I bought plenty of nuts and have some cheese sticks, avocados, as well as celery and almond butter, and some hummus (which I will dip celery and possibly other raw veggies in.  I also bought a little fruit and berries to have a little here and there to hopefully help my sweet tooth a little.

I was watching the episode of Extreme Weight Loss where the couple gets married.  I know the weight loss on this show is not realistic, but I enjoy watching the transformations.  I know Chris and Heidi Powell use a carb-cycling program, but what bothers me is that they are still stuck in the low-fat mentality.  I am seeing articles almost every day where doctors are seeing the error in that science.  On top of that, the girl had pretty severe ulcerative colitis.  There was one part where they were talking about what they ordered in a restaurant.  They were talking about the Brioche bun having a lot of butter, but did not address the bread at all.  I wanted to scream, read Wheat Belly! (There are reports that people's ulcerative colitis makes a fairly quick turnaround when you remove wheat and grains from the diet.)  The trouble is, I know I am not a success story yet. I still have a long way to go. Only time will validate whether I am on the right path. But because of positive changes so far, I truly believe I am. Getting freer every day from headaches I have had for 30 years tells me I am doing something right. (I do know that some seem to be more sensitive than others, and I am obviously one that is very sensitive. But I truly believe low-fat is not the answer.)  And I am reading more and more articles lately that the medical field is finding this to be the case.  There is a reason why obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed the last 50 years.

I still have some more cleaning, so I'm going to get this posted.  Over and out.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Anxiety

I seem to come here when I need to vent, but hopefully one of these days this will get back to a true weight loss blog.  Actually it still is.  I am documenting my struggles and the things I am going through in my quest to be healthy again.  That being said....

I live with my daughter.  Although she is rarely home, right now she is away for two weeks house-sitting.  She is in "town" (the Dallas Metroplex is big), but still a good distance away.  For some reason, this bothered me more than usual.  Actually I know why.  I do not mind being alone; that is not it.   But I have no car right now.  My son has been borrowing mine forever and I finally decided to sell it to him.  I have a plan for buying another one, but I want to get my other debts paid down first before adding a car payment on again (although I plan for it to be a small one).  However, because of this situation, I feel kind of stuck while my daughter is gone.  I really cannot go anywhere without her either coming home to take me, which I hate to ask her to do, or getting on the train with my scooter and trying to do it that way.

I needed to buy some groceries today, and I gave thought to doing it that way -- to the train with the scooter -- exert some independence.  (That really would not have worked today, I couldn't have gotten what I needed and been able to carry it, etc.) But my daughter said she had to come down this way to get her oil changed, so she would take me to the grocery store while she was down here  So that's what we did.

As it turned out, she couldn't get in to get her car done this morning because the line was so long.  They told her if she would come back at 2:00, they could do it then.  So, the plan was to go get my groceries and she would drop me back off and she would go do that.

 Not only is she house-sitting, but she is also dog-sitting.  I had two grocery stores I wanted to go to (Sprouts and Kroger), so, since she was worried about the dog being cooped up too long, she said why don't we go to Kroger and then we can go to the Sprouts up near where she is staying so she could pick up the dog and get him out for a while.  In the midst of that she washed her hair and dried it because she had plans tonight.  By that time, she got worried that she wasn't going to make it to the car place by 2:00, so she decided that she was going to have to do that first and then take me home.  "It will only take 30 more minutes, Mom."  Yeah right.  I showed my displeasure, although I felt bad about it because she was doing me a favor.

Here's the thing.  That caused me a LOT of anxiety.  I wanted to go to the store and get right back home.  So instead of being away for like 2 hours, I was away more like 5+ hours.  I actually came near to tears.  I just wanted to be home.  (As we were turning off  to head that direction, I saw a sign for a Park & Ride Station for the train and thought about stopping there and getting out and taking the train home; wish I did!)  Anyway, the reason for my anxiety is, I have felt so overwhelmed by everything, and so worn out with the constant pain, that I guard the time I can be at home.  I think if I was feeling better (I am, but still am coming down from the recent "trauma"), I wouldn't feel so anxious.  I am just so tired, I want to be home as much as I can when I am not working so I can get the other things I need to do done and rest.  So wasted time (for me) like this, really makes me feel anxious.  I don't like that.

Sure enough, her oil change took much longer than expected -- over an hour and a half.  On top of that, I needed to pick up my pain prescription and the pharmacy (right next to my loft) did not open until 11.  We left before then, so I took the one I had and had to make do with that until I got home more than 5 hours later (about 6-1/2 hours since I had had medicine).  Plus,  I didn't cook myself anything for breakfast, thinking I wouldn't be gone that long, so I just had a few almonds and figured I would eat when I got home.  So no breakfast, then no lunch, and I finally got home at about 4:30.  I was feeling pretty grouchy (although trying not to show it) at the car place.  I finally had to get something out of the machine (the least destructive thing seemed to be peanut M&M's), just to try to stay less anxious and grouchy.

So, all that was very stressful.  Looking back to a number of years ago when I started this journey, I was working out 1-3 times per day and I was dating (gone all the time) and it didn't bother me at all.  Because I was feeling so good at that time.  I think that if I can get to feeling better, I will feel that way again.  It won't be so traumatic to be out and about a lot on the weekend.  But right now, I just want to be home as much possible when I am not working.

What with the cooking required to eat the way I need to, then the cleaning up from that, and the other cleaning that needs to done (which is never done well enough), it takes all I can do on the weekends to do that, try to get some rest, so I can get through my work weeks.

This week I will have my thyroid testing.  I truly hope I find an answer there.  I feel fairly sure I have low thyroid.  I think if I can get that corrected (and possibly hormonal stuff, too), I will have some more energy to work with and things like this won't be so hard on me.

I was talking to my daughter during all this -- she has other kinds of anxiety issues, so I had to let her know, that just like her stuff, this was causing me a lot of anxiety.  I knew the way we did it is how it turned out it needed to be done, but I still could not help feeling the way I did.  I was trying not to be mad at her -- she had gone out of her way to help me -- but I needed her to understand why I was reacting the way I was.  She said she felt like she would be wasting her life if all she ever did was stay home, or spent much time at home.  I said, "Well, right now, I have no life.  I am working on it, because I really want one, but that's just where things are right now."  Such is it when you are living with chronic illness.

All this made me know, even more, how much I want to get better.  I know I am on the right track, but I also know I am going to have to fight and scrap for it.  It is not going to come easy.  But that is the focus of my life right now.

The next two weeks are going to be challenging.  My backup at work, Ruth (and I am hers, also), is going to be gone, out of the country, for the next two weeks after Monday.  So I will have my load and hers.  And to be honest, the other assistants we have at the office are not much help.  One of them is young and green and she is just learning.  Another I think they should have let go a long time ago because she does not seem to have the "smarts" it takes to do this job.  Her  bosses will not allow her to work on some cases (my boss's cases -- he won't allow her to because of mistakes that have been made and he doesn't trust her) and so that falls on me and Ruth.  The other one is somewhat capable but does not know litigation and is not that helpful -- she is not going to offer.  So I know most of it is going to fall on me these next two weeks.  Probably more OT than I have been having to work, and it will probably be push, push, push all day.  I kind of like it that way at work, but after being so overwhelmed with these pain issues, I am a little wary of this.  However, I will get the job done.  But that is another reason I felt so guarded about my time today.  I need to rest up.

I have had several weepy sessions lately because I am so tired of being single.  I am tired of facing the world and its challenges alone.  Of course, it is much, much better than being in an abusive relationship.  I can't imagine trying to cope with this and what I had to cope with back then.  I still had to carry all the load and then the negative treatment on top of it.  NO THANKS.  But I would so much like to find a man to go through the ups and downs of life with.  Another motivation to feel better.  The world is a scary place these days and it would feel so much better to have someone to be with.  I don't care about sex and all that (although, of course, that would be nice).  I don't care if he is not the best looking man in the world.  I had a very nice looking husband and he was so critical -- well, it just is not worth it.  I just want someone who I enjoy being with and he with me.  One who doesn't mind just staying home and cooking and watching a movie, or when we felt like it, going out for dinner and a ballgame or play or to be with friends.  Companionship, support and mutual love and respect.  Even in my current physical state, I have a lot to offer.  I have a good job, I am a positive, loving person, and I am pleasant to be around.  Surely there is someone out there for me....  I want to find him.  :|

But here I sit....


Time to get up and do some of those things that need to get done.  Over and out.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

I FEEL BETTER!


That feeling when you stand up and wait for the pain to wash over you and…it doesn’t happen!  I feel better!  The epidural injection, along with the knee injections I had last week, seem to be doing their job.  It’s not that I am pain free, but maybe I will get past that feeling of wanting to cry all the time for a while.  I walked to work today.  I am not going to overdo it – I would not try to walk through Costco or something like that – but I felt like the half-block to work (now that I can go out the back way without the scooter) was doable.

I don’t want to be pessimistic.  I don’t know how long it will last, and barring a miracle, I know it won’t last, but I am so glad to have a break from the way it’s been for weeks.

The headache seems better today.  I do have somewhat of an allergy/sinus condition, which might have been contributing to it, and I know the crying didn’t help it any.  My eyes still feel like they do after you’ve had a long cry.  I’m just glad to be feeling better.  (That was the understatement of the month.)

Other than that, I am doing my grain-free diet and waiting for my appointment with the functional medicine doctor on July 2.  I have a second-opinion appointment with another knee doctor on July 7 (if I don’t have to change it; my backup won’t be here).  Then I have an appointment with my “new” PCP on August 24 (the soonest I could get in to see her).  I have seen her in the past, but it’s been so long, I am treated like a new patient.

Maybe I will actually feel like cooking up some good food in the next few days.  I’ve been eating a lot of salads and doing my best at finding grain free alternatives when I pick up something from a restaurant.  But I like to try new recipes so I don’t get bored.  One thing I am learning – I need to quit cooking for a crowd.  I live with my daughter and my son had been staying with us some nights for a while, so I was making food thinking they would be eating it too and they rarely did, for one reason or another.  So I am going to be cooking for one.  I can handle that.

That’s it for today, but I’m happy to report GOOD NEWS for a change.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

"Catch-Up" Post


This is the post I referred to yesterday that would “catch you up” on some things.

Friday, June 19

I had to read over my last post so I made sure I “catch you up” accurately on what is going on.  Last Wednesday (June 17), I went to the knee doctor.  I still could not get him focused on the right knee (which I believe is injured).  He chalks it up to severe arthritis, as in the other knee.  I am not sure that there is not a torn ligament involved or something, so I plan to a get a second opinion.  But here’s the thing.  He says I need knee replacements in both knees.  If that is the case, does it make whatever is going on in the right knee moot?  If it was a torn meniscus or something, I could see that.  But would a torn ligament affect being able to get a knee replacement?  That is why I want to make sure whether there is something like that going on.

That being said, if there is nothing else going on in the right knee, knee replacement should go forward sometime after the end of July, which is when I get more vacation days, etc.  I have been reading about it and I am going to push for bilateral knee replacement (both knees at the same time).  I am going to have to get both of them done, and I would rather get them both done and over with at the same time.  It is too hard for me to take that long off of work to do them one at a time, and doing both at once is not “twice as hard” as doing just one.  Unless I read something to change my mind, that is what I want to do.  Get all the struggle over with at once and get back to feeling altogether better as far as my knees are concerned.

The doctor said after the surgery, they would make the determination as to whether to do the first part of my rehabilitation at home or move me to a rehabilitation facility for a week or so.  That is what I want to do.  I do not have enough support at home (yes, I live with my daughter, but she is having her own physical issues, trying to work full-time (she cannot afford, in more ways than one, to take off work), maintain a social life, etc., and I think it would be better to do the first part at a rehabilitation facility.  Otherwise, I am going to be doing it pretty much on my own.  Then, when I get through the hardest part (the first week or so), I can go home and finish my rehabilitation.

I have had a lot of thoughts going through my mind – like what about the sciatica, and the fact that I am this much overweight.  Although those things do affect recovery from surgery, they also affect me right now.  I am already in greatly increased pain with more difficulty moving around because of these things.  I think getting both knees feeling better will only help.  I would have to take a week or two longer to recover, but that is less time than taking off two different times to recover from one knee each time.  Plus I will not have to try to meet another deductible, etc.  Let’s just do it.

As far as weight loss goes, I have not gotten on the scale, but I feel like my clothes are beginning to loosen a bit.  I still have the appointment with the functional medicine doctor on July 2, so hopefully any impediments can be improved at that time and the weight will start coming off.  According to Dr. Davis (Wheat Belly), I will lose weight whether I get a lot of exercise or not.

Since having the steroid shots to my knees on Wednesday, I have been starving!  And I have another epidural one next Tuesday (of course, I have now had this).  I am ready for that part to settle down.  I have had a little sugar, but no wheat.  The steroids also seem to be giving me a headache, but it’s hard to tell….  My head still hurts more than I want it to.  I need to get to the bottom of that.

 

Monday

It was a rough weekend, in many ways.  Our a/c went out on us yesterday, so I spent the night without (in Texas, that is no bueno!).  My daughter babysat four children and they spent the night at our loft Saturday night.  They are a handful.  I left it to her, but it did not make the atmosphere very restful a lot of the time.

On top of that, I had a very.bad.headache yesterday.  I do not know why.  I did not take what I have been taking for it (which is BC powder or Excedrin) because I cannot have any aspirin before my epidural injection.  Plus I have been reading about the damage NSAIDs do to your gut (of course I knew that, to a certain extent), which can affect everything, including inflammation, so you could actually be adding to your pain by taking them.  I decided I was going to suffer it out.  Of course, BC powder and Excedrin have caffeine in them, so I thought that might be it.  I drank something with caffeine last night, just to make sure, but it did not help.  My head pounded until I went to sleep.  I still have one today, though not nearly as bad this morning.

My pain levels, in general, are up today.  I am trying to treat it through natural means, as much as possible.  I was reading that I should be taking my Omega 3 supplement, once in the morning and once before dinner to help inflammation issues through the day.  I am also taking Turmeric Curcumin, which is supposed to help inflammation.  But I am still hurting all over.  I am so ready to get to the bottom of this.

I did not do a lot of cooking this weekend, as I usually do, just because I did not feel up to it.  I will do the best I can with what I can get around here.  Probably a Potbelly salad.

July 2 (when I see the functional medicine doctor) cannot come soon enough.  I am so ready to get to the bottom of some things.  One thing I have been wondering about is if I have thyroid issues.  One of the main symptoms you see when you are low on thyroid is cold hands and feet all the time, and I really do not have that problem.  So I was thinking, maybe that is not a problem.  However, I found a questionnaire online yesterday, and by my answers to that, I scored 22 out of 100 in thyroid functioning.  That means it is quite low.  I am also wondering about hormonal issues.  Losing weight got very difficult after menopause, and it has gotten almost impossible since my hysterectomy, so I think there has to be some issues there.  I just want to get started on getting things running like they are supposed to.

As far as my eating goes, my main issue is I am still eating some sugar here and there (though never with wheat).  I think the reason for that is my discouragement over making no progress.  So there is another reason to get to July 2.  In the meantime, I am going to do my best to stay away from sugar.  I am not having problems with wheat.

Wednesday, June 24

So, that is where I had gotten to before yesterday’s post.  Of course, after I wrote this yesterday, I had a meltdown and my day went downhill from there.

As far as today, I feel cautiously optimistic that the injection yesterday helped.  It won’t last forever, but at least I feel like I am getting a break from the really bad, unrelenting pain in both knees and the radiating pain from my back.  I might have to have one more epidural for my back in the middle of it all, but if it could keep my back feeling better during knee replacement recovery, that would help immensely.

By then, hopefully we will be to the bottom of why my weight has not been moving and can get it moving so I can get my back issues addressed (if necessary). I feel like it is pretty likely I will still need something done there, but am hopefully it can be done with a laser technique, and then complete my weight loss and hopefully that is all I will ever need.

I feel somewhat triumphant that there have been no tears yet today.  Some watery eyes earlier, but no tears.  I think that has been part of the headache issue the last couple of days.  Plus I seem to be having some allergy issues (nose running, etc.).

I’m going to get this posted, once and for all.  Over and out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trying to Hold It Together

I keep writing posts and not getting them finished.  I have one going at work that will fill you in on a lot of things, so I will try to post that tomorrow instead of rewriting it again.

Today, I need to do some venting about my emotional state.  It's pretty tricky right now.  I got injections in both knees a little less than a week ago, and since then I have had these very sharp headaches.  I don't know if they are related, but that is when they seemed to start.  It is always very hard for me to tell, but they seem different than the headaches I always had.  Sharper.  If my head hurt like that all the time, I think I would shoot myself.  I can't seem to figure out what is causing them.  I was having one yesterday at work and I had a meltdown.  I am so tired of dealing with all of this, ALL THE TIME, and yet I have no choice but to keep going.  Of course, the crying didn't help.

I always feel on the verge of tears. All the physical stuff I am dealing with is overwhelming, and yet I must continue doing my job.  It is difficult.  VERY difficult.  You might think, maybe I need to get on an anti-depressant for a while.  But I really want to get away from throwing pharmaceuticals at everything.  I am even trying to get away from taking ibuprofen and BC powders for headaches.  They mess with the gut and the gut is where inflammation begins.  Even if it provided temporary relief (which is doubtful, anyway), because it is messing with the balance in my gut, it can actually cause more inflammation in the long-run.  So, other than my pain meds, I am trying to not throw drugs at everything.  Getting free from those will come later.

Today, I had an epidural injection to hopefully help with the sciatica.  I have not had much luck with them in the past, but since there is nothing else to be done right now, I felt like I needed to give it a try.  I only hope it does not set off more of the headaches, because I can't deal with them and working.  I say I can't...I will, but it makes life so difficult.  And I already feel so fragile emotionally.  I don't want to be crying all the time.  So I have to try to hold it together.

Before going in for my injection, I was talking with my sister (who was my driver -- you have to have someone drive you home after these things because you have been sedated).  I was talking about how alone I feel at times, even though I live with my daughter.  I am ready to find a man who cares about me and I enjoy being with, and someone to go through life with through the ups and downs.  Someone to lean on during times like this, and have fun with at the same time (and I, of course, would be there for him when he needed it).  When I woke up from sedation (I didn't realize I was already back in my room), that is what I was thinking about and the tears started flowing.  I felt so emotional and I couldn't get a hold on it.  The nurse said that most women are emotional after this kind of sedation and men are flirty.  I told her I'd rather be flirty.  But the truth is, I am so on the edge of tears all the time, it doesn't take much to make them start flowing (like now).  And that does not help the headaches.

I am living for my next appointment, which is July 2.  That is when I see the functional medicine doctor.  I hope to get to the bottom of some issues of why I am not losing weight.

It was funny, but after all my reading and my current diet, etc., I was talking with a nurse today about something, and she said, "you need to stop eating wheat" (or something like that).  The subject came up.  We got into a discussion about thyroid issues, etc. and everything I have been talking about and reading about is what she said.  She said your doctor needs to check all your thyroid levels, not just the TSH level, which is the standard test.  I said that is exactly what I had been reading, but the PCP I had been going to did not listen and would not do that.  She recommended her endocrinologist to me, and for the second day in a row, I was talking with someone about finding a doctor who would actually listen to me.  Yesterday I made an appointment with an internist who was recommended to me; the trouble is, I cannot get in to see her until August.  It doesn't look like I am going to be able to get in with the endocrinologist anytime soon, either, so it seems I am in a waiting game.  Waiting for the next appointment where hopefully I will get some answers.  If I could just get my weight moving, plus deal with the other symptoms low thyroid causes, it would help my state of my mind immensely.  At least I would feel more like I was getting somewhere.  (I do actually believe I am getting somewhere, but I am ready to see more results.)

I will try to get my post done tomorrow and update on my knee situation.  It is all very overwhelming, but I just need to go forward with doing everything I can to feel better.

Over and out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Must Keep Going


It’s a rough day, in more ways than one.


I am discouraged.  I think I am discouraged because I am not seeing much results yet, especially as it relates to weight loss and blood sugar/insulin resistance (which is one of the things that can block weight loss).


I just did a little research on insulin resistance and healing it naturally.  Mostly I wanted to know how long I could expect it to take.  I finally found something that said it should take 2-3 months, and that is if your problem is not hard-core.  I think mine is pretty hard-core.  So, as I suspected, the fact that I am not seeing much in the way of results yet does not necessarily mean I am not making progress.  I was having thoughts today of eating things I knew would not help my progress any, and to just let things ride (except where wheat is concerned) until I go to the functional medicine doctor on July 2.  But I really do believe my body has to be healing up.  It is just going to take more time.  And lapses like I had Sunday (a lot of sugar) will only slow it down.  So I am staying with the program.


Because of not feeling well after the weekend, I decided to buy some Snap Meals, which are healthy, take-out meals that meet whatever criteria you choose – gluten free, low-carb, etc.  I made up salads for lunch for the last 2 days (salad greens, bell pepper, broccoli, carrots,  bacon, some pecorino romano, sunflower seeds, avocado, and – this will sound weird – some chopped up raw potato with blue cheese vinaigrette).  The potato was at the suggestion of Dr. Davis in Wheat Belly.  One of the supplements he has you take is a probiotic because wheat destroys your healthy bowel flora.  The raw potato is to feed that healthy bowel flora (because the fibers will not digest, stay in the intestine and ferment, and feed the good bacteria) so it can multiply.  You actually do not taste it in the salad and it adds a nice crunch, so I don’t mind doing that at all.  I want to get this working well in my body since I had such a bad time with constipation last week.  The Snap Meal last night was a small order of meatballs and peppers.  They are wheat/grain/gluten free.  The peppers were bell peppers sliced thinly and sautéed in some kind of a tomato-y sauce, as well as some poblano peppers, which were kind of spicy.  It was not great – would have been a lot better in a tortilla or something.  The meatballs were good, though.  I put a little cheddar over the top of the last bit of it and that helped it some.  I like my cooking better.  But it is good in a pinch.  Tonight I will be having salmon with roasted squash and carrots.  We will see how that goes.  I had the same type of salad for lunch.  Tomorrow is chicken with a chimichurri sauce.


I am still having more headaches than I would like.  I don’t know what is going on with that.  Hopefully the functional medicine doc can give me some insight.  Still eating cured meat, so that could be it.


Today has been a high pain day.  I told my co-worker (who is my backup and somewhat my supervisor) that I thought I might need to go home after I finished what I was working on.  She said she had thought she was going to do the same thing (she has a different kind of health issue).  So I told her I would stay.  It’s almost 5:30 and she is still here.

I have an appointment with the knee doctor tomorrow.  I have a number of things to talk to him about it.  The first is the knee injury from about a month ago.  It is not getting better and I think there is more going on there than he thought.  I figure there will need to be an MRI.  We will also talk about the other knee, which needs a knee replacement.  I want to find out if I am a candidate for partial knee replacement.  He does not do those, but a colleague in his group does, so I will talk to my doc about it tomorrow and then make an appointment with the other guy based on what he says and what is going on with the other knee.  I just need to get moving on SOMETHING – one knee or the other, or my back.  Since I cannot on my back right now, it will have to be one knee or the other.


I’m going to have find a way to get some exercise, so my plan is to get in the pool tomorrow evening close to dark.  I’m not really looking forward to parading around in my swimsuit, so I will do it then.  I have a cover up, and I might just go down on my scooter, which leaves me feeling a little less exposed.  Exercise is supposed to help with insulin resistance, so that is my thinking on that.  I dare not try the recumbent bike since I am already flared up.  Sigh.

My daughter and I are taking a test run over to the prospective new apartments on the train.  I want to see how much trouble it is, since it is something I would have to do every day.  I hope to be walking by then, but I will be doing it on the scooter today.  That’s the plan right after work.

My son-in-law and daughter are coming over so he can watch the basketball game and he is going to cook, so I guess the salmon will wait until tomorrow night.


Despite my frustration and my emotions (I feel near tears a lot about all the physical issues), I must keep going and do what I know to do to get better.  I try to visualize myself healthy and fit.


I’m going to call it a (work) day.  Have a good one.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Getting Some Things Out

I seem to come here when I need to vent.

I thought my sciatica issues might be improving, at least a little.  I am pretty sure there will be a surgery of some kind this year (at least one); I just don't know what it will be.  I had kind of gotten to the point in my thinking, since my back doctor said there wasn't much they can do surgically to help me at this point, that it would probably be a knee replacement that I need first (unless I need surgery for the injury that occurred about a month ago on the other knee).  However, the last couple of days I have been on my feet more than usual and the sciatica flared up.  It is quite evident that it is still a big issue.  I am trying to get in to see a neurosurgeon that was recommended to me, but have to get my paperwork in first.  Hopefully that will happen soon.  And hopefully an epidural injection will help me a lot more than I think it will.

 As far as the injury on my right knee a month ago, I don't think we are done there.  It has been swollen and quite sore.  I think there has been some ligament tear or something.  I have a follow-up appointment next week and we will talk about it then.  If there is something there that needs surgery, I would think that would be first.

As far as a knee replacement, I am hopeful I can have a partial knee replacement.  The damage is all on the inside of the knee and there is plenty of space between the bones on the outside.  That is usually the criteria.  Recovery from partial would be so much easier and faster than a full replacement.  It is true that the last injection helped my left knee a lot, but it wore off in about 6 weeks and I can only have one every 3 months, and I think only 3 times a year.  And the injections  tend to weaken tendons and ligaments, which might make me more susceptible to injury.  So I think it might be time to go ahead and get that taken care of, especially since I am so close to meeting my deductible already this year.  It just depends on what happens with the injury on the right knee.  I do know that having them both hurting is making life very difficult.  And the sciatica on top of that is making life miserable.  I just can't keep going like this.  I am near tears more and more, partly from pain and partly from the difficulty of coping with it all.

As far as the pain goes, I am learning that it is important for me to get on top of the pain as early as possible in the day.  Sometimes I tend to think it is better to take as little as possible, but then it makes the day so much harder because I am in too much pain.  If I get on it and get it under control early in the day, it makes the rest of the day go better.  So I need to keep that in mind this week.  I have alarms set to remind me when it is time to take medicine, and before, I would turn off the alarm and still procrastinate about taking the medicine.  Right now, when the alarm goes off, I am like, "Thank God it's time for medicine."  There is no procrastinating.  I guess that tells me something.

I am frustrated with things like the house is a mess and I have to be wise and not overdo so I can function and get to work the next day or on Monday.  For the first time in my life, I actually do not mind cleaning and have found I like having things clean and in order.  But I just don't have the energy to do it right now, nor can I tax my body beyond a certain point lest I make things worse.  I wish the kids would help more, but I haven't been successful in convincing them to help enough.  And I need to learn to be less of a mess.

My daughter and I are thinking about moving.  If it was up to Stephanie, the decision would already be made.  I am finding more pros than cons about moving to the place we are looking at.  The biggest con is that I live less than 5 minutes from my job and that took a LOT of pressure off of me in other ways.  The new place, instead of being a 5-minute walk from my job would be a 5-minute walk to the train station and a 5-minute train ride.  So that is not bad.  It just depends on how smoothly that goes.  My daughter and I are going to go on some practice runs to see how it goes.  Now, here are the pros:


    1. I think the concrete floors where I live are taking their toll.  I think they are adding to or exacerbating my physical problems.  The new place has "hardwood" floors in the main living area, and carpet in the bedrooms.  The carpet worries me a bit because of my dog, but that leads me to the second pro.
    2. It would be much easier to take my dog out to potty in this place.  We would keep the doors to the bedrooms closed up during the day, and my daughter plans to come home during lunch to let him out to potty, and taking him out otherwise will be easier than in this high rise loft where I live on the 16th floor.  This place has its own little dog park where he can not only potty, but he can run around and play and get outside.  He needs that.  And he can do that without me having to walk him if I am not able to.
    3. We would have much better use of space in this place.  It is 100 square feet more, but it is also designed much better.
    4. I would have an absolutely awesome kitchen!!!!  Where I am not just has one line of cabinets where I have about 3 feet of cabinet space between the sink and the stove and very little else.  As much as I cook, it is very frustrating.  The kitchen in this place is huge!  I would have a pantry, LOTS of counter and cabinet space, a side-by-side refrigerator, an island, etc. (see below).  The kitchen itself would almost sell me on it.
    5. Stephanie's room would be a little bigger, which would leave her feeling less claustrophobic.  Mine would be near the same, but to me, would feel much more private than what I have now.
    6. We would have more closet space in this house.  I have a pretty good-sized closet where we are, but the rest of the place is lacking, so when there is nowhere else to put something, it goes in my closet.  Stephanie would have a lot more closet space and there is an entry closet for coats, vacuum cleaner, etc.
    7. It has a nice sized patio that we could actually use with patio furniture, an electric grill or smoker, etc.  Also nice for Cas.
    8. Steph and I would have totally separate bathrooms.  Right now we have two toilet areas and Steph's sink area is in her toilet area, but we share a bathtub/shower in the same area as my toilet sink area.  It's called a Jack and Jill bath, I think.  I would rather have ours separate.  Would also help on the privacy issue.
    9. This apartment complex is actually connected to a Signature Kroger.  So I can walk/ scooter to the grocery store every time I need to.  That means I can buy enough produce for a couple of days and then go get more, so we cut down on spoilage and our refrigerator would stay less full, etc.  It also has a lot of retail/restaurants in the area and is much closer to shopping.  I like that.


I think I have pretty much made up my mind about this except for two things.  We will have to see how smooth my commute is, and it will depend on the price they offer me.  Right now it is slightly more expensive than what I pay now, but they said in the winter the price goes down.  Especially in December, because nobody wants to move in December.  But that is when my lease is up.  It cost as much as $300 less than what they are listing it for right now.  So we will see.  I imagine in the next few days I will test out the commute.  At least on my scooter, I could take the train and be guaranteed of having a seat.  There is a designated place in the center car for handicapped riders.  If I was feeling better, of course, 5 minutes standing up on the train (if it was that crowded) would be no big deal.  If getting from the apartment to the train station goes smoothly enough, I am willing to sacrifice the 5-minute walk for the other plusses about this place.  And if they offer me the right price.  Even then....

My daughter and I have worked out some financial issues between us.  We have agreed on an amount she will be paying me every month to get what she owes me paid back, and after that, she will be paying an agreed-upon rent.  I told her if she pays rent, when we move, then she has the right to get a dog, as long as it is not a huge one (she was wanting a Great Dane !!!).  I would also like to find some assurance that the dog she gets is a calm dog.  Her health still does not leave her in shape to handle a really rough, overly energetic dog.  But her having a dog also would assure her helping take care of mine (if she takes hers out, then she can take mine out).  Of course, there would be times I would have to do both, but not until I feel better.  Anyway, the amount she is paying me now leaves me in better financial shape.

The only other thing I have to say is I got frustrated today and have not eaten like I should.  It was the constant pain and the fact that I am not losing weight no matter how hard I try.  It was sugar, though, and not wheat.  Hopefully the visit to the functional medicine doctor will help get things moving along.

That's it for today.  I just needed to get some things out of me.

Friday, June 5, 2015

A Little Down


Thursday

Okay, time for a little venting.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I don’t know what I was expecting, but I thought the kids might at least have something planned.  This weekend, if nothing else (I guess they still might, but they are hiding it well if they do).  My youngest did invite me to a Rangers game last night – she had gotten great tickets from her boss – but that is just more than I can handle right now.  Lots of walking, stairs, etc., so I had to turn her down  If we had seats where I could take my scooter, then I could do it.  But we didn’t.  Plus I need a little time to plan for that – to save up energy.  Doing it on a work night is not preferable.  But at least she asked and was genuinely disappointed that I couldn’t go.  The other daughter went off doing her own thing.  (Most days I totally understand that, and that is as it should be, but it was my birthday….)  My son was at the loft, but never even seemed to remember it was my birthday, so I was feeling a little down last night.  I have to get my own life.  I know it is not that they don’t care about me, but I felt a little let down.

There are things I want to say, but probably should not put it out there.  It could come back and hurt people.  Let’s just say I am feeling unappreciated.

So, I got an e-mail just now from my other daughter that asks if I would like to have a girls day on Saturday with both of my daughters, but she mentions both of them are broke.  Which means we do things that don’t cost anything or I pay for everything.  I just spent $110 for the privilege of having lunch with my kids on Mother’s Day.  Yes, I wanted them around and I knew they didn’t have any money, so I did it willingly.  But this is getting a little much.

I know what they are thinking – go get pedicures, for one thing.  I would have to pay for everybody, and I have myself on a strict budget to get out of debt.  I don’t really want to do that.  And I don’t really want to be the one that has to come up with something.  I guess I’m in a mood.  I feel like I’m taking care of everyone else and no one is taking care of me.  And I kind of feel like I need taking care of right now, at least some of the time.  That’s probably unfair for two of them, but I guess I’m just a little down.

Thoughts going through my head (please know, I am in no danger of doing anything rash because of any of this; just venting):

  1. Tired of hurting;
  2. Tired of my life – wish I could stop and get off a while until things get better;
  3. Tired of fighting the circumstances of my life;
  4. Feeling desperate to make it stop;
  5. Wish I felt up to getting out and making things better, socially speaking.

I will be better after a while or tomorrow; I’m just having a rough day.  The thing is, other than maybe getting in the pool, I am doing all I can to get better.  After my headache yesterday, I have not had a Monster today, and so far, no headache!  We will see if that continues.  Of course, I am likely to get a caffeine headache, but once I wean myself off, hopefully that will take care of it.  I’m pushing the water.  I know that is a big thing.

Friday

Still blah, but not quite as down.

I’m discouraged.  I am reading Wheat Belly Total Health, where Dr. Davis explains more about weight loss if you do not begin to lose weight immediately like the majority of people.  One thing he says is that it is important that your body not put out insulin.  Insulin is the fat storing hormone.  If you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, your body is probably doing a lot of that, not to mention what having to be on injectable insulin does to you.  Many people gain a lot of weight when being put on insulin.  The goal for weight loss, he said, is that you check your blood sugar before you eat and then again 30 minutes or so after you eat and it should not change.  If it does, you look for the suspected culprit in your meal that has too many carbs.  I checked mine first thing this morning before eating anything and it was 103.  (That’s not great, but better than it was a few weeks ago).  I didn’t eat for a while, because I waited until I got to work.  My meal was a small piece of an egg “casserole” which contained, basically, eggs, cheese, and a little bacon.  I also had some cauliflower cheese soup (he recommends having vegetables at every meal, so that was my quick fix this morning).  I checked my sugar 30 minutes or so after the meal and it was 113.  That is not bad, from a diabetes standpoint, but my blood sugar fluctuated, and that did not meet the goal.  I am going to have to look at what was in that soup to see what had the most carbs.  Or possibly it was the bacon.  (So far, I see nothing to explain it.)

The thing is, my weight just will not move.  I am not eating too many calories.  I am eating pretty low carb, so it has to be one of the other things he mentions.  Please don’t tell me it’s because this plan is not healthy or doesn’t work, because at this stage, I am not going to believe you.  I have gained weight in the last couple of years on diets that are low fat and eating complex carbs, which is what they tell you is best.  Until I play this thing out, I do not believe I am on the wrong path.  I think I finally found the right one.

One thing he mentions is that so many of us are suffering from hypothyroidism.  Keep in mind the author is an M.D. with a cardiology specialty.  He is not a quack.  He says that most doctors do not go far enough in checking your thyroid to see if it is low.  They check your T4, when often it is your T3 that is low, and they prescribe drugs that only help the T4, when you need a drug that helps both.  For 80% of people, the thyroid is not functioning correctly because we are iodine deficient.  So he says to take a Sea Kelp supplement.  For 20%, that will not be enough.  He did say, however, that it takes about 3 months of taking the supplement to bring your body back from the deficiency, so it may be just a matter of time and it will help.  I have been taking it for 2-3 weeks.  So I will give that time, but if it still does not improve, I need to find a doctor who will check my T3, as well as my T4, and he says I may have to go to a functional medicine doctor to do that.  I found one a while back I could go to, but their initial assessment they do is $1,500 and I will have to save up that amount of money to be able to do that.  Wonder if I can get one to check my thyroid without the full assessment (I can do that later).  Anyway, Dr. Davis says if your thyroid is messed up, it is going to be extremely difficult to lose weight.  I feel like I am in a vicious circle.  I am trying to do all I can.

He recommends that for those wanting to lose weight, you should eat 15 net grams of carbs per meal or less, or 45 a day.  If you are still not losing weight, he recommends going to full-out ketosis (not dangerous; it is ketoacidosis that is dangerous), which would mean eating less than 20 net grams of carbs per day.  I was doing that when I first went on Atkins or couple of years ago, so I know I can do it (and I did lose weight).  The thing is, I am willing to do whatever it takes to feel better.

A friend of mine sent me some information on turmeric and how it is being found to help inflammation and pain.  Dr. Davis also mentions this in Wheat Belly Total Health.  I’ve been hearing about it lately, so I decided to give it a try.  I ordered some with the specifications he gives, which are that it be combined with piperine to make it where it is more easily absorbed.  As I said, I am willing to do whatever it takes to feel better.

I plan to get down to the pool this weekend.  Hopefully my daughter(s) will go with me, which will make it easier for me to do the first couple of times.  But I have to be careful.  It may be that even walking in the pool, with the resistance of the water, will set off the sciatica and make it worse.  My Achilles tendon is also bothering me, and walking barefoot does not help that, so I will have to wear the pool shoes I bought long ago and haven’t used.

Thursday and today have been rough days, pain-wise.  Not just the sciatica, etc., but I’ve had the all-over, feeling you got run over by a truck kind of pain.  It has been difficult to get it under control.  It usually takes at least my second dose of pain meds for the day to do that, and then I’d better not be late on a dose, or it is back with a vengeance.  It really wears you out.  Pain is very exhausting when you have so much of it.  Hopefully I will have a breakthrough soon.  I see the back doctor to get the results of my MRI on Monday.

I’d better get this posted or it won’t get done.  Have a great weekend everyone!  Friday night at 6:00 is my favorite time of the week.  (Unless I get kept late, but that is not happening tonight.  Woohoo!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me -- The Big Double-Nickel


Well, today I am 55 years old.  I hope for big changes in the coming year.  It has to get better….

I am now reading Wheat Belly Total Health, which is the follow-up book to Wheat Belly.  I am convinced I am on the right track.

I have to admit something.  I am having more headaches than I would like.  Most are much milder than they had been, but I am still having them too often.  Given that they have decreased greatly since removing wheat from my diet, I do not think the answer is that that was not the answer (or at least a huge part of it).  I have two theories as to why I am still having them as much as I am.  Dr. Davis makes it clear that it will take a while to reverse the negative effects of wheat consumption and the destruction it has had on your body.  I am a person who obviously had/has a lot of inflammation.  So I think it is likely that it will just take some time for this process to have its full effect.  The longer I do what I need to do, the more my body will heal, the more inflammation will decrease and the less headaches I will have.

The other theory, which could be part of the other one, is that there is another food I am eating that also contributes to headaches (which there is no dispute are caused by inflammation).  It could be dairy.  I may have to remove that from my diet if I am to become headache-free.  Or some other food, like cured meat (although I did not eat enough of that before now for that to be the life-long culprit).  I would like to fast a couple of days, at some point, and if this continues, I will add back suspected foods one at a time and see what effect they have.  In the meantime, maybe I will try a couple of days without dairy (when I do not have pre-prepared foods that contain it) and see how I feel.  I have a pretty intense headache today, compared to how it has been, and it could be something I ate last night.

I made a cheesecake for my birthday.  The recipe is from the Wheat Belly book.  It has no grain or gluten in it, so that is not it.  It does have a lot of dairy, though (cream cheese, sour cream).  Another culprit could be sucralose.  He says sucralose is not so damaging as other artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and saccharine.  I have had better luck with it than with stevia on getting the taste to be pleasing, so that is what I used in the cheesecake.  I also am still drinking SF Monsters, which have sucralose.  Getting off of those is coming, but I wanted to get past my sugar withdrawal first.  One thing at a time.  Looking up sucralose, that may be the culprit.  So I may have to move up my getting off the Monsters and always use stevia instead of sucralose for a treat.  Now that I have gotten a degree of freedom from the headaches, when I do get one, it feels like more of an affront.  THEY ARE MOST UNWELCOME.

No changes on pain levels.  Not so much the bad sciatic pain today as the all-over fibromyalgia pain.  I don’t like that because I hurt more just sitting in the chair.  The other, at least it mostly hurts when I’m on my feet (unless it is getting really bad).  This afternoon has felt like a desperate search to ease pain.  I took my pain med.  Still hurting.  I feel all tight all over, so I took my muscle relaxant.  Still hurting.  I took an anti-inflammatory to help with inflammation.  We will see.  I just want to lay down and not have to think about it so much.  About an hour more and I can go home.  I am so over this.

I’m not doing anything special for my birthday, that I know of.  Maybe over the weekend.  My kids are low on money.  My boss was generous, as usual.  Honestly, I might use what he gave me to pay off the small remaining balance on a credit card.  I have a goal to get out of debt as soon as possible.  My son has been borrowing my car for a long time and I finally told him, why didn’t he just start making payments to buy it from me.  To tell you the truth, the way it is looking, I don’t want to drive it anyway.  I walk (or now scooter) to work, and I live with my daughter, so most places I need to go, we do together or I use her car.  I plan to use the payments my son makes to save up for a down payment on another car.  As soon as I have the other debts paid off, I will use that down payment and get me a car with the smallest payments possible.  Then I will try to pay it off as quickly as possible.  I don’t need a new one.  I don’t drive much; I just need one I can depend on when I do need one.  Anyway, putting the BD money toward the cc balance will free up the $50 a month I have been paying on it to put toward paying down another balance.

Another motivation for me to get out of debt:  Ultimately, I want to eat organic foods only.  Right now, I find them more expensive than I can handle with my current financial status.  When I am out of debt, I will have plenty to work with and intend to go fully organic at that time.  The pesticides and chemicals I am exposed to could also be part of the lingering headaches.  We have paid a high price for civilization.  Not that it is all bad.  But it is not all good, either.  All I know is, I want to do everything I can to feel better.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

I Will Keep On Keeping On

Well, I got on the recumbent bike last night -- 5 minutes, no resistance.  I'm not sure what to think.  Did it hurt?  Yes.  And today I am feeling it.  I feel that twinge in the left shin that ended up being sciatica.  My knees are hurting more, too.  So, do I stop doing it because it is causing pain?  I don't know.  I know they will tell you that with knee pain, just because it hurts does not mean you should not do it, just make it low impact.  This was low impact, but I don't think I am your everyday person with knee pain.  I am not trying to make excuses.  I really want to do what will ultimately help me get better.  I know weight loss is the biggest part of that, but if an activity sets off pain that keeps me from getting around, interrupts my sleep, etc., I'm not sure that is beneficial.  Maybe I will try the pool or the hot tub and try to use mostly my arms and upper body and it will minimize any weight bearing.  I will talk to both my back and knee doctors about this at my next appointments.


Weight loss is very slow.  That is frustrating me.  Dr. Davis (author of Wheat Belly) advocates fasting as part of the healing process.  He doesn't mention really long fasts, just a day here, a couple of meals there, etc.  To quote:


  “Fasting can be one of the most powerful tools for regaining health: weight loss, reduction in blood pressure, improved insulin responses, longevity, as well as improvement in numerous health conditions.” 
Some days I feel as though I have bad stuff coming out of me and that is why there is increased pain.  I think some fasting here and there, and pushing the water, might help that along.  I fasted dinner one night through Noon the next day over the weekend.  I think I will try a little more as I get to the end of this pay period and am needing to go to the grocery store.  Right now, I have all the food I cooked for the coming week, and I need to eat it and not let it go bad (and it's really good!).  But right before it's time to go to the grocery store again, you are usually tired of what you have been having and running low on ingredients, so that would be a good time to fast a day.


I need to kick-start the weight loss.  Yes, I'm about 10 pounds down from where I started, but it is much more difficult to lose weight than it used to be.  I am sure it is all about healing up my body after the damage that has been done all my life, and that takes time.  I will keep on keeping on.

Monday, June 1, 2015

I Am So Over This


I have started posts and not finished them the last few weeks, but today I really need an outlet.

You might think the reason I have not posted is because I have been “off the wagon.”  That is actually not the case.  I have followed through with my wheat-free, low-carb plan and am making slow progress.  But my body is really messed up in a multitude of ways, so it is slow going.

One thing that has had a big effect is I injured my knee about 3 weeks ago.  I have the left knee that I already need a knee replacement on, but this was the right knee.  I had been having so much trouble with sciatica (also on the right side) that mobility was getting difficult.  I was feeling like I did leading up to my back surgery last February, except that was my left side.  That Friday I asked my daughter to pick me up from work because getting around was painful and difficult.  I got in her car and pushed down on the floorboard to shift my weight in the seat, and there was a definite pop at the back of my knee.  Not the kind of pop like when your bones pop, but the kind that felt like a ligament or cartilage or something like that.  The pop was followed immediately with immense pain.  It hurt so bad, I was giving thought to going to the ER.  After the initial hurt, it hurt particularly when I moved it sideways or twisted it a little, but was extremely sore.

I have a lot of experience with ERs, with all of my daughter’s physical problems.  I knew they would probably prescribe something for pain and tell me to follow up with a knee doctor.  I had stuff for pain, so I decided to do my best with it over the weekend and get in with my knee doctor on an emergency basis on Monday.  That is what I did.  Nothing really showed up on the x-ray and the pain I had been feeling was not manifesting itself with the things he did to my knee in the office visit.  He said probably what happened was a “Baker’s cyst” had ruptured.  I looked that up and it did sound plausible.  He gave me an injection in my knee, told me to stay off of it a couple of days, and that was that.  It did begin to start feeling better after a few days and I credit the injection for that.  I am supposed to follow up in 6 weeks (from when it happened).

However, anytime I had to walk before it started feeling better, I had to walk with a severe limp.  That caused other things in my body to respond negatively.  I began to have this pain in my left shin, which after a couple of days began to travel (the more I was up and around) and it began to feel suspiciously like sciatica on my left side.  It started “connecting up,” shooting from my lower back, down my hip to that place in my shin and it got worse.  I was extremely discouraged with this, because that is what I had surgery for last year and if it was coming back, that meant the surgery didn’t really do what it needed to do.  The only other thing they could do is a fusion and they cannot do that until I get at least 80 pounds or so off.  So I was bracing myself for living in a lot of (more) pain for months to come.

I made the decision to get me a mobility scooter.  I felt if I could stay off of it and keep from walking so off balance, it might help it settle down.  I rented one for 3 days and it did seem to help it.  I only used it at times I had to do “a lot” of walking, like to and from work, and going to the grocery store (but stayed off my feet as much as possible).  So I decided to buy one.  I have done that, although I am still waiting for it to come in.  In the meantime, I am using a loaner.

The sciatica on the left seems to have cleared up, so I am hoping it was more muscular related and not because my spine was pinching off the sciatic nerve on the left side.  However, the pain in my right knee is beginning to creep back as the injection wears off.  So I am back to both knees hurting substantially, and sciatica on the right side.  I had an MRI on my back Friday and we will see what happens.  I feel I am probably headed to the same type of surgery on my right side as I had on my left (decompression – clearing out bone spurs, thickened ligaments, etc. that are pinching off the nerve; remember, all these things are caused by inflammation, but there is no undoing them through diet).  I do plan to get one epidural injection and see if it helps, more to please my doctor and the insurance company than anything.  Then at some point I need to have a knee replacement on my left knee, and the doctor said I will likely be needing one on my right knee in the next few years, but I am not there.  However, there is still the pain from the injury coming back, so I don’t know what is happening there.

So, that’s what has been going on the last 3 weeks.  The good news is, the headaches are substantially better.  Not completely gone, but improved to a degree where I know wheat was the culprit.  If I eat something questionable, they come back with a vengeance.  Like the other day I ate some lettuce wraps from an Asian restaurant.  I knew that probably had some wheat in them (soy sauce has wheat, if nothing else had it as an ingredient).  The next day I had a baaaad headache.

I am working really hard on my diet.  I am learning what damage has been done to my body through insulin resistance, inflammation, etc.  It is going to take some time for it to heal to where I get to feeling better.  And some things (like there being no cartilage left in my left knee) cannot be undone.  I am hoping that other than a decompression on my right side and the knee replacement on the left knee, I can get by without ever needing any other surgeries that have been mentioned, like a knee replacement on the right and a fusion in my back.  I am hoping that a turnaround with chronic inflammation will keep what cartilage I do have left in my right knee from being broken down and the decompression surgeries to be all I need on my back.  The biggest thing is to get the weight off.

After doing some more reading, I know there are further changes I need to make to get things really moving.  Because I am pre-diabetic, I have to be really careful about the number of carbs I eat, and about eating things that spike my blood sugar.  Even fruit creates too much of a spike if I eat too much (I have checked insulin responses with a glucose meter).  So, instead of a cup of strawberries (which would be fine on a “normal” weight loss diet), I can eat 3 or 4 strawberries, or a few slices of apple, or a half a peach.  I have been dabbling in “healthier” sweeteners, like honey, but for people like me, I need to stay away from them until my metabolic system has had time to heal and I lose the weight I need to lose.  So I will limit my “sweet” eating to the little bits of fruit mentioned above.  I am keeping my carbs very low (a little sweet potato or rice occasionally), but while you are in weight loss mode and while you are getting your insulin response to things healed up, it needs to be minimal.  I am evidently quite sensitive to wheat and it has done a lot of damage to that aspect of my health.  The goal is to have no rise in my blood sugar from what I eat (which my insulin responses are healing).  A cup of strawberries will make it jump 20 “points,” not that bad for diabetes purposes, but not what he instructs for helping the body heal up.

I feel very discouraged right now.  Not like giving up.  Just tired of coping with pain all the time.  I am trying to do all I can to get better, although I am not doing any exercise right now.  I am going to try to get back on the recumbent bike now that the knee injury has somewhat settled down and I am going to try to get in the pool or the hot tub at my loft community to get moving a little and do some stretches in the water, etc.  I was waiting on a cover-up I ordered to come in, because I felt self-conscious going down to the pool in my swimsuit, but it came in, so need to get started on that.

One “problem” I have been having is it takes so much time to cook and prepare the food I need to eat like this.  You need to eat “real” food, exclusively, and you cannot depend on food at restaurants to not have something “bad” in them.  I do eat out some, but I try to ask if something contains wheat, etc.  I had an all-day cooking day yesterday to prepare the food I would need for the week, so weekdays would be easier.  So, that is good, but I am paying for it today because I was on my feet way too much yesterday.  My plan this week is to work on portion sizes and to increase water.  (Increasing water is difficult because it makes me have to get up and go a LOT, and when you are hurting, you know….  It is too inconvenient to use the scooter for that.)  As for portions, my appetite has decreased so much that I don’t think that will be too difficult.  I just now read the part in Wheat Belly where he lists a sample week of eating.  I am trying to pattern my portions after that.

Here is an example from what I cooked for this week.

Breakfast:

1 small serving breakfast casserole (egg, bacon, cheese)
About 10 almonds
3 strawberries

Lunch:

Chicken “Tortilla” Soup (no tortilla – just chicken, broth and vegetables with a Mexican flair)
“Side” salad (no meat) with chipotle vinaigrette
3 strawberries

Dinner:

Lettuce wraps (homemade this time)
Raw veggies or a small salad
1 stick of cheddar cheese, if I still feel hungry

Snack (only if needed):

A few almonds (put a few in a baggie so I wouldn’t eat more than necessary)

Bear in mind that I first read Wheat Belly (and Grain Brain) as an answer to my headaches, so I skipped around some.  I had to go back and finish reading the end of the book, so am just not getting to some of this.

Another thing I am going to change after this week is my use of “cured meats,” like sausage and bacon.  He lists them as foods you should not eat.  I cannot remember if he says in the book why, but I have the idea it had something to do with pain.  So, I can buy some uncured bacon and sausage (or make my own).  I was just reading about it last night, so I will go ahead with the supply I have on hand (they are okay on Atkins and Paleo), but try it without it next grocery trip to see if they makes a difference in my pain levels.

I am so tired of hurting.  I feel willing to do almost anything to get to feeling better.  I know weight loss is a HUGE component of that, and I want to do everything I can to get weight loss moving so I can feel better.

I have felt at the point of tears a lot of the time the last week or so.  I am so tired of dealing with all this.  My friend thinks I am putting too much pressure on myself, but living with the pain is so much worse than the efforts I am talking about here.  I am so over this.  I don’t know how much of a pain-free life I can expect, but I do know that a loss of 100-150 pounds would have to have a huge effect.  Moving forward is my number one priority.