Wednesday, May 9, 2012

And in today's news. . .

Not sure if I can handle much else. I've been so scattered lately, life keeps piling up and just when I think I can't handle one more thing on my plate, one more thing shows up. One of my surrogate dads passed away on April 28th. He was in his late 80's so he was more of a surrogate grandpa. We bonded over Peanut Butter. He just adored the not-so-little guy and was constantly giving him carrots and lettuce. Don and his wife Mona would pet-sit for me and Peanut Butter just stole his heart. Don and I spent quite some time talking to each other. One of his daughter's committed suicide as a direct result of untreated bipolar disorder and it's like he looked at me like I was his second chance with his daughter. He was always so supportive and loving; one of my biggest cheerleaders. He will be greatly missed.

Peanut Butter broke off one of his teeth. Goofy pig did it at the vet's office when he took a flying leap off of the exam table, missed my lap and did a face plant on the floor! I wish I had a video of that. I guess this makes him a redneck pig. He broke one of his top teeth and he only has four teeth total so he does look a little country. . .  It should grow back but right now he's having trouble eating :( I'll be putting in a call to the vet when their office opens.

Got my PICC line taken out on Monday! It's a good news/bad news type deal. They pulled it because getting my infusion hurt in my armpit. My line had been coming out because the lady changing the bandage wasn't being careful at all with it and then blamed me for not holding it in place. I didn't even have gloves on! I know how these bandage changes are "supposed" to be done. The line being pulled out at least 2 inches made getting the infusion hurt. I felt it in my armpit. The doctor told the nurse to pull the line and to discontinue all IV medication. So I am completely PICC line and IV medication free! The bad news: I've been continuing to deteriorate this whole time, even with multiple courses of different IV and oral antibiotics as well as oral and IV anti-virals. She said that I'm incurable, that the lyme & co-occuring viruses are going to continue in their cyclic nature and continue to get worse and leave me with worsening lingering problems. She ordered more labs and put me on two oral antibiotics and an oral antiviral but didn't sound too hopeful that they were going to do anything. If they do help then it means I'll be on oral meds for the rest of my life to try to manage the diseases. If they don't help (and it seems like neither of us thinks that they will) then it's going to be about managing the symptoms to give me a quality of life. Right now, I am close to being bed-bound so I don't have a great quality of life. I can manage to sit and/or stand for 10-15 minutes at a time and then I am back in bed. I am so grateful that my therapist's office has the stereotypical couch so I could lay down for my appointment today :) Still waiting to find out about a pain management doctor. The new laws are a blessing and a curse! My PCP can only do so much, her hands are tied because of these new laws. I was told about a place in West Palm Beach that is run Mayo Clinic-style but is focused on Eastern techniques of medicine. I doubt they take my insurance but I've been told they have a scholarship program. I'm going to look into it. Just because Western medicine has given up on me doesn't mean that all hope is gone. Doctors did say that alcoholism is incurable. While I'm not "cured,"  I'm also not drinking, proof that a state of remission is possible. I'll take remission.

The shit has hit the proverbial fan. Thing 1 told Thing 2 tonight that she needed to move out, preferably by Sunday. Thing 2 doesn't see that not following house rules is disrespectful and is also very unaware of how she effects those around her. It's like she's oblivious. I see that she is still very attached to victimhood. I told Thing 1 that it's her decision if she wants to ask Thing 2 to leave. It all started with an innocent house meeting. I have been feeling very ill and I lost my temper at one point. The two of them can't seem to communicate without one or both feeling offended and disrespected. Thing 1 looks at me like the model tenant/housemate and wants Thing 2 to be more like me. Apparently, I know how to hold my own by stating and holding boundries without lashing out on those around me. According to Thing 1 I have never lashed out at her and when Thing 2 is not feeling well that's all she does (is lash out). This is not for me to try to figure out. I couldn't sleep so I spent a good two hours composing a letter to the two of them, sharing my observations and thoughts. I think better when I can take a step back from the situation and gather my ideas. I think it's kinda ridiculous to ask Thing 2 to vacate the property by the end of the month when Thing 1 is leaving at the end of the month and will be gone for 3 1/2 months, here for two weeks and then in her own place. So, they will have a total of 5 more weeks under the same roof. Thing 2 and I manage to get along and work things out without too much trouble. The biggest problem is how much toilet paper that woman uses. If it's all going down the toilet I'm surprised that it hasn't backed up. I don't know. Thing 2 continuing to live here is not my call. I'm going to leave the letter out in the morning and we shall see how the day goes.

In the kitchen: Awhile a go I found a recipe for Slow Cooker Cherry Almond Steel-Cut Oatmeal and it is super YUMMY! Yesterday my lightbulb went off: why not make overnight, slow cooker breakfast quinoa?! So I toyed with the idea and what the changes would need to be and my first batch is in the slow cooker right now. I was a little afraid of ruining it that I went with a 50/50 ratio of quinoa and steel cut oats plus I changed the rest of the flavor profile. I can't wait til it's done!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brain Fog!

Gee, I just read thru my old posts and realized that I had already posted the zuccini carrot muffins as a recipe for zuccini quick bread. Upon reflection, pureeing 1/4 cup of the raisins with the applesauce like I stated in the quick bread recipe rather than with the "buttermilk" is a heck of a lot smarter. I was wondering why I had to add more almond milk :) I like the muffins better because of the addition of carrots, walnuts raisins and sunflower seeds. Plus, the muffins are portion controlled. Per muffin: 218 calories, 26g carbs, 12g fat, 4g protein and 5g fiber.

Eh? Speak into my good ear please!

Finally finished all of my hearing tests, including checking the pressure in my inner ears. Good news: there is nothing mechanically wrong with my ears. What I have is neuropathic hearing loss. Oh, the interesting things lyme can do to the body.

Had another procedure done to check out why I'm having tummy trouble. The doctor told me that I am "a varient of normal," meaning that I'm abnormal without being abnormal :) I got a huge kick out of being called a varient of normal. More tests to be done and I know we'll get answers. For all we know, the tummy trouble is a side effect of the IV med I'm on.

Speaking of meds. My pain and fatigue have been thru the roof! I've been doing a lot of crying because of pain which is not normal for me. It takes a lot for me to cry from pain. I'm deep in a flare and I don't know if all the IV treatment is doing anything at all. Maybe the best thing would be to just treat symptoms and ride the flare out. Sooooo, I went to my primary doctor yesterday to talk about the pain and to get referrals to a pain management doctor and a rheumatalogist. I lost it in the exam room when she was examining me to see which areas were tender. Oh that was bad! She put me on a strong muscle relaxer. Let's just say it's a medication that I did not respect in the past. I was scared to take it and desparate for my body, not my emotional mind, to be able to have some relief. I don't expect the pain to magically be taken away by a pill; that is totally unrealistic! I took it and I got this fuzzy headed feeling which I didn't like. Amazing because that is the feeling that I used to chase! I was grateful when that sensation abated. My body was able to breathe! I think having some relief I did too much so I'm hurting today. This medication makes my pain just tolerable and I'm wondering if adding a mild opiate would give me a better quality of life. I'm not jumping on that train just yet. I want to give myself a couple of days with this medication and see if doing less is all I need to do. One day, one moment at a time. This is all new to me. Every time I have taken the muscle relaxer I have called my mom and checked in with her, told her how I was feeling physically and emotionally and how much I was taking. I am being completely honest and accountable. What a life I live!

Peanut Butter is sick. He's not deathly ill by any stretch of the imagination. Just sick enough for me to worry :) A touch of a respiratory infection. Two weeks of antibiotics and he'll be fine. If only my medical crap was that simple. I'd be lost without that little guy. Oh wait, he's not so little. He weighs in at 2.85lbs! My man's dog weighs 4.4lbs. My guinea pig is almost as big as his toy poodle! Craziness. It's also crazy that my manly man would be soooo in love with an apricot toy poodle :)

In the kitchen: Made some YUMMY zuccini carrot muffins. The recipe is adapted from Joy the Baker. I came up with a way to sweeten them without using any sugar. I wish I had pictures of them. Actually, I haven't eaten them all so I can still take a picture. They are amazingly good.Totally vegan, gluten free and sugar free! I really astonish myself in the kitchen. So here's the goods:

Zuccini Carrot Muffins:

3 cups barley flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt, fine
3 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
3 tbsps fresh ground flax seeds
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp almond milk with 1/8 tsp apple cider vinegar added to it ("buttermilk")
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp almond extract
2 cups shredded zuccini
1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup raisins, divided
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raw, hulled sunflower seeds

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease muffin tin or use paper liners (I was able to make 17 muffins). Set aside.

In a blender or a food processor combine 1/4 cup raisins and "buttermilk." Puree until the milk looks brown. Stain mixture thru a fine mesh strainer and discard "pulp." Add enough almond milk to get back to 1/2 cup milk (does that make sense?). Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together flax seed meal, "buttermilk," vegetable oil, applesauce and almond extract. Mix thoroughly then add zuccini, carrots, raisins, nuts and sunflower seeds.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold together. Make sure all of the flour is thoroughly incorporated into the batter. It might look like you need more liquid but be patient. Scoop batter into prepared muffin tins with a standard ice cream scoop and place pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. I started checking my muffins at 15 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes then transfer toa wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bad Days

It's been almost a week since I've written here. I'm having a VERY hard time physically. I'm feeling so sick and exhausted all the time. I manage to get out of the house and do one-two things and then I get back in my jammies and lay in bed the rest of the day. Most of the time the one thing I do is a doctor's appointment. In fact, I've got two on Monday, a procedure on Tuesday (not major) and then a different doctor on Wednesday. I'm exhausted just thinking about it. I also want to find a pain management doctor. The fact that I'm willing to look for that kind of doctor speaks volumes.

Thing 1 and Thing 2 (my new code for my housemates) seem to always be at each other's throats. They have different styles of communicating and neither one of them seems willing to learn how to effectively communicate with the other one. I'm tired and fed up with both of them trying to convince me to be on "their side." Sometimes I want to sit the both of them down like one would their fighting children. Both are physically older than me yet sometimes I think I'm the only mature adult here.

A dear friend passed away today (4/28). He, along with his wife, would pet-sit Peanut Butter for me whenever I went out of town or was in the hospital. He called Peanut Butter a "little critter," never could remember that he's a boy guinea pig and would give him carrots as big as Peanut Butter is! He also looked at me like a daughter. Don had a daughter diagnosed with BiPolar disorder who committed suicide. I have my own psych stuff and it was almost like Don saw me as a "second chance" to be supportive, understanding and encouraging. He had been sick and I knew he was slowly slipping away. I know that it's only his physical "self" that is gone; his spirit lives on. I will miss his physical presence and I know that I can also talk to him anytime I want to.

Grief isn't easy. I'm grieving my health and my friend. I'm learning tolerance and patience with myself and with the people around me. I am really trying to look at this as a growth opportunity while giving myself the space to be angry and sad and whatever other emotions come up. I'm not really feeling tolerant of other people right now. I guess I'm isolating myself in some ways. I think that it's healthy to a point. I don't want to take my irritability out on those around me. At the same time I don't want to be alone. This is where my man comes in. I love being around him. He's fairly drama-free, he lets me be vent and/or cry and then he says something to crack me up and keep me in reality so to speak. I love that man so much!

No recipes to share. Tomorrow is weigh-in day. No matter what I'm going to be ok. No matter what.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weighty Issues

I've been told that most women have weight issues. I know that I've put weight on since switching from the TSFL program to my allergy restricted diet. I don't know exact numbers but I do know at least 20 pounds. Ugh. I've made a commitment to turn this whole thing around. My lovely sister introduced me to a website MyFitnessPal (thanks Tweedles!) that figured out what my calorie intake needs to be to lose approximately 2 pounds a week. It has a way of inputing my own recipes and figuring out the nutritional information per serving. Neat-o burrito! I'm excited about taking charge of this. My man is also on a journey to health and has joined a gym. I get to go with him for free. On the days that he doesn't go I still go for a 2 mile walk and do toning exercises at home.

Now my focus in the kitchen is not just allergy restricted but healthy. Vegan or vegetarian food isn't necessarily healthy. I figured that out the hard way (the weight that I've put on). Sunday I made the most delicious black bean burgers that are only 118 calories per burger! Packed with veggies too. I'll probably make multiple variations of this one. They also looked pretty legit as a burger. Don't know if I can convince my man to try them. Baby steps with that man. The other day he told me where I can put my habit of drinking at least 2 liters of water a day. He drank that much and claims to have spent the whole day in the bathroom. Total exaggeration I'm sure. I told him that if might be a good idea to start with a goal of just one liter a day and slowly increase the amount. That idea didn't fly. Apparently everything is a competition in his world (he claims it's a man thing but I don't know about that) and he has to at least match how much water I drink. This is going to be fun to watch given that I've drank as much as 6 liters in one day. Is that excessive?

Black Bean Burgers
adapted from the kitchen of Cookin' Canuck

2 1/2 cups black beans, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 cup zuccini, chopped
1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 1/4 cup brown rice, cooked
2 tsp fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp dried cilantro
1/3 cup cornmeal

Saute onion, green pepper and zuccini over medium heat until soft. I use a cast iron skillet and olive oil spray. Add garlic and cumin. Saute for an additional two minutes. Scrape mixture into food processor. Add 1 1/2 cup black beans, rice, lime juice, chipotle pepper, salt, pepper and cilantro. Pulse until beans are more chopped than pureed. Dump mixture into a large bowl. Add reserved beans and cornmeal and stir until combined. Divide the mixture into 10 patties, adding more cornmeal if mixture is too moist to form. Place patties on a plate, using waxed paper to separate layers and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.

Heat your skillet over medium heat. Again, I use cast iron. Non-stick is good, especially if you want a good crust. Add the burgers and cook for 4 minutes per side.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Oi Vey

I think I spelled that right :) That's how I feel about life right now. The housemates are almost at each other's throats. The one thinks I'm enabling the other and "getting in the middle" when in reality I'm just trying to manage the amount of drama around me. Can't please everybody so I'm out to keep things as simple as possible for myself. Oi vey.

My scones are more like crumbly, dense tea biscuits. Good, but not quite the way that I want them to be. I like the way that they are headed. I will get this recipe right one day. Baking without sugar is possible, it just takes some playing around with ingredients. Heck, cooking in general without sugar takes creativity.

My moving plans might be as set in stone as is possible. Looks like I'll just be moving down the hall to the master bedroom rather than moving down the street. Moving down the hall will be much easier. I really dislike moving. It takes soooooo much effort. At the same time I like moving because I let go of more and more stuff. Letting go of clutter feels great. I just wish it didn't take moving to get me to do it.

Been doing well health-wise so to speak. Back to running daily fevers in the afternoons, have had to take a sleeping pill a couple of nights because of pain (I was actually crying from how much pain I was in which says a lot), feeling lethargic all of the time and staying in my pajamas most of the time. What's good is that I've been getting out of bed and "doing." Gone to the gym a couple of times with my man - he's committed to getting in shape! Also gone on a couple of walks by myself. I can walk 2 miles in 30 minutes! That's pretty impressive for someone who's as sick as I am. Looking at me you would never guess the seriousness of my health problems.

Brain fog is kicking my butt.