24 April 2014

Moonlit Nights

I don't normally participate in Throwback Thursdays, but I was reminded of this embarrassing childhood throwback recently and figured I would finally admit to my cheesiness.

From age 5 to maybe 10, I would listen to this song on repeat before going to bed.

It was a cassette tape with the solo on both sides. So when I say I listened to it on repeat, I mean that I would literally scoot to the bottom of my bed, in our Edgecumbe Drive house, every three minutes to flip the tape in my little player for the half hour before I fell asleep. Too bad I wore that tape to shreds, because its now worth $50 on Amazon!

The more embarrassing part of this memory is that I recall crying during the song. Not sure what it was about Mickey and Minnie the Mice that made me sad, or romantic, or something as a five-year-old. Maybe I was really dreaming about being in a soda shop quartet someday.

I'm a bit surprised that I could even find this track on YouTube, but it must have been a favorite of many. There are videos posted of recitals and talent shows, not to mention one mother who had memorized the song as a lullaby for her baby. I can't say I still know the lyrics, though.

My parents like to remind me occasionally about this childhood addiction... THAT, and how many times they had to sit through It's A Small World at Disney World. So glad I could torture you with Disney, Mom and Dad! Maybe someday my kids will return the favor, probably with this techno version.

21 April 2014

Med School Update: Surgery

Yeah, that's a pig's foot.
This is one of the rotations where being an anatomy tutor and putting in the extra work before med school in ISAC came in handy for Scott. Surgeons are known for "pimping" (asking ridiculously difficult questions, on the spot) students on anatomy during procedures. Most students are intimidated by this. Scott was actually intimidated too, at first. Once he got in the operating room though, he found that he wanted the physicians to ask more questions to challenge him. He liked it enough that he contemplated a general surgery residency. He thrived in OR where knowing your anatomy is possibly your greatest asset. He also enjoyed participating in procedures. His love of surgery was diminished by the hours kept by surgeons and their frequent on-call status.

Scott participated in colonoscopies, a thyroidectomy, bowel resections of Crohn's Disease (um hmm), appendectomies, a circumcision for an 80 year old (um hmm)... the list goes on. He had one surgery day where they operated all day and he didn't get home until after 11:30 Pm! Don't feel bad for him, though. He also had short days on Fridays and got to come home early for weekend football... um, I mean to see me.

Scott swapped his time between the operating room and working with his preceptor in the clinic. I always imagine the tv show, House, when he would describe those afternoons.When he came home for the weekends, he would bring home surgery homework... suturing.

During conference weekend, I came home from work to find a pigs foot on my coffee table. "It's okay, honey," Scott tried to console me. "It's for science." He cut and sewed that pigs foot all weekend long, at which time I made him take it out in the trash.

14 April 2014

What's Working for Me

It seems like once a month I’m telling my mom, “Once I added in ___________/took out ________ you wouldn’t believe the difference it made.” I’ve been on this elimination diet journey for almost a year now, and I’m still figuring out what my body is reacting to and how it reacts, not to mention what “advice” to take seriously. There are so many sites out there claiming they have the one diet or method that will cure whatever ails you. The more I read the more I realize that we don’t value enough what we put in our bodies and each of our bodies will react differently. I’ve gotten better at recognizing the signals my body is giving to me, but it’s still too much of a guessing game.

As I said, I’ve been working at this for almost a year, but I feel like I’ve made some really good progress in the last three months. At the end of the year, I realized that I hadn’t taken care of myself as I should have during the holidays. For 30 days, starting in January, I ate a GAPS Intro diet. When those 30 days were over, I started testing some foods that I had allergic reactions and digestion problems with previously. I haven’t noticed a problem adding back some starches like steel cut oats, yams, and sweet potatoes. Inflammation responses in my body are still on high alert, though. It seems like I have a rash when I eat some nuts and nightshade vegetables/seasonings. Dairy makes me congested. While I don’t seem to have any pain eating real sourdough bread, I think the gluten might be affecting my bowel movements (TMI?). And processed sugar, does something… it not helping, that’s for sure. Like I said, digestion = guessing game.

All this is still a vast improvement from where I was before this all charade began! I used to feel unbearable upper-quadrant pain that sent me to the emergency room, nausea every afternoon, fluctuating appetite, draining energy, and achy joints. I feel more normal now. I use an anti-inflammatory diet and list of supplements that help me stay healthy normal. I am not in any way qualified to give medical advice. This is just what has worked for me recently, and it could honestly change next week.

Vitamin C: As I have an autoimmune disease, it makes sense that higher doses of vitamin C appeared to have the biggest impact on how I felt. Allergic reactions lessened dramatically under this protocol. Now on a daily basis, I only need the vitamin C in my multi vitamin. But I turn to this protocol when my feels taxed, whether that’s Crohn’s or whatever colds is circulating this season.

Now Liver Detoxifier and Regenerator: My lab results showed elevated liver enzymes often this past year. While I don’t need it at the moment, it helped to take these pills at the same time I was taking higher doses of vitamin C.

L-Glutamine: Glutamine is supposed to protect the lining of the intestinal track, which is pretty important when leaky gut is a culprit. While I took more during my GAPS Intro diet, I now take 1 tsp each morning.

Multi-vitamin:  I try to supply my body with the necessary vitamins and minerals it needs. I noticed early on that after taking some brands vitamins in the morning, I would have an immediate allergic response. I switched to Freeda’s SCD multi-vitamins and haven’t had a problem since. These vitamins are made for people following the specific carbohydrate diet, so they are food sensitivity friendly.

Quercetin: Among other benefits, quercetin is supposed to help with allergies and histamine levels. I’ve also heard that vitamin C works best when accompanied by a flavonoid like quercetin.

Probiotics: I prefer to eat my probiotics by making or buying fermented foods, as I'm under the impression that fermented foods have a greater variety of strains than the probiotics you find in the pharmacy. If you're looking for a pill, Bio-Kult probiotics are recommended for GAPS patients and have helped me with bowel irregularity (sorry, TMI, again).

Digest Gold: Though I'm really good with my diet at home, digestive enzymes cover me when I don't have as much control over what food are available for me to eat (social gatherings and travel).

MegaFood Blood Builder: This isn't exactly for Crohn's, but this little pill, taken once a day, helps improve my circulation and has calmed down cramping. I definitely see a difference when I don't take it.

I'm still looking for answers, but I'm glad that I have a toolkit that is working for me now. This has certainly been a trial, but I am grateful that I have been blessed with an inquisitive mind, some self control, and many medical resources to figure out how I can find help or help myself.

07 April 2014

Influence of Faith

After watching General Conference this last weekend, Scott and I went over to visit with friends for dinner and games. While we were playing the card game, Compatibility, the topic of faith and religion came up. Our friends are faithful members of another church and had heard rumors about our beliefs that they wanted to clarify. I was really grateful that we could have a non-contentious discussion about faith with our friends. We both came to the table with general curiosity and respect for the other couple's faith and values.

When I was younger, I was very shy about sharing my religion. Growing up as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I was familiar with being peculiar for my faith and standards. I love my religion, and it has had a major influence on my character and who I've become. I was too shy to share with anyone, because I felt that a negative comment against my faith would be like a friend rejecting me as a person. Once, when I was in high school, I got so worked up just to share a book with a friend called What Mormon's Believe. I didn't have the courage to share my testimony, though I felt like I should do something. So I gave my friend a book I hadn't even read before, hoping it would explain my religion in better terms than I could on my own. This story shows a whole other side of my peculiarity... the awkward teenager kind.

Thankfully I feel more comfortable in my testimony now that answering questions from curious friends doesn't feel like the inquisition. In fact, I would prefer for friends to ask me questions than to rely on assumptions or rumors.

In a world of declining values and faith, I am extremely grateful for the example and courage of friends who incorporate faith in their families. How has faith influenced your life?

02 April 2014

Lite Spring Break Reading

This is *fingers crossed* the last year of my MBA program. I have been working on taking classes one at a time up until this year, but the last two terms I have taken two night classes per week. Winter term classes were a bit of a downer, and I'm now incredibly eager for June when my last two classes will be over.

So I took the opportunity during the week off between terms to entertain myself with books. It's been awhile since I sat down with a book that wasn't for a class, so I had forgotten how much I missed "lite" reads. Love me a good, no-brainer, page-turner. I prefer lazily reading hours of entertaining story lines over watching your typical 90 minute movie. My imagination is more fun.

Last week I read:
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
The Death Cure by James Dashner
and the entire Divergent series by Veronica Roth.

Yeah, my Spring Break was a bit fantasy heavy.

It was my goal to finish the Maze Runner series and Divergent series before the movies came out. On Friday of Spring Break, Scott was home from his surgery rotation on the coast, and we went to see Divergent in the theater in Albany. I was glad I had read the book first, because I was able to explain the basic plot to Scott and avoid having another Hunger Games episode (Scott, in shock: Why were children killing children?!). Scott and I both enjoyed the movie, and Scott is now convinced that he would be a dauntless leader if he was there.

I tested that theory as we left the theater. It had been dumping rain all week long (duh, Spring Break in Oregon) and we had parked on the far side of the theater. When the movie ended, I started walking against the crowd towards the exit nearest our car. Scott stopped me.

Scott: Uh, hon! The main exit is that way.
Me: Yeah, but our car is on the other side of that crowd, and it's raining!
Scott: It's okay. We can go out the front door like every body else.
Me: *light bulb*... Be dauntless, Scott.

You should have seen him puff up his chest and lead me through that river of movie goers! Ha! It was Instagram worthy.

Our dauntless picture makes me happy!