So I have been holding off on writing this until I started getting more results in. One month ago I began another round of tests, exams, and workups. My system has been a disaster. As stated in past posts I have had many neurological issues but I have also been having many other issues. My issues were basically mimicking menopause. I was always hot, even in 25 degree weather, I had the face of a pubescent boy. Cystic acne worse the high school and hair growing in very unwanted places. I had dryness and very bad pain in my nether regions which was extremely annoying. My periods were extremely heavy and often late/early. My doctor gave me a hormone panel. My DHEA levels were extremely high and my FSH levels were almost rock bottom. I did two CT scans to check for a tumor on my adrenal glands. No tumor. I did ultrasounds and other tests To confirm what was wrong. They found between 10-15 small cysts on my ovaries and one extremely large on on my right ovary. They came to the conclusion I have PCOS. They also found significant scaring pointing to Endometriosis. On top of all that they determined I have something called interstitial cystitis which is basically Inflammation of the bladder which causes extreme pain and frequency to urinate. They are putting me on a two week course of Elmiron to see if it helps with the interstitial cystitis. I am still weighing whether or not to start it due to some of the long term problems it can cause. Which includes the ability to bruise extremely easy which could also lead to internal bleeding just from bumping into an object wrong. I go Thursday for a colonoscopy to determine why there is so much dark blood in my stool. My doctor mentioned that it could be Endometriosis growth that spread to my Intestines. If this is the case then surgery of the area may be necessary. I wont know until after the procedure. Now back to the PCOS. My doctor wants me to attempt to lose weight. She recommends losing 30-35 lbs which would put me at 130 (my high school weight) With PCOS it is extremely hard to lose weight. She thinks that if I can lose that amount of weight then I can stop the PCOS from worsening and maybe even make it go dormant. If in six months I am either unable to lose the weight or The cysts worsen then removal of one if not both of my ovaries is to be considered. The main issue with my PCOS is my cysts get very large in size and can cause internal bleeding when they burst. This has happened once before, last year, and could possibly happen with the current large one if I dont use precaution. I think what makes me sad about the possibility of them taking my ovaries is that even though I didn't want more kids anyways I still wanted to be able to make that decision on my own and instead my body is making it for me. All of this is just for my lady bits. Another thing that I have been going in and doing tests for has to do with my leg/hip. After testing it was determined that I have hyper-flexibility of the right leg, arthritis in my knee and ankle and plantar fascitis. On a positive note my doctors are reviewing my files and MRI results and may possibly finally be able to rule MS out. I need to do more testing but basically they are trying to figure out if the numbness and brain inflammation are being caused by nerves pinched in my herniated C2 & C4 spinal discs. If this is the case I would need spinal surgery to fix it OR I could just live with it. Honestly I would be happier living with KNOWING Its NOT MS then never knowing. I could live with knowing my issues are caused by pinched nerves rather then something as shitty as MS. Apparently pinched nerves in your cervical spine can mimic MS. I am truly hoping this is the case but until we figure it out I am still in the dark. Another unfortunate and annoying thing we found out is I have high cholesterol. Not the worst thing just annoying on top of everything else. I go in in six months for another round of blood tests to check my levels. If it is still high then they want to put me on meds. FUN. So yea. this has been whats been going on the last few weeks. Another fun year in my life.
It has been forever since I updated, I know. I am sorry. Once settled in Maryland I planned on writing an update and didn't. I honestly found my self bottle-necked with thoughts and unable to put any of them down on paper. I found myself needing absolute seclusion to be able to write this. It is hard. I am at a point in this process where I feel helpless. I will get to that in a minute though. I guess I will start on how things were when we left Miami. First as we packed for the trip up I completely forgot to take care of me and worried solely for the task at hand. I packed our "house" as well as Jakes apartment basically single handed. I pushed myself more and more even as I found myself falling ill. I fought it as much as I could but in the end I wound up very sick. I was so sick that I would collapse from coughing and lack of oxygen. Eventually once settled I went to the doctors and did some tests. Was told I had COPD and would need to follow up with a specialist to see the extent of the damage. My left lung at that point was only functioning at about 20%. Still 3 months later I have trouble breathing if I lye on my right side or if I exert too much energy. The cough eventually went away after a round of steroids. A round I absolutely regret taking. When I first found out about the inflammation in my brain they gave me steroids to bring down the inflammation which was great because my migraines decreased but bad because I had every side affect on the label. The day I finished my second round I told my doctor I wouldn't do it again. I didn't. Not for a whole year and a half. Not until march when I was so ill that steroids were the only way to make me able to breath without fighting for air. The thing that made me so unhappy about taking them this time was not the side affects, no, this time it was because the steroids also once more brought down the inflammation in my head. No more migraines for a bit. yay... right? Wrong. As soon as the steroids left my system and the inflammation came back I found myself in excruciating pain. I actually Wanted to die. I was miserable. Like really could barely get up with out crying. Standing and walking made my head swarm and the pain made me feel like vomiting or passing out. That lasted a few weeks before I got re-used to the constant pain. Fast forward a few weeks. We made the decision that arttie would stay home with R2 and I would work. This actually made me happy because I was going stir crazy sitting home all day. I got lucky and quickly snagged a job with a grocery delivery service called Instacart. The pays okay and I am able to make my own hours which is important for my health. The downside is I have to lug groceries up and down stairs all day. Sometimes It is even cases of water which breaks me more and more each time I do one of these orders. So now that you are in with the details from the move to now lets get down to the gritty reality of my day to day life. Currently My right knee just below where the numbness stops has been giving out. It makes a horrible popping sound and then just goes. It started with numbness, then began the charlie horses every time I drove, then the popping while driving and now the complete give out about once a week. My knee brace has become a constant necessity. I still cant extend my legs straight without the feeling of burning. On to my left arm. My Hand still lacks feeling. I actually sliced my hand open pretty bad a few weeks ago and didn't realize because I couldn't feel it. Result was super glue and new kitchen cutting gloves. I began having issues in my elbow. I was getting extreme pains, almost like my internal parts were physically on fire. It also was excoriating. Ever sense then It hurts to extend my arm all the time but I just try and hide the pain. Bought a compression sleeve which helps a bit but not much. Two weeks ago I fell off the band wagon and started eating normal food again. Working 72-80 hours a week and cooking dinners for non paleo people gave me zero time to also prep meals for myself. About a week after I stopped with the only paleo diet my migraines came back double strength, the nerve pain in the side of my face returned and the numbness in my left hand has now extended up to my elbow on the outer part of my arm. That happened this morning. not even 24 hours after finding out my car is a goner. I am not going to lie all of this has been way too much for me. The stress of it all has made my face break out. I have very visible wear and tear all across my face. I am constantly and frequently in extreme pain and I wear myself thin by hiding it from the world. I am very good at putting on a smile and just seeming care free. I dont want to burden people with my ailments and I definitely dont want those sympathetic pity "poor you" faces that people give you when they find out whats behind the facade. Mostly though I hide it for my son. He is at that age where he senses sad, unhappy, and other emotions. I hide my pain for him. As a kid I spent a couple years while my mom was sick watching her spiral downward into her illness. I watched my loving beautiful mom be consumed until she was no more. I saw her sad, depressed and miserable. It broke me. I still have a hard time processing everything that happened. I was young and It tore my world apart from the very seams that held me together as a person. I dont want that for R2. I dont want him to see me spiral, I dont want him to see me sad, or broken. I want him to see me as happy and loving. I want to be there for his whole childhood and beyond. I try my hardest and I fight the shit show that is my life each day just to give him something I missed out on. An unbroken future and an uncracked foundation to live his life.
It's been a whole month since I went full paleo. I did fall off the band wagon a couple times throughout the month. Once when I went to Disney World, I had a delicious hot fudge sundae with my son. The next day I went to Cheddar's casual cafe and I can never turn down their croissants and Alfredo. Other then those two days I did very well with keeping to a paleo diet. OH wait Ii tried taco bell's new naked chicken taco and it was amazing. I had them make it with no cheese, while it had breading on the chicken I still gave in and tried it. I had these three food slip ups but I was easily able to go right back to my usual paleo routine. When I used to do fad diets I found myself slipping up and not being able to easily transition back to the diet. It isn't that way at all with paleo. I love the paleo diet. Absolutely 100% love it. I am learning so much about food and cooking with Paleo. When I first went into this i was worried that I would no longer have variety in my food, I was wrong. I find myself having more variety in my eating then I ever have. I am trying so many new and exciting recipes and food combinations.
After a full month of paleo I hopped on the scale. I am down 8 more pounds. Putting me at 20 lbs lost since December 1st, all thanks to changing the way I eat. That makes me 160 lbs. My ideal weight at 5'7" is between 137-140 so I still have a ways to go. This past month I have also switched over to all natural products. I use a shampoo bar for my hair which makes my curls look AMAZING, I make my own toothpaste, body wash, and deodorant. I also stopped wearing makeup and wear very small amounts of perfume only when going somewhere nice. I feel like all the little changes can really help to get me on the path to a healthier body inside and out.
The frequency in my migraines has drastically reduced from every day to a small migraine every couple days. So far aside from migraine reduction there hasn't been too much improvement in my overall health. My carpal tunnel syndrome has been going haywire the past week and a half. So bad that i can no longer do anything with my right hand. I tried to open a door knob and after 5 minutes of trying actually gave up. Also in the past week I started getting this weird burning knee pain. It actually feels like the nerves on either side of my knee cap are physically burning. It only happens when I extend my legs but it's excruciating. I was doing more research on the paleo diet and MS and have found tons of testimonials from people who this has worked for. With time i hope we can tell. I'm not going to give up. I truly think this will work out for the best.
go to the chiropractor Monday. I am having some xrays of my spine and they will hopefully be able to do something about all the herniated discs in my back. I am doing some adjustments, laser therapy and spinal decompression therapy. Wouldn't it be amazing if my neurologist was wrong and I just had a nerve pinched in one of my discs?? It's a dream I've had constantly where i go into get my back adjusted and bam just like that I regain feeling in my leg and arm. Then I wake up and the upset starts. It would be a pleasant surprise but alas....
Below are my Day 1 and day 30 pictures. I do notice a bit of a difference, especially in my back. I tried to take pictures in the same position as the first and used the same sports bra. (same bottoms but different pattern)
With one month down and a lifetime to go I am very happy with my slow progress. I only hope that in time I will see a bigger and better change in my health.
Today marks day 7 of my paleo adventure. Being a huge lover of dairy and bread I strangely don't find myself missing them at all. I am a small town Virginian girl who takes great pride in chugging a 16 oz glass of milk every single morning for breakfast. For years I couldn't begin my day with out this. I have gone 3 whole weeks skipping this routine. I don't even notice; to me, its an after thought at this point.
Trying to eat healthy I notice one thing that I constantly struggle with. It isn't avoiding candy, sweets, or fast food. No, its eating with a pattern. I know that I should have three main meals and snacks in between. Basically I should eat something small every three hours to help regulate my body and my metabolism. This plays a huge roll in both being healthy and losing weight. I have so much trouble doing this. I need to find little snacks and munchy foods that are Paleo that I can indulge in during the "in between hours."
The past seven days I have tried to start my day out with scrambled eggs and a steamed sweet potato. I top the potato with cinnamon to try and curb my appetite a bit.
Above is a picture of my breakfast from day one. I made Bacon, a sweet potato and two eggs topped with fresh pico. (Recipe Follows)
As I mentioned above I have been trying to manage my eating schedule. So far I have it to two main meals and about two very light snacks through out the day. Before starting this my eating was even more chaotic. I ate at all hours of the day or night basically what ever I wanted or craved in the moment. One horrible habit I had was going grocery shopping while hungry. Huge no no. Doing this I sometimes came home with super strange and unhealthy foods. I definitely ALWAYS came home with way more then I needed, which hurt my figure and my wallet.
In my last post I talked about a cookbook I purchased to begin this adventure. So far I am in love. I love the variety of the recipes and the amount of recipes in general. You can purchase it on amazon here. One thing I was not too fond about was the pictures... they are in black and white. If you are looking for a book that can give you detailed pictures of each meal you make then this is not the one for you, otherwise give it a sho; you wont be sorry.
Monday I decided that in order to kick start my health even faster I would return to the gym. A friend and i are paying for a joint membership at Youfit. We bought it back in September and have been one time since. Not for lack of not wanting to go but because my friend had a seizure while leaving the gym the first time and it scared us from going back until his doctor Okayed it. After lots of tests and monitoring we felt it was safe to return and start slow. Well, I am glad we returned. My friend did great this time. No complications and tons of sweating done between the two of us. My plan on top of Paleo diet is to work out at least three times a week to start and then possibly more as I move forward. I also have the yoga trapeze so I try to use that at least once a day to kinda stretch things out and balance. One thing I tried at the gym that I need to work at is pull ups. Before losing feeling and muscle movement in my left hand I used to pride myself being able to do ten pull ups each time I walked through my bedroom door. I have always loved doing pull ups as a hobby and it greatly upset me tonight when I couldn't even pull myself up onto the bar. I never thought that would be something to challenge me. Maybe I will work on one armed pull ups.
Now, back to my progress. Like I said I have been strictly paleo for seven days. Not a very long time but there is one thing I have noticed. It is something That is in a gray area when it comes to conversations because its very private but I promised myself before starting this blog that I would document everything that happens and not hold anything back or keep things to myself. It is good to share it all in case anyone else struggles with a common ailment so here goes. I mentioned in my first post that one of my issues was bowel problems. Mainly bloody stools every time. I have suffered with this for about 7 months and it has been a constant. My stomach is constantly churning and torn up. In the past seven days this problem has seemingly cleared up and I have also become more regular. Maybe it had something to do with sugar or dairy or even gluten. I wouldn't know for sure without going to the doctors but with out being able to afford insurance thats not an option as of now. The important thing is that it hasn't happened in a week which both amazes and excites me.
Other then the bowel problem improvement there really isn't anything else to report as far as improvements go. I did weigh in an noticed I lost another 2 pounds putting me down to 166. Still a lot more to go but I will get there. More importantly then weight is Health. Getting healthy comes before losing weight but in this case I believe they are neck and neck.
If you are interested in any of the recipes from week one they will be following this Post :) For now though here is the recipe for the Breakfast I consume.
Coconut Egg scramble with Pico and Diced Cinnamon Sweet Potato
2 Large Eggs
2 Tbsp Coconut milk or cream (I use milk but its also good with cream)
One sweet Potato
Ghee or Homemade coconut butter (if you have it. Butter substitutes will also work)
Fresh Pico (I usually make pico but for time saving I buy the no salt version of pico that my store sells, They make it fresh and its delicious with only veggies)
Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat. Place bacon in skillet and cook to desired crispness. Line a heatproof bowl with paper towels and drain the bacon grease slowly making sure to seperate out the burnt bits and keep the grease at the bottom of the bowl or container. Wipe pan slightly then throw out paper towel. Keep bacon grease in a sealed container to use for cooking abother recipe. Put skillet back on medium low heat. Scramble both eggs with the coconut milk. Once fully srambled and combined pour into hot skillet. Once the eggs begin to bubble up its time to flip the egg mix and break slightly with the spatula. (About three minutes) If pan starts to get too hot put it on low heat. Once eggs are fluffy and fully cooked put on plate. Top eggs with the fresh pico. While the bacon and eggs are cooking take sweet potato and dice it into chunks. Place in a microwave safe bowl and top with a small amount of ghee (about 1 tbsp) or butter substitute. Place in microwave on one potato setting. Once done top with desired amount of cinnamon and stir. Serve along side the scrambed eggs and bacon. Enjoy!!
I started Paleo lightly two weeks ago but was forced to stop after a wisdom tooth extraction so I could eat soups and bread to give me substance since solid food was not an option. I have had trouble eating anything solid for the past six months due to nerve pain in my face so my dentist thought having the tooth removed would alleviate that over time. The sucker in my mouth was HUGE. It even had a curve to the end of it. I had bad tetracycline staining on my tooth from taking tetracycline as a teen. The tooth however was 100% intact and healthy, it was just too close to a nerve. Currently the hole in the back of my mouth is 70% closed and I am finally able to eat fairly solid foods. I still have trouble with nuts and what not but I make it work. Anyways Today i decided it was time to give the Paleo Lifestyle my all. There is so much research out there about Paleo and the health benefits it can have especially with people who have Autoimmune disorders and nerve issues. It is actually quite fascinating to read about how changes in diet and nutrition can change a persons life so drastically.
In case you arent aware there are a lot of things you can and can't eat on the Paleo diet. It is actually quite simple since basically you are eating like a caveman. Some say its more expensive but honestly if you deal search and use coupons I feel it can actually cost the same as any "normal" diet.
Note: Quinoa is a questionable food in the Paleo diet. Some versions of Paleo allow it while others strickly forbit it. Personally I decided to keep Quinoa in my diet.
Today begins day one of full on Paleo. I started limiting dairy two weeks back to maybe once every three days and switched my coffee to using coconut cream but now it is time to fully say good bye to dairy. For breakfast I started with an veggie fritada, Paleo French toast, and a steam sweet potato. It was quite tasty. The paleo bread was a bit odd to me since it is made entirely of seeds and other paleo products but once cooked tasted good. I found the recipe for the Fritada in the cook book I bought and the sweet potatoes were steamed in a tiny bit of coconut butter. Tonight for dinner we will be having a Paleo Tangy Beef and broccoli dish which I will either pair with cauliflower rice or quinoa.
I started the morning by taking some before pictures. After a baby, numerous health issues, steroids to help my problems, and less then healthy eating habits I have unfortunately not kept the body I want. I definitely don't feel comfortable in my skin. I am 5'7" and back in 2012 I was a size four weighing in at 138. Today I weigh 168 which is actually 12lbs lighter then I was a month ago. I wear between a size 8 and 12 depending on the manufacturer, however I wear bohemian style dresses so on average those are one size fits all which makes sizing myself hard.
I kind of hate sharing before pictures with the world and escpecially when I am far less then my best self. I am not unhappy with my body due to societies standards but because, personally, I dont feel myself. I love being fit and being able to walk miles without falling over from exhaustion, something I havent been able to do in a few years.
Honestly It is kind of hard for me to talk about all the issues I face on a daily basis between my health and my body image issues. I do hope though by keeping this journal of my journey and hopeful improvements I can inspire those with similar ailments to make a life change for the better.
I would love to hear in the comments section from others who may have had similar issues and switched to Paleo, other success stories inspire me to keep trying. I would also be happy to answer any questions you may have for me. I am very new to this lifestyle but I am learning more and more each day.