SIBO test results & Detox Soup recipe

Welp, the test results for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) came back negative.

This came as big shock to both, my Functional doc and myself. I have most of the hallmark symptoms of it. I’m conflicted about the results…on one hand it’s a relief knowing it’s not SIBO. If you are familiar with it, you know it’s not an easy thing to treat or cure. It’s more of a life long issue.

But on the other, we’re back to square one.

Our next step is to run some more tests…large intestine & an extensive wheat/gluten blood test. Over a year ago, I tested fine for wheat & gluten, but she thinks it’s a good idea to take more extensive look at it. I feel like she and I are moving in the same direction, so I’m willing to follow her lead.

Watch, it’s going to be something stupid…like a vitamin XYZ deficiency or hey J, you’re actually allergic to water, oxygen and the sun. My body feels so toxic, it would NOT surprise me ha!

I felt fantastic Saturday, got in a nice long walk in sunshine & blue skies with the Bam, only to wake up Sunday feeling like my whole system had been poisoned. I tried to power through it, but that ended in a shower, pj’s and watching documentaries on sea life in the recliner by 3pm.

Monday I decided something has to change….for like the millionth time, so I started juicing <- {SO dang good!} and made what I call a detox soup. It’s simple, full of vitamins, minerals with a little kick. I didn’t have a recipe, just winged this one with whatever we had on hand and hey, Mike approved so at least it was edible. Here’s the recipe in case you are wondering…

Detox Soup

  • 3 Potatoes, diced into bite sized pieces so they cook faster because I’m impatient
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 T EVOO
  •  1 can white beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cans of chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • Couple handfuls of kale
  • 1 t Cajun seasoning
  • Sea salt & fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions:

Chop veggies, then heat pot. Add EVOO, onion & garlic. Saute until translucent.

Add broth & tomatoes, bring to a boil. Add potatoes and cook until fork tender. Toss in some kale.

Since the green beans & corn I used were frozen, I added them at the very end along with the beans.

Enjoy with crusty gluten filled or free bread. I added a little Braggs liquid aminos. Anyone else add this stuff to everything?

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I’m kicking around the idea of expanding topics on SCB, along with the current health posts. I’m writing for you guys, so please let me know what topics you are interested in.

Here are some I’m thinking about:

  1. Bringing back virtual coffee dates.
  2. Day in the life.
  3. Product testing/recommendations.
  4. Natural health & beauty products I like.
  5. Mini challenges with you. Ex: Hit our step goal every day for a week or do a plank every day.
  6. Living & dealing with anxiety.
  7. More Bam because this is his blog anyway.
  8. The mental/emotional side of living with chronic illness.
  9. Photography, photo editing apps, tips & tricks I dig.

Comment and let me know which ones you’d be interested in reading about. Feel free to add your ideas as well. 

Sesamoiditis Update

****Edited to add another tip as of 1/27/17****

****Edited again to add video link as of 2/7/17****

Sesamoiditis…ahhhhhhh it’s like a nagging wife that won’t just go away.

Todays post is a follow up to the most popular post on SCB right now, Treating and Curing Sesamoiditis. I get a lot of questions, comments and update requests about it, so this post is long overdue.

***Just to be clear, I am not a doctor. As with all of my posts, this is 100% my opinion and experiences.***  

Update on my feet today (January 2017):

My feet are doing a lot better. I’m able to walk/hike 4-5 miles completely pain free. Well, that I know of…..I’m too nervous to push my luck. Though I don’t have any pain after, if I press on the sesamoid to see if it’s really healed, it’s still a little sore. But I’ll take it!

One of the biggest obstacles I had with healing, is overdoing it. Sesamoiditis is tricky in that I would walk more than usual (last October I walked over 9 miles in a day, yikes!) and felt no pain while walking. But after I sat down that night, the pain & inflammation came right back. I was so nervous and upset thinking all of my progress was lost, but thankfully they bounced back within a couple weeks. I know scaling my walking back & resting more were key in helping them recover again.

As far as normal daily life, I feel great! The fact that I have been sick for months has probably helped since I wasn’t able to hike like before and push my luck. Ha!

Over the weekend I walked over 4 miles completely pain free, which a year ago, I only dreamed of doing.

Things that helped me heal:

  • EPAT Therapy was hands down the key for me. I think it was so helpful, it probably deserves a whole post dedicated to it. Let me know if that’s something you’re interested in.

Healing progress started to slow down in January of 2016, so I decided to find the best podiatrist out there, and started working with Dr. Saxena in Stanford. He works with professional & Olympic athletes, speaks at medical seminars and such, so I knew he was interested healing & using state of the art technology. He did 4 rounds of EPAT therapy on my right foot (the most painful one) and 3 on my left. Dr. Saxena was the only specialist who offered more than just “ice, rest, crazy expensive orthotics (that didn’t work) & take an Advil” every other podiatrist advised.

It took every bit of 90 days after my last treatment for me to notice a difference, but it did!

  • Altra Running shoes are the only shoes my feet like. They have a lot of cushion, a wide toe box and are zero drop, which I believe all three things were pivotal to help healing. I would highly recommend this brand to anyone. They are like pillows of cushion with support for my traitor feet.

I love the Torins so much, I buy several pairs (previous years model) at a time when they go on sale. I currently have 3 pair of these in the same color. I also have a pair of their Lone Peak trail shoe which I like, but don’t wear as often since the cushion isn’t as plush as my beloved Torin.

  • Stay below your pain threshold. This is a tricky one because the only way to find your threshold is to push it, which I do not recommend doing. Just be aware of how much you are walking/on your feet. One thing I still struggle with is feeling no pain walking more than usual, thinking my feet have healed, only to be in pain after sitting down. That happened to me in Vegas last October when I walked over 9 miles. Yikes! Thankfully I bounced back within a couple weeks of taking it easy.
  • Leg drains. I just elevate my feet using a wall for 10 minutes after a long walk or being on them a lot. I like to think this helps circulate blood to the tiny bones and flush out that area.
  • Garmin/step tracker has definitely been very helpful. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but it’s very helpful. I wear the Garmin Vivoactive and LOVE the dang thing.

****Additional tip as of 1/27/17*****

  • I want to reiterate physical therapy for sesamoiditis. Last weekend both of my feet started to ache a little bit more than usual. I didn’t increase my walking or do anything different. Then joints in both feet started to get stiff. Nothing like I couldn’t walk, just achy and a little painful. I thought about this post and wondered if I had false hope my feet were on the mend. I went to physical therapy, told him about it and he worked primarily on my hips. Then knees, then ankles & feet to get them to work together again.

Immediately my right foot felt so much better…like everything flowed the way they should. Not so rigid if that makes sense. So I went the following day to have my left (surgery side) worked on. I walked out feeling tons better. Sesamoids are still a tiny bit sore, but overall I’m back to walking up to 5 miles a day without much pain.

Now back to how I got sesamoiditis in the first place: I had genetic hip impingement. In December of 2014 I had arthroscopic hip surgery, which was a success. I never used crutches post op because the swinging motion was too painful. So I just walked a little funky. Like a gangsta grandma limp ha! Well 2 months of walking like that and increasing the distance, made the sesamoid in my right foot an angry elf. A few months later after babying it, my left foot decided to join the party. Sesamoid protest, party of two.

So the sesamoiditis/stiff joints in my feet, all circled back to the hip issue. Again. I’m still struggling to find balance in rebuilding strength in the hip, legs & feet because ironically they all require each other to function properly and not hurt to do the exercises.

So if you are dealing with sesamoiditis, I would highly recommend physical therapy. In my experience, it is highly likely your sesamoid issues are actually caused by an imbalance somewhere along the chain. All it takes is an imbalance to cause your foot to overcompensate for it.

Just my 2 cents fo free.

****Edited again to add video link as of 2/7/17*****

  • Due to popular request, this is the video my husband used to make inserts to sort of float, the sesamoid area. It offsets pressure to other parts of the foot.

Things that did not work or help me:

  • The boot. In 2014, a podiatrist (who misdiagnosed me with a stress fractured sesamoid) put me in a boot for 9 weeks. It caused more damage than anything else. Thankfully I got a second opinion and was told to immediately stop wearing the boot because I had such low circulation in my foot, it was shutting down. I literally walked out of his office bootless and went straight to physical therapy. I spent over 2 hours in PT that day and my foot felt so much better because of it.

This is what my foot looked like for several weeks being in the boot, before PT:

I ran the boot idea by Dr.Saxena when I first met with him in 2016, and his opinion was to not put me in a boot, because as soon as I got out of it, the sesamoids would likely flare up again. He recommended proper shoes and staying below my pain threshold. So along with EPAT Therapy, that’s what I did. Well for the most part…I just love to walk. Ha!

I realize the boot thing is highly controversial, so by all means, please take my experience with a grain of sea salt and do what’s right for you.

  • Orthotics, both custom and OTC. I still have a pile of orthotics I tried and they either made no difference or made things worse. I finally ripped them out and started wearing Altra shoes full time and that is what I’ve done for the last year or so.
  • Cortisone injections did not work and I do not recommend them. In fact I now have atrophy where I was given injections on my Mortons Neuroma.

To summarize my thoughts on treatment for sesamoiditis, I highly recommend resting, taking an anti-inflammatory in the beginning, EPAT therapy and Altra Running shoes. I would also try acupuncture since it has been wonderful for my GI issues. That’s what I would do if my sesamoids decide to become traitors again.

Thoughts? Questions? Recommendations?

Acupuncture for Gastroparesis

I want to share a little more about my health – what’s going on right now and some things I am doing to feel better until we get the SIBO test results. Before we get into it, you need to understand that I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m looking for answers. Real answers. Treatment and possibly a cure. If you are going through a similar thing, I want you to know there are other treatments to explore. Just because Western medicine can’t fully explain why I have felt like death and sadness for months, doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road. I just won’t accept it. I will remain unapologetically relentless in my quest to find answers. So onward and upward we go!

If you’re new or catching up, you may read about my GI issues here and here.

Here’s the short version: Since around Thanksgiving I have felt nausea, bloated, pain and this overwhelming feeling of unwell. My body feels toxic. Almost stomach flu-like at times. It usually comes on suddenly after a meal, but not always. It’s a fine line to walk. On one hand I feel sick to my stomach after eating, but if I wait too long to eat, I feel sick too. I am convinced the main culprit for this is gastroparesis. I also have pain in the upper abdomen especially in the sternum. Crossing my arms over that area was too painful.

After a particularly rough few weeks, I decided to try an acupuncture treatment on Tuesday afternoon. This was my second time trying it ever.

At the risk of sounding like a cheesy infomercial, it was a complete success! I started feeling better immediately after. The tender spot by the sternum was significantly better and I was no longer nauseous. In fact I walked out the clinic dreaming about what to make for dinner. That is huge since I have lost about 10 pounds that I really couldn’t afford to lose.

I told Mike if someone told me they had needles put in their arms & legs to work on their abdomen, I would not have believed them. I have no idea how it works, it seriously worked!

1/2 grapefruit, 1 green apple, 2 celery stalks, spinach, fresh parsley & 2 small carrots. 

Along with acupuncture, here are some other things I’m doing to help speed up digestion:

  • Fresh juice and smoothies to get some much needed vitamins & minerals. They are a lot easier to digest right now and I’m a nerd that pictures all of the wonderful nutrients flowing through my body as I drink them. Ha!
  • Vitamin B-12 daily.
  • Roasting a whole organic chicken and using the bones & fresh veggies to make bone broth. <-Very healing.

  • Essential oils. I love peppermint, but I just got lemon, lime & vanilla in the mail. Our poor mailman is probably annoyed with all of these Amazon Prime boxes. Ha!
  • Digestive enzymes with every meal and snack.
  • Making plans with friends, going for a drive, walking Bam, wander around Target or the aquarium. Getting out of the house is so hard when you feel like crap, but when I do, it’s so helpful.
  • Small, more frequent meals. Focusing on high nutrient ones in the morning-afternoon. After about 2:00 I notice my digestion really starts to slow down, so I’ll have something lite for dinner like a smoothie or salad.
  • Light exercise. Walking mostly or cleaning the house helps aid digestion.
  • Bentyl. This is a bit controversial because it calms down the intestines by slowing down digestion, but at this point the benefits are worth it.

I’m working with a Functional doctor on trying some new, natural supplements to aid digestion & coat the stomach from bile reflux <- (side effect from gallbladder surgery) this week. I’m kinda excited about it!

Have you tried acupuncture?

If not, would you consider it?

Anyone else into essential oils? What are your favs?

My experience with the SIBO breath test (spoiler alert: it was not fun)

As much as I try to remain positive, there are times when I simply can’t. Today was one of them. And that’s okay because I get another shot tomorrow.

But let’s back up to yesterday. The test required a full day of dietary restrictions, which were not fun, but thankfully it was only for a day. I lived off eggs, bacon(!), plain chicken with broth with steamed white rice, white bread, lots of water and plain, hot black tea. The no sugar thing was probably the hardest to avoid, but I’m happy to report that it was a success!

That night, I had to fast for 12 hours, which was no biggie for me since I love going to bed early to watch Netflix. {Any other Last Man Standing fans out there?} The test required me to be awake and not exercise for an hour before, so I took a shower, made Mike some coffee and folded laundry. Time flew by!

It was really easy and straightforward. You breathe into a blue plastic bag, put a glass test tube in the needle part (on the side in the pic above) for a couple seconds and slap a label on it with your name, time, date & test you’re taking.

Before taking the first “baseline” sample, I mixed the lactulose solution with 8 ounces of chilled water, set it aside. Took my first baseline sample, then drank the solution. It didn’t taste bad at all. More like a clean, semi sweet chilled tea which was really nice. Then take a sample every 20 minutes until all 10 test tubes are complete. Popped them in a box and shipped them off. It was really easy, but very time consuming especially when all you want is a cup iced coffee and breakfast. Ha!

With all this time on my hands, I was debating between a coconut smoothie or Daiya cheeze pizza after the test. When I set the last timer for 20 minutes, I popped the pizza in the oven. I thought I needed more substance after fasting for over 15 hours. After the pizza, I made an iced Americano. About 90 minutes later I started to feel sick to my stomach. My Functional doctor thinks it was from either the lactulose (most people don’t feel sick) or it could be a really bad case of SIBO. We shall see what the test results say in about a week. But it has definitely not been a day at Disneyland.

If you are considering taking the SIBO test, I hope this post doesn’t discourage you. It’s only 24-30 hours and I think (hope) it’s well worth it. I had a difficult time because I also had a migraine on prep day and the morning of the test. I wanted the cleanest test results possible, so I didn’t take Imitrex while testing. If it wasn’t for that, I believe it would have been easier. Even if side effects are rare, chances are high I will be the one to get them. Ha! So I say give it a shot!

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Thank you for letting me bitch. I never intend for this blog have a “woe is me” vibe and I hope it never comes across that way. My intention is to keep it real. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes…between those two. On one hand I don’t want to pretend things are drippy, sugary sweet, but I also don’t want it to come across as a feel sorry for me either. And please don’t, there are far worse health conditions I could have. I’m thankful for the ones I’m dealing with right now. Even on the toughest days, I remain thankful.

Having said that, chronic health issues are real. They’re raw. They wear you down. They wear your spouse and people close to you down. They chew you up and spit you out on a daily basis. I have always considered myself as strong, tough & stubborn. But lately, I’m just…..tired. I’ll bounce back though!

My hope that my experiences both good & bad can help folks not feel so alone, explore alternative options or fight for their health, that makes it all worth the time spent sharing my experiences.

SIBO Breath Test prep

After being given a list of medical conditions, along with minimal treatment options (5-6 small low fat, low fiber meals, Miralax & Bentyl) I turned to Functional Medicine.

Contrary to what Western medicine tells me, I think there is at least one underlying issue that is causing this daily GI distress. If we’re being real here, I think the IBS diagnosis is just a bullshit excuse for I don’t know what’s wrong with you, here’s a label so you have something.

If I’m coming across angry or frustrated, that’s because I am. But I am also optimistic there are answers out there, I just have to keep looking for them. I’m used to busting through roadblocks in life like the Kool – Aid man anyway.

After meeting with a Functional medicine & acupuncture doctor, we ordered an at home test for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth or SIBO for short.

There are other options to test for SIBO, but from what I understand the breath test with lactulose solution is considered the gold standard, so that’s the one I choose.

The test requires a very restricted diet the day before and it takes 3 hours to complete the following morning.

The restricted diet starves bacteria in the gut and the lactulose solution taken the morning of the test activates it. I’ll share more about this & my experience in the next post.

I spent the day before (yesterday, 1/4/17) the restricted diet, to prepare some meals for it. I don’t really expect it to be that bad, it’s only one day, but I figured if I made some food ahead of time and keep myself busy the day of, it will fly by. PS will someone please have some pizza for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I steamed some Basmati rice in the pressure cooker. BTW it only takes 5 minutes!

After taking the rice out, I put boneless, skinless chicken breasts with 3 cans of chicken broth and pressure cooked them on high for 20 minutes.

While that was going, I boiled some eggs.

Some meals to choose from:

  • Chicken & rice soup
  • Chicken & rice noodle soup
  • Boiled eggs with S&P
  • Fried egg on white toast
  • BACON!!!!!

Things I will not be partaking in: plain coffee because coffee without non-dairy creamer & sugar is just wrong.

I also have a list of things to do to keep myself busy. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Have you ever taken the SIBO test?

How to you keep busy on days like this? 

If you have any questions, leave them in the comments.

Tips for dining out with food allergies

I have never really been a fan of eating out. I think mostly because I was sick most of the time, knowing it had something to do with food, but not having a clue as to what the culprits were. Plus I’m a picky eater which doubles as a cheap date. Simple, easy dishes make me very happy. Big, elaborate, sit down meals stress me out. What a weird-o, right!?

Though I don’t love eating out, I do try to live as normal as possible with tons of food allergies. Mike loves going out for a nice meal, it’s convenient when you’re out and about, and we go on road trips for 2 weeks at a time. I’m no professional, but I do know how to navigate almost any menu, communicate efficiently & very nicely with the chef and recruit the server to help.

It can be stressful because you are giving up control over every single ingredient that goes into your body to someone you don’t know. It’s a big leap of faith and trust in a stranger. So try not to piss them off, mmkay!

Click here to save this post.

Here are some tips I find helpful with ordering meals at restaurants when you have food allergies:

  • Dine out during slower or off times if possible.
  • Recruit your server. Be very nice and clear as to what you are allergic to. I usually lead with I can’t stand being a micromanager and sympathise with them over how inconveniencing my ridiculous allergies are. So far, I haven’t had a horrible experience eating out yet! Just be cool with them and they will likely want to help.
  •  Offer simple swaps & suggestions. For example if we’re at a burger joint, I’ll ask for plain boneless, skinless chicken breast to be cooked in a clean pan & utensils with EVOO, salt & pepper. (Yes, food cooked on the same grill as beef makes me incredible sick even when it’s scrubbed clean)
  • Genuinely thank the chef if you get the opportunity.
  • Be happy with a simple meal. One time I ordered chicken like above, plain steamed white rice & sliced avocado. I’ll never forget how such a simple meal made me so happy. It gave me peace of mind that it wasn’t going to make me feel like death and sadness.

 

  • Go to Vegas. If you needed another reason to vacation in Sin City, here it is! Vegas is hands down the most food allergy friendly city I’ve ever visited. I highly recommend El Segundo Sol <-very accommodating & my favorite & nothing beats Giada De Laurentiis. 
  • Leave a generous tip. Sincerely thank them again at the end of the meal for being so awesome, especially if you plan to return. They will remember you and will likely be happy to accommodate you next time.
  • Eat before dinner parties, offer to bring an (allergy friendly) side at a get together & bring snacks. Chances are you will be able to find something that is safe, but sometimes we’re left with a salad and french fries, which is a total score in my book!

If you have any tips, please leave them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

Do you like elaborate sit down dinners, or do you prefer a more simple meal?

Bovine aka Beef allergy

For years I’d feel perfectly fine before a meal, but before I was finished eating, I’d start to feel sick to my stomach. Say we had one of my favorite meals, spaghetti. I’d go through all of the ingredients, fruitlessly trying to eliminate possible culprits. Was it the onions? Or garlic? Or gluten in the pasta? Oh maybe it was the wheat? Never did it cross my mind it could be the beef. I’d never heard of anyone being allergic to beef. Have you?

I began to realize food can either be poison or healing.

Fast forward to years later, I was diagnosed with a bovine and milk allergy, along with several intolerances. I remember thinking back and connecting the dots as to why I was so sick a lot of the time. I honestly had no idea.

Growing up beef and milk products were a family staple. Burgers, spaghetti, tri tip (oh gosh how I miss that), tacos. Armed with this knowledge, I started paying more attention to labels. A LOT more! I’m that chick who picks up products at the grocery store and analyses every label. Mike loves it. <-I hope you are sensing my sarcasm.

To this day I am blown away by how prevalent bovine is. It is literally in so many things you wouldn’t think. How do vegans do it? <- That was a serious, honest question. And food labels…oh good grief…they are so convoluted. Why does a bag of chips need to have 20+ ingredients? How in the hell can you take a simple potato, throw a bunch MSG, sodium & questionable man made ingredients on it and call it food?

I’m not knocking chips, they are practically a food group for me. But I do my best to choose brands with fewest, most natural ingredients with the and make sure I recognize all of them.

 

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Back to bovine though…my hope is that this post becomes a resource for folks who have a beef/bovine allergy. Or those who would like to avoid it for whatever reason. Below is a list of some less obvious things {*cough gelatin cough*} I have found to contain beef products. I’ve been researching this for the last year and still come across items today. It’s everywhere and in places I have yet to discover.

Here is are some things I’ve uncovered so far:

  • Gelatin. If the label doesn’t state where the gelatin was derived from, it’s safe to assume it’s from beef.
  • Medicine, both OTC & prescription, vitamins, minerals, supplements, etc that come in a “gel tab,” “capsule” or are labeled as “coated.” This was a huge one for me, back in April I was dealing with an angry gallbladder which caused nausea and a tremendous amount of bloating. I took a couple Phazyme gel tabs and felt even worse. Not a fun way to learn a lesson.
  • Salami & pepperoni. They are traditionally made only with pork, but some brands use beef as a filler.
  • Marshmallows, including store bought rice crispy treats, cereals like Frosted Mini Wheats and brands with marshmallows like Lucky Charms.

  • Gummy & chewy candy. Sour Patch Kids are fine though!
  • Jell-o. Surprisingly Jell-o pudding is bovine free.
  • Altoids, Starburst, Trolli candy. Always read the label, you might be surprised.
  • Some non fat yogurt , cream cheese & sour cream brands.
  • Refried beans, especially the authentic kind served in Mexican restaurants.
  • Deep fryers in restaurants. It’s always safe to ask what kind of oil they use and if they use the same fryer to cook things like chicken fried steak.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings. Another hard lesson learned on my part. They use beef lard in their deep fryers according to my gut and their website. This was one place I thought I was safe and didn’t think to question their oil or cooking methods. You can bet I question every restaurant after that now.
  • Planters dry roasted peanuts.
  • Pop Tarts with frosting.
  • Nail polish remover. Not that I’d drink it, but I recently found this out and was shocked.
  • Turkey, chicken, pork or other meat sausages. Always read the label. I once picked up a Jeannie-O turkey sausage and didn’t realize it came in a beef casing. Thankfully I saw it before we cooked it.

I’ll be sure to update this post as I come across more products.

Is anyone else allergic to beef? Or do you know anyone who is?

If you have food allergies and/or intolerances, what are they? How did you figure it out?

Happy New Year 2017 & my one goal

Happy New Year!! 

I was so ready to kick 2016 to the curb and welcome a fresh, clean start. It was a tough year…Mike had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists at the same time in February. We lost his mother to cancer in March. April I was in the hospital 3 times for a traitor gallbladder.

Things started to turn around in May when we took a road trip for 2 weeks. In June I went back to work for another fantastic season of bartending on the golf course. Then my health started to unravel in the fall. Whew, that was a rough one, but I’m still thankful the the lessons life throws my way and for a fresh start.

I love setting goals at the beginning of a new year, but this year there is only one thing I want to focus on. That is healing.

I don’t expect everything to magically heal or to feel 100% all day errry day, (that would be a dream!) but if I shift my focus on healing daily – like having a fresh green juice or taking Bam for a walk or take some time to stretch or do yoga. All of these little things add up.

I feel a little selfish writing a goal like that, but I also know that if I’m feeling good, it will have a ripple effect for everything else in life.

Speaking of green juice, here is my current favorite mix:

  • Kale
  • 1/2 Cara Cara orange
  • Celery
  • Carrot
  • Handful of mint

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Someone asked about Bam the other day and since the little guy was kinda the heart of the blog before, I figured to include a little update about him.

Bam is now 11 years old and over the last year went completely blind. But don’t feel sorry for him because he does not care one bit. In fact, his eye doctor said that we would be more upset about it than him. I can attest that is completely true. Dude just rolls with the punches.

He still has the same lifestyle as before, running on the beach off leash, going for rides in the truck, hiking, doggy day care, etc. In fact the folks at doggy daycare recently said for a blind dog, he sure escapes every time we open the gate. Knucklehead has always had a thing for open doors.

He’s just a bit slower as his other senses have kicked in. Buddy still runs into walls, furniture and everyone’s shins, but he has learned the art of slowing down. If you know the JRT breed, then you know this is quite an accomplishment. Oh and now that he’s old, he has become grumpy. Mostly with me because I’m a pushover, he knows better than to pull that crap with Mike.

I’ll be sure to include adventures with Bam in posts here, but if you’d like to see more of this cool guy, you may check out my Instagram page and/or #bamstagram

May our 2017 be off to a far better start than Mariah Carey’s performance in Times Square last night.

Have you set goals or resolutions for 2017?

Share your tips to heal the mind and/or body.

Do you guys make fresh juice?

My GI story, part II

You may read part I here.

September 2016 – October 2016 In September I started to feel unwell, lots of brain fog off and on. Going to work & daily life were increasingly stressful because some days I felt so sick, but I was determined to live as normal as possible. It progressively got worse as time went on. Then one day a friend said I wonder if there’s something in the water at home that is making you sick? That’s when it dawned on me, it had to be something I ingest every day so I thought about it… it was probiotics. The doc I wrote about yesterday doubled my probiotics from 50 billion a day to 100 billion. I didn’t connect it to that because it took a week or two to start feeling crappy. The good news is, once I cut back I felt a lot better within 2 days. But my troubles with this janky ass GI system were not over. I still felt nauseous, bloated & sick after each meal even with high quality digestive enzymes. I also had a sensation of pressure or fullness under my right rib where the gallbladder used to be every time I ate any kind of fat. I could literally feel whatever it is, expand.

So in early October, I made an appointment with the surgeon who did my gallbladder surgery. He ran some blood tests and referred me to see a gastroenterologist. I made an appointment with a well known GI specialist in the Bay Area, but he couldn’t get me in until mid-December. I worked with him before and knew he was worth the wait so I decided to wait it out.

November 2016- December 2016 I was hanging in there until right after Thanksgiving. My health started to spiral out of control. I could no longer eat a meal without feeling a severe wave of nausea, upper & lower GI pain. I could feel whatever was expanding under my right rib spasm and pain so searing under my sternum that wrapped around my right side, to my upper back, that made the gallbladder pain I had before surgery seem like a walk in the park. There were times I could not move, not even wiggle my toes without increasing the pain. It was so bad, there was no way I could even get out of bed to go to the ER.

In early December I called the gastroenterologist to see if he could get me in sooner. He personally called me and apologized that he could not, but was happy to order tests over the phone. Thankful is a complete understatement.

He put a rush on a shit ton of lab work, our insurance company will surely love. He also prescribed 2 drugs, one of them is possibly the most magical pill ever invented, Zofran. It has enabled me to get some much needed nutrition because at this point, I lost about 10 pounds I couldn’t afford to lose.

We did blood testing for pancreatitis, bile duct blockage, liver enzymes and a bunch of other stuff, abdominal X-rays & an abdominal ultrasound. Everything came back absolutely perfect, which is good, but still so frustrating because there are still no answers.

On 12/16/16 we did an upper endoscopy which revealed a few issues: 

Finally we have some diagnosis, but the treatment is very limited. Prescription drugs that treat these conditions come with a 30% chance of causing terrible diseases like Parkinson’s. So yeah, no thanks. Or in Mike’s words to the doc: “Well we aren’t doing that. I don’t wanna sleep next to shaky shaky”

He thinks I have Sphincter of Oddi, but will not test for it because the only test for it (ERCP) has a 30% chance of causing life long pancreatitis and treatment does not work most of the time.

So that brings us to today. In the Western medicine world there are problems, but no real solutions. His theory as to why I feel so awful, is that my body is just having a hard time adjusting to the gallbladder being removed and IBS. He thinks I will feel better (never cured) eventually, but that could take months to years.

I respectfully disagree with my GI specialists prognosis. I truly believe there is another/or multiple underlying condition(s) that Western medicine doesn’t specialize in. So on 12/23/16 I saw a Functional Medicine doctor who does Acupuncture. She ordered a SIBO breath test kit, a couple more extensive blood tests for wheat/gluten & vitamin/mineral deficiencies and did my first acupuncture session which was so relaxing.

So that brings y’all up to date. I promise most future posts won’t be so serious. I wanted to fill you in on the past. I look forward to cracking lame poop jokes and sharing more of the lifestyle side of things with you soon.

Have you tried acupuncture? I’m curious about your thoughts on it.

Have you worked with a Functional medicine practitioner?

My GI story, part I

My whole life, or at least for as long as I can remember, I have had gut issues. I was that kid who had a stomachache every day and everyone thought I was making it up or didn’t want to go to school. Well part of that is true, I hated school……but I was definitely not making it up.

Symptoms:

  • Nausea (a recent symptom)
  • Bloating
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Cramping
  • Upper & lower abdominal pain
  • Brain fog
  • Food sits like a rock in stomach too long
  • Feeling like death and sadness

In 2011 I spent a significant amount of time with GI specialists in Stanford and various other doctors to try and figure out what was going on. The only diagnosis everyone agreed on was IBS.

October of 2015 I began working with the IBS Treatment Center in Santa Monica, CA. It started out promising. They tested for food allergies and intolerances which out of 96 common foods tested, I came back with 2 true allergies (milk and bovine) and 9 intolerances. Another test came back a 1 on a scale of 1-4 (1 being low, 4 high) for Candida in the gut. So the doc put me on a very strict and if I’m being real here, soul crushing diet. I will never do the Candida diet ever again. I’d rather chew rocks into sand.

Cutting all of the offending foods out helped a lot. I thought the milk allergy would be the most difficult to work with, but turns out beef is. Gelatin in particular is in everything…gummy candy, capsules/gel coating on vitamins, supplements & medicine, it’s even nail polish remover, not that I’d drink that but it’s crazy how prevalent it is. It’s really eye opening and a relief to finally be able to look back and connect the dots to why I was so sick all the time. I was beginning to feel like working with the IBS TC was the key to overcoming IBS or at least get me to a point where the daily pain was manageable.

April 2016 everything changed. Mike practically carried me into the ER with severe nausea, upper right abdominal pain that wrapped around to my upper back and radiated to the right shoulder blade. I had a traitor gallbladder that had to be removed. At that point, if they wanted to rip out my appendix, they could have that too.

Surgery went great and I was home recovering when 2 days later I was right back in the ER (on my Birthday, don’t be jealous) with a bad reaction to the pain killers. Then that day ended with being released and my FIL buying a strong laxative. You guys, he didn’t even get me a card to go with it!! So rude, right.

God bless him.<3

Post gallbladder surgery chillin’ with my homie.

May – August 2016 I continued working with the IBS TC to figure out the underlying cause of IBS and helping my body adjust after gallbladder removal. We tried a heavy dose of probiotics, magnesium and added digestive enzymes with every meal. I went rogue and stopped following the soul crushing Candida diet for several reasons.

  •  I wasn’t convinced I had an overgrowth and my doctor couldn’t prove her theory, even with the test results which clearly stated “Yeast, not Candida albicans.” Nothing made sense to me.
  • It wasn’t working. I think anyone who cuts out all sugar (even from natural sources like fruit) will automatically feel better, but it was impossible for me to live a quality life that way.
  •  When I asked my doctor if it’s possible to have a different underlying cause, like SIBO, she said no, but maybe I had a magnesium deficiency. I call bullshit and fired her.

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I want to explain why I lost faith in the IBS TC. Along with the controversy I had with Candida, when I had a follow up with the doc over the phone, she recommended Ox Bile supplements to help aid digestion. Mike & I used a bluetooth speaker so we could all participate in the call and we looked at each other confused as to why she would recommend a bovine product when she diagnosed me with a bovine allergy? We questioned her several times about it and she got a little flustered and said she didn’t have my file up but would review her recommendations with my file after the call and email it to me.

So our insurance company was paying $160 for a 20 minute call and she didn’t even have my file up?? For $8.00 a minute, I would expect her to at least review and have my file up before the call. Now it’s not just about the money, it’s about the lack of sincerity and professionalism on the part of the doctor. I’m hurting, and am desperately looking for answers, but this particular doctor is too busy to open a file while she is on a scheduled call with me. Just come prepared and don’t get flustered or defensive when you’re not ready.

While I had a negative experience, I still believe the IBS TC has the right tools to treat & possibly cure IBS, but they don’t have the right person. The broad strokes were there, but when it came to the fine detail, I didn’t feel confident in her.

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Whew, I didn’t mean to go on a tangent there, but I promise y’all this, I will be 100% real and authentic. I have no filter in real life and I won’t have one here.

I’ll do a part II post that will bring you up to date soon.

Please share your GI story in the comments. I think it would be nice to learn from each other, or if anything know that you are not alone.