Archive for the 'Immune System' Category

Reading Between The Lines


July 31st, 2011

nighttime
Well, things haven’t been looking so good on paper lately. But given how inaccurately my paper trail has reflected my reality in the past, I’m not taking it too seriously. (If you are just tuning in, some examples of this might be an unusual and difficult to diagnose AILMENT which afflicts only the most eccentric of people and ensuing LEGAL DEBACLE. I haven’t even mentioned yet the time I got investigated by the health department. But that’s a long story, and it’s getting late).

avo nori
The bad news is that they think I have nerve damage in my upper back too. This prompted an MRI recently which revealed some (not so) surprising insights. Apparently, I have some pleural effusions? Basically, this means that there is fluid building up around the lining of my lungs. This can be caused by AUTOIMMUNE or LIVER disease (the two elephants that always seems to be hanging out at my doctor’s office whenever I show up).


I’ve actually been feeling like I have a build up of some sort in my abdomen for a LONG TIME. I wasn’t really sure if it was fluid or fat. Looking back though, the fluid theory actually makes a lot of sense. It explains why I responded so well to lymphatic drainage, and it was brought up at least once by my colon hydrotherapist/friend, HEIDI. So the findings aren’t terribly surprising although I was expecting to hear more about the nerve problem than my ‘beer gut’.

sour cherries
In other news, sour cherries already came and went for this year. I can’t wait for them to come back around.


I made the most amazing pie!! The sour cherry tart is a definite winner. It was a recipe from RAW FOOD. REAL WORLD.

rasp
I made a raspberry version for my boyfriend because he doesn’t like cherries. Who doesn’t like cherries?!! The other day, I was in the produce aisle picking cherries, and a girl came up behind and said, ‘They’re like summertime crack.’ That pretty much sums it up. My boyfriend is missing out!

tomatoes
I’m also just starting to see my first tomatoes from the GARDEN. The basil is looking really good right now too.

cheeses
Despite all the uncertainty surrounding my health, things are actually going pretty well. My CHEESES are selling quite well in the BIG APPLE thanks to the folks at LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC.

kombuchaI’m also starting to sprinkle some MUSICAL GUESTS into my UNCOOKING SHOW. This week, I had my first one. They are pretty much my favorite band right now. And the song goes perfectly with the KOMBUCHA episode. Definitely worth checking out if you haven’t yet.  Kombucha is pretty easy to make, and it’s much cheaper when you do(esp. if you have an addict boyfriend like I do).  Incidentally, my boyfriend is on tour again.  And this week, he worked at a really cool festival called FLOYD FEST?  He said the back stage catering included raw food, two self serve juicers with tons of fruits and veggies, and some local kombucha called BUCHI.  How cool is that?

cute apronThe FARMER’S MARKET is going really well too. I love the farmer’s market. I’ve been connecting with some great folks. This week, we had a guest vendor in the booth next to me called SEEDLING DESIGN. She was making these cute little aprons. I snatched one up right away with a matching money pouch to keep my cash in. Two weeks ago, my entire pile of money got caught up in a strong wind and blew all my earnings all over the market. Everyone was scurrying to grab dollars. It was insane! Needless to say, I’ve been looking for a better system to deal with that. And I didn’t have to look very far. The answer found me!  I love it!!  So in essence, I’m not getting too discouraged by the medical dramas.  I actually ‘feel’ like I am making a lot of progress.  Healing is messy.  It’s kind of like cleaning your room.  Sometimes things have to get a little chaotic on the way to a new order.  This is all a work in progress.  And progress is something I am definitely making at the moment!!  I’ll keep you posted..

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Purple Haze


July 11th, 2011

purple haze
The sky outside my CHEF’S WINDOW has been pretty ominous and volatile lately. This was a beautifully intense storm that happened around sunset the other day. I think this is a good sign. There’s plenty of musical evidence out there that says so.


Jimi saw it. And he was flowing with the pulse. That’s for sure.


And let’s not forget about the most amazing super bowl half-time performance ever. Prince was looking at the same purple sky. (He’s from here, you know.)

fireworks
Lots of WILD THINGS going on in my world these days. Check out the fireworks from my friend Mark’s boat. We enjoyed the 4th on the MISSISSIPPI RIVER. It’s amazing how not crowded it was.

freedom chia
Here’s my 4th of July inspired breakfast pudding: chia seeds, almond milk, strawberries, blueberries, banana. It’s healthy and it matches my calendar. My boyfriend just bought a ton of chia seeds for me to experiment with.

me on the fourth
In other news, I’ve run into another setback of sorts. As they say, bad news comes in threes. So I should be good after this. The last few weeks have been brutal. First, I found out of have some RARE DISEASE inspired by my toxic exposure (not surprising if you’ve been following this blog for a while). Then, I found out that the person who KNOWINGLY EXPOSED ME is getting away with it because of some legal technicalities. This basically means that I must shoulder the cost on my own (this has been an extremely expensive setback). Frustrating (more for the injustice than anything), but injustice happens every day. Now, I am running into a road block related to my CRASH. Is it just me? Or is this starting to sound like boot camp for superheroes? It’s kind of a long story. Where to start?

trigger pointsA couple months ago, I found out I have a DISC INJURY in my lower back. This is causing complications like not being able to stand at times and my leg going numb. I have been having trouble with my arm too, but that was seemingly a muscle problem. So, I went in for some trigger point injections (in pretty much the spots shown here). I was reluctant to try this for a long time. I wanted to try the natural methods first. But after a year of trying REALLY HARD, I was not seeing much progress. And I got to thinking…in an ideal world, I could heal this naturally.

side view
But then again…in an ideal world, I would not be absorbing this kind of impact. I think the body has the capacity to heal from a lot. But I also think that this type of injury was not built into the original plan. Perhaps, an unnatural injury deserves an unnatural response. So I decided to try the trigger point injections. Basically, they inject a needle into the spasming muscle and this causes it to relax. Typically, they also inject a steroid. But I opted to do my treatment sans steroid. And I think this was a good choice for me (given my LIVER issues). I actually feel like the injections released a lot of energy. There were big muscle spasms that happened. And the area feels less dense. But unfortunately, the pain in my shoulder is still flaring up. Apparently, this means that I might have a damaged nerve root. And that I likely have a disc injury in my upper back as well.

croutons.
Oy vey! If it’s not one thing, it’s another. The universe is really sending me a message loud and clear. Though I’m not sure if I’ve fully absorbed it yet. I trust that this is going to inspire some really unique and creative solution. That it will send me on a path that I never would have come up with on my own. But I’m not sure if I’ve figured out what that is yet. I can say with certainty that I probably won’t be entering any gymnastics competitions, running any marathons, or breeding anytime soon. But I am eating really well. And coming up with some wild ideas. So, I will keep you posted on my progress…

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The Gift Of The Absurd


June 27th, 2011

circus
Is it just me? Or does it seem like life has been getting more and more absurd lately? People have lost their grasp on reality. Or maybe reality is just too undesirable for people to see right now. So we create these barriers. The foundation for the most insanely absurd world ever to be. That’s what it feels like to me right now.

tsaExhibit A. This poor woman is dying. She’s 95 years old, and she was trying to get on a plane to visit family and share her final moments. She unwittingly became embroiled in a TSA scandal after they felt something funny in her depends. They literally forced her to remove her depends so they could be inspected. I actually got into an interesting discussion about this last night. I understand the reason for the increased security. Of course. We all want to be safe. But when our barriers get so high that we can’t see the pain we are inflicting on a dying 95 year old woman, it’s time to reflect. Isn’t it?

hospital
I am going through something related to this. Five years ago, I was in perfect health. Then, I was exposed to toxic sewer gas in the home I was renting. I’ve gone into this IN MORE DETAIL in earlier posts. The medical aspect of it is absurd. It’s frustrating. And I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. I have struggled and fought hard for my health with mysterious issues that are debilitating and expensive. I swam upstream through a medical system that offered very little help or answers. But the most painful part of it to me is the injustice. This issue will more than likely cost me hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of my life and all so that my former landlord could save a few thousand dollars on maintenance. And while he admits to knowingly exposing me to this gas, I’m out of luck. They can’t prove what caused my illness because they don’t know what it is. A perfectly healthy person develops a bizarre immune system and/or liver disorder after being exposed to toxic gas, and he contends that it’s a coincidence. Are you kidding? Really? And the most insane part of it is that he gets away with it. And why? Because this world is absurd! Or perhaps, more realistically, because there is no money to be made from this particular incarnation of misfortune.

autoimmune epidemicI am not the first person this has happened to. Author, DONNA JACKSON NAKAZAWA, has written a book about this. That the incidence of autoimmune related illnesses is skyrocketing. She believes it is from the increasing onslaught of toxic substances that we are exposed to in the modern world. Our immune systems are breaking down, and the medical establishment is creating barriers because nobody is ready to deal with the issue. I am here to tell you though, these barriers are hurting innocent people! This is a problem that is not going to go away. You can only brush it under the rug for so long.

foreclosure crisis
Unfortunately, my problem is only one problem in a sea of problems that people are now attempting to brush under the rug. The foreclosure crisis is affecting many, many more.

financial crisis
Not to mention the impending financial doom that everyone can’t stop talking about. Is it just me? Or are people getting sick of seeing the bad guys winning? Over and over. Enough already! It’s insane.

crash aftermath
Today is officially the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY of my BIG CRASH. A time to reflect. A time to look back at how far I’ve come. The last few weeks, I’ll admit I’ve been down and out. I get depressed and hopeless sometimes. It seems like the obstacles never end. Some days, I just want my old life back. Before all of this craziness. It seems so unfair. But what I’m realizing is that dwelling on that just sets me back further. Physically, it triggers my autoimmune issues. And emotionally, I just get depressed. I need to change my outlook. This is absurd. It’s insane. It’s hilarious! Really. It’s like Bill Clinton saying he didn’t inhale. Or Anthony Weiner sending weiner pictures to people on the internet. It makes no sense! So why am I taking it so seriously? No more! I am going to find away out of this mess. And the answers are going to be hilarious…and creative…and a gift! Mark my words.

Exhibit B
Exhibit B. This is my friend, Kristen. She is amazing! She is a musician and a single mom and a survivor. She is recovering from a brain tumor. But you would never know it. She has the most amazing gift for finding joy in every situation. This week, she has gifted me with one of her amazing, creative solutions. One of my big obstacles right now is getting around the limitations. I am selling my products in two wonderful venues, LIVE LIVE AND ORGANIC and the NE FARMER’S MARKET. I would do more, but I can’t. I physically can’t make that much product because of my issues. My leg goes numb if I stand too long, and I have to wear a pain machine the entire time I am working. I would hire someone to help me. But unfortunately, my landlord left me with a mortgage worth of bills to pay so I could save him a little money. I have to find a creative solution. Enter Kristen!

kristen
Kristen started ‘Kristen’s Front Porch Grocery and Lounge’. She has brought some amazing people together. On her porch. There are a number of products available. KALE CHIPS. Tempeh. Fresh vegetables. A CSA drop. And salsa is coming soon, I hear. It’s about as local as you get! She is amazingly selling a LOT of chips! I am actually having trouble keeping up with the demand. But best of all, it is a low pressure gig. Perfect for healing!


Yesterday, she had a front porch social hour where I met Ryan (who makes the tempeh) and Sarah (who grows the veggies). It’s so inspiring to see people coming together and getting around the obstacles. We can do this! THANK YOU, KRISTEN for reminding me that we are empowered and enlightened beings. We have the answers! And we don’t need to give them away. Maybe the bad guys do always win. But their game is crashing and burning all around. And the good guys are rising from the ashes! VIVA LA REVOLUCION!

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Deja Vu


June 20th, 2011

cloudy
Well, the view is a little cloudy these days, but the light is still getting through. Though admittedly, there were a couple days last week when I wasn’t so sure. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I am slowly recovering from a couple different accidents (a TOXIC EXPOSURE and a CAR CRASH). These have been inspiring a number of complications which I am discerning how to navigate. I haven’t figured out all the answers yet, but I can tell you that the outcome is destined to be something unusual. A lot of issues related to this struggle are climaxing right now. In a big way. It’s complicated. As such, I’m going to break them down over a few posts. As I try to digest them.

eyefb
One of my big dramas this week has been with my eye. I was sitting in my apartment, typing on my computer last week. Seemingly out of nowhere, I started to get this really dry feeling in my eye at the same time that it felt like there was a foreign object in it. At first, I thought I got an eyelash in my eye. But when I looked in the mirror, I found this…

eye
A big, ugly, growth on my eyeball. Attractive, right? Now before you get too freaked out, I should tell you that it’s not contagious. And on top of that, this EXACT SAME THING HAPPENED TWO YEARS AGO. It’s some IMMUNE SYSTEM MALFUNCTION, episcleritis. The last time this happened, I was freaked out. They referred me to an immunologist who I waited five months (on pins and needles) to see.

eye up
I went through all manner of testing (which I should add I am still paying off). And where did that get me? Pretty much nowhere. The doctor at the time told me that I didn’t have lupus…YET. Well, last week after this happened, my doctor told me I should go back to rheumatology and get checked (essentially exactly where I went two years ago…for the second time). This would have been my third trip to rheumatology. At this point, I had a meltdown. Seriously. What is the point? Every time I go, it’s this horribly expensive ordeal that’s really stressful, they never figure out anything, and at least half of the time someone (who shouldn’t even be licensed to practice medicine) tells me I’m a hypochondriac. NO WAY, JOSE. I’m not doing that AGAIN.

anomalies
At first, I demanded to get sent to the Mayo. I was really upset. The good news is that this spurred a heart to heart with my doctor that was long overdue. The bad news is that they don’t know what is wrong. It is likely some variation of autoimmune disease. This is completely NOT SHOCKING to me. Unfortunately, autoimmune diseases are hard to diagnose anyway. Especially weird ones. It could be that it’s lupus. Or it could be something else. Whatever it is, it’s not lighting up the classic profile of test results. So they basically just keep an eye on me. And watch out for more complications until they can figure it out. This conundrum has caused a number of complications in my life that also climaxed this week. Epic sagas which deserve their own post. But in essence, I’m not even sure if I want them to figure it out honestly. Because if they do, all they can do is put me on steroids for the rest of my life. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will also know that my LIVER IS NOT RIGHT. So while I would appreciate the validation, I don’t think that is ultimately a viable path for me. Not if I want to live anyway. Have I mentioned that this has been going on for five years? This is difficult enough for me to digest, and I’m a fairly open-minded, free spirit. My poor mother is about to tear her hair out. Yesterday, she hung up the phone on me because I decided to wait on the Mayo. Interestingly, this was my mild drama from last week. There’s a lot more of that coming down the pipe. Let me tell you…

kale bed
In other more inspiring news, my garden is looking great! Here is my KALE FOREST. On the end, we have a couple rows of dino kale. The rest is green curly kale. The two plants that are flowering are actually the two that survived the winter. Amazing! I have been munching off of this bed a lot this week. We had a few nice rainstorms that really perked up all my lettuces.

lettuce bed
Speaking of, check out my other lettuces. Looking good!! The swiss chard and the romaine are looking mighty fine! I filmed a video for PRL TV of me setting up my garden beds this year. I hope to have that ready soon.


I have some arugula and WILD SPINACH that is going to peak soon too. I love summertime! My grocery bill is going down, down, down.

berries
I also picked some perfect alpine strawberries the other day. These are the best berries I will eat all year. So good! They are red all the way through. Not like the big white in the middle ones you get at the store.

So all in all, I’m hangin’ pretty tough out here. I don’t think I have ever experienced such dramatic and rapid change in my life as I am currently experiencing. And I should add that I am a change embracing bohemian type of girl. But this. This is truly epic. More on that later…

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The Monster In My Closet


April 20th, 2011

contemplating
Well, the time has come. I have got to get something off my chest. Something that I have been wrestling with for almost five years. In the beginning, it seemed like a straightforward enough problem. One that I could deal with and move on from efficiently. Once it was defined, anyway. So I stuffed it away in my closet figuring that once things were neatly sorted out, I would deal with it appropriately. No need to raise alarms now, I thought. I’m not even sure what it is.

Well, in that time, IT turned out to be much more than I bargained for. In just about every respect. The more I looked for answers, the more elusive they became. The monster in my closet grew and grew. The uncertainty just made it grow more. Meanwhile, I waited. Once I find the answers, I’ll be able to slay the dragon, I thought. But the answers never came. At least, not from where they were supposed to. And the monster only grew.

baby me and mom

Me and my mom (a few years back)

Well, now the monster has outgrown me. It’s clearly beyond my control at this point. It can no longer be contained in my closet. It’s time to let him out, warts and all. And let the pieces fall where they may. So, here it is…

Five years ago, I suffered a severe toxic exposure. I haven’t spoken very explicitly about it here because it was a very messy situation. But I am coming to realize now that not putting my truth out into the world is only hurting me. I need to connect with that truth now so that I can truly move through this situation (instead of carrying the baggage around). Essentially, I discovered that I had been living over an open sewer main for four years. I discovered this because I was getting sick and not knowing why. And my instinct (and a few calls to people more knowledgeable than I) led me to discover that the plumbing in my apartment was not as it should have been.

I went through a lot after this. Initially, I developed severe respiratory and digestive issues. For six weeks, I had the most horrible, fully body, dry, possessed by aliens and sounding like a dying animal cough. Then, I was finally sent to the right doctor who determined that I had in fact been exposed to toxic sewer gas and that the hydrogen sulfide in the gas had eaten through the lining of my lungs causing my respiratory issues (which incidentally never went away).

not sugar plums
Once I got the respiratory (most immediate threat) issues under control, we started to work on my digestive system. This was much more complicated. Initially, I went through several rounds of testing for every possible infection, parasite, allergy, etc. This took a while. Essentially, they do one round of tests and don’t figure anything out. Then, they send you home until it gets bad enough for you to come back. Since previous rounds of testing were generally unproductive, I think most people put off going back until they reach new levels of discomfort. Needless to say, it’s a less than pleasant process. After they exhaust all the tests, they send you in for a COLONOSCOPY. Where you actually get to see your insides on TV! The colonoscopy was actually not so bad. It was the endoscopy that was traumatic. I think they are generally supposed to put you under for this. But for whatever reason, they decided to feed the camera tube down my throat while I was awake. I was literally crying and fighting my gag reflex back while they were yelling at me to ‘BREATHE!’. This was to stop the dry heaving. Remind me to never do that again.

Anyway, they determined after this that I was most likely having an allergic reaction to something I was eating and that I should do an elimination diet to figure out what it was. All in all, it took me fifteen months to figure out that I had developed a sensitivity to chemicals in my food. This is what attracted me in the beginning to raw food. This is also what led me to realize just how ubiquitous chemicals in our food are and how vigilant one must be in this day and age to avoid them. Well, raw food was the most natural and unprocessed diet I could find. AND it was ideal for people that were trying to detoxify their systems which seemed right up my alley. My main obstacle at this point was that I didn’t know how to cook. At all. This was about the time when I started this blog.

hospital
Once I got the digestive issues somewhat stabilized, a new issue STARTED TO EMERGE. I had a foreshadowing event, I suppose. Some UNEXPLAINED TEST RESULTS. I had gotten strange calls from my doctors telling me not to be worried but that I had some test results that were raising concerns. Well, as anyone with any unexplained medical symptoms will tell you, this is precisely the kind of call you need to be worried about.

hospital
It wasn’t long after that I ended up in the HOSPITAL with severe hepatitis. This is a long story in and of itself. So, I will spare you the details. But essentially my liver sort of imploded. I had a number of infections and test results at the time. I had Hepatitis A and Mono. Plus, some strange ANTIBODY RESULTS. The mono infection lasted for a year and a half. Though I didn’t know this at the time. I was told during the infection that it might be a FALSE POSITIVE. That it was more likely an immune system disorder, and I didn’t have Mono. For a year and a half I suffered through my life trying to pretend everything was okay and not knowing why things definitely weren’t. As it turns out, I actually DID have mono for all that time. But I still probably have some sort of immune system disorder. They’re still figuring things out.

weird eye
Since that time, I’ve had a number of unexplained symptoms and test results. Like these involuntary movements, for example. My body just jerks for no reason. Sometimes violently. Whatever it is that I have is very unusual. Right now, I have a really bad ulcer in my throat from a recurring thrush infection (that friend that you don’t really have anything in common with but you can’t really get rid of). Thrush infections are really common in people with compromised immune systems. They are not sure if my compromised immune system is caused by an immune system disorder or my damaged liver or both. Whatever it is, it’s clear that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

yoga girl
This brings me to my current conundrum. For five years, I’ve been waiting for an answer. The explanation that makes all of this make sense. A diagnosis. If I had this, I thought, I could connect with others who have the same thing. I could get answers! I could get help! But they haven’t come. Meanwhile, I’ve just been stuffing things in the closet to deal with later (when I finally get the answer!). But what I’m realizing now is that waiting for my answer is doing more harm than good. Maybe there ARE no answers. Maybe I will NEVER find them. Maybe that IS the answer. Whatever I have is some sort of environmental illness that is common among people with toxic exposures. In fact, this weekend out of desperation I started to look for studies of people exposed to sewer gas. Interestingly, I found a number of separate epidemiological studies conducted all over the world on sanitation workers and discovered that my symptoms are almost IDENTICAL to theirs!! It absolutely infuriates me that so many people all over the world suffer through illness for no good reason. And that other people make money from this. And this makes it impossible for them to see the suffering they are inflicting.

radiation
This was brought more into focus for me recently by current events in JAPAN. And the impact that is having on my family there. Seriously, HOW MANY PEOPLE HAVE TO GET SICK AND SUFFER LIKE THIS BEFORE SOMETHING CHANGES?!!

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Signs of Progress


November 16th, 2010

kitty and tray
This is Miss Cassie O. Kitty. She LOVES wheatgrass…even the seeds. She now has her own little cup of grass growing next to her bed. She is my boyfriend’s cat but only recently came to live with us. If you have been reading my blog for a while, you may know that I was originally drawn to raw/living cuisine for HEALTH REASONS. One issue that I was suffering from was severe respiratory problems. As a result, kitty had to go live with my boyfriend’s mom for a while (about three years).

kitty and me
Things have gradually improved over that time. So recently, kitty came back to live with us. So far things are going pretty well. She still isn’t allowed in my room. But things have improved (at least the respiratory aspects).

wheatgrass
Maybe it was the wheatgrass? Speaking of, I think I’m going to go make some right now…

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Stairway to Heaven


May 23rd, 2010

at eco
I started taking GUITAR LESSONS recently, and my boyfriend was giving me a hard time about it. Did you ask him to teach you ‘Stairway to Heaven’? Not exactly. But it occurred to me that a healing path kind of feels like one to an extent. In the beginning, I would get frustrated. I would go through some MONUMENTAL ORDEAL and think hooray! Now, that I’ve been through all that I’m going to be back to normal again. Inevitably, I would be disappointed. It would seem like things were getting better. Then I’d have what would seem to be a big SETBACK. How can this be happening, I’d think? I’ve been doing everything right. Why does this keep happening?

Now that more time has passed, I have the benefit of hindsight. One thing that I’m realizing is a person recovering from chronic illness should have more realistic expectations. For one, everything is a process. Kind of like this VIDEO that RAWDAWG RORY posted recently (I love Rawdawg Rory). When you’re going through the process, it seems never-ending at times. But when you look backwards, it’s really amazing how the body sort of prioritizes things. It’s so elegant. It innately knows what to tackle first. Admittedly, when it was all happening, I had no idea what was going on. Looking back though, it makes a lot of sense.

Needless to say, I climbed another stair last week. The during part was pretty intense. I knew something was up when I lost my (usually voracious) appetite. At first, I thought this was a cue to juice fast. But I think my body had other things in mind. One thing I’ve learned over time is to submit to the elegant wisdom and to just try to support as much as possible. So, I rode the wave. This one had some pretty rough waters (nausea, chills, vomiting, supernaps, fatigue, bizarre skin eruptions, and you know the drill). But I’m feeling better now. My immune system has been kind of BEATEN DOWN until recently. I finally started getting normal numbers in the last month or so. Now it’s maybe strong enough to start cleaning house again. And I feel like I’ve finally knocked my CANDIDA infection into submission somewhat. I suspect that was what a lot of that episode was about. So I’m really focused on keeping it under control until I get my digestion in order. I’ve been on a ZERO SUGAR kick (no sweeteners, fruits, dates etc.). Strangely, it’s all happening very naturally and without much fussing. I haven’t had any difficult cravings. It just seems like what I’m supposed to do. To me, that is a sign that this is either an episode of the twilight zone or some kind of bizarre healing crisis!

kimchee
I’ve also been ADDICTED to this lately. Strangely, I HATED it until about a week ago. It’s the fermented kimchee at ECOPOLITAN (Minneapolis’ raw food restaurant).

tostada
I’ve been kind of splurging a little lately. My current kitchen is kind of small and being shared with a carnivore (NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT). I recently cleaned a huge puddle of rotten deli meat juice out of the vegetable drawer. So anyway, this is probably the most I’ve eaten at Ecopolitan in my entire life. Here is their tostada plate.

taco salad
The taco salad is great too.

pizza
I meant to take a picture of the sausage pizza, but umm…I was busy. I can honestly say that that was the only pizza I’ve ever liked (except maybe THIS one). It really tastes like sausage.

So, I guess you could say I had a bit of a breakthrough recently. On a lot of levels. I’ve been getting a steady stream of good news this week. More on that later…

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Watching the Future Unfold


May 7th, 2010

leftovers
Leftovers are great for contemplating the future. Less work and business leaves more time for philosophy. This was a variation of a salad I made for my TASTING EVENT.

two fist
My boyfriend took this beautiful picture. It looks innocuous enough, but it’s actually a huge milestone in our juicing experience. In the past, our tendency would be to mix these drinks together to make sludge. My boyfriend is all about maximizing nutritional density which I can appreciate. But not when it tastes bad. Yesterday I convinced him to make two separate drinks, and they were AMAZING! One was a spicy green concoction with lime, cucumber, ginger, cilantro, and wheatgrass. The other was lime, carrot, and ginger. Two great tastes that DON’T taste great together. 🙂

wheatgrass ointment
Wheatgrass is also great for healing scars. My overly active immune system has a proclivity towards scarring. Little scrapes take months to heal. Wheatgrass noticeably improves the healing process. Apparently, they used to use it for wound healing way back when.

blossomsIt’s supposed to snow tonight! That’s Minnesota weather for you. The CHERRY BLOSSOMS have already come and gone, and now it’s going to snow. My boyfriend took this picture of me with the infamous blossoms to send to my mom.  Speaking of (SCREAMING) CHERRY BLOSSOMS, I’ve started playing guitar again. I brought my guitar down to OKLAHOMA with good intentions, but I was a lot busier than I thought I would be! It’s good to be back in my element again.
.
setlist I played a solo show last week, and my boyfriend took a picture of the setlist on my arm. Since my health isn’t really good enough yet to pursue my musical ambitions fully, I decided to start working on my chops. Yesterday was my first guitar lesson with my favorite guitar player in Minneapolis! You can check out his cool, green guitar in this VIDEO. I’m pretty sure that having a green guitar is eco-friendly! 🙂

In the meantime, I am patiently waiting for the future to unfold. Not as patiently as I would like, mind you. The hardest part about change (for me) is that it always seems to take longer than you think it should. It’s human nature, I think, to want to fill in the gap that you have to leave open for it. It feels so uncertain and vulnerable sometimes that a person yearns for the comfort of certainty. But I’m determined this time to let things play out as they should. I have a good feeling that everything is going to work out beautifully. I just need to give things their due time and space to unfold.

I got some nods of affirmation this week. I was listed on MASALA (the finest mix of holistic living blogs) in the ‘friends’ category, and I was also listed as one of the TOP 50 RAW FOOD BLOGS! HOORAY!

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Healing Crisis


December 13th, 2009

double shot
For the last six weeks or so, I’ve made a point of drinking wheatgrass regularly. Not every day. I aim for five days a week. ANN WIGMORE, my wheatgrass hero, recommends in her book to take days off. This gives the body a chance to rebuild and regenerate (kind of like working out) as wheatgrass is very powerfully detoxifying. For me, it’s almost too powerful as I’m recovering from a severe toxic exposure. The LAST TIME I did a focused wheatgrass regimen like this, some very interesting things happened. My health saga has been long and sordid. I have seen more doctors in the last few years than probably most people see in their lifetime. So far, I’ve managed to STUMP them all with my unusual issues. I’ve tested positive for a number of serious medical issues, but I don’t really fit neatly into any diagnostic categories. In the beginning, this was extremely frustrating for me. But I’ve come to realize that it’s really a blessing. Since there really are no answers for me, I am forced to find my own answers. Don’t get me wrong. I still go to the doctor. Frequently. I see allopathic and naturopathic practictioners. I listen to what everyone says.  Everyone holds a different piece of the puzzle. I soak it all in, and then I wait to feel what resonates for me. I’ve learned to trust my intuition.

heidi
One of my most helpful resources has been my friend, HEIDI. She is a nutritionist from the Seattle area and has made a NUMBER of APPEARANCES on my blog. There is only so much a doctor can tell you in a fifteen minute appointment. Heidi is a master of filling in the gaps and pointing me to the answers I’m looking for. If you are ever in need of a nutritional consultant, I would highly recommend her.

ear
This leads me to my latest medical development…CANDIDA. I was completely surprised to discover this. I went to see my doctor while I was in Minnesota last week about a respiratory infection. I mentioned in passing that I had a cut on my mouth and behind my ears that wouldn’t heal, and she knew what it was right away. Who knew?

detox and healingIronically, I had just been reading this book on the plane the day before which talked about different issues related to detox. I read all about candida being an issue and it never occurred to me that I was on to something. Talk about the wisdom of the subconscious!  This book is an interesting blend of allopathic and naturopathic perspectives written by a medical doctor who evolved beyond the boundaries of traditional medicine.  An interesting read.  It’s the first thing I’ve read by a traditional doctor that bridges the gap between toxic exposure and the types of issues I am dealing with.

pancakes
In the meantime, Heidi made some dietary recommendations for me to discourage the yeasties. Looks like I won’t be eating any of these for a while.

choc tort
Or these. Time to cut out the sugars and starches. I hope to make some good progress on this issue before school starts up again. Right now, I’m definitely experiencing a healing crisis. One of the rights of passage of candida recovery is the infamous ‘DIE-OFF‘ or Herxheimer reaction. Essentially, as the yeast dies off, it pollutes your body with toxic metabolic by-products which must be processed. It’s kind of like an extreme detox. I can definitely vouch for that. But this is good news. It means I am making progress. I’m climbing up a rung on the ladder to ultimate healing. At least, that’s how I like to look at it.

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The Good News and The Bad News


September 13th, 2009

anomolies
Today I’m starting a new series…MEDICAL ANOMALIES. To anyone whose ever fallen through the cracks of the modern marvel we reluctantly refer to as a medical system, I feel ya!

obama
With debate over the future of healthcare spinning into overdrive, I can’t help but reflect on my own situation. It has without a doubt been among the most frustrating debacles I’ve had to deal with. Everyone agrees that there is a problem.  And on the surface, it seems like nobody agrees on the solution.  But honestly, I don’t know if that’s actually true.  I think that when you talk to most people, there IS some consensus.  It’s just when you turn on the TV…well that’s another story entirely.  Honestly, I try not to turn on the TV much at all these days.  I try as much as possible to form my own opinions based on my own experiences. This is a pic I took of President Obama yesterday at the Minneapolis Health Care Rally.  I was pretty proud of it.  Politics aside, I think it’s a really good picture.

Probably the most important lesson I am taking away from this experience with my health is that it’s not up to anyone else to fix what’s wrong with me.  Other people can offer guidance and support.  But that’s about all I can hope for.  In the end, it’s a personal journey. For those who are just catching up, here is a little insight into mine…

It all started about three years ago. I started developing a number of ‘seemingly unrelated’ symptoms after incurring a prolonged toxic exposure. It was the age old story of someone cutting corners to save a few bucks and creating a situation where someone else (that person being me) had to pay a dear price for it. But it’s complicated. So, I won’t get into that. The short story is that I breathed in a bunch of toxic gas. The gas contained chemicals which ate through the lining of my lungs and caused severe respiratory problems. I also developed GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS.

growing wheatgrass
The respiratory issues started to break up after a few months (though they still recur even now). The GI issues were much more elusive. But, I was able to get them under control after about fifteen months through a combination of an elimination diet and GROWING WHEATGRASS in my window. This is when I discovered raw food. It became my baseline diet.

hospital
Shortly after the GI issue began to stabilize, I was hospitalized. Essentially, I started vomiting blood one day and was having a lot of difficulty breathing. Among other things. I was in the HOSPITAL for about five days. During that time, doctors performed every test known to man while I watched documentaries about MEERKATS. In the end, nobody was able to come up with a satisfactory explanation of what happened. I had had a very severe bout of hepatitis, but it wasn’t clear what caused it. There were some different theories thrown around. The long and short of it was that there were a lot of test results that were abnormal (several of which I didn’t find out about until five months later), and none of the theories offered an explanation that encompassed them all. Whatever it was, it’s clear that it wasn’t caused by any of the ‘normal’ reasons that people get hepatitis.

weird eye
Since that time, I’ve had a range of unexplained symptoms and test results. Things like my eye swelling up for no reason, fatigue, chest pains, twitching, etc. Things that I’ve gone into more detail about in EARLIER POSTS.

wbcs
About five months ago, I was sent to yet another specialist to see if he might be able to cast some light on the situation. The waiting list was very long, but that appointment finally came due this week. Needless to say, I was a little nervous about what the doctor was going to say. He put me at ease, right away.

‘I know what you’re worried about. And you don’t have lupus…’ I breathed a sign of relief. ‘…At least not YET.’ Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I appreciated his honesty. There was one really good sign. There is a screening test for lupus, the ANA, which I’ve tested positive for twice. Well, this time, I was NEGATIVE!

lupus recovery dietSeveral months ago, I read a book called the LUPUS RECOVERY DIET by Jill Harrington. She was diagnosed with lupus and recovered fully by switching to a raw vegan diet. She mentioned in the book that she was able to not only reverse her symptoms but also her ANA test. Interestingly, shortly after I got my first positive ANA, I encountered another person who was in remission from lupus. She told me the exact same story. I’m not sure if that’s what happened here, but it’s a very interesting coincidence at the very least.

mad scientistThere was some bad news. There are some abnormal tests that he said ‘they weren’t smart enough to figure out’. Some strange antibody problems. According to my blood tests, I should have arthritis and mono. I’ve been testing positive for mono for a long time. With most people you can see a spike in certain antibodies followed by a recovery. But mine are just stuck on. This doesn’t necessarily mean I have mono. And in fact, it means that I probably never had mono. Sometimes people with immune system issues make errors in their immune response and this causes them to react positively to lots of things they don’t have. At least, this is how it was explained to me. I was also missing some antibodies that everyone has. This may or may not become an issue. He wasn’t sure what to make of the arthritis test. Apparently, I had high levels of rheumatoid factor. Usually, this means arthritis. But it can also mean lupus, hepatitis, liver damage, or mono. Things which are all kind of suspect.

So, all in all, I think it was a good visit. The way I’m interpreting it is that things are getting better. I’m doing all the right things. They said that my immune system suffered a very big insult and it might just take a while for it to recover.  He also said he thought it was time to start thinking about changes that I could make with my work environment.  This I’ve heard before and have been stewing on for a while.

It’s starting to feel like the beginning of a new era.  For the last three years,  I’ve been very open to everyone’s advice. I’ve tried a little of everything without making any judgements. Just observations. But now, I have a pretty firm idea of what’s working for me. And what’s not. Now it’s time to cut out the flack and really get focused on what IS working.  I suspect there will be some big changes coming soon.  I’ll keep you posted…

ADDENDUM: About five minutes after I posted this, I found an ARTICLE ABOUT AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE that pretty much sums it up. It’s the first article like this I’ve seen in a mainstream media outlet.

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