Tuesday, June 25, 2019

~ Not so Pretty in Podunk ~

Hello happy quilters!   It's been a long time since my last post due to some health issues.  Thank you so much to those of you who have contacted me privately with your concerns of my absence.   That little bit of love from each of you did more for me than any medicine.  I'm feeling much better and planning to get back to my normal routine.   I know some of your are curious as to what has put me out of commission for so long.  So this is fair warning for those of you who don't care(I understand), the rest of this post is for the most part whiny about my health issues over the last few weeks. 

How about we start out talking about the best thing that has happened lately, Miss Khaleesi.  She's doing well and making great progress.  About a month ago she became very aggressive towards Mr. Podunk for no apparent reason.  Thankfully he was not injured due to my cat like reflexes...LOL!   At that point we knew we needed help to help her.  So we contact our veterinarian and asked for help.  She put us in contact with a dog trainer that specializes in reactive dogs.  Reactive means they lack social skills for whatever reason.  This could be due to being a puppy, or abused and neglected.  It's a slow process of building trust and training us to stay calm and respond quickly to any issues that arise.   

Part of the training requires we make sure she plays or exercises everyday to burn off the abundance of energy.  This means walking her daily or playing fetch.  Both require me to be outside.  This hasn't been easy due to my health issues.  Just what is the issue?  At the moment Hives.  The picture below is a mild day.  I've been tracking the percentage of hive coverage on my body.  At one point it covered about 60% of my body.  The hives would appear only at night for about 2 to 3 hours, in between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.  It was mild at first, around my ankles and back of my knees.  Over a few weeks it gradually became worse, interfering with my entire life.  I wasn't sleeping and the rash was staying around for longer periods of times and it was spreading.  But lets back up a bit.   My feet and ankles started itching with no hives about a year before my mom passed.  She passed in 2017.  My feet and hands are always cold so I chalked it up to poor circulation and didn't give it much thought.

About three months ago the hives started slowly showing up an then it happened again....For the third year in a row Mastitis has set up in my right breast.  What the heck?  Mastitis is a clogged mammary duct/gland that leads to infection.   Breastfeeding moms sometimes get this not menopausal women.
The first year of my boob infection I treated it at home with all natural remedies.  But as any woman would be I was concerned there might be an underlying issue.  A quick trip to a breast specialist to calm any fears was needed.  She was impressed with my ability to treat the infection naturally.  However she prescribed (and a I took) antibiotics.  Then she wanted a mammogram, absolutely not!  I requested a breast ultra sound.   That's right, an Ultra sound is safer and better than a mammogram.  Have you ever had a mammogram come back bad?  The first thing they do is order an ultra sound.   So I bypassed the mammogram and paid out of my pocket for the ultra sound.  Let me rant here for a little bit....why don't they just do the ultra sound to begin with?  It would save the insurance company money and the hospital time.  Our insurance will pay for a mammogram first and then the ultra sound if needed.   Last year I decided to let them do the mammogram to save myself some money.  MISTAKE!  I was bruised and sore for two weeks.  I was told my breast tissue was too dense and infected to see anything.  So they did an ultra sound a few weeks later that came back okay.  The technician doing my ultra sound said I would always need an ultra sound due to the dense tissue in my breasts even when it's not infected.  So why did they order another mammogram this year?  When I refused to let them do one they marked my chart as "patient refuses mammogram".   GRRR... our medical system is broken.

Complaining about the medical system is useless.  All I can do take better care of myself and do a little research about what causes mastitis in older women.   What I found out was it could be hormones or I eat too much junk.  Surprise surprise, that maybe why I've put on 40 lbs in 10 years.    So it was time for a change of lifestyle.  Eating better and going back to exercising.  Before moving to Podunk I was very active and thin.  I rode my bike 5-10 miles a day and I walked about 5 miles a day at work.  My diet was healthier as a single gal, cooking for one is hard so I ate a lot of salads.  Mr. Podunk likes good food, big meals and tasty treats.   All the sugar and carbs has destroyed my immune system.    I've almost all the signs of a candida overgrowth.  Which is basically a yeast infection in your whole body.  Never heard of it?  Neither had I, you can find more information about it here.  Eating well and treating it with a few home remedies should take care of it in a few weeks.   One of the biggest and hardest changes has been no sugar and cream in my coffee.  Cream I can live without but sugar... NEVER!   I've tried almost all the alternative sugars out there and Lakanto Monkfruit Sweetener is the best so far. Ideally I should use no sweetener, but come on, do I have to give up everything?!

I switched out my Diet Sierra Mist to Zetia.  It's a little pricey, $4 for a six pack but I only drink one a day.  This has no artificial color or flavorings.  It's carbonated, caffeine free and non GMO, sweetened with stevia.  It comes in several flavors as well as traditional soda pop flavors.

Drinks were a big change but the biggest will be BREAD, there's nothing better than homemade bread.  It's who I am, it's what I do, I am the best bread maker in the family.  How can I give up bread, pastries, and pies!  Finding healthy alternatives at the store has not been easy.  Oh they are out there but buyer beware, check the ingredients.  Most of the time if its low carb and low sugar they have added some sneaking ingredients that are carbs and sugar but are not labeled as such.  Gotta love the FDA and Lobbyist.  Since I can't trust a label I guess I'll just make my own.  After several failed attempts at bread this one is my favorite.  No gluten, wheat, or sugar and only 2 carbs each.  Wonder bread they are not and they don't hold a candle to my homemade yeast crescent rolls but they'll do in a pinch.  

My dad is also low carb so I sent a few home with him.  The rest of these will be frozen and used as treat every now and again.

So at this point I should be on the mend, right?   WRONG!  At first the diet change was great.  The hives were fading and then about 3 days into the new diet and BAM, the hives started getting worse.  It made my symptoms 10 times worse. Why?  I'm detoxing my body, internal organs included and with that comes some pretty awful side effects.  Detoxing faster than a body can absorb the toxins causes hives.  It's looking like there might be some damage to my liver, so I'll be getting some blood work done soon. 

  By this point I'm exhausted emotionally and physically.  The one thing they say will make the itching go away is my old diet of sugar and carbs.  So that's exactly what I did.  Not just a little cheat to knock the edge off the itch I went full blown PIG OUT.   White Castle sliders and frozen Jacks pizza!   Was it worth it?  NO...All hell broke loose in my body.  Not only did the rash get worse I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  My heart wasn't just beating fast and hard, it was thumping so hard it shook my chest.  I could feel it throughout my entire body.  I needed to stay calm and do everything possible to prevent my heart from exploding.  This is where all those years of being a mom came in handy.  As moms we learn to stay calm in times of great stress.  My mind drifted back to when I was in labor with my 3rd child and the hospital didn't believe I was in labor because I was so calm and not showing signs of pain.  When they finally hooked up the monitors to my belly they freaked.  I was in the last stages of labor.  You should have seen those nurses stepping and fetching.  All the while I remained calm.   45 minutes later I delivered a baby.   Anyway....this reminded me to stay calm, breathe slow and deep a few times and then cough.  Coughing can stop a heart attack, or so they say.   Maybe it was the breathing and the coughing or maybe shear luck whatever the reason I'm still alive.  I'd like to tell you I prayed but honestly the thought never even crossed my mind.  I was too busy trying to control the situation.  Right then and there I decided carbs and sugar will never be a large staple of my diet again.  

Many of you are probably thinking "why don't you just go to the doctor?'  All I can tell you is I always try to heal myself before giving into modern medicine.  Not that there's anything wrong with those who chose to use modern medicine.   Crazy?  Yep a little I suppose and if you want to get technical I have the papers to prove it!....LOL!  That's a story for another day.  

After a little more research I think this time I've found the answer(again). 
This magical powder has kept the hives at bay for 3 days!  I guess if your brave enough to drink this muddy glass of tasteless goo you deserve some relief from whatever ails you.

Now that the worst seems to be behind me I'll be headed back into studio.  After I clear away the cobwebs that can be seen when the evening sun shines into the studio.   Thanks again to all of you for checking up on me.  I'll do my best to stay in touch from now on.  


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  1. I've had hives 3 times in my life---twice when very young and they were food related. The last time was about 3 years ago --I had spent 4 days with someone who totally blew me away and out of my normalcy-the hives started when I left that place/person and by the time I got home (4 hours later) my entire body (and even unmentionable parts of my body) was totally covered in hives. Think of hives from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet and all points in between that was what I looked like. It took 3 weeks for them to fade into never again land :-) As in, I will never again spend time with this person/place. Final conclusion from Dr is that stress will bring on the hives, and since I know now what caused it---do NOT repeat. :-) Yours sound much worse than mine--I cannot imagine giving up bread :-) Especially home made

  2. Lea Anne, i'm sorry to hear about your diet and health struggles. I have been VERY blessed with exceptional health. I agree our health care system is a mess. I don't necessarily agreed with going back to an old lifestyle that was known to be part of the problem, but then a complete change of lifestyle isn't usually recommended either. My family has been changing our eating habits over the last yea and a half to two years. It's not easy, takes a lot if discipline but the end results are worth it. I'm going to try those rolls. I've not had good luck with making any of the keto breads. I'm happy to hear you are feeling better. I have missed you. Also glad to hear Ms. Klahleesi is still with you. A blessing and a stresser, but she's worth it!!

  3. Lea Anne---that is so much to go through! I'm glad you're on the mend and hope this works! We've missed you!

  4. Hi Lea Anne, I'm a Registered Nurse and I always use non-conventional methods to heal myself whenever possible. In fact, being an RN really turned me off to a lot of medical interventions!
    Right now I don't have anything going on but my husband and I are trying to lose some weight and our diet is sort of Keto. When I overload the carbs I just feel awful. Sluggish, etc.
    Good luck and hope you are on the mend for good!

  5. I had to comment and at least ask you to look up Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. I have that along with POTS syndrome. So many of the things you said set off my radar. I have lots of food problems that the holistic world said was candida but mine ended up not high. It was high histamine foods causing the reactions (and dyes and garbage ingredients). Clay helped me too for about a month. My heart goes nuts for numerous reasons. But structurally it’s fine.
    I just wanted to mention it, so you could see if it fits for you at all. I hope not, but had to say something just in case!

  6. OMG Lea Ann. I totally get the aggravation with medical care. I do all I can to avoid the whole mess. I went through hives when we had all our windows replaced back in MD. I reacted to caulk they used and no doctor helped, saying take zyrtec. Finally a friend suggested an acupuncturist who worked with allergies (NAET system) who turned the tide. I went to him for months later, as he slowly balanced me for food allergens. Not every acupuncturist does this system though. He said my body wasn't absorbing the nutrients from the food I ate so he worked on that. I miss him!
    Good luck with Caleesi. I've heard a shepherd connects with one person usually, but we had a fearful reactive dog once and it was no day at the beach. It came down to him building confidence. I exposed him to lots of people, and had him shake hands with all he met. I kept wild kids away from him as it set him off all his life. Milo is a wild kid! He's even growing up now that he turned 2. Also we found out the reactive dog had food allergies that tormented him, so when we addressed that (and it was a royal pain) he calmed down 100%. My nephew had a milk allergy and acted very aggressively when he had hidden milk accidentally too.
    So the gist? check the pup for food related issues, and find an excellent acupuncturist to settle down your whole system if you can. I found the needles not to hurt at all for the most part, and the side benefit was I became even more creative! LeeAnna

  7. I can't add anything except ... OMG!! At 82, I've gone through some "not so fun" things so totally and completely emphasize with you. Take care, know you've been missed and get yourself and family back to feeling better!! Miss hearing and learning from you ...

  8. I was happy to see Christine S.'s comment about POTS and Mast Cell Activation Syndrome because I was going to suggest that also. I never had allergy problems until menopause, but then I became so sensitive to so many things! Doctors didn't have the answer and they suggested it was psychological(grrr). Then I learned about histamine overload and with POTS and MCAS and it all fell into place for me. I now know what foods to specifically avoid and life is so much better! Sadly, dairy, egg white, chocolate, nightshades, citrus are history...but so are all my symptoms. It's worth it. There is still PLENTY of wonderful things I can eat, including bread. Good luck to you, and I admire you taking your problems into your own hands because modern medicine is good at trauma and antibiotics, but fails when it comes to individual wellness and all of its quirks. We must do that ourselves!

  9. Yikes! You have really been in misery. Hope you have finally hit on the solution and can be on the mend permanently.

  10. Dr. meds work backward on me most of the time, Hope you have your problem straightened out

  11. I too have had the ultrasound to read my dense breasts. Have quit going to mammograms! Had wondered what happened to you, so glad you are getting help that is finally helping! Will be keeping you in my prayers. May you find the peace you need to cope with all this.

  12. That was exhausting and I was just reading about it! It had to be awful to actually experience it. I know it was because I had hives from antibiotics and from nerves-not pleasant and mine was short term. I'm so glad Khaleesi is doing better but sad they turned aggressive at one point. Very glad you two have sought help instead of abandoning her. I wonder if she remembered being mistreated by a man in the past. I need a mammogram but sure would love to get an U/S instead. Do you know how much more it runs? I'll have to check with my insurance if it affects anything. The tight wad company I retired from keeps screwing us over with our health insurance. I could understand if they weren't making Billions in profits and I'm not exaggerating. It's the largest telecommunication company in the USA and getting greedier by day by day. So this year I have to pay 1300 out of pocket before the insurance will pay a penny. Last year it was less and the insurance only paid like 50 bucks by the time I paid my part, then it was a new year. I could go on and on about insurance and retirement but won't. Have a great upcoming weekend.

  13. So sorry about all of your health issues. I am totally in your corner about doctors and their medications. You can wind up being sicker than when you started. As far as sugar and flour - getting off of them can be done, but you have to do it cold turkey. Yes your body will detox and that is painful as well, but it is worth it in the long run. Cheating, especially with sugar, will make your body do just as you described above. I have gone off sugar and flour and I have also fallen off the wagon and had some of each and suffered the consequences. I am hoping you feel much better and stay that way.

  14. Six months ago, my husband I began eating Keto. We never want to go back to the way we were eating before! I know you will feel so much better!

  15. Lea Anne, I'm so sorry to hear about the awful health problems you've been experiencing. I'm glad you are finally seeing some improvement. I hope your quilting will provide some enjoyment and relief to you.

  16. So sorry to read about your illness, I was worried about you! It's awful when something hits you out of the blue like that. Hopefully you will be on top of it soon. Hope it helps a little to know a lot of people will be thinking of you. xxx

  17. Definitely not fun stuff. Crossing my fingers that you are starting to get a handle on all the triggers and keep getting better. I think being educated about what might be the cause of things is always a good thing and insisting on what you know is best for you when you see the doctor is a good thing. Hope you continue to improve and can get back to stitching.

  18. Oh, my, what a time you have had...

  19. Hi Lea Anne,
    I am so sorry, I feel your pain. I had hive from the time I was 2 till I was 30. The last time I had a full on head to foot attach, my doctor said enough is enough. He went with me to the hospital, put me in a temp room, who new they had temp rooms, and told me he was going to give me a shot of adrenaline. He was doing this because they were starting to move into my lungs. Long story short 30 minutes later I was walking out of the room and I have never had them again. You might want to check into it.
    I sure will keep you in my prayers and hope you get better.

  20. Hi!!

    I sent you an email because I had the same thing a few times and it was NOT Candida. Yes yeast was elevated but that was a symptom not the reason. Please let me know if you don't get my email.

    It took doctors months and so many many medications later to finally realize what the heck was going on.

  21. So sorry to hear of the ordeal that you have gone through!!! And the clay water: yow!!! I've seen on documentaries that birds will go to certain cliffs to eat the clay so they aren't poisoned by the seeds & berries that they eat. You can tell your hubby that you are really a gorgeous Amazon parrot hiding in a human body!! :-D I hope you continue to improve and your body settles down!!! Hugs and kisses and prayers for you!!!


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