DRAFT TODAY, POST TOMORROW: Some posts may be in draft status until I (aka procrastinator extraordinaire) get around to posting them.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ceviche or seafood salad?

Yesterday, for breakfast, I had my leftover curry from True Food. Yes, for breakfast. It's basically rice for breakfast, right?

I was invited to lunch for professional reasons with a couple people I happen to like. They suggested Season's 52. I've been there before, so I know it's a pretty limited menu for me but I can eat there. When I arrived, I asked for the gluten-free and the dairy-free menus. When the waitress asked about drinks, I stuck with water, knowing that they sell their green tea from cans, only sweetened. Blech.

She discussed the specials on the right side of the regular menu. I told her I have the g/f and d/f menus but needed to also check on soy, yeast, and eggs. I was interested in the ceviche listed as a special. She came back and said that was okay so I ordered it to start, then the cedar plank salmon with only veggies--broccoli, carrots, spinach--only cooked in olive oil, salt and pepper. The people I was with ordered flatbread to start and tuna salads as well as tea, one canned green tea and one regular black tea.

Our starters arrived and the flatbread looked amazing. I took a bite of the ceviche and then waited for the waitress to come back. It was creamy. I've had creamy dressing that was safe but generally, creamy anything is not safe. She said it was sour cream. Oh, shit. Apparently, I was not clear because I only asked about soy, yeast, and eggs. Since it didn't have mayo (eggs), she thought it would be fine. I reassured her (what could be done at this point?) and she took it away.

The salmon was cooked well but I had to salt and pepper the whole plate of blandness. By the time I got back to the office (we were at lunch for a while) I had to go to the bathroom. Wow, that was yucky. My head was hurting too, but it wasn't too bad and I worked for a while longer.

I talked to a lady in my office who just recently gave me a recipe for ceviche. Although there are certainly lots of ways to make ceviche, she seemed as shocked as me at the sour cream. I guess I just have to make my own since "good" restaurants don't know how it's done.

I was leaving early to run an errand with my husband, and we discussed going to dinner after. While we were at Arrowhead Mall, he found the "Find me gluten-free" app for Android and we decided to go to Abuelo's, which we had seen on our way to the mall. Abuelo's has a gluten-free menu. The first question I asked was about what oil they cook the fajitas in and the waitress said vegetable oil so I sent her to find out if it was soy and gave her my "no" list.

She came back and said it is soybean oil and the manager said they could do a dry (no marinade, sauce, or seasoning) pork tenderloin with a side salad and olive oil and vinegar. I asked if I could get pico de gallo, salsa, and guacamole instead of the oil and vinegar, so that's what I ordered, while my husband had enchiladas and rice and chips and queso. The queso appeared to be that canned stuff you can get at Costco but he really liked the rice which had carrots and corn in it. My pork was cooked well enough, though dry on the ends, and the guacamole and salsa saved the dinner from blandness, but I wouldn't go back.

I was feeling really exhausted so I was glad that the movie theatre there didn't have late enough movie times for us. We went home and I started to read and then I was out cold. I slept on the couch for several hours, woke up and went to bed in the wee hours, and slept in. I probably slept for 12 hours. I'm not sure if the bad food did it to me or it was just catching up from not getting enough sleep in general.

I had some leftover pasta for breakfast/lunch. A few hours later, Mick had leftover pizza for a late lunch. I was hungry and that smelled amazing. I broke my sugar fast a half a day early (this is day 30 of 30) with a protein smoothie. It was frozen pears, almond milk, chocolate protein powder, cacao nibs, flax. I topped it with some Enjoy Life Seed and Fruit Mix - Mountain Mambo that I got in a gluten free daily deal offer. It melted since it stayed in the mailbox in Phoenix all day a couple weeks ago, so it's in my freezer now. It was fantastic, the combination of the "shake" and the crunchy topping.

For dinner, I made a fish taco recipe from my Paleo cookbook. It looked like the 2 pieces of cod I had thawed wouldn't be enough so I added some quickly thawed frozen shrimp to the marinade. I served it (not Paleo) on Tortillaland corn tortillas with lettuce, guacamole, and Drew's roasted salsa. Not bad. And I have some leftover for breakfast with some leftover rice from a previous meal.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Taller. And betterest.

Two students were ready for me today; one "JM" I had met before and the other "L" was new. In addition, when Dr. M came in, he had another student who was joining. She appeared to be much earlier in her education, just finding out what he was doing, so she wasn't on the rotation yet.

He referred to the activator as his pogo stick and demonstrated it on the newbie. It's interesting to hear the conversation but I have trouble remembering specifics to report here! While I was face-up, he found a spot on my face and had JM hold her finger on that point while he moved on to other adjustments. He moves my feet while I'm face-down and determines how certain adjustments need to be made.

There were some adjustments for, and associated discussion about, my pelvic area as well as the spine. It took a lot of adjustments around the head and neck before I had no pulling or discomfort when moving my head or arms as instructed. He would ask about how it felt and once commented about trying for betterest. Yeah, he made that up. I'm okay with that.

When we were done, he stopped me and said that I really am getting better. I agree. It's weird, because I don't feel great all the time, but I think I can see the difference in the adjustments. And I think I recover more quickly. And I got further through the day before I was sore. But I think he was really trying to tell me that he is not one of those doctors (all the ones I've seen) who have done nothing for me and told me they couldn't help me. He had mentioned to the newbie how some doctors talk about being "holistic" but they don't have either the time or the knowledge to do this thing that he does. He evaluates what needs to be done by touch and then adjusts somewhere else completely. It seems unrelated but I can feel the difference. I also don't realize some of the pain I have until he touches a spot, sometimes saying ouch or making a similar sound, and I realize that I'm tender or having pain, but wouldn't realize it.

Dr. M also said his number one priority for me is that I get enough sleep. He said it's more important than my diet or anything else. He is really trying to stress that I need to get enough sleep, and I don't and I'm going to struggle with how to actually increase my sleep.

Walking out to my car, I felt like I was walking like my friend J who has great posture. When I got in my car, I had to adjust my rear view mirror. I'm taller again!

After going into the office for a while, I met J for lunch at True Food. I love that place. I thought the Curry may have made me sick last time I had it but I wasn't sure if it was something else messing with me so asked if maybe there was sesame in it and the waiter said no, so I had the curry soup and the chicken panang--so I have a little leftover for breakfast. The food, the green ice tea, and the company--fantastic!

When I got home, I had an email from the Research center with my MRI results. The report I usually get showed that I had no change in my MRI from last year to this year.

1. Stable mild cortical atrophy.
2. Stable multifocal MS plaques....No new lesions have developed since the prior study and there is no evidence to suggest active demylination.
3. Stable mild mucosal thickening within the bilateral maxillary and ethmoid sinuses.

Okay, does that last one say what I think it does? I have a stuffed up type thing that goes on frequently; I've started associating it with my food allergy issues but they are looking at it in my MRI? Maybe I don't understand what it's saying....

The other report was something I don't think I've seen before. It included a Hematology Panel, Lymphocyte phenotyping, TSH (on a page by itself, was 1.97, expected to be in a range of .34-5.60), platelets, and urine/serum/creatinine labs. I don't even know what to look at here. I'm terrified that I should know more of this and I really don't want to do the work to figure it out. I've seen people post results of tests and thought, I have no idea what my results are or if that has been tested for me. What if this is important? What if it's not and I waste time researching it instead of sleeping? Okay, I'm going to bed.

Monday, June 25, 2012

In one end, out the other

My womanly time started while we were traveling this weekend. And I ate out that one meal, Saturday night dinner. The I had D (aka the shits) most of Sunday. And today, more D. Do I blame the period? Do I blame the meal? Maybe the sesame in the hummus.

Was this afternoon's D the end of Sunday's bout or because I had lunch out with the ladies from the office? We went to Armadillo Grill. I have had the salmon in parchment with veggies, no rice, no sauce, in the past. They had a blackened basa fish on the menu, so I asked some questions, got to see the ingredients in the blackened seasoning, and felt comfortable ordering it. It arrived with broccoli and wild rice. I asked about ingredients and she brought the box of rice out for me. Well, shit, it contains soy and yeast. They "replated" with more broccoli to replace the rice. As I was almost done eating, I saw rice on the fish and didn't finish. I was gurgly by the time I got to the office. From that or would I have been anyway?

Also, I'm very hungry. Like every time I eat. I mean, I usually fill up when I eat, but then a couple hours later, I'm seriously hungry. And I don't even eat Chinese food! There's no snacks to be had at this point. I have literally run out of snacks to eat. I'm tired of planning what to eat so. damn. many. times. every. day. And these Celiacs think they have it rough. Well, yeah, they do, but it could be worse, right? They could be me.

Some of my most momentous blows to the face have come from my expectations:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Back to the torture chamber

Yesterday afternoon, I was super hungry, so I had my mixed nuts. They were almost half and half cashews and almonds. I thought about the pistachio incident, and how cashews are related, so I hoped for the best and tried to remain aware to see what happened. Soon after I finished, I felt super full, almost a stomach ache; it was weird because I hadn't eaten a LOT, but I felt like I had eaten a big meal.

Soon after, I realized I had a little headache. The kind in the forehead, not my usual stress headache in the back of the skull and neck. Hmmm. I made it through class fine, didn't have pain, and made it home. I was feeling some tightness but I was running and standing around, so I didn't think too much of it and went to bed. This morning, I had the D, really emptied out, and felt better. Yep, pistachios and cashews are gone; mangoes too.

I went to see Dr. M for my adjustment in the afternoon. The student I saw a couple weeks ago talked with me first. She recently found out that there is cross-reactivity for mangoes and latex, but said if it didn't bother me not to worry about it. She mentioned that it's in stuff like clothing, but a lot of medical gloves are non-latex now.

J told Dr. M that I mentioned the numbness I have in a couple toes; I've had this for a couple decades (since my second back surgery) so I don't think of it as something treatable, but he did some adjustments on my feet (which he's done before) that seemed to be related. As he did that, my lower legs went tingly, and he did more adjustments, working his way up. He even did an adjustment on my forehead (with his finger, not the adjuster tool.)

While I was on my stomach, he talked with J and actually had her do some of the adjustments. It was interesting to listen but I couldn't repeat anything I heard at this point! Near the end of the adjustments, he has me move my head different ways and asks about what I am feeling, so he does additional adjustments.

When I left, I realized that my left mid-section was kind of numb. It actually seemed like the whole front mid-section was a little numb when I was driving home from work later. For just a moment, I wondered if it was an MS thing. Now it's just the left side. Hmm.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

And two hours later

This morning, I was going through my normal morning routine, and suddenly HAD to go to the bathroom. Fastest shit in the west, y'all. There's a gun trophy for that or something, right? Whatever made me sick the other day is gone now and I feel so much better.

Because of my recent hair loss and my eye problems due to Graves disease, combined with the lack of treatment for said disease--although I'm being treated with medicine for the associated hyperthyroidism--I decided to go see my naturopathic doctor. I haven't seen Dr. H in a couple months, so there were new students. They asked lots of questions, and Dr. H came in to check on what was happening, and then they asked me more questions.
I forgot (of course) to take the lab results from my last couple tests with me although I have my copies on my desk for this purpose; they are ordering copies. We discussed my overall diet briefly and I mentioned no sugar or alcohol while I'm doing the Celiac Care kit and getting rid of yeast (Candida?) in my body. It sounded like the student, K, thought that I was using something they offer but I'm not aware of them offering anything similar. I directed him to the website for the Nourish Celiac Care kit but it doesn't have specifics. He asked about probiotics; yes I take them, AND they are part of the kit, AND I'm trying to keep some yogurt in my diet (nearly impossible with the dairy AND sugar restriction).
The students conferred with the doctor and came back with recommendations. They added two supplements to my list: milk thistle capsules for liver function and lemon balm tincture for thyroid function support.
Lemon balm is mentioned in the scientific journal Endocrinology, where it is explained that Melissa officinalis exhibits antithyrotropic activity, inhibiting TSH from attaching to TSH receptors, hence making it of possible use in the treatment of Graves' disease or hyperthyroidism. (Note that the effects of lemon balm on hypothyroidism appear to be different, so it should probably not be used in that case.)
They also recommended an increase in antioxidants in my diet by eating vegetables (since I'm not eating fruit right now) of different colors.
****Dead silence****

Rrreeeaaally. Really? Really. Make that a moment of silence for common sense. I guess I don't eat enough vegetables, maybe, perhaps, but c'mon.

I got one at the medicinary for upcoming overnight travel, but I'm unsure what to eat it with since I'm not eating fruit.
My visit took over two hours; I also had to check out, schedule the next appointment, and get my recommended items from the medicinary. I never mentioned the hair loss issue, although I thought about it on the way there and while they were out of the room. I'm seeing different students for my follow-up visit in a couple weeks. At least that appointment is after my appointment with Dr. M at the same location. I hope that whole session is two hours.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Garden update - Am I in a movie about giant mutant bugs edition

I'm trying to do small amounts in the yard or garden each day since it's getting hot and I can't spend long periods of time in the heat. It wasn't too bad as the long shadows brought the yard into the shade. I went to the farm to cut a few flowers off our giant weed and check the zucchini plants. There was a yellow zucchini; it looked like it burnt in the heat. There were a couple green zucchini ready to come in. The butternut squash seem small but I think one might be about ready anyway. There are a LOT coming in. There are several watermelon on the (I think) four plants, and one looks like it went bad--it's kind of a black color, while the rest are green striped. They are round, not oval, so I think the largest of them is probably as big as they are going to get. I'm not sure why we have "space saving" watermelon; we certainly have room for larger ones.

While I was out there, I heard this buzzing and looked around. I noticed several of what I thought were those huge black bumblebees. And then I realized they weren't. What the hell are those?! They were flying around near the sunflowers, so I went in for a closer look, praying to the garden gods that I wouldn't get attacked by these damn things. I was very worried that the Palo Verde beetles* had made it back there AND were flying around.

*The bugs we've been calling Palo Verde beetles may not be Palo Verde beetles. We started seeing them shortly after a big duststorm and I found them dead in the front fountains and in the garage--dead, in the traps, at least! The bug we are getting rid of is more dark brown than PV beetle which is black; our (mostly) dead bugs are maybe an inch and a half long, so bigger and darker than German cockroaches. I saw a couple yesterday at my garden when I was tilling a square foot outside the box to get rid of some weeds; ew, I'm so freaked out.

Anyway, I watched how they were flying and landing and saw one hunting a huge horsefly (which we get seasonally since we are near a farm and a dairy; don't confuse these with the smaller housefly) on a sunflower leaf.

I have no idea what this thing is.

Or if it did this on my sunflower.

Or if they are good or bad.

I'm not sure I'm cut out for this mostly-organic gardening/farming stuff. Yeah, ladybugs and big red worms are awesome to find in the garden, while ants suck, earwigs and silverfish are the spawn of the devil, and spiders (and their webs) are annoying at best. But these huge mutant out-in-the-country bugs are giving me the creeps.


Yesterday, I had a really long day, a lot of stress. But I felt okay. I had a (kind of terrible) smoothie for breakfast, some nuts (almonds, Brazil, hazelnut, pecan, cashews) for a snack, green ice tea from AJs with my leftover pasta with sausage and vegetables (marinara, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, red/yellow bell pepper, garlic, seasonings) for lunch.

I came home and did a little front yard weed pulling, then moved to the back near the garden box but it was getting dark so I headed in. I had some salad and another serving of leftover pasta. It seemed like a big dinner, but a couple hours later, I was really hungry. We were just watching TV and I was reading online, but I was hungry enough to really think about what to eat. I decided on some pistachios. By the time I went to bed, I wasn't feeling great, but I had a helluva day.

I woke up early with an ache in my ear and tooth; I'm sure I was clenching my teeth. I went back to sleep and woke up feeling the same, but it did go away shortly after I got up and moving. What did not go away was the pain in my super low back area. Well, crap, it's a "what the hell did I eat" day. And I'm thinking through yesterday, and I'm guessing it's the pistachios. Damn, that sucks. Maybe it's not. But I can't figure out what else.

Like other members of the Anacardiaceae family (which includes poison ivy, sumac, mango, and cashew), pistachios contain urushiol, an irritant that can cause allergic reactions.

No cashews either? WTF. Will it be tree nuts next? It seems to me that I've eaten both without issue in the past, but maybe I was sick for so long that I didn't realize. I guess I'll stop eating pistachios and cashews for a while and maybe try again later. Damn. FML.

On the upside, I'm finally feeling better, although I don't think "it" came out yet.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Surveys say....

I completed my monthly monitoring survey as well as the NARCOMs Spring 2012 Update. The monthly monitoring for my drug trial always asks the same questions while NARCOMs asks some same and some not.

I picked this question to share because my vision is worse, but I don't think it's due to MS, but rather the side effect of being treated for MS which caused me to develop thyroid disease including Graves disease so I have inflammation, not only everywhere MS wants it but in my eye.

Functionality Update (Spring 2012)
Please read all of the categories, and select the single category which best describes your overall visual condition (with glasses if you use them) over the past month. Compare your current condition to your vision before you developed MS.
Normal Vision: Functionally normal; no limitations on activity or lifestyle.
• MS has not affected my vision.
• I wear glasses but otherwise my vision is normal.
Minimal Visual Disability:• My vision is normal, but it has been affected in the past by MS.
Mild Visual Disability:• I have visual symptoms of either blurred or double vision, but I am still able to do all of my usual activities.
Moderate Visual Disability:• Because of my visual problems, I have been forced to give up some of my usual activities, but after a period of rest I can usually return to these activities.
Severe Visual Disability:• I am no longer able to maintain my original lifestyle because of my vision, and rest does not seem to help my vision.
• I can no longer drive a car because of my vision.
Total Visual Disability:• I am essentially blind.
• I cannot read, even with aids.

I'm obviously not getting enough mail, email, and donation solicitations. Sign me up!

Lifestyle Update (Spring 2012)
We are interested in estimating the number of people with MS in the US and assessing how well NARCOMS participants represent the MS population as a whole. In order to get a more accurate count, we need to know about potential overlap in current databases.

Please indicate below whether you are affiliated with any of these MS organizations or registries as a member or a participant. If you are not sure, but receive mail or emails from them, please mark Yes.
National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS)
2.MS Association of America (MSAA)
3.MS Foundation (MSF)
4.New York State MS Consortium (NYSMSC)
5.Accelerated Cure Project (ACP)
6.United Spinal Association
7.Other (specify):
If yes, specify:
8.Other (specify):
If yes, specify:

Health Literacy Update (Spring 2012)
This information is on the back of a container of a pint of ice cream.
Nutrition Facts
Serving size1/2 cup
Serving per container4
Amount per serving
Calories 250Fat Cal 120
Total Fat13g20%
Sat Fat 9g40%
Total Carbohydrate30g12%
Dietary Fiber 2g
Sugars 23g
*Percent Daily Values (DV) are based on a 2000calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calories needs.

Ingredients: Cream, Skim Milk, Liquid Sugar, Water, Egg yolks, Brown Sugar, Milkfat, Peanut Oil, Sugar, Carrageenan, Vanilla Extract.
61. If you eat the entire container, how many calories will you eat?
62. If you are allowed to eat 60 grams of carbohydrates as a snack, how much ice cream could you have?
63. Your doctor advises you to reduce the amount of saturated fat in your diet. You usually have 42g of saturated fat each day, which includes one serving of ice cream. If you stop eating ice cream, how many grams of saturated fat would you be consuming each day?
(enter numbers only)
64. If you usually eat 2500 calories in a day, what percentage of your daily value of calories will you be eating if you eat one serving?
65. If you can eat two servings, how much ice cream would that be if you were to measure it into a bowl?
66. Pretend that you are allergic to the following substances:
Penicillin, peanuts, latex gloves, and bee stings.
Is it safe for you to eat this ice cream?
66.a If No, Why not?
page 3 of 4

Well, I didn't know I was going to have to do math or I wouldn't have done this right before bedtime!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Domos and dads and Depp

A friend of mine posts the funniest photos of domos with captions. I couldn't believe how large this domo is! He seems kind of angry about being stuck behind the glass with Spongbob's starfish friend.

I felt more bendy today than I have in quite a while. And I managed to get some decent (for me) bowling scores. Yes, I'm back to left-handed bowling.

141 isn't my high score, but close!
After bowling, we went with friends to Arriba so I could eat before going out with family. I had fajitas and brought my own chips to go with the salsa. We left and met family at Red Lobster. I know that sounds a little crazy but I literally cannot eat anything at (as my friend J calls it) Dead Lobster. When I looked at their allergen menu, I realized that they must get all their food pre-prepared and it's all cooked in soybean oil. That's quite a bummer because this part of the family LOVES Red Lobster for every occasion. We tried to reassure them that it was fine, we were there for the company, don't worry about the food part of it. We'll see what happens next time. I was kind of impressed that my husband ate with me at Arriba and just had a drink at Red Lobster. I thought it was pretty cool of him to stand by me that way, even if he was just eating what he wanted.

We watched part of Rango after lunch/dinner. I thought it was pretty cute. Depp makes a good cartoon character. It seems like a really good kid movie.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Rosy cheeks

I saw Dr. M for my chiropractic adjustments. He mentioned when I was done that I had rosy cheeks. I was pale this morning so I had to check. Yep, rosy cheeks!

and terrible thyroid hair
Next I was home to get the dogs and go to the vet for Teka's shots and Cassi's general check up, then back home to work.

Mick was home early so we could go across town to his niece's dance recital. I was easily annoyed by the self-absorbed people around us, but we made it through. The youngest kids went first, so I was surprised we stayed as long as we did. My SIL decided it was time to go when an older boy was doing ballet and was dressed traditionally. She thought his "package" showing was offensive. WTH.

No one had decided ahead of time where we were going and no one in the group lives out there, (why are all the recitals in Chandler anyway?) so we stood in the parking lot trying to figure out what was close. They seemed to think I know where everything is because we go out with friends in Chandler. Um, yeah, to BARS! Is that where you want to take your kids?

Mick got annoyed with me that I didn't know if I could eat at Applebees since that's where they finally decided to go. Well, his GPS told him the wrong location so we ended up going home instead of meeting them for dinner. As we drove home, I checked the menu. I hadn't added it to my "what I can eat at places" document because they have a separate document for every allergen they report on. After the man's anger (he says he wasn't angry) though, I went through them all and put together a list of terrible food I can eat if his family makes me go to Applebees. His parents apparently did NOT like it so I'm hopeful that won't happen.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Eggplant, hold the Parmesan.

After my doctor appointments, I went to Sunflower Market to pick up a few things. It is really, really, really frustrating to shop with my restrictions, but adding sugar to the "no" list makes it even more damn frustrating. Even the  "healthy" stuff has cane sugar, evaporated cane sugar, rice syrup, and so on. In the chicken breakfast sausages. In the protein powder. In the yogurt. The coconut milk yogurt. Even plain. In everything.

I'm not sure what to do about the yogurt since that used to be my natural cure for what ails me. The other option is cranberry juice, and let's face it, that is nasty without sweetener.

I found a replacement protein powder, actually the same brand but plain instead of vanilla or chocolate. All the other powders have soy or whey (milk) or splenda; even the hemp powder has cane sugar.

Would be better with cheese....and if I let it finish baking
My eggplant needed to be cooked since I took it off the plant the other day, so that was my mission tonight. Unfortunately, it took forever so I will be eating it another night, but I had some before it really had time to bake off and it was very good. I took instructions but had to make too many modifications to say I used someone else's recipe!

Preheat oven to 350. Slice the eggplant using a mandolin for thinnish uniform slices. Lightly salt and let sit while preparing breading. For breading, put 1 cup of unblanched almond flour in a shallow dish. Add generous amount of Italian seasoning (I think it was probably a tablespoon or more) and garlic powder (probably a teaspoon or two). Mix--I do this with my hands to make sure it's not lumpy.

Rinse the eggplant. (You can leave in a bowl of water, but I didn't.) Using the two-hand method, use one hand to put wet eggplant slices, one at a time, into the breading and use other hand to cover with breading. Shake off and put on cookie sheet. When all slices are breaded, put in oven to bake. The instructions said 5 minutes on each side. Maybe it's my oven, but I did 10 minutes on each side. Then layer in a casserole dish with marinara sauce and bake for at least a half hour.

My husband probably won't even try it but he did want to know what was going on because it smelled good. I would recommend peeling the eggplant, although I forgot. And if you can have cheese, by all means, don't effin tell me.

Trial extension update - month 12 edition

I met my care coordinator, L, for my appointments for Dr. M and Dr. G. First I filled out the quarterly questionnaires and signed the monthly monitoring check-in sheet. I also signed a consent form--the extension trial is being extended to 48 months instead of 36. I weighed in at 148--I'm gaining weight and I don't have to be happy about it, but apparently everyone thinks I look great.

I did the eye test with Dr. M. I was surprised that I was seeing a little better in the left eye than the right--that's unusual. He ran the usual tests with me. When I was standing with my feet together and my eyes closed, he asked if I knew I was moving. Um, yep, I'm trying not to laugh about it! He rechecked my reflexes when I had no or little reaction to the banging on my knees. He also redid the "cold" test on the tops of my feet and the vibration test on my left big toe. And *that* is how I know what's wrong with me, right?

Dr. G was running late, but L asked me if I knew someone named T. Yes, I had my infusions done the same time as him two and three years ago. She took me to see him; he was getting infused again. Eep! He's having a relapse--numbness. I've only had sporadic numbness; unfortunately, he was having that too. Dr. G said no worries but that won't keep me from worrying!

Dr. G commented on my disappearing--getting thinner--although we had this conversation last time I was in. He practically apologized for giving me thyroid disease and Graves disease. Huh, that surprised me a little. But he seems to feel that it's worth it since I haven't had a relapse in a couple years. L said she'll get my MRI results back to me faster than I've gotten them in the past.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekend - where have you gone edition

Whatever made me sick yesterday came out this morning and that made me feel much better. Not all better, but a lot better. I had a lot of work to do around the house so I did what I could, including making something to take for lunches for a couple days. Spicy chicken sausage from Sprouts, with diced onion and red and yellow bell peppers, garlic, zucchini, kidney beans, marinara, sweet potatoes (cooked in another pan, scooped out and then the pasta cooked in the same water), and pasta.

And then it was time to go see family. I took the chicken from yesterday and some guacamole and Crinkle Kettle Chips (like Ruffles but gluten-free) we picked up at Costco. I had some of the grilled vegetables; I was assured they just had olive oil, salt and pepper. I did not have any of the rotisserie chicken they had; the label included sugar. Actually, besides the sugar, it looked okay, but since I'm trying to not have sugar...and I brought chicken....

I swam and played with the kids. We finally got Cassi in long enough to get wet, and then got Teka to swim a little. I also had some watermelon; the dogs did too. In fact, they seem kind of obsessed with having more watermelon. I wasn't sure I'm allowed watermelon, but I had a piece.

When we got home I had a couple of  vegetarian stuffed grape leaves that we got at Costco; they were very good and I had some marcona almonds for some crunch. I also had a little snack of apple slices and cashew butter. I picked the cashew butter up at Fresh & Easy--no sugar, just cashews and oil--I poured some off before stirring.

I stayed up talking to my brother, and realized that I was either still not feeling well or not feeling well again. WTF. Is it my fault because I had watermelon, or an apple, or grilled vegetables, or something else...?

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Productive. I mean Produce.

I guess we can start with some pain issues. WTF. What am I eating that is messing me up so much? I did eat out yesterday but I had the panang at True Food which should be safe for me. Since I've been sick on and off, more or less one day bad, one day meh, maybe one day okay, then back to effin bad, I'm pretty sure it wasn't that. I don't know though--I don't know what I'm still eating that is sucking the will to live out of me. Or at least the will to do anything productive.

A lady I know sent me an email from another lady who had some extra collapsible dog bowls. I contacted her and she ended up having a bunch for me to pick up, so we dropped by on our way to run errands. As we left her house, I saw that they had a coupon in each one for Pet Club, our first errand. Sweet!

After Pet Club, we headed to Costco. We try not to go there on Saturday, but somehow that ends up being the only time we can go together. I was feeling somewhat okay but then, oh, so not. It was that "why are you walking, ouch, ouch" kind of pain. But you do what you have to do.

Someone has been telling me for a while that Costco has organic chicken but I've been to four or five locations and not found it yet. Until today! Yes, it's a little more expensive and we don't exclusively use organic, but I try to use some at least. We got some other things, but I said no when Mick asked me if we needed Food Saver bags. We got too many other things, and then headed home.

When we got home, I realized that the whole chickens were expired. And bad. Ew, gross. And that we should have got the Food Saver bags. Craptastic. So I headed back to return the chicken and buy some more chicken (all the other ones were fine, dated in the future!) and Food Saver bags. As I put everything away, I told Mick that I think we actually already have the bags, now that I see the box, but I don't know where. He found them on a shelf, so I guess we're well stocked for vacuum sealing.

The chicken was on before the corn
Mick recently got a rack to make chicken legs on the smoker so we bought legs at Costco. When we got home, he pulled a couple of ears of corn from the "farm" and I pulled my first eggplant and some parsley from the garden.

That's my eggplant!
I used a giant zucchini from the garden to make a recipe, Zucchini Cooked with Chermoula, from a cookbook "Recipes from Morocco" that was given to me a long time ago. It had a good flavor but it was very soupy and the zucchini cooked down too much and he wouldn't eat it at all and I wouldn't want to eat it again. The corn was either too early or didn't make it through the dust storm. And the chicken was just alright.
Meh. A lot of work for meh.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Greek-ish chicken

I had previously made some wild rice (Fresh & Easy) with cranberries and almond slivers, so I made it with raisins and some more almond slivers tonight to go with this recipe, Greek Chicken with Capers, Raisins, and Feta. The photo in "the best of Cooking Light everyday favorites" included sides of rice (or maybe couscous?) and zucchini so I added zucchini and red bell peppers to mine. I thought it was good; the chicken was moist and had that almost breaded quality like all the chicken at Buca di Beppo that I can't have anymore. But Mick didn't really like it, so it's not a repeater. Also, I realized after I made it (and now have leftovers to eat) that I probably am not supposed to be eating raisins.

Pain. Check. Brain. Check.

I thought I was starting to feel better yesterday, but I started to think it was getting worse last night. Then this morning, I was pretty sure it was getting worse. Oh, joy, a day of pain. Lovely. At least it wasn't super terrible pain.

When I talked to L at the research center to schedule my monitoring appointment, I asked if it was time for a MRI. After checking, she said yes, and got it scheduled for today. It's a couple hours out of my workday, but it has to be done. How else will I know if I still have a brain?

I've had at least five MRIs now. For the drug trial, they do a brain MRI and then the same thing with contrast dye. The contrast dye was shot into my vein, causing weird sensations in my leg and arm. Here's an excellent description of MRI from another person with MS:

"... they slide you into the tube in the same manner you’ve seen medical examiners push murdered bodies into coolers on crime shows and you vow to yourself that you will stop watching CSI. Just before the clicking and wiring, the buzzing and banging begin, you are alone with your breath. You focus, for a moment, on the mirror [on the cage above your eyes] and realize that you’d rather just close your eyes… and then you are alone. 100% Alone."

I've never had a mirror in the MRI, and I don't watch CSI, but that is pretty spot on.

This MRI seemed faster than I remember; some comments say that they have increased the speed, so there are complaints about missing our naps. I may have dozed off right at the end, but early on, I had this funny image. I've been at a couple presentations recently that showed this video:

and all I could think was that one of the sounds in the machine sounded like the video if you put it on super speed repeat. Then throw in some other really loud noises and, for good measure, some fast knocking:

I know you've always wondered. You're welcome.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Agility Fun Run

I bought this sunbutter recently, and finally decided to try it with some apple slices. It wasn't terrible but it's not peanut butter. The only ingredient is sunflower seeds. I think I'll keep it for smoothies but I can't see using it a lot for straight on eating.

I decided to go to one of the summer fun runs since it was so nice outside last night. I got there early, set the girls in a kennel and helped set up the course. My friend A was "in charge" and walked through the course for the novice handlers, but also gave some guidance for the excellent course. Last week, they had a skill builder class for working without commands or verbal cues. I know Teka prefers less arm motion and verbal cues but it doesn't always work--I can't always be silent, especially if she's not paying attention to me and my body language.

So we start at the 1 jump to a tire jump to the A-frame, front cross (hard to do with my girls after an A-frame) to a jump, U-turning to a chute. A had mentioned accelerating to the weaves, which worked for Cassi, but Teka didn't make it through and I ended up doing the novice (6) weaves that were set up on the outside of the regular (12) weaves. Then we were moving on to the 7 jump, to 8, and U turning to the 9. Teka missed the turning part but I was told it was her, not me.

She got her teeters just fine; since Cassi was getting hers pretty good, I treated them at the end. From there, I did a front cross one time and not the other, heading to the tunnel. I remembered to keep my arm up to keep her out over the jump. The dog walk was easy for Teka, but Cassi actually fell off and landed on the tunnel, scrambling off and around to me. I know I'm not supposed to freak out, so I just got her set up to go again and we did the dog walk.

From the dog walk, we did the triple the 16 jump to the 17. Some people did front crosses between but I wasn't in the right place, so I did a switch to the 18. They both got it really well. I front crossed as she came out of the tunnel and went over the last jump.

I was able to talk to A for a moment. She said that she could see it on the other contact obstacles (A-frame and teeter) as well as the dog walk that Cassi's back end is going out on her. Oh, I'm so sad! She didn't think I should do any contacts with her anymore, and should probably move her to a lower jump height as well, only to run in jumpers since the other courses have contact obstacles. Or I can retire Cassi completely, but I'm reluctant because she *likes* running agility.

We also briefly talked about Teka. She has so much fun and works with me in class--except those damn weaves. I'm going to register her in an upcoming weave class. She actually did the 6 weaves somewhat enthusiastically once she knew she didn't have to do the 12. That is so frustrating! What a mixed bag of emotions.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Fine on the outside; sick on the inside

Every time I get sick, I run through some of this and some of that in my head--what did I eat, what did I do, why is it like this? So this morning, when I had some double D, followed by some pain and not feeling great, but not terrible pain, I knew I did something. So let's go back.

This morning, I had a protein shake with chocolate rice protein powder, flax and psyllium, half a single serve container of chocolate coconut milk yogurt, some frozen peaches, pineapple, pears, and original almond milk. That should be alright, right? I had my tincture, tea, and supplements before drinking my breakfast.

Last night, I made chicken with salsa and pinto beans and served it over brown rice. Mick thought it was "bland" which was weird since I thought the chicken was cooked perfectly and it was really only missing some greens but I was too tired to do anything else, even making a salad at that point. I took my tincture, drank my tea, and took all my supplements and meds. I had an apple and honey peanut butter also. That seems okay, right?

For lunch, we ate out at Thai Lana, where I got questionable information about whether the curry would have soy in it or not, but she said they would leave it out. Uh-huh. Well, it was fantastic and I ate it all and was stuffed when we left. I actually was stuffed to the point of pain. Or was it pain from eating wheat via soy sauce? It felt like being stuffed, but who knows? I also had my tincture and supplements.

In the morning, I had some leftover wild rice and some chicken apple sausage links. I felt like I ate too much but I had it with me and didn't want to waste it. I was feeling constipated but managed to go to the bathroom a little a couple times during our bowling excursion. (I bowled terribly; today's high score was 94. Seriously. I was all over the place. WTF!) Was this the start of it?

The night before, I made salmon and wild rice with cranberries and almond slivers. I was surprised that he really liked it. I was feeling bloated. But that's to be expected on the second day of my period, right?

I had eaten leftover potatoes and some breakfast sausages for breakfast, leftover chicken curry I had made for lunch, and an apple and maple almond butter for a snack. I had done some yard work in the morning before the real heat set in; then proceeded inside to do housecleaning and laundry. I was EXHAUSTED and took a two hour nap before we had dinner, so it was a late dinner.

So my first instinct is to blame this on the restaurant meal, but looking back, I don't think I was feeling so great before that. But maybe it was unrelated. *Sigh* Although my pain is in the back instead of the tummy generally, I didn't "want to be touched at all." And I had a chest and upper back of the neck breakout (hives? no, it couldn't be hives.) a day or two before. Hmm.

I don't know how to make zucchini noodles. Almost.
I took it easy on the tummy (I think) tonight, with a mix of eggplant, zucchini, red and yellow bell pepper, onion, garlic, garbanzo beans, sweet potatoes, eggplant marinara with chicken sausage. All I can say is that I still feel kinda shitty and I need to clean up from all that veggie prep. But I'll be better tomorrow, right?