Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Dark Tunnel

Well, between my last post and now, things went down hill.  This has been a very hard trial and where I thought I saw light before has since disappeared.  Prayers are greatly appreciated.

In my last post I mentioned about a wig.  Well, I finally found one and got it styled and wore it out a few different times.  Unfortunately, it has come about that wigs are not quite for me.  The longest I wore it was to my ladies Bible study.  We meet at 9 a.m. and usually wrap up by 11 or noon.  I think that day we wrapped up at noon so I wore it for 4 hours straight.  Everyone loved the wig and thought it was great, but by the time I got home my scalp was in so much pain I couldn't stand it.  I haven't really worn the wig since.  So if I go bald, I am probably going to be wearing a Buff on my head.

May and June have shown more hair loss and weight too.  Down to 96 lbs even though I am eating more.  And I have been having what I call cortisol attacks.  Others might call them panic attacks.  Whatever, I began having these attacks.  One May morning after not sleeping most of the night I went and got the blood test my endocrinologist ordered for me back in February.  I had not been able to do it because of getting so ill in February.  Anyway, that test came back with a high cortisol reading and the A1C was up to 5.7.  So my endocrinologist (Dr. Kim) sent me a letter with the test results saying I need to schedule an appointment.  What alarmed me in the letter was that she said I have pancreatic insufficiency.

Back in February she had given me a prescription for a digestive enzyme called Creon.  I filled the prescription, but did not take it because of all the mess I was going through.  Finally in May I took my first couple of pills and it seemed to instantly calm my cortisol attack.  But my tummy seemed to get upset by the pills so I stopped them.  A few weeks later I was having another bad cortisol attack and decided to take the Creon again to see if it would calm the attack.  It did the same thing again minus the tummy upset. So I have been taking them ever since and it has really made a difference in my digestion.  I can eat without the pain which has plagued me for years.  After seeing Dr. Kim she assured me I don't need to worry about diabetes right now, so that is a load off.  And we decided that my pancreas most likely got damaged from the sepsis in 2007.  And she said with how sick I got in February I should have gone to ER.  She said I could have been septic.

Unfortunately, the cortisol attacks returned after a few days of taking the Creon.  And more hair fell out making my hair even thinner.  I also went to Dr. Lara, and she seems to think that if I can get some good sleep under my belt that all this will go away.  She gave me some pills that were supposed to help me sleep, but I didn't like them.  So I just been sticking with my regular Xanax to help me sleep and taking the herb Ashwaganda which is supposed to help balance cortisol and it really has been helping.  Except I think it might be the cause of my loose stools.  Sigh, always something.

Thankfully, in all this mess, one evening my sweet hubby came home with a big bouquet of flowers for me.  It was so wonderful because I had been having a cortisol attack all day.  So he took me to urgent care.  There they told me they couldn't do anything for me, but then I asked them if I could get a scan of my adrenal glands to make sure there isn't a tumor or something.  So they ordered me a CT scan of my adrenal glands.  So I am getting that tomorrow.  Hoping if there is something wrong that it will show up.  If all is well, then I will have to trod the "mental" route.  Which I have my first counseling appointment this Thursday, sigh. 

Latest pic of me with my thinning hair.
Doesn't look bad with all the hair pushed forward.



Friday, April 12, 2019

Finally Seeing some Light

Just a warning, this is going to be a novel, so grab a hot beverage and get cozy.  :-)

The last time I wrote I was working on my health.  What I failed to mention was that there were family issues going on and they were so stressful that my health was on the rocks.  The Christmas season was a little stressful, but not too bad.  We got to see our grandsons and give them gifts, which was totally a blessing of the Lord.  The key was lowering my expectations, oh how necessary that was. Instead, I placed my expectations with the Lord and waited on Him.  A better place to be I think.  ;-)

January seems a blur, but health-wise I remember my hair began thinning more so I went to the doctor to have my thyroid checked at the advice of my sister, who had the same issue going on.  My sister's doctor put her on thyroid med.  For me, that wasn't the case, my thyroid came out to be fine.  I followed up that appointment with an endocrinologist in early February, who checked out my thyroid via ultrasound.  It was normal.  At the time I went into see her, I had some swollen glands in my neck, which she checked those and said they were normal despite being swollen.  She said I must be fighting something off so best thing to do was rest.

So the next day I stayed home and rested.  Mind you at the same time this was all going on I was still trying to keep my fungal rash stuff under control through diet and supplements.  It was at the end of January my bowels began cramping and doing unusual stuff.  I thought it might be from the supplements that I was taking.  But then the day after resting with my swollen glands my bowel went crazy.  I don't know what happened, but I was on the floor of my bathroom and the pain was so bad I nearly passed out.  Then I exploded from both ends and my body went into shock.  Afterward I went to my GP and all he could say was that I had some kind of viral infection.  He seemed unconcerned.

So I went home and tried to carry on my life as normal, but I didn't feel well.  Then exactly one week later my bowels began cramping like I have never felt before and I completely emptied out.  Another week went by and it happened again, but less severe that time.  I had been missing my ladies Bible study group and I wanted to go, so I bit the bullet and went.  I thought once I was there it would make me feel better.  It was February 23rd, and I was sitting with the ladies and all the sudden I had this weird feeling wash over me.  I felt like I was going to pass out.  They prayed over me and I finally got stable enough that I drove myself home.  After that day that feeling kept plaguing me.  It was so bad I sometimes felt like I was going to die.

The feeling would plague me whenever.  I couldn't go out very often for fear I would pass out in a public place.  I didn't know what was causing it.  My arms would get a numb/tingling feeling, sometimes it would be in my legs too.  Sometimes it would last hours, sometimes days.  I basically had no control.  As for my bowel, it was doing better, but not completely.  I didn't know if the two were related.  So I went to my bowel doctor and after exam he thought I am fine, but ordered a CT scan to see for sure.  So I got that set up for March 19, but then had to reschedule it to April 2nd. I also went back to my GP's office and they ran a load of blood tests which all came back normal.

During this time, my weight dropped down to 96 lbs, which I had never been 96 lbs in my adult life.  Anyway, praise be to God, exactly one month from the time the spells started they stopped.  So thankful the Lord had mercy on me.  However on March 23rd my kitty injured herself and was in tremendous pain.  She was shaking and she had vomited.  I took her to the emergency vet as it was a Saturday night.  They couldn't find anything wrong with her they just gave her a nausea shot and fluids.

On Monday I called around and finally got Daisy kitty into a vet.  Again they couldn't find anything wrong with her on exam.  So we did blood and urine tests.  Nothing.  Then we did xrays and again, nothing.  So they sent us home with pain medicine.  Daisy did not like the pain medicine and fought it so much we gave it up.  So we just let her be, but she was in horrible pain, I couldn't stand it.  I did not know what to do, I thought of putting her down, but she was functioning and healthy otherwise.  This is when I noticed my hair was falling out again and a bald spot emerged.

Finally it was the day that I prepped for my CT scan.  I had the kind of scan where they fish a tube and wire down your nose into your small bowel.  It was nasty getting the tube and wire in, but it got done.  Then the scan wasn't bad until they injected the dye and wow!  Anyway, I was woozy after that, but I had to get Daisy to the vet since my trusted side kick (hubby) was with me.  We had noticed that Daisy was limping on her left back leg.  So the vet examined and pushed and pulled and xrayed.  They gave us a better pain med and we came home.  Well, we had been praying for Daisy and lo and behold the next day Daisy was better.  Mark and I think that she must have dislocated something in her back leg and when the vet did her exam she pushed it back in place.  I did have her on the pain meds for some days which helped her be more comfortable, but after a few days she didn't need it anymore.  Praise the Lord!  So I have my little friend back, she is sitting here beside me as I type this.  What a blessing she is!

As of right now, I got notice from the hospital where my CT scan was performed, that my bowel is fine, no blockages.  And my liver, gallbladder and pancreas are fine as well.  And thankfully as of this writing my bowel has calmed down and is working better and I have finally gained a couple pounds.  I gave up all the supplements I was taking and switched to different ones are targeted on my anxiety.  I have learned that anxiety affects our bowel is a huge way.  And I took up drinking Apple Cider Vinegar (Bragg's) in water before breakfast, which has completely cleared up the fungal rashes.  And I began taking a supplement called Triphala which has been helping my bowel return to normal next to eating prunes.  ;-)  Also switched to a high potassium diet and began using progesterone cream.  Hoping all the changes help me get back to health and grow me some hair.  ;-)

Also, another interesting thing in all of this mess was the use of alternative sweeteners.  I decided to use Stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol.  They are supposed to be natural and without much side effects.  Well, when I ran into those horrible bowel problems I had been using those for months.  I stopped them when the bowel issues came on me.  Since stopping them I am doing better.  So I am kind of thinking that maybe those alternative sweeteners are not as safe as they say.  This girl is sticking to coconut sugar, cane sugar, maple syrup and honey.  Just learning to use less of them.

As for the hair journey...you must stay tuned!  I bought my first wig on-line and it came this week.  Unfortunately, my hubby and I didn't like it, so I sent it back.  The wig companies are great about returns and make it easy.  So nice!  On April 16 I am scheduled to meet with Terry to have consult about wigs.  I am excited.  For right now I am wearing wide headbands to cover my bald spot.  Its been fun.  Been watching tutorials on You Tube about make up and having fun with trying that. I turned 58 this March and I feel I am embarking on a new journey.  Sending you big blessings for your journey...XO


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Trying to keep it positive...

Well, all I can say is life has been challenging.  But then I think of friends that have had great challenges as well.  Such as my friend Cheryl who lost her sister to cancer in November.  Another friend struggled through her husband having cancer only to find that she herself has cancer also.  She is not doing well this holiday season as the brain cancer has taken away her ability to walk and she is confined to bed. She is looking forward to being with Jesus any day now.  I could not sleep well for a couple night when I heard of Helen's condition until the Lord helped me realize she is blessed to be going home.

Well, on to another topic, my health and the candida saga.  I was doing the candida diet which is very restrictive.  Unfortunately it triggered my eating disorder thinking where I began looking at food as my enemy.  (In my teens I struggled with two different eating disorders.)  Anyway, my weight dropped under a 100 pounds, so I said goodbye to the diet.  Wasting away to nothing is only going to kill me not candida.  I do still stay away from white sugar for the most part, but I have allowed bread back into my diet. Thanks be to God, I heard about the probiotic called Florastor.  There was information on the web that it can help with candida overgrowth.  So I gave it a try and I am so blessed and grateful to the Lord that it has been helping.  The rash on my face and hands has cleared up and my tummy is having less pain.  PTL!

In other news, we just had our roof redone again in less than a year.  In 2017 a nasty hail storm passed through our area in the spring.  It was a big deal because our local mall was so damaged by the storm that it was closed for many months. Many cars were damaged as well as many homes.  Every house on our street had to have its roof replaced.  Then this summer another nasty hail storm passed through and ruined our roof again.  It has been a blessing in disguise.  We were not impressed with any of our prior roofers so we decided to hire our neighbor's roofer.  We are so glad we did because he has been honest.  Mark had been on the roof and noticed some things that were not right.  Prior roofers ignored Mark's concerns, but this roofer noticed them without being told and was concerned for us.  When the old roof was removed he uncovered the shady things the prior roofers had done.  Essentially, our roof deck has been falling apart and nobody was telling us.  One of the roofers had done a patch job that they never told us about.  Its really sad that there are so many dishonest roofers out there and they prey on people in their time of need. This time the job was done right and we are thankful.

Well, the Christmas season is upon us.  Been watching loads of Hallmark movies...lol.  And surprise to us, we have our Christmas tree up early for a change.  Our two kitties, Dusty & Daisy, were very excited when the tree came.  Dusty, at the ripe old age of 16, was running around and under the tree.  It puts a smile on my face.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, November 24, 2018

This is for all the lonely people...

If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  John 15:19

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

There are times when people will exclude you, not want to talk to you, or be interested in what you have to say.  There are times when people will dislike you for seemingly no good reason at all.  When this kind of treatment happens at the holidays it can be especially painful, but if you are a Christian, please remember the above scripture verses and take heart.  Also, remember to look for the little blessings the Lord has set in your path and for ways you can bless others.  Doing so, will keep your focus off of what you can't have.

I hope this helps to make your holidays merry & bright.  God bless!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Sentencing

This past Monday I attended son #2's first sentencing.  He has another one this coming Monday.  Thankfully the Lord provided a friend to go with me.  Oh my, was it ever a hard day!  It took a lot out of me.  I just have to get through this next one and it will be over.  Honestly, I feel like it has been a sentencing for myself.  Having to face up to things I did not expect or that I saw and did not want to believe.  Also, been doing a lot of replay of the past and sorting things out.  I can't tell you how painful it is.  Not so much because of things I've done, but because of good things I wanted that have not materialized.  And too because of things lost...the agony of that brings a dark cloud.

The day after the sentencing I woke up with an inflamed face.  The rash was back and and my eyes were red and puffy and my hair was falling out.  So I decided I needed a treat day.  On top of that it was a cold, gloomy day and it started snowing.  So I went out to lunch with Mark and treated myself to gluten free sweet potato pecan pancakes with bacon and hot coffee.  It was absolutely perfect!  At the restaurant we ran into one of our old pastors and a deacon.  It was nice to say hello and be on friendly terms even if we don't see eye to eye.

The rest the week has been full of housekeeping, cooking, baking, a little shopping and resting with my kitties. Can't think of anything else to say so I will end here.  Have a happy weekend y'all!

Here is a pic from July 2018 when we went camping at Kenosha Pass.
This was after my DIL had taken the kids away, I look worn out.
I really needed this trip, had a lot of fun with Mark.
Also got bit up by mosquitoes...hehe.
Since then I have learned that mosquitoes are attracted to the color black.
So don't wear black on a camping trip like I am in this picture.
 
 

Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Candida/Leaky Gut Journey

Today I've decided to talk about my years long battle with Candida.  Ever since the last surgery on my bowel in 2013 I've had issues with fungus even with taking probiotic and eating and drinking probiotic foods.  It got bad after I left the hospital, so much so that I was prescribed an anti-fungal med.  I also had to use an anti-fungal powder on my tummy around the incision area.  It eventually cleared up and I thought I was all done with it.

A couple years later my face broke out in odd red patches. I tried to self treat thinking it was eczema.  By the time I went for treatment at urgent care it had gotten infected and I had to go on antibiotic.  The whole ordeal scared me.  I went to my GP to talk over what happened and what I could do to stop this from happening again.  She was less than concerned and not helpful other than to prescribe medication that I never took. I've never gone back to her for anything since then.

Now a couple years out from that, I am reliving the experience.  This time I didn't let the red patches get so big before I went to my neighborhood urgent care facility.  The doctor there was very sharp and recognized it was fungal.  He prescribed a cream which got it to clear up for which I am so thankful.  But, I did research online since doctors tend to give drugs rather than information.  In my research I came across people that said their rash came back after using the creams.  Sure enough, a couple patches on my chin looked like they were trying to make a come back.  Ugh!  So I did even more research and came to the realization that more than likely I have leaky gut (which conventional doctors don't recognize as legit).  It makes sense that my bowel is damaged after all the crud I have been through medically (loads of antibiotics) and stress-wise.  Anyway, it boils down to me needing to change my diet and lifestyle terribly so.

Also, I made the discovery that iodine kills fungus (Candida).  Low dose iodine drops in a glass of water once a day have been helpful. Also, remember those little bottles of iodine that our parents used on our cuts and scrapes when we were kids?  Well, I discovered Walmart carries a colorless version and I've been applying that to the patches on my face and hands.  It stings, but it helps take some of the itch out.  However, its not a cure by itself.  I made the iodine discovery before I went to the urgent care doctor. When the eczema care was not working I took a wild guess that the patches were fungal. I started using silver and the topical iodine. It responded to the treatment better than the eczema care, but it wasn't curing it, thus visiting the doctor.  With his diagnosis of it being fungal and the anti-fungal cream he prescribed clearing the patches up, I knew I was on the right track.

So with my suspicion being validated I knew what vein to research for self treatment.  I can say, with the addition of a new diet and fungal supplements I seem to be making better progress.  Praise God!  Here are the measures I am currently taking:

Anti-fungal Supplements:  NOW brand Caprylic Acid 600 mg 2x a day (planning on adding a 3rd pill at some point) & Gaia brand of Oil of Oregano 3x a day. 

Diet:  Elimination of sugar and foods with white flour.  Basically trying to follow "The Perfect Health Diet".

Also, I've learned about probiotics, the kind you can eat and the pills. I learned that you have to be careful when choosing a probiotic supplement because some contain a "prebiotic" which can be very harsh on the bowel.  And I had picked up a very good brand of probiotic, only to learn it had "prebiotic" in it.  Oh my!  It did a number on my bowel. Thus, I decided to eat my probiotic through yogurt and sauerkraut and also eat my "prebiotics" through veggies. But even that can be too harsh.  Thus some application of the GAPS diet via "bone broth".  I can say that the broth has been very helpful and settling to the digestive tract. And I am also taking Vital Proteins hydrolyzed collagen powder.  And just making the realization that treatment is all about the individual and balance. And that too much of a good thing can be harmful as a bad thing. As the saying goes:  All things in moderation.

Through all of this, I am gaining a whole new take on food being healing rather than a party.  It is hard especially when we associate food with comfort.  With it being Autumn I think of trips to the apple orchard, apple pie, pumpkin pie, apple cider & hot buttermilk biscuits slathered with apple butter.  Or how about Starbucks wonderful Autumn coffee drinks and baked goods?  All those Autumn goodies contain white flour and/or sugar.  Sigh.  But, I am finding that my homemade no sugar added applesauce with lots of good spices is satisfying.  Did you know that adding some fresh ginger root to applesauce is delightful?  A new autumn treat for me!  :-)  Also, I've been making my own broths and learning to cook and bake with new ingredients (gluten free). It basically boils down to taking care of myself in a greater way.  After all, I am not getting any younger and being older I am finding it takes more time and pampering to keep "me" going.  ;-)

I may make this a regular topic I post about.  It will be good to track progress and share recipes.  Until my next post, God bless y'all and Happy Autumn! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Life goes on...

Happiness is not found in marriage or work; or ministry; or children.  Happiness is found by being secure in Jesus.  ~Corrie Ten Boom

Its been a long time since I last posted.  It has been a roller coaster of a time.  In going through piles of papers I came across an old journal and the above quote was written in it.  In my life I have experienced this quote to be true.  In a messy life the only true source of comfort is Jesus.

I no longer do daycare.  Although I dearly love children, it became to overwhelming and was taking a toll on my health.  Actually, I went to the Lord and asked for a break and He graciously granted it.  However, the way my break came about was not with all pleasantries.  It came in a harsh and cold manner.  The last day I sat my grandsons was June 25, 2018.  I got to see them for a few hours in August when Mark's parents were visiting, but since then I have not been included in their lives.  To say the least, its been heartbreaking.

But as always, the Lord knows these things.  I have no power to change what has happened, however, He does.  So I live life in submission to Him and His plan.  He has all the power to change the situation, so I leave it all in His faithful and caring hands.  So life has been quiet and it has been so needed for my health.  I am working on a healing diet and trying to exercise when I feel well enough to do so.  So that is my life for now, the Lord has granted me to rest in Him.  Since I am not so bogged down hopefully I will have more time to write on this blog.