Archive for category Diet
My Thanksgiving and the last week has been awesome, and I’m so grateful for it.
My marathon training had been off to a slow start as I was dealing with some symptoms, fatigue being one of them. It was really hard to motivate.
My last two long runs – 10 and 11 miles – have been great. I did the second long run on Thanksgiving with my parents’ dog. She’s a great motivator & keeps me going fast.
So now I’m feeling like a marathon may actually be a possibility for me. I’ll be getting X-rays in February, so I’ll be able to see if I’m doing damage, but so far I feel great. I love the feeling of getting out and running. I’m so grateful to live in a place with such awe-inspiring running trails.
Then I spent the rest of Thanksgiving cooking – 2 gluten-free, dairy-free pumpkin pies, 1 gf, df pumpkin bread, and a grilled zucchini/squash salad tossed with garbanzo beans and olive oil. Yum! My family was very supportive of my restricted diet (with a little teasing, of course!). I am consumed with gratitude for my supportive family and friends.
Also, perhaps one of the biggest things I’m thankful for: my symptoms have been really minimal. AND, I’ve gotten the hang of the syringe, so self-injection is finally pretty painless. The verdict: I definitely like the syringes better than the pens. Way less pain, bruising, swelling and uncertainty.
I hope you all are off to a great, pain-free start to the holiday season.
GRIT: noun – firmness of character, determination or strength of character
I think some people are born with a natural abundance of grit. I think my grit, the will to persevere and the optimism to keep going is learned, practiced and fickle.
I’m still trying to figure out why sometimes I’m so strong and determined, and why other times I want to pull covers over my head and never leave my bed.
I think something about the beginning of October triggered the ostrich response in me. Suddenly I bounced from I can do anything to I don’t want to do anything anymore.
When I was diagnosed with my RAD new disease back in March, my doctor marked autumn as the time when I could possibly be in remission and we’d be looking at getting off the methotrexate, and later the Enbrel. My September doctor’s appointment was instead met with an increased dosage of methotrexate and the news that the MTX may not even be working yet. Doc’s new goal for remission: spring 2013.
That’s actually kind of good news because it means when it starts working, I’ll feel a lot better. But also, really?!?!
I left the doctor’s appointment feeling fine about it, but then October came and all optimism drained out of me. I was suddenly so, so, so done with MTX day and freaking injections. All things gluten appeared appetizing, dairy seemed impossible to avoid, my vitamins made me nauseous, and I felt like if I even had to look at fish oil again, I’d vomit.
What’s the point? What if it doesn’t go into remission? Am I really going to do all of this forever? I don’t want to have this life. I didn’t ask for this. F#@! RAD and all the stupid S**! that goes with it.
I stopped taking the vitamins and I laxed up on the fish oil. I cheated on my diet. But I kept going on the drugs.
My negativity quickly started to annoy the hell out of me. So there I was, standing over my morning folic acid and fish oil supplements, a wave of nausea overwhelming me, and I snapped. Out of it that is.
My grit was back.
What’s the point? The point couldn’t be more obvious or important – it’s my health. Is it worth trading because I’m a wuss about injections, I hate swallowing pills, and the smell of fish oil is gross? Obviously not.
So I’m staying the course. I’m back on track. (Although I am being a bit more relaxed about supplements for my sanity’s sake.)
I’m thinking March is gonna be a great month for me. I’ll be running my first marathon and hopefully I’ll officially be declared in remission and will be breaking up with methotrexate. Maybe Enbrel and I will even get to say goodbye. Here’s hoping.
In the meantime, I’m happy to report that I think the higher dose of methotrexate is starting to work. My compromised immune system and the changing season has led to a cold, but otherwise I feel great. No joint pain, no feet pain, less fatigue, less trouble sleeping. I even went on a 12 mile run a couple weekends ago.
Now I just have to figure out how to keep my grit from disappearing on me again.
I think that authoring this blog has really helped me open up about my RA. A lot (not all yet, but maybe I’ll get there) of the shame and nerves that came with “admitting” to someone that I had this disease have faded.
I’ve had two recent experiences telling a date about my RA. The first time I’d ever told anyone about my RA aside from close friends and family and doctors was on my second date with a very sweet guy (maybe a little on the early sign, but I don’t think there are hard and fast rulles with this). We were at a pretty nice, new restaurant, where, being gluten and dairy free, I couldn’t eat half the menu. I asked the waiter about some gluten-free options and happily chose a modified scallops dish.
My date kept inquiring about my diet, giving me ample space to drop the RA bomb. “Are you allergic?” No, not exactly. “Are you trying to lose weight?” What? No…
Finally, toward the end of dinner, I brought it up. The timing was probably a bit odd, given all the opportunities he’d presented me with before. At any rate, I said something along the lines of, “Since you were asking earlier, the reason I’m on this diet is because I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis in March.”
Ka-boom. The RA bomb had landed.
I went on to explain that the elimination diet helps you determine if an allergy or sensitivity to a certain food is making your symptoms worse.
He just nodded, asked how I was feeling. Then he asked if it was hard to do physical things, and immediately apologized for his invasive question. I didn’t mind it though, it’s a fair question. I hadn’t heard of RA before my diagnosis, but if I had, it would have probably surrounded the disability/disfigurement horror stories of the disease.
So I brushed it off, saying, “No, it’s really under control with the meds. I barely notice it.” Yes, that’s kind of a lie. It’s not totally under control and I do notice, in fact, I’m probably hyper aware of all symptoms.
I figured that if we kept hanging out, it would inevitably come back up.
I’m happy to report that the world didn’t implode. He didn’t run away and never call again. He didn’t treat me like a victim. It just was a fact.
The second time was similar, but the window wasn’t diet, it was drinking. Since I’m on methotrexate, which is hard on your liver, I’m not drinking much (my doc says 4-5 drinks per week – no, not all at once! – is fine). So we were running, and he was talking about wanting to not have any alcohol for 30 days, so I talked about how I really wasn’t drinking much either.
Then, ka-boom! The RA bomb once again landed.
He asked questions about my treatment and I answered honestly, and hopefully without any trace of shame. I even told him that my symptoms aren’t totally under control, but that clinical remission is my goal and hopefully where I’m headed.
Again, he didn’t run screaming for the hills. He did call me again.
Lesson learned. Your honesty and courage allows other people to react in a similarly courageous, empathetic way. So, no more shame. Thank you blogosphere for allowing me to reach this point. From here on out, I’m owning it. I’m no longer admitting to a shameful thing, I’m informing someone about a part of my life.
I have recently discovered non-dairy yogurt made from almonds or coconut milk, and I have been loving it. Before trying out being non-dairy, I used to pretty much have a yogurt every morning. Not only is this yogurt yummy, it has the live cultures (those good for you bacteria) of regular yogurt. Yay!
I experimented in gluten-free, dairy-free cupcakes the other night to surprise my coworker for her birthday. The results were not what I expected (they’re definitely not the red velvet cupcakes the name promises), but were pretty good in their own way. And they were a hit at the office. 🙂
I did this recipe for the cupcakes, but subbed brown sugar for the coconut sugar:
Then I did this for the frosting, which was good, but definitely not as sweet as traditional frosting and a little difficult to spread – it came out a little crumbly.
Let me know what you think, or if you have your own recipes for gluten-free, dairy-free desserts, I’d love to hear them!