And it’s gone……

So yesterday I had “the mole” removed. Not the typical mole you would imagine, it’s moreso a beauty mark gone bad. I got three stitches and an order of NO Exercise until they come out. So bummed……I am supposed to have them out in a week but since I am unable to get into the office then, I have to wait 10 days, without exercise !!!!! At least I can get some sit ups in there and some bi-cep curls. Doc says the results for what she thinks could be Malenoma will be in by the time I go back to have the stitches removed. She also said she will call sooner should she receive some concerning news. In that case, I will have to go to see a Skin Surgeon that would that remove a bigger section of skin to check for any further spreading. Fingers crossed – x .

Also, I was weighed again and had lost 2 pounds since Tuesday !! Wow, I am so psyched ! I hope the weight keeps dropping. If only I could still exercise……

I noticed something today as I was looking at the label of my “Spinach Hummus” which was right next to All of the other hummus at the store. I often read labels as I am eating. I noticed that the Spinach Hummus is actually a Spinach Dip !! Uh oh, yup….you guessed it. The ingredients contain sour cream and milk and eggs and the list goes on. Ughhhhhhhh. I have been eating this for a few days and have also noticed increase in my inflammation during this time. I chalked it up to a storm on it’s way to our area. Between the dairy and the Gluten, I’m just filling up now. I can’t wait to get my blood work done soon!

One thing more….I received a “Denial” letter a few days ago in regards to financing for the Embrel. Just hours after I kept questioning wether I should call and cancel it since I am trying to change my health through diet now. God was listening and answered for me ! I’m really hoping that Celiac test comes back positive now !! The company said I was denied because we have Insurance. But we do not have any prescription coverage. Our Insurance is expensive enough !! And we surely can’t afford $1,000 a month for Embrel !!

My daily menu

I have decided to document what I am eating everyday. The Doctor gave me a Anti-Inflammatory food pyramid. How cool is that?? So I thought the easiest way to make sure I am getting all the nutrients I need is to journal it. I guess I will make this one blog per week instead of having daily entries. I will start one at the beginning of each week and go back each day to add to it. I know this will help me a ton !!

Also, I would like to note my weight from my appointment yesterday as 156 lbs ! I have another appointment in 6 weeks and I am eager to see the changes from my new Healthy Eating Habits !!

So today Wed, April 14th, I have had………..

  • Breakfast-Vegan Sausage Patti’s-yum !!, Pink Grapefruit
  • Snacks-Carrots & Hummus, Pumpkin Seeds
  • Lunch-was taken over with a nap
  • Snacks-Raw Broccoli with Hummus, Raisins, Corn Chips, more Pink Grapefruit
  • Dinner-Soyrizo baked with carrots & peas, french fries and asparagus. Mmmmm, Kiwi for dessert

Drank water all Day and started taking Flaxseed Oil suppliments. 3,000 mg a day

April 15th

  • Breakfast- A whole grain cereal with almond milk and a glass of Oj
  • Lunch-Something I threw together………….a whole wheat wrap with a spinach hummus spread, avocado, cucumber, and tomato. MMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmMMMM…………..so yummy, that I made another one !!
  • Snacks-strawberries, banana
  • Dinner-Potato Salad

April 16th

  • Breakfast- 12 grain toast with Earth Balance butter, kiwi and Vegan Sausage
  • Snack-Strawberries, banana
  • Lunch- My super yummy wraps (see yesterdays lunch)
  • Snack-Carrots and hummus & spinach dip, strawberries
  • Dinner-missed, I was working a Cookie Lee gig but did have a Coke, which I felt soo guilty drinking but was in need of the caffeine.

April 17th

  • Breakfast- 1  1/2 pieces of 12 Grain toast, one piece with jelly and one half with butter and watermelon
  • Snack-Raw broccoli with roasted garlic hummus and pumpkin seeds
  • Lunch-Cooked broccoli in Earth’s Balance butter mixed with fresh Avacado and Carribean Tofu. Watermelon as a dessert
  • Dinner-Vegan burger (Boca, but I have only seen them at Whole Foods so far), brussel sprouts and mashed potatos made with left over potato salad. Let me explain…..the potato salad I made did not have mayo but a dressing instead. I had only made enough of the dressing for the meal in which it was used for. So, I was able to mash up the rest of the potato salad and throw it into a frying pan.

Drank water all day and still taking Flaxseed supplements

April 18th (Sun)

  • Breakfast-1/2 piece of 14 grain bread with butter and 1/2 piece whole grain bread with jelly (Nature’s Promise) and a banana
  • Snack-Newman’s Own Fig Newton’s
  • Lunch-Salad of Baby Spinach with Strawberries and Raspberry Vinegarette, and some of Anson’s leftover Grilled cheese made with Veggie Cheese (Galaxy International Foods) on Whole Grain bread. (The cheese is currently buy one get one free at Safeway !
  • Snack-Carrots and Red Pepper Hummus and half of an Enjoy Life Cocoa bar
  • Dinner-Two Veggie Dogs, one on whole grain bread (I made a veggie mix to go with this but it was freezer burnt-ewww) Strawberries and fig newtons for dessert.
  • After dinner- Yellow + Blue red wine. This is an organic wine packaged in an Eco friendly container. Check them out online. You can search for local stores that sell them !!

And so it begins

Two nights ago I made Vegetable pasta with tomato sauce and “meatballs” that are meatless of course. I was sooooo excited about finding these meatballs. The are veggie and meat free and tasted so good. I had read all the ingredient labels for everything I was purchasing, but I guess I hadn’t with the meatballs. For some reason, I thought that it said Vegan on the front as a lot of foods do these days. So at dinner as I was eating, I decided to read the package again and notice that it contain “milk and eggs”. Agh !!!! I was so disappointed. I have done so well at eliminating dairy, how did I miss this? I have to get better at my “on the spot, ultra fast grocery shopping label reading”.  So, I decided not to eat the rest of the meatballs and just eat the veggie pasta (shaped like the alphabet, and so fun for Anson too) with the tomato sauce. Yum. For those of you that are Chef Boyarde fans, this meal reminded me of it, but so much more healthier !!

On another note, I had a Doctors appointment today, with a new Primary Care. I am so HAPPY that I switched Doctors. She is so much better than my last Doctor. Very thorough with her information and interested in her patients health. She has ordered new blood work for me with some new ideas in mind. Maybe something will show. Ironically she brought up a few issues that I  have looked into. One, Celiac Disease. I was literally looking at the Celiac website an hour before I left for my appointment today. I had stumbled upon it by looking up information regarding Vegan dieting. Now, I have tried to avoid Gluten since all the new “Green” information has come out to the public. And really didn’t know much about Gluten Intolerance and such.  Celiac Disease is a digestive disease that interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. There are little protrusions that line the wall of the intestines. Imagine tiny hairs, that are known as Villi. Normally they allow the nutrients from food to be absorbed into the intestinal walls into your bloodstream. Well, when a person is Gluten intolerant, the immune system responds by attacking the Villi leaving the body malnourished. The disease is triggered after surgery, pregnancy, childbirth, viral infection, or severe emotional stress. Wait !!! Did anyone catch that???? After pregnancy and childbirth ! If you remember, all my health issues started just after Anson turned one month old. Gee, we may be onto something here. Let’s check out the symptoms……

  • unexplained iron-deficiency anemia
  • fatigue
  • bone or joint pain
  • arthritis
  • bone loss or osteoporosis
  • depression or anxiety
  • tingling numbness in the hands and feet
  • seizures
  • missed menstrual periods
  • infertility or recurrent miscarriage
  • canker sores inside the mouth
  • an itchy skin rash called dermatitis herpetiformis

(information by National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse)

Of all of those symptoms I have experienced 6 of the 12, possibly 7. This is so crazy, how come no other doctor thought of this before? Since I have worked on a Gluten-free diet for sometime now, I have to wait a week before getting blood work done and during that time, I MUST eat Gluten….ick !! Otherwise my results could show a false negative !

This disease is Genetic !! So, if I do test positive for this and you are a member of my family, please talk to your doctor about this !! Even if you are NOT experiencing symptoms !!!!

Here is a link with more information……

http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/celiac/

The second significant topic that came up at my appointment today was about a mole the doc found on my leg. She is significantly concerned and I have an appt to return on Friday to have it removed and tested for Cancer. As horrifying as this may seem, I am not freaking out. Through my recent Vegan research, I have discovered that Cancer can in fact be reversed through diet and I strongly believe that. I am already experiencing a DRASTIC improvement in health and tomorrow marks one week since I have started. I am still not taking my Arthritis medication and my pain has been manageable. My emotional well-being is improving as well. I am no long irritated by every little thing. I am in good spirits and feeling much better already. I can’t wait to see what else this new lifestyle has to bring me !!!

In the beginning there was meat…..and cheese

Okay, so my whole life I have eaten meat!!!! I was raised with all kinds of delicious European meals being as my Mother’s family is from Slovakia. You can only imagine the types of meals that I was fortunate enough to eat !! To add to this, my paternal Grandmother is from France and let’s just say that I am fond of cheese !!  With a food background like that, you can only imagine how difficult the choice to become Vegan could be for me.

As of recently, within the past few months, I have dabbled with the idea of becoming vegetarian. The reason for this came from the fact that every time I cooked meat, I was a bit repulsed. To see blood sliding around in the package of meat as I put it into my shopping cart was not too appetizing. Cooking it was worse, my food, in the pan and simmering with blood moving around it. Blood pouring out of my food as it was cooking. Ewww…….I was just one step closer to Vegetarian. But what about bacon? And all of Mom’s traditional Slovak foods?  Mmmm…..and what other options do I have left for food without meat?

Now let’s take a little step back. During my pregnancy, the doctor recommended that I limit my red meat intake and NO seafood at all !! I know all you Mommies out there are familiar with this schpeal. And so, after research, I followed Docs orders. Now , let’s think this through for a moment. Why would the Dr’s tell pregnant woman not to consume meat or seafood during pregnancy? My Doc took it a step further and informed me that human’s aren’t even supposed to consume cow’s milk. What? I have never heard that one before. But, because my Mom had acquired 8 cavities during her pregnancy with me due to lack of calcium, I was all over the milk drinking and was consuming 2 gallons of milk a week throughout my pregnancy !!!! I thought I had it planned out so well, that I would never be calcium deficient. After all, I had two Grandmothers with Arthritis, one of which couldn’t use her hands at all. During all of this milk drinking it never occurred to me that I should be consuming Vitamin D !!!

So let’s jump back to the here and now. As of a few days ago, Wednesday April 7th to be exact, I have declared myself Vegan. To be honest with you, I don’t miss meat a bit !! And I know, it’s only been 5 days but I have a feeling I’m not going to care too much about meat in the least. Frankly I am becoming pretty repulsed by the idea of eating animals. We love them and give them a home, but have no problem eating them? There is a reason Doctors don’t want pregnant woman eating meat and there is a reason humans shouldn’t either. After reading all the facts, this is really becoming quit easy !!

Livestock feed is routinely beefed up with slaughterhouse wastes like blood, bone, vescera as well as the remains of euthanized cats and dogs” -(Michael Satchell & Stephen Hedges, The next bad beef scandal, US News & World Report, Sept 1, 1997)

So if you think you are safe buying organic meat that are only grass-fed think again. Red meat has been linked to all the following health conditions…Heart Disease, Cancer, Osteoporosis, and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Bingo !!!! There is part of my problem, red meat linked to arthritis? Well, logically one would stop eating it and so I have !!

Red meat contains a molecule known as Neu5Gc that has been linked to found in Cancer tumors. But Humans do not produce this molecule. What we do produce is the antibodies which fight it and that leads to …………..inflammation. So for those of you sitting there thinking, “How silly of her to give up meat and think it will heal her” Sit on those facts for a bit.

Here are some links with some more facts in relation to this topic.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081029141035.htm

http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/green/Eating_Red_Meat_Shown_to_Increase_Cancer_Risk.html

Why didn’t I find out about this sooner? I really hope that in the future, this type of information will be accessable in our schools. Children and their parents should be informed about this and the public has the right to know. I’m sure that many of those living with cancer would rewind to go back in time and take meat out of their diet if it meant not developing Cancer or one of the many other diseases linked to it. Remember, my inflammation didn’t start until a month after my soon was born. After nine months of no red meat ! 

Now that I have given you a few facts, on with the show !!! So no meat, no dairy. So far, so good !! So, what have I been eating? I have always loved salads and my new favorite is a simple salad composed of baby spinach topped with fresh-cut strawberries and balsamic vinaigrette. Yum !! For snacks, I love to have grapes, raisins and any type of fruit available. I find that raisins come in handy as a small dessert after having something spicy. Another great snack is corn chips and salsa. You get a small serving a veggies in this way too !  A good way to get your protein is through beans and tofu. And there are lots of ways to eat tofu, so don’t write it off just yet ! Now a days stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods offer so many selections on Vegan foods. Many companies will  print Vegan on the front of the package to make it a little easier to find. And let me tell you, there are many yummy desserts to choose from. I have these great chocolate doughnuts that you keep frozen !! And boy do I love chocolate. Also, there are many meat like products available that are Vegan. I have bought Vegan chicken nuggets for some time now and they are wonderful, even Joe likes them !

So, what has been my biggest challenge so far? I do love all things dairy…cheese, ice cream, etc. Luckily, they do make yummy Vegan Ice cream now. But I have yet to find a cheese I really like. If anyone knows of a brand please let me know. But really, everything is great !! I am still going and soooo excited !!!!!

A little of my health history

So, I’m only going into issues relevant to this blog. But all in all, I have been a healthy person all my life and very fortunate. I had a GREAT pregnancy !! No morning sickness, no swelling or cravings really. Everything was wonderful. So wonderful, that I think I jinxed myself….if you believe that sort of thing. All throughout the pregnancy, people would ask “How are you feeling?” and I would say ” Great !!, so great, I have a feeling something will go wrong in the end” And so, it did. When I was eight months pregnant I started having pain in the middle knuckle of my left hand. As a note, I am left-handed. And so the doctor said “Oh, it’s just carpel tunnel and common in pregnancy. No worries, it will go away after birth !” So quick to write things off, aren’t they?

My mom had previously told me that she experience Arthritis while she was pregnant with me and that is started in her 8th month, but subsided after my birth. So, I had thought my experience would be the same. After all, my pregnancy was the same as hers thus far !

My little guy was born, and all was well…..for a month. Until I woke up one morning and my index finger on my right hand was huge and sausage like !!! As each day went by, it became excruciatingly painful to the point where I could no longer bend it or even use it !! What was going on???? So the doctor tests me for everything……lupus, lyme, arthritis, any joint related disease you can think of. Lyme shows some abnormality and so I start a 60 supply of antibiotics. You should also know, that at this time, I was nursing so my options for medications of any sort was quit limited. After another few months, I start experiencing severe pain in my left hip. Now, I can no longer lift my left leg !! Any sort of lifting…..i.e.-getting in bed or in and out of a car, required that I use my hands (minus one finger) to lift my leg up. Over time I have multiple x-rays and cat scans, of which show nothing. Except, swelling !! Wow, thanks for that! Periodically throughout the course of this, I am enduring pain in my neck, which was the result of being bombarded by 20 shopping carts on the motorized cart mover being used by a teenage boy in the middle of a parking lot at a franchise which shall remain nameless.

Now comes the knee pain, in my left knee but magically months later, my hip pain has disappeared ! Seriously, what is going on here? I have within this time started Acupuncture which has helped me to endure my pain tremendously and I recommend it to anyone with any sort of health issue.  At this point, I have seen multiple doctors all with the same answer “You’re a mystery”  Why, thank you, that’s most helpful. My hand specialists suggest surgery to cut out the inflammation on my finger and test it for diseases and such that may not show up in blood work. This is after several sessions of cortisone injections and physical therapy. So finally, I agree and wean my tenth month old off of nursing. I was reluctant to do so as I had wanted to nurse up until he was a year, but I had suffered long enough (or so I thought). In Feb. of 2009, I had a synovectomy on my finger. Mind you, all of this started in March of 2008. After two weeks of healing and 6 weeks of physical therapy, my tests results were back !!!! Everything was………….Normal…….argh !!!!!!!! How is this possible? Something is clearly wrong. So, back to acupuncture I go and still without any sort of pain medication. Some more time goes by and the pain in my left knee is now gone !! But guess what? It’s in my right knee now. Also, by this point in time, I now have swelling  in the middle knuckle of my right hand. July of 2009 rolls around and I am starting to feel a lot of pain in my finger again. The surgery had provided my with temporary relief, but the swelling was still there. I called my Dr. and asked to go on a short-term supply of prednisone. A week to be exact. After which we both agreed that I would go on it indefinitely. BIG MISTAKE……. I was miserable, angry and irritable and just desperate to stop taking them after about two months. How unaware I was to the fact that I needed to wean off of them. Veeeeery slowly. If I tried to cut my dose by too much at once, I was terribly ill. In the meantime doctors are encouraging me to keep taking these terrible pills. I had to figure this thing out all by myself !! It took a few months to finally get off of these things, but I did it !! So, by Thanksgiving of 2009, I was prednisone free. What I haven’t mentioned is that I also started talking Sulfazine back in August of 2009, the same time I had started noticing changes in my vision !! This drug takes about 3 months to even be effective, great. During the fall of 2009, I start noticing pain in my foot. It’s making it very difficult to wear shoes since the pain is on the side, just under the pinky toe. So, I spent the entire winter wearing Uggs. You know, those ugly boots that are warm and have a lot of room to move in? I have worn those right up to flip-flop weather, haha.

By this time, my Rheumatologist, along with a second rheumatologists insist that I have either Rheumitoid Arthritis or Psoriatic Arthritis, which is as a result of Psoriasis, which I do not have. My mother however, does. So they examined me head to toe and no signs of psoriasis. There have been cases though when the skin condition shows up after the arthritis. They believe this is a possibility for me since my initial finger swelling was sausage like.

Finally in February 2010, I went to my doctor and said, it’s time to get me on some real medication. Since my husband and I want more children, Methotrexate, is out of the picture. This is a drug they give to Cancer patients. It is ultimately a form of Chemo. Getting pregnant while taking this drug is an absolute no and will on result in a terminated pregnancy. This is not an option. So, the only choice I have left is to take Embrel. A weekly injection I must administer to myself. And “may or may not cause cancer” Great, just great. But I am desperate and want relief. I have been in miserable pain for two years. I can’t even open a bottle of water for goodness sakes !! And I used to lift professional concert speakers for a living !! Not to mention the emotional toll this has all taken on me and the toll it’s taken on my family. I give in and apply to receive financial aid for this one thousand dollar a month medication !! Just a week prior to my first shipment, I see the post by Dr. Mercola on facebook in regards to how toxic medication for Arthritis is. Immediately I start my research and I pick up Alicia Silverstone’s book, “The Kind Diet” and I am instantly transformed to Vegan !! I have seen so many testimonies as to how a change in diet has transformed a persons illness to almost non-existent. I am convinced that what we eat has immediate effect on our bodies, health, mind as well as the environment. So welcome to my journey….!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

About my blog

Hi Everyone !!

 To start off, I have been struggling with an unknown illness for 2 1/2 years now without answers and a LOT of pain. I will go more into the deails of this in my next entry.

To sum up a little bit about me…..I am 28 years old and the mother of a sweet 2 year old boy. Prior to my pregancy in 2007, I spent all of my time and effort on my career as an Audio Engineer. For those of you that don’t know much about this profession, it consists of all physical work !! I spent time working at a local theater in St. Petersburg, Fl. followed by touring across the U.S. with a little show called Disney on Ice and finished up as a Local A/V tech in the Balto. and D.C. area.  These jobs required a TON of heavy lifting and building.  When you go to see a concert, I was one of those “guys” that set it up.The big ass speakers, the lights and truss, the stage, etc.  Your understanding of this will make more sense once I start to explain the depth of my illness. This was not a job I could continue once I became pregnant.

Once my son was born, I decided to go all Organic. And I have been ever since. My husband, Joe has been in agreement on this without too much of a fight, since fresher is always better. Although, he still comes home from work with a burger from Wendy’s…….eck ! I have a feeling getting him to go Vegan is going to be a LOT of work !!!!

I am supposed to start new medication in about a week, which I have been looking forward to since it is meant to bring me tramedous relief. But after recent findings in regards to these types of medications, I am strongly reconsidering. This is a difficult decision for me, since we have recently been approved for help with financing this particular medication which costs $1,ooo a month !! And I am now able to get it for $12 !! If I choose not to start this now, the chances of us getting this approval in the future are, well pretty much absent. So here is why I am taking the risk…

Dr. Mercola, a holistic doctor….although I am not sure if he refers to himself that way…..has a facebook page which I am a fan of. And he posts daily tips for all of his fans, which I love by the way. And ironically, he posted a tip a few days ago stating that most drugs prescribed for RA (rheumatoid arthritis-which doctors suspect I might have) are very toxic !!  His post prompted several response and I read each and everyone. After reading people’s experiences in regards to family members on these meds developing cancer within 6 months of taking them or people testifing to the fact that nutrition and good emotional management has changed their lives, I decided to post a comment of my own. I merely stated that I am supposed to start embrel next week (by the way, the doctor tells me this drug “may or may not” cause cancer !!!!) and now I am reluctant to start. With in minutes I had received responses from people and emails from others offering suggestions and willingness to help. One woman even sent me her phone number !! These are people that went years on drugs until deciding to change things the right way, the natural way and changed their diet. They are now pain free with no drugs !! I was overwhelmed with the power of food and realized I need to make an immediate change. Just going organic isn’t enough !! So here I am, at the beginning of my journey and with the motivation of a few friends, I have decided to document it on this blog and share my adventure with all of you ! I am now a Vegan,  So here I go…………………

%d bloggers like this: