It only matters what works for you.

Archive for November, 2015

Taking back Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is not a favorite holiday for those of us with food issues.

I am among the very fortunate. The last time I went home for Thanksgiving, there were a multitude of gluten free and otherwise ‘safe’ offerings. My grandmother even paid me the ultimate complement and told me my gluten free stuffing was better than hers. Does it get better than that? We had 3 gluten free people at that table, and none of us left anything less than stuffed.

The 3rd gluten free diner at our table was a family friend. She had decided to join us because we made her feel welcome in a way that her own family didn’t. We had gluten free and sugar free treats, and went out of our way to make sure that there was plenty for us special needs eaters.

Not every family does that. Her’s didn’t.

For several years I ate with a group of friends who are chosen family. And they too checked with what I needed and helped me have a great and safe meal.

This year my beloved had a lovely holiday meal at work, catered turkey with the trimmings, plus pot luck from around the office. He’s had his fix, and so we’ve decided to ignore the usual holiday food completely.

Which isn’t the same as ignoring the holiday. We’re off together this week, so I’m making it a practice that every day we should talk about what we’re thankful for and how grateful we are for the amazing life we’ve built. Because as much as I have issues and things I would dearly love to change, there are many, many more things to be thankful for.

In my life I can worry about *what* I eat, instead of *if*.

I live in a country where I can reasonably expect to speak my mind, get a fair education, drive, and have choices.

I have friends and family who love and care for who I really am, not some image they’ve made up of me.

I live in a safe, warm, beautiful home with clean running water and electric lights.

I have bubble lights on my holiday tree.

Big things and little things. I’m taking a break from my usual struggle to be very, very grateful for the things I don’t have to struggle about.

 

(Last year’s tree. Not quite done yet this year.)

 

2014 tree

Getting some perspective

I recently had a great visit with one of my dearest and oldest friends. She’s recently been having fun and excitement with her own health and we’ve been sharing stories and resources. With her encouragement, I’m doing a few new things.

One that I really should have thought of is a new approach to veggies. See, I don’t like them. I’ve never liked them, and I promise you I have tried whole websites full of different ideas on how to make them fun and interesting. Sorry, still don’t like them. I tried requiring myself to just eat them along with the rest of my meal. Nope, I’d rather skip eating than eat them. Not a good solution. My new approach is called soup. Very innovative, I know. Bone broth is an amazing food and I’ve certainly made my fair share. But I don’t care for brothy soup. There are only so many flavors that meld well with coconut milk for a creamy soup, and thickening with flour isn’t really the best for me. My friend’s solution? The food processor.

Oh. How obvious. I’ve never thought to put the meat from soup into the food processor, but why not? It works beautifully. Cauliflower bacon soup in a chicken base was excellent and on the menu for tomorrow probably. Home made duck stock with leftover duck, zucchini, spaghetti squash and a few potatoes was legendary and required a sincere discussion about the inadvisability of a 3rd bowl in the first seating. Ground beef and broccoli has been less successful, but still fine. So now I’m aggressively buying my favorite Kitchen Basics stock in a box, and saving my rotisserie chicken bones, and I found my beef bone options at the market last visit for future reference. So as long as the cool weather holds out, I can go forward with more veggies.

My friend also found a traditional Chinese Medicine doctor when her western doctor couldn’t help her. I’ve shied away from this simply because of the expense, but in her experience it isn’t as expensive as I thought, and well, I’ve certainly tried everything else. I’ve put out some feelers locally to see if I know anyone with a personal recommendation. Their approach is all about balance after all, and I already know my body is horribly out of balance. It can’t hurt.

I think the most important thing was to have some reinforcement. She does not find me lazy, or less determined, or any other thing. She believes I have attempted to work my behind off, but it is just stuck. And that might be the most important thing from the whole visit. Someone who knows me well. Someone who has watched my endless struggle, and finds me admirable, instead of lacking. That is truly hard to find.

So, a nice soppy song in honor of the people who really know us.

A sad state of affairs

I think I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating. I have excellent health insurance. In the US, that really means something. It means that I have full access to an array of doctors, a way of paying for my prescriptions that does cause me to forgo things like food or electricity in exchange. A trip to the hospital will not cause permanent financial hardship.

In the US, that is a very big deal. I should be set.

Unfortunately, what it does not do is guarantee me access to people who can and will actually help me. I’m repeating myself again, but if your problem is not obvious, and preferably mechanical, western medicine, and very specifically American medicine can not help you. Or will not, I’m not exactly sure.

At some point we turned our health care over to the bean counters. They decide what tests you can qualify for without fighting. They apparently decide what is and isn’t an actual problem.

And those doctors who have opted out of the system and treat based on symptoms rather than tests, and treat medicine like the art it should be…have opted out of the system. They don’t take insurance. So it’s back to whether or not you can afford it.

Yesterday I had an appointment with my doctor, who is actually a physician’s assistant, because they are often more open minded. And she is soooooo much better than the average that I hate to even complain. She renewed all my prescriptions, she believes in things like adrenal fatigue, and she doesn’t give me a lot of guff about my weight, because we agreed that I’d love to fix it if we can come up with a solution I haven’t already tried and tried and tried. She’s even nice.

She scoffed at the idea that selenium deficiency could have caused my high white cell count, but she did order the usual blood tests to make sure I’m not suddenly going to explode. Or die of the diabetes and high cholesterol I continue to not have, defying all medical predictions.

What she can’t do, because she doesn’t have the knowledge or tools, is help me. Because I have no idea what else is going on. I don’t know where to research. And it isn’t a tick box on her forms.

So, maybe traditional Chinese medicine?

Which I will have to pay for out of pocket, because my really excellent insurance doesn’t even recognize that as an option.

Pretty crazy.

Are we there yet?

One of the hard parts about blogging about health is that sometimes, when your health isn’t getting anywhere, you’re just so darn tired of fussing and so frustrated with lack of progress that you can’t stand to think about it. Or blog about it.

The really excellent news is that continued selenium supplementation, along with my other table full of supplements, is making a big difference. I have more energy and desire to accomplish things than I have in ages. Possibly a year.

The down side is, it makes me reflect back on the progress I didn’t make this year, and my conditioned response is to berate myself for not doing better. For not being able to do better. For not figuring the answer out sooner. For not fighting harder.

I’m very disturbed by this reaction.

Why is my first reaction always self-hatred? Ok, I know the answer to that one, I just don’t like it. It’s programming. Somehow we’re always supposed to give %150 of every thing we do all the time, despite the complete impossibility of doing any such thing.

I usually react to this in one of two ways. One is to get depressed all over again and need to withdraw because I can’t deal with it. As my minerals get better balanced this happens less.

The other way is to get angry. Really angry. In part because I am very, very tired of trying to meet an imposed set of standards that don’t matter. And in part because I am so very, very, verrrrrrry tired of having to do this alone.

I have a doctors appointment this week, can you tell? I always get very worked up before them, even though I really like the one I’m working with now.  I like her, but the amount she’s been able to help me is limited. Western medicine has become entirely about boxes, and I don’t, and can’t, fit into one. Why didn’t a selenium deficiency show up on my blood work? For the same reason I wasn’t diagnosed with a thyroid issue until I was in my 30s I assume. They don’t look in the right place. Our medicine is looking for major diversions, single causes, one broken place instead of a thousand tiny cracks.

Oh well, at lease I’ll get refills on the few medications that help hold back the tide.