Sunday, December 20, 2009

At Death's Door

I have not been able to blog the last few days because of a major set back. I have two health problems that are causing conflicting issues with the new diet. I have gastroparesis. And this issue is greatly helped by the raw food diet.
But I have also been diagnosed with hypoglycemia. This part of me is having issues. Yesterday was a terrible day. I felt icky and just plain sick. So I camped myself out on the couch. It is less depressing than being in bed. My feet felt frozen, so I walked back to my bedroom to get some socks.
Crash and burn. I passed out by the doorway. My husband had to carry me back to the couch where I remained for the duration of the day. After my husband got back from my daughter's dance recital (which I had to miss because I couldn't even walk on my own), I decided that something felt really wrong. I had the impression to test my blood sugar. My husband got my tester and...
The batteries were dead. So he had to call around to find the special size required (AAAA). They cost $4 per battery. After he got back and got everything ready, we tested. The results. Not so good.
My blood sugar levels were at 36. For those of you who don't know blood sugar levels (like me before talking to my cousin who is a paramedic), you should be in the ER if it drops below 50. And if it drops below 40, it can be fatal or put you in a comma. Prolonged periods of blood sugar below 40 can cause brain damage.
I didn't know any of this when we found out the levels. I just knew that it was too low. So I popped a couple of glucose tablets and waited half an hour to test again. My blood sugar raised to 40. It took us over two hours to get my blood sugar up to an acceptable level.
I was more than humbled when I was finally alert enough to take things in. I called my cousin to ask just how bad that blood sugar reading is. He asked if I was in the hospital. I told him no, and he insisted that I check my levels until it was up to a good level and suggested a few things to eat to make sure that the levels didn't drop again in the middle of the night.
Today, the realization hit me. I could have died yesterday. I could have left my husband and daughter with a big whole in their lives. God has spared me. He saved me for a special purpose.
It is very humbling to know that I could have died. I felt like I might for a while. My heart was hammering so hard in my chest that I could hardly focus on anything else. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.

To top it all off, I have lost eleven pounds in one week. I hope the doctors find something soon. I didn't have the weight to lose to begin with. In the past month I have lost a total of 16 pounds. I feel like I am waisting away to nothing. Something needs to change. And fast.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Good Days and Bad Days

I have found that the body does go through withdrawal symptoms when giving up cooked foods. This is making it difficult. I have my good days, and I have my bad days. Yesterday was a very good day. We went to the library. I found an amazing Non Cookbook to work with and order for myself. I had my Writer's Workshop Holiday Party. It was just a very good day. I didn't even need to take a nap like I have had to for the past five months.
Today was a bad day. My brain was so cranky. It felt like angry fuzz floating around in my head. It just wouldn't turn off. I took a nap, but it was only for about a half an hour (usually I'm out for two or three hours). I am feeling better now, and it does feel good to have the extra energy. I just never thought I would have to go through withdrawals like an addict. But I guess in a way we are all addicts. Each and every one of us is addicted to some type of cooked foods. I could really go for some onion rings, tortilla chips and salsa, or even just a burger. But my body is already to the point where I no longer get pleasure from these kinds of foods. At least not to the same degree. (I confess. I had a meatball and processed cheese last night at the party. Hey, for just starting out, I think I'm doing great.)

A Non Cookbook

Yesterday we went to the library for my daughter to decorate her Christmas cookie. It was something that we had signed her up for before we found out about my gastroparesis. Well, I decided to browse through the "card catalog" (I really miss the old card catalogs) while I was there. I found a book that I will count as the biggest blessing ever! It is Living in the Raw Gourmet by Rose Lee Calabro. The recipes in the book are true raw recipes. I've run across a few others that have cooked foods in their recipes section. Not this one. They have recipes for lasagna, burgers, cranberry sauce, chili, and so much more that is making my mouth water just thinking about it! We are going to try the raw chili for Christmas Eve. We always have chili on Christmas Eve. It's tradition. I am so excited to try more recipes.
I tried one of the burger recipes on top of crackers. (We haven't fully transitioned yet, so we still have the regular water crackers that are super thin.) Oh, my goodness!!! I couldn't get enough of them! I about got sick from over eating because I could not get enough of the tastes. It was amazing. I can't wait to do more trials like this one. I am so excited to see what wondrous flavors can be combined to make healthy living food even better.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everyone Is Feeling the Difference

My dear, sweet husband has resolved to go on this special diet with me since it is more than a diet, it is a lifestyle change. Because of this, it means that my little girl has to eat the same thing. There are no special meals. We are not a restaurant.
The changes that are occurring are incredible. My daughter has been complaining of an upset stomach for the past two years. She was diagnosed with "childhood upset stomach" and "childhood abdominal pains" about a year ago. That was long before my stomach got really bad, so I know for a fact that she wasn't saying it because Mommy was saying it. To top it off she has had no energy. All she wants to do is go to bed and sleep. She is three, and she volunteers to take a nap. She wants to go to bed at six o'clock at night. She hardly moves around during the day. She just has no energy.
She has had some of the smoothies with me. (She nearly stole all of my last one.) She is eating what I eat when I eat. No big deal. OH MY GOODNESS! She would not stop this morning! She was all over the place with energy. She even wore out the cat! She was running, playing, laughing. I can't believe the energy she had today. It was great. She only took a two hour nap instead of a four hour nap, and she keeps trying to sneak out of her room even though it is past bedtime. This sounds more like normal three year old behavior to me.
My husband says that he hasn't really noticed any changes yet. But I have. The super deep, dark circles under his eyes have gone down to what would now be considered a normal amount. They are just barely there. I am dumbfounded because we haven't even transitioned all the way yet.
My husband has said that he noticed a tremendous difference in me. According to him (I always go by a third party objective), I am walking faster, smiling more, in a better mood. I have more energy. I didn't even take a nap today. I tried because I was a little tired, but I was not wiped out by one in the afternoon like I usually am. I laid down for a little bit, and I just could not get to sleep. So I go up and ran some errands.
I even tried to have a little bit of the 7up that was in the house today. I gagged. I had to dump water down my throat because I couldn't stand the taste of it. My husband managed to get some of it down, but he poured the whole rest of the bottle down the sink. I can hardly believe in that short amount of time that my tastes have changed that much. I about got knocked over from the smell of cake. It was nasty smelling to me. I couldn't even stomach to be around it.
To top off my wonderful day, I was able to eat solid foods!!! You have no idea what this means to me after two to three days of almost nothing but liquids. My stomach hurt a little bit (after the string cheese and the soda), but other than that it is doing great!
My husband has high hopes for this lifestyle change. I have to admit though. I am scared. My Daddy taught me how to cook the most succulent meals. I made more than one college roommate fat on my cooking. I have always prided myself on having a complete kitchen: the pots and pans, the steamer, the bread maker, the roaster, the waffle iron, and my entire shelf of cookbooks. I will have to get rid of it all. What is the use in keep such items around? It scares me. It really does.
That isn't the only fear I have. I have the nagging thought in the back of my mind saying, "What if this is like all the other attempts to feel better? What if you feel better for a few weeks, and then it gets worse than it was before? What will you do then?" This is a frightening thought because of all the attempts to feel better that have failed.
I tried an all vegetarian diet. I felt great for a while; but after just two weeks, I was back to feeling the same as before. I tried the all health food cookbook, but no luck. I tried cutting out just breads. I tried every last thing I came across, except the raw food diet. (I just couldn't give up my savory dishes.)
It is my hope. It is my desperate prayer that this is the answer to feeling alive again. I am sick and tired of BEING sick and tired. And IF my daughter does have the same problem, I want to fix it before it gets to the point that mine has. I don't want her to suffer for years. That would break my heart.

Is It Possible?

For background information I will tell you that I used to weigh 128 pounds, and then I had my miracle baby. I dropped 14 pounds the first trimester because I couldn't keep anything down. It was horrible, but by the end of the pregnancy I weighed 174 pounds! My worst nightmare. After she was born I did drop a ton of water weight, but I ended up being 145 pounds. As she has grown, so has my weight. It made its way up to 155 pounds. Because of my gastroparesis, I have lost about five pounds in the last two and a half months. Okay, that's not so drastic.
In the last FOUR days, I have lost EIGHT pounds. I am down to 142 pounds. This is a weight that I haven't seen in a long time! And I feel great this morning. I do feel a little bloated (probably from the pizza last night), but other than that I feel amazing!
So I'm wondering, can I already be benefiting from the raw food diet?
And another thing, my body is starting to crave this food! I am looking forward to a cab age salad recipe that I found in one of Victoria Boutenko's books 12 Steps to Raw Foods. It actually sounds good to me right now. So do the mangoes in the fridge. I am craving raw foods right now like never before. I was drooling over the thought of my green smoothing this morning.
Is it possible to see such drastic changes in the first three days? I started on Saturday or Sunday and it's only Tuesday! Eight pounds already? And the best part, my stomach is smaller! There is less flab around my tummy. I didn't think that I would ever get rid of that. I have a six pack under my layer of fat, but no one can see it because of all the flab.
Oh, and I feel so good that I might be able to exercise. I haven't been able to do that in MONTHS! I miss it so much. You have no idea how much I miss being able to exercise. I used to teach two to three exercise classes a week. But now... I haven't really been able to do much of anything. It feels like there is now hope at the end of the tunnel. I have so much energy that I just might dive right into my exercise routine again. I know. I know. One step at a time. I don't want to do too much too soon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What a Difference Pizza Makes

Okay, I managed to go all day on raw foods. Because I am still in the transition stage, I decided to enjoy a slice of pizza with my husband, daughter, and grandmother.
Wow, what a mistake! I felt like a stone had landed in my gut. It was the first time today that I felt sick, which is saying something since I am used to be being sick all day. It gave me a new resolve about that I am doing and why I am doing it. I am going on a raw food diet so that I can stay healthy and feel alive again. I have to do this for myself, for my family. If I don't I might as well, pack my bags and ask Heavenly Father when He's expecting me. Because that is how I feel every day. It has gotten to the point that my muscles ache. The aching pain just won't go away. It is even interferring with my writing. Who wants to write when you are too sore and tired to move off of the couch? Tomorrow is a new day with new foods in the house. I will do better tomorrow. I will learn more tomorrow about my specialized diet. I will do all in my power tomorrow to gain the understanding that I need. I will be down on my knees to ask my Savior for the strength to make it through just one more day.

Health, What a Laugh

This can't be true. They must have made a mistake. It must have been someone else's test. Can it be? I am a 26 year old mother to one and wife to the most incredible husband on the planet. I have been blessed beyong measure, but the word health means nothing to me. I have been ill for most of my life, and now I get the news that the doctors have figured out why I have been so sick.
I have gastroparesis, an impairment of the stomach. It takes my stomach three times longer to digest food than the normal human stomach. This is the reason that I have missed out on so much in my life. This is the reason that my pregnancy was so horrible and ladden with trial after trial. And this is the reason that I will only be having one more baby.
To top it all off, my stomach has gotten to the point where it doesn't want to digest food any more. For the past two days I have been consuming raw food smoothies. They aren't too bad, but I miss my homemade casseroles topped with French fried onions and grated cheese. Even the aroma of such succulant dishes can turn my stomach.
And so it is for my health and the well being of my family that I turn now to a raw food diet. No longer will the sweet scent of chocolate chip cookies waft through the house. No, I have to resign myself to my fate. I have been told that this type of lifestyle is the healthiest way to be. All I can say in response is "I sure hope so."
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia, anemia, migraines, IBS, gastroparesis, endometreosis, sinus tachicardia, and even depression (just to name a few). This is the turning point in my life where I have to take a stand and make a life altering decision. I just hope that I'm making the right one.