Friday, December 2, 2011

Managing Life With Bumps In The Night

So, the bumps had returned. So I did the best thing I knew to do: I went online in search for answers! Well, sort of.  In all honesty, I went online to get a phone number for an allergist in my Hometown and did what any reasonable adult would do: called my mom and asked her to set up the appointment for me, even though I had looked the number up.  I got scared so I had her do it. Pathetic, I know.  But, in all fairness, the allergist's office has been my dad's family's doctor for over 50 years! So my mom, dad, and brother are all well acquainted with the office and I knew she would have more sway about getting me in on the exact and only days I would be available for several months. 

And sure enough, she came through! They scheduled me, somewhat unwillingly, for allergy tests over the exact two days that I was planning to be in Hometown.  They told my mom that there was a good chance the tests would be inconclusive, but I persevered and thought it would be worth going.  So I stopped my medicine for a few days, became quite irritable and bumpy and itchy, and then went and got a lot of scratches and a whole bunch of food injections.   The tests showed that I have food sensitivities to, oh, pretty much everything that any normal person would like to eat.  

Seriously.  I'm sensitive to wheat, coconut, garlic, blackberry, cauliflower, strawberry, pear, pea, kidney bean, grape, red and green pepper, chile powder, brewers yeast, oat, rice, banana, pecan, spinach, apple, celery, coffee, watermelon, cow milk, beef, lobster, shrimp, tuna, halibut, apricot and peach.  

If you made it through that list you will probably be thinking two different thoughts, simultaneously. Those are 1. Man, that is a lot of food; and 2. There must still be tons of other foods that you are not sensitive to and therefore, what is with all the whining?

I know, because I had these same thoughts for about a month before I got a handle on myself. For a while, I tried to eat other foods they tested that I had no reaction to. Things like chicken, corn, pinto bean, cherry, etc.  And I think I was doing okay, but the bumps kept coming and I kept cheating on things like coffee because it can be really discouraging to limit your diet. 

But eventually, I realized I needed to see a nutritionist to figure out how to truly eliminate the foods I knew I was sensitive to and how to still eat a relatively healthy diet.  The dietician taught me a number of things I never knew, introduced me to foods I hadn't heard of, and advised me of other foods that weren't tested but were in a like family to those I were so I could stay away from them too. 

I think it has been almost two months since I saw her, and since that time, I have been doing better at staying with my safe foods and not cheating by eating unsafe foods.  I did have one more pretty bad attack and have had some other slip-ups, but overall I'm doing okay with "safe" foods, many prescription drugs, and now, some digestive enzymes.

I'm not sure how long it will take to get over this bout of illness or if it will be something I live with for many years.  Right now, this combination of things seems to be working, and I'm trying many different types of cooking and recipes that I likely would have before these issues. 

We were trying to generally eat healthy for a while before the bumps started, but in all honesty, I wasn't deterred enough from things like cheese to really eliminate them.  But now that I have essentially been forced to rethink food and diet, I don't even miss most of those things we have eliminated.  It may be partly because it makes me feel better as far as hives go, but I think I generally feel better in life, too.  So I'll keep eating "safe foods" until something changes, and that makes things like preparing my own Thanksgiving a lot less worry free, since I knew exactly what was in everything I was eating. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Things That Go Bump In the Night

So I have sort of alluded to some dietary changes that I have had to make and how I had to be careful in order to make Thanksgiving "safe" for me to eat this year.  I suppose it is time I share in more detail my struggle.

Around May of this year I started noticing little bumps around my elbows. I thought that I was getting spider bites, because it is common for people in the area of the town we were living to have trouble with spiders and the bumps were small.  But then the bumps kept appearing, and constantly in new areas. We travelled to our Hometown on Memorial Day weekend and I saw my general practitioner for a yearly checkup.  I showed him the bumps and explained that they "come and go. They move around and change colors and it seems like they don't last long, but there were often new ones springing up." He advised that I should see a dermatologist to diagnose the skin condition, but with some clever internet sleuthing I self-diagnosed with hives in a matter of hours, instead of waiting seven months for an appointment with a dermatologist.

And I started self-medicating with a little bit of anti-itch creams and low dosage antihistamines.  This worked well and good for a while, except for my occasional bouts of irritability prior to bigger breakouts and sometimes pretty severe itching.  But then one night in the middle of June, I woke up and went into the bathroom feeling awfully strange. I turned on the light and standing at the counter I thought that I looked strange.  I went and got my glasses from my bedroom and returned to the mirror. My lip was swollen so much that I hardly recognized myself.

So I woke my husband up and asked him to take a picture and email it to me from his phone.  He did and I forwarded it to my general practitioner (who regularly emails and texts patients at 3 in the morning--he is awesome by the way). I was quite alarmed at my appearance so, of course, I did as any normal hypochondriac female in the twenty-first century would do: I googled it.  After reading a few things, I debated with myself for a few minutes about whether I should wake my husband up to tell him I was going to go to the Emergency Room, at the direction of the interwebs, and decided I probably should.

He wanted to come with me, being the modern day night in shining Tundra that he is, so off we went.  He was prepared for an eight hour wait, but we were triaged almost immediately, because they were concerned about keeping my airway open.  I was given a quick round of corticosteriods, antihistamines and H2 blockers to stop the allergic reaction I was having.  The doctors quizzed me about the time period I had been having bumps, my diet, my soaps, etc., and finally told me that I have angioedema (or swelling in the face) and I probably have idiopathic urticaria (or as we common folk say, hives from an unknown cause).  They told me I could keep track of everything I came into contact with and try to determine the cause, but they said I might not ever know and that the swelling would likely not return and that the hives would eventually go away.

My general practitioner set me up with prescriptions for an EPIPEN, antihistamines, and an H2 blocker for the histamine response from my stomach.  This combination of drugs made the bumps totally manageable for the rest of June, all of July, and most of August.  A few would appear during the night, but I regularly cleared up during the day. So I slacked off about keeping track of everything I came into contact with, and just tried to eliminate common allergens from my diet, from my washing liquids (of all forms) and through other sources.  I was perfectly happy with this mode of operation, because the hives were pretty well controlled and because I had heard that hives often last for several months at a time.   But time continued on and unfortunately for me, the medicines and my lifestyle changes did not stop the bumps from reoccurring in the night.


Thursday, November 24, 2011


thank·ful  (thngkfl)
1. Aware and appreciative of a benefit; grateful.
2. Expressive of gratitude: a thankful smile.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm thankful that we have loving families at home and they are always available to chat. 
I'm thankful that I am not alone on Thanksgiving, even if is just me and my best friend. 
I'm thankful that we will have a wonderful delicious meal to eat together and that it will be safe for me.
I'm thankful for doctors and medicines and the internet that help me with what is or can be safe.

I'm thankful for the warm and wonderful home we live in.

I'm thankful that we are making a place and finding our way in a new city.

I'm thankful that Mr. RH brought us here for school because it is so new and so different. 

And I'm thankful for the adventure that it is and because it was just what we needed.

I'm thankful that all of these circumstances are for our good beause of Him who I am most grafeful for.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

We hope your Thanksgiving is full and warm with contentment and gratitude and love for friends, family, and the Lord who loves you and gave it all for you. God bless. 


Monday, November 21, 2011

The Little MacBook That Cost $

Well. My little newly-returned-regularly-scheduled blogging went to pot last week. I know, enough with the excuses already!! But if you will just forgive me again...

You see, the little MacBook I write my posts on decided to change my lovely plans.  He has been (mostly) loyal and faithful and dependable for over four years now, but last week he was so very tired. So tired in fact, that his regular glow just ceased.  Turns out his display and backlight need to be changed out! $270.00+ tax. Cha ching! 

Oh, and his battery is on the way to the world of fried batteries, too, I guess.  The nice genius at Apple regretfully informed me that my battery has stood up for over 808 charges, but that he likely wouldn't last for many more because they are only guaranteed for 300. (I feel the need to express my disgust that 300 full charges is not even a full years worth of charges if you run your battery down daily. Come ON Apple!).  But I guess I don't really have room to complain since mine lasted over double that! But unfortunately, he won't likely last much longer.  And to replace that is another $99.00+ tax. Cha ching! 

So if you are keeping track, the repairs my little guy needs are currently at around $370.00+ tax. And he is already 4 years old, has had to have his hard drive replaced and had his OS updated. So it is not like we haven't already put other money into him. (Well, the new hard drive was actually replace for free, but that is beside the point).  And umm, $400.00 is like almost a whole iPad2 and is almost 1/2 way to a brand spanking new MacBookAir.  And umm, I'm not working.  And umm, it is almost Christmas. And umm, yeah.

So I am trying to decide what to do, if anything at all. For the time being, I'm writing from Mr. RH's desktop. And I'm so grateful for this, because it has an internet connection, a lit screen and a keyboard. 

But my little MacBook buddy is sitting in the living room, close to our big living room window, and a couch and television. He is saying that the stationality (I know it isn't a word) of the desktop can't really satisfy me for too long, so I'm still going to have to make a decision. But maybe I can wait to decide until 2012.  Or maybe Santa will surprise me and decide for me.  Wouldn't that make the timing of this whole thing completely perfect? 

I'm here and I'm writing from the comfort of Mr. RH's plush leather desk chair,


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nothing of Substance

First of all, thank you for the warm welcome back into the blogging world.  I didn't know that anyone would realize I was gone, except maybe my husband and mother. And my mother called me very soon after I posted, so I was right about her, but I don't think my sweet man has noticed yet.  So I guess that means I'm not that great at making predictions about my life. 

Anyway, as I am getting back into the swing of things, I decided to go easy on myself and instead of writing a thoughtful, coherent post, I'm just going to give you a splattering of thoughts.  These types of posts happen to be my favorites on other blogs. I think they are my favorites, because they are easy to focus on as you only need a 3 second attention span.  Plus, I think it is fun to see random bits of other peoples days and lives and how those moments and thoughts relate to my own.

Thus, we proceed:

1. I have really only been drinking Starbucks Refresh Tea lately, because of some dietary changes that keep me away from cocoa and espresso.  In an attempt to be frugal, Handsome and I bought me a nice package of them at the store.  This is all well and good, except for the fact that I want my Refresh Tea in one of those dang cute Red cups. I suppose I can wait until after Thanksgiving to give in again

2. Said dietary changes, espresso and cocoa among others, are also making me a little crazy trying to plan our Thanksgiving meal.  Handsome and I may be on our own this year, because we are not going to our Hometown. This is good and bad. It is good because we won't have the stress of traveling before his finals and because I really will know that I can eat everything I prepare. But it is bad because I am having the hardest time figuring out what I can fesasibly prepare that will be edible and safe for me and still resemble a normal Thanksgiving meal, will starve off any feelings of homesickness, and please my Thanksgiving-loving-Husbands tastebuds.  Good times.

3.  This recipe search keeps leading me to my old favorites like Paula Dean. And I now follow her on Twitter. But man alive, there is not likely to be one recipe of hers that I can use this year which makes me think I should unfollow her on twitter (for the time being). Sad days.

4. I joined Twitter. In case it wasn't clear from the above.  I sort of, kind of, love it! I check it on my phone and on the computer and it sort of makes me feel like I am still interacting with people throughout the day even though I am really just sitting at home talking to myself.  My username is SageNovember and you can talk back if you want to.  

5. On a totally unrelated note, I need to make a trip to Hobby Lobby so I can talk to myself in the aisles there and so I can pick up some beautiful items for projects and crafts.  I really ought to do this today as a. I am clean, b. I am wearing clean clothes, and c. my hair is also clean.  You would think that this combination of things is normal for most people, however, it has not been a frequent occurrence in my life as of late.

And with that realization, I am off to Hobby Lobby with maybe a stop at Starbucks on the way. :-) Shocking I know.

Don't worry.  I'll be back soon and I'll be writing,


Monday, November 7, 2011

Major Changes.

I keep not writing, because I haven't written.  Logical huh? Oh, and because I don't like my blog design anymore, but I'm trying to put that aside and put myself back onto the interwebs, because I miss all of my blogging friends.

Anyway, I couldn't quite stir any creativity while at my last job. It required many hours of serious thinking and writing and it also paid me, so blogging had to hit the back burner. Or it got stuffed into the bottom broiler that never gets turned on. However you want to say it. 

But now, I'm currently unemployed and feeling quite free and creative and I'm trying not to think about the blog design, all so I can bring you another installment of This is Katie. Good times, eh? 

In the 8(+) months since I last checked in,  many wonderful, life-changing things have happened.  

First, we moved part way across the country.  Then I flew back to our old city and I finished out the remainder that creativity-stifiling but very interesting and important job.  It had been for a one year term, so I needed to complete that term even though our move overlapped a little. 

At the same time, Mr. Rh started grad school and started studying more than we knew was possible. 

And while much of this was going on, we also started house shopping.  Then we got a new (old) house and moved again(!) while he was enjoying his fall break.  This move required many hours of painting, but hardly any repacking since we had the foresight earlier to stop unpacking when it looked like we were going to get to move again. It also involved supervising workers who were making repairs and changing things on our house. After this stint of supervision, I decided I went into the wrong profession and should have been a site manager instead of a whatever I am because for some reason, workers fear me.  And all this time I thought I was an approachable, friendly human.  Guess I look more like a grouchy boss. 

Other than those life things, a few minor things happened too that have required me to start cooking more and crafting a little. I feel energized and excited again. Join me?

I'm right here and I'll be writing,


Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Little Miss Fit Update: February 9th

Made it to the gym last night again.  Yay!
Spent twenty-five minutes on the elliptical and another
fifteen minutes of strength training on four machines.  
Handsome said maybe I should try strength training first before cardio because its easier to have better form and do more reps before your muscles are buzzing from cardio... so maybe I'll try that next time.
On the machines I did a seated leg lift, another leg push, seated bench press and a lateral pull down with various degrees of weights and about three sets of twelve reps on each. 
I have a question about strength training that I need to remember to ask him (or someone)....
How long should I wait between sets? I have been waiting as long as I need to feel like I could do it again, but I'm not sure if its long enough or too long. 
Okay, that is it for now. 

I'm here and I'm still writing,

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Little Miss Fit Update: February 6th

So yesterday I celebrated the Super Bowl by going to the gym.

I had the weight area of the gym almost to myself (thank you football!)

I did about 30 minutes of strength training, doing sets of reps on six different machines.

Today I'll probably need to do some cardio to loosen up what I'm sure will be sore muscles.

I'm here and I'm still writing,


Friday, February 4, 2011

A Pretty Little Holiday

What is pink and white and red all over?

Valentines Day, of course! I am a big fan of the heart-shaped holiday.  I mean, what is honestly better than chocolates and pretty pink hearts and white bows?   
I know some people feel like the holiday is isolating, because they don't have a man-friend to be all romantical in the wine and flowers type way, but honestly, we all have friends and family members that we LOVE... right?  So I don't really see the problem. Anyway.

It seems to me that this year, people are going all out for Valentines Day! And by people, I mean retail stores, advertisers, and television talk shows.  I have noticed this somewhat since Christmas, but seeing as the holiday is only ten days away now, they are certainly pushing things now!  I think its quite pretty and festive though, so I don't really mind. 
After a few trips to Target, glancing over a few emails from Williams Sonoma, and watching a Martha Stewart show on the special day, I am more excited than normal.  And it has happened much earlier too!
In case you are in the mood for a little lurve, these are a few of my favorite things for heart-filled day:
First up, X and O S'mores From Williams Sonoma.  Handsome and I had a box of WS S'mores at Christmas and they were absolutely delicious.  We bought them post-holiday when they were on sale.  I had been craving the real campfire variety for quite some time, and the WS marvels were a very good substitution. 

 Second, little Valentine Petits Fours.  I am not even sure that I like Petit Fours, because I have not had any for many years, but these are so cute and bite-sized that I imagine I would like them quite well.

Third, heart-shaped pancakes! This is cute and completely do-able at home. It would feel so fancy with some strawberries and  a Mimosa on a Saturday morning near the holiday! Sounds like a fun way to have breakfast!

Fourth, I have a special treat that my man would just swoon for.  He is a big fan of shortbread cookies, so these would be a perfect gift for him!

Next up are some heart-shaped soaps! I think these would be nice little gifts for some  female family members or to keep in the guest bathroom during the month of February.

And lastly, I think this heart-covered wax paper is perfect to wrap up some baked goodies for co-workers or neighbors or friends is an easy way to spread the love...

What are your favorite Valentine's Day treats and sweets?
I'm here. And I'm still writing,


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Little Miss Fit Update

To keep myself honest and accountable, encouraged and recorded, I might occasionally post work-out summaries on the ole blog.

February 1, 2011:

20 minutes of elliptical
20 ish minutes of learning how to use the weight machines at the gym from Handsome.  (thanks).  
Its wasn't much but it was a good start to the month on a cold winter day.