ER, Abdominal Pain, and Questions, Oh, My!

ER, Abdominal Pain, and Questions, Oh, My!

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Trip to the ER

If you follow my facebook page, you’re probably aware that a couple of weeks ago I wound up in the ER. I was having severe abdominal pain, and immense belly distention. I made an appointment with my doctor, and then received a call back a little while later telling me that she was canceling the appointment, and advising me to go to the ER, as the pain sounded like appendix pain, and she didn’t want me to waste time I may not have, coming into the office. Begrudgingly, my husband and I made the trip. I should note that it was begrudgingly by me, not him.

While they weren’t able to get a good reading from the MRI (who would have ever thought I don’t have enough intra abdominal fat for a good reading?! Goes to show you, appearances can be deceiving.), they didn’t find anything of concern. Everything looked good. My doctor followed up with the hospital, and they did find that I have a stone in my appendix, but I was assured that was not the cause, and that it may have been there for many years.

Back to the Doctor We Go

We went in for a followup with my doctor. She suggested FODMAP. FODMAP diet, is simply eating foods that are low in Fermentable Oligo-, Di-, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates. They are often not well absorbed in the small intestine, which can cause bloating, diarrhea, and other symptoms. Sounds cool, right? Well, yes. Except that includes my beloved beets, garlic, and onions. While beets are a seasonal thing for us, now is when they’re harvested, and that’s heartbreaking for me. Maybe not heartbreaking, but a real bummer. Garlic and onions, on the other hand, are what I use in basically every meal I ever cook. Also honey. Honey is high FODMAP, and something I traditionally use in almost every meat dish I make. So it’s been interesting to figure out how to create tasty dishes without my trinity of onions, garlic, and honey. I’ve done quite well, I must say, so at least there’s that!

The Culprit

I digress, as I often do. Let’s loop back to the cause of the ER visit. It’s been a mystery. My beloved Jamie (one of my favorite people in the entire world) suggested before I even went to the ER that perhaps the cause of my belly woes was the vegan cheese I ate the night before. I didn’t think so, because I’d had it without incident the week before. Cut to last night, I wanted a grilled cheese so badly it was all I could think about, and I was at the store picking up almond milk, so I grabbed another package of the vegan cheddar, since the stuff in my fridge was now too old to use. I made a grilled cheese (gluten free, dairy free…my life is so wild), and by 2am I was in pretty intense pain. Jamie was right all along! It was the vegan cheese!

Mind you, I’d checked the ingredients the first time I had it, and didn’t see anything strange. And last night I checked it against the FODMAP allowances, and it still checked out. So, I’m just allergic to something in it. We don’t know what,  but my husband, who is just the best, by the way, suggested I email the doctor and just let her know what we’ve figured out, send her the ingredients, and see if she has any thoughts on it. I’d like to do some food allergy testing, but I’ve been shot down every time I’ve asked. I think it’s a pain for doctors to justify with insurance, so insurance usually just rejects it. But maybe since I’ve now twice poisoned myself because I don’t know what I’m supposed to be avoiding (while already avoiding gluten, dairy, and high FODMAP foods) I can get it justified.

What I’m Doing

However, in the meantime…I’m in pain. I tried everything last time. Copious amounts of digestive enzymes, peppermint tea, peppermint EO topically, gas-X, etc. Nothing touched it. This time because I believe it’s an allergy, I’m approaching it differently, and hoping beyond hopes that I’m able to curb some of the reaction and not be in pain and distended for four days, like I was last time. Here’s what I’m doing:

I’m drinking a tea consisting of turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, and coconut oil. Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory, but is best absorbed by the body when black pepper is added. Coconut oil also aids in absorption because of the fat content. I added some organic cane sugar for palatability, but if you’re not low FODMAP, honey would be great, as well.

Because I realize that I’m having some sort of allergic reaction, I decided to take some activated charcoal. Activated charcoal is adsorbent, which means it binds to the proteins in the body, and flushes them out. I did a bit of google research, after I took it, of course, because I am practically imperfect in every way, after all, and was glad to see that my assumption that it can be used successfully to counteract an allergic reaction to food allergies was correct. Activated charcoal is kind of magical in it’s ability to rid the body of the offensive proteins that have been ingested. I’m always a bit hesitant to use it because of its potential to cause constipation, but I’d rather deal with that for a day than pain and belly distention for four days.


I don’t have results yet, since I’m sitting here having just taken the activated charcoal. However, since I’ve taken the charcoal, it hasn’t gotten worse, and prior to that I was rapidly blowing up like a balloon. I’m hopeful! I just wanted to share because it would have been helpful for me to see this from someone else. I never would have thought the vegan cheese was the issue. I never would have thought it was an allergy to one of the ingredients. And I didn’t initially think to treat the inflammation. I hope this can help someone!


UPDATE: I am almost back to normal one day later. The activated charcoal and turmeric tea really seemed to help. I was still quite sore and a bit distended last night, but nothing compared to the previous time (which was the purpose of the ER visit). This morning I’m just a little sore, nothing bad, and my distention is almost gone. That’s INCREDIBLE. This was the number of days in that I wound up going to the ER last time, and looked a solid 18 weeks pregnant. To have that much of a difference tells me that the activated charcoal, and likely the turmeric tea, really nipped the reaction in the bud. I am beyond pleased with the results! While I hope to never have to do this again, I’m making sure to keep activated charcoal and turmeric on hand at all times, now! I really hope anyone reading this, going through something similar, finds relief with this, as well.

I’d also like to note that this is NOT for anaphylactic allergies. Those require an epi pen and an ER visist. PLEASE do not try to combat an anaphylactic reaction with activated charcoal or turmeric.

***I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this blog is medical advice or to be used in lieu of medical treatment or advice from a doctor.

Workouts: What I Do That is Autoimmune/Thyroid/Adrenal/DR Safe

Workouts: What I Do That is Autoimmune/Thyroid/Adrenal/DR Safe

The Contenders

As you know, I have an autoimmune disease, adrenal fatigue, and am hypothyroid. Another special gift I have is Diastasis Recti. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s an opening or gap in abdominal muscles, between the right and left side. It’s typically measured by finger width. Diastasis recti is pretty common, especially among women who have been pregnant, but it’s definitely not exclusive to women. Even holding in gas can cause diastasis recti. The issue with it is that many typical exercises (including pushups and most abdominal exercises) can make DR worse. If it’s something you’re dealing with, you’ll want to ensure that whatever types of exercises you’re doing are safe and promote healing.

I’ve mentioned that I took a several month hiatus from working out. First it was throwing my back out, then I came down with a virus that knocked me out, and then the incredible outside stress that I had no control over got really out of hand, and I knew that given my autoimmune disease and adrenal issues, I needed to let exercise go for a while. I have been doing gentle workouts for several years and have had great results. I have had bouts where I get upset because I’m not pushing my body to extremes, like I did with crossfit, but my body can’t handle extremes. I even did a 15 Day Mommy Fit Challenge workout, and LOVED it, but it was too much stress on my body. I wound up sick from it. Which is honestly incredibly frustrating. But I also know better. I was just hoping that because it wasn’t nearly as extreme as crossfit, and since I’d been doing gentler workouts every other day without any problem, I’d be okay. I was mistaken.

What Works

What I have found that works well for me are short workouts consisting of two round of several exercises. Since I can’t do traditional abdominal workouts, I’ve incorporated a move that I’ve found good results from that is diastasis recti safe. Since I can’t do pushups, I try to incorporate other arm exercises, and while I know that pushups are full body, not just arms, it’s a good alternative to pushups for me. I’ve done many workouts, including the Adrenal Reset Workout, Garage Warrior, Fit in 10, and several others. I also, as mentioned, did crossfit for years. What I have found that works well for me is just the basics. Basic exercises that can be done anywhere. I use 15 lb dumbbells because that’s what I like, but before my pregnancy, I used 30 lb dumbbells. I don’t know that I’ll ever get there again, but I’m really not that interested in adding weight at this point. More about getting the movements and exercise in, and ensuring that I don’t overdo it.

These are the exercises I do. I do 2 rounds of whichever 6 exercises I choose. I do them for 1 minute each, so not a set number of reps. I do squats every time, and I do the knee drop every time, as I really like them both, and I think they benefit every workout.



  • Croc rows
  • Step ups
  • Dumbbell bench press
  • Hip raise
  • Knee drop
  • Pushpress
  • Lunges
  • Standing rear leg extension with a forward bend
  • Knee drop
  • Squats
  • Donkey kicks

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

When outside stressors happen, I have been taking time off of workouts, knowing that if I don’t it can be detrimental to my health. I have lost about 24 pounds since September and most of that, honestly, has been during times I haven’t worked out. My body appears to not be absorbing nutrients, and I have many deficiencies at this point. Because of this, I can easily do too much. When I’m feeling especially tired or worn out, I don’t workout, and I urge others to follow that rule of thumb, especially when dealing with autoimmune diseases, thyroid problems, adrenal issues, mineral/vitamin/nutrition deficiencies, and anyone in recovery.

Working out feels so, so good! And it’s such a reward to yourself, but it’s important to restrict it, no matter how much you’d like no to, when you’re dealing with health issues. I really hope that you enjoy these exercises and incorporate them into your life as you see fit and in a way that best benefits you. I enjoy them greatly. I do plan to post a demonstrational video in the near future, so there’s a little something to get excited about. Who doesn’t want to watch a woman in her mid 30’s who doesn’t workout for a living demonstrate exercises for all the world to see? I may even get my monkey girl to accompany me. Please note that I have no professional filming equipment and do not have a studio, so this will be my living room and my poor husband with my phone. I keep sweetening the pot…


***I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this blog is medical advice or to be used in lieu of medical treatment or advice from a doctor.

BMI is Garbage

BMI is Garbage

Let’s chat about the BMI index, shall we? I have struggled with my weight my entire life. When I was 6 I got sick. Very sick. I mentioned that in my autoimmune disease post. I went from a normal kid, to being fatigued all the time, having issues with my leg, double vision, feeling like garbage, and just being pretty miserable. I gained weight. Part of it was surely due to a lack of the physical activity that I had previously been doing, but part of it was probably due to the illness itself, and, yes, genetics, too.

 School Age

After that, weight was a constant issue for me. In second grade I remember feeling fat, and being told by peers that I was fat. I remember being the last to be picked for kickball and made fun of for my appearance. I see photos now, and see a really normal kid. Not thin by any stretch, but not grossly overweight. But I hated myself. In second grade. Even having dealt with hospital visits and countless doctor visits, I hated myself for not being one of the skinny girls. I was 8.

By middle school I was flirting with eating disorders, but I think that’s sadly typical in our society. By 8th grade I was eating once a day, if that. When I started eating a more normal/consistent diet, I packed on the pounds in high school. I still wasn’t big, but I felt that I was, and my peers made sure to note that I was “fat.” Even people I considered friends were often cruel about my size.
Senior year I was drinking a can of Ensure a day, and got to probably my lightest in my adult life. I started to have some repercussions from it, though. I went to the doctor for some “digestive issues,” and she asked about diet. Mind you, I was still considered “overweight” by theBMI chart, so she was more concerned about me losing weight than about my actual issue. When I told her that I wasn’t overeating or eating anything bad, just a can of Ensure a day, she told me that was ridiculous, and of course I was having “digestive issues”…I didn’t have enough food in my system for it to function properly.

Into Adulthood

Over the next several years I gained quite a bit of weight. By the time I had my daughter, weeks after my 25th birthday, I was very overweight, by anyone’s standard. I thought I’d lose the pregnancy weight, but it didn’t come off. I went into the pregnancy overweight, but post-pregnancy had me at a size I was very uncomfortable with. I remember seeing a photo of myself with my brother, just goofing around, and I was devastated by what I saw. I started a journey to get healthy and in shape.

I started the couch to 5K (C25K) program, and was running for the first time in my life. I also started the 30 Day Shred. I did them religiously. And I began counting calories. I started to lose weight. And pretty rapidly. Mind you, I’d tried other workout programs before I was pregnant, and had no success with them, so I was very excited. I was constantly shopping for more clothes, because I was losing weight so quickly that I was in constant need of smaller sizes. Then I kind of plateaued.
But…then I started crossfit. Shortly after beginning crossfit, I started eating Paleo. It was a huge adjustment from counting calories, but it paid off. I was strong, I was fit, I was losing weight. Then I plateaued again. But I think that’s just as low as I was going to go. My diet became more extreme, as did my workouts. I was doing an hour of crossfit a day, four days a week, and was eating very low carb Paleo, and then when I plateaued and felt I should be losing weight, I went no carb, and just ate meat and eggs. For like 6-8 months. I was also doing intermittent fasting along with longer fasts (1-3 day fasts) every other week or so.

Sickness and Health

I felt great. And then I didn’t. My body spiraled out of control. I started gaining weight rapidly, so I started to restrict my food intake drastically, hoping that would stop it. But it didn’t. I became incredibly fatigued. Exhausted. Started losing my hair. There were tons of symptoms that popped up. Rapid weight gain was but one of them.

After years of doctor visits, which were always disappointing and dismissive, and incredible amounts of research, I finally started to get things under control. I got my hormones in the right place, my thyroid seemed to be doing alright, finally, and my adrenal glands/HPA axis seemed to finally be working. I was doing gentle workouts every other day, drinking my pea protein shakes for breakfast and lunch, and not worrying so hard about what I ate for dinner. I was still eating healthy food, I just wasn’t concerned with calories and allowed myself to have ice cream when I wanted it, etc.

Surprise: Baby!



After regaining my health, I got back down to the weight I was at my prime (the time I was doing crossfit and eating VLC Paleo). But I felt great! It was fantastic! And then I had a surprise pregnancy. I had a feeling that it would throw things out of whack again, but did my best to not think about it and just focus on the pregnancy and my sweet little fetus. Who is now a sweet little 14 month old.

She is totally worth it, but my suspicions were correct; my body was thrown out of whack all over again. Let me say that I have been cruel to myself about my weight since having my second daughter. I didn’t think I was, but I was. I have been focused on losing weight and angry with myself for not being able to lose it as quickly as I’d like.

Enter some incredibly stressful situations, and my body was so stressed that instead of gaining weight like I normally do when dealing with stress, I lost weight. Not a ton, but more than I’d like to give stress credit for. I’m about 4 pounds away from where I was when I got pregnant. But because of the stress I’ve been dealing with, and knowing how my body reacts to all stress, including exercise, I haven’t been working out, lately. Because I know that the added stress to my body could be detrimental to my health. I ache to workout, but I’m giving myself some more time to heal and cope with outside stressors, before I opt to add purposeful stress to my body.

BMI is Garbage

All of that said to say: the BMI is an epic and disgusting farce. Right now I am considered “overweight.” Let me say that while I am not thin, I am definitely not overweight. There is not a person who looks at me and thinks “She’s overweight.” The BMI takes so little into account. Body type matters. Period. I’ve never been anything but just barely in the “normal” range, and when that has occurred, I was at my thinnest, and honestly quite thin for my body. I am short and I have broad shoulders and wide hips, and while, yes, I will always have large thighs and a special belly (thanks to an emergency csection), it’s ridiculous to associate where I am when I’m at my thinnest but still healthy and strong, with “overweight.”

The BMI also neglects to take muscle mass into consideration. When I was doing crossfit, I was incredibly muscular. I’d say at the same weight I am now, I was a solid 15 pounds lighter in reality due to less fat and more muscle. But, the BMI doesn’t care. And unfortunately, neither does the medical world which clings to the ridiculous BMI for a measure of health.

My 9 year old is likely not favored by the BMI chart, but is PERFECT. She is a tiny package of solid muscle and strength, and I will LOSE MY MIND if anyone ever makes her feel like she’s anything but perfect because of the BMI which doesn’t take her immense strength and muscle into account. I will LOSE MY MIND if she ever feels they way I did about my body. Because I look back and while, yes, I definitely had some considerably overweight times, when I was a child and a teenager, I was perfect. And I felt like a piece of trash thanks to the BMI, the doctors who put so much stock in it, and a society which tells us that we must fit a mold of thinness in order to be worthy.

I hope to lose the last four pounds, I’ll be honest. But I’m guessing I’ll put some weight on first, once the stressfulness subsides, and once I’m working out again and gaining muscle. And that is absolutely okay. Trust that I’d rather have a few extra pounds and feel good and have my body working as optimally as possible, than be the weight I’d most like and feel exhausted and weak and miserable.

My husband has never had to contend with weight issues, aside from when he was in high school and some coach mocked him for being too skinny. He started consuming insane amounts of calories and lifting heavy weights, and put on enough weight to be a muscly football player. He’s now a thin guy. Not skinny, but he’ll never ever be anything close to overweight. I put his metrics into the BMI chart and guess what…he’s 2 pounds shy of being “overweight.” It’s so laughable when put into that context. Because he is a thin guy. No question about it. And there is no one in the world who would look at him and think “man, he’s pretty close to being overweight…” Most people would think “he could stand to eat a few cheeseburgers.”

But here we are. Killing ourselves over a stupid freaking body mass index chart that is entirely outdated, and frankly, meaningless. It’s antiquated to say the least. As a friend pointed out, the chart was created in the 1830s. As another friend pointed out, human bodies have undergone quite a bit of change since then. We’re larger people in general. Not just “fatter,” but larger frames. But the chart doesn’t take body type or muscle mass into consideration. It doesn’t care about your actual health and lifestyle, just about your height to weight ratio. It’s so absurd. And frustrating. But still such a hard care to break.

Personal shortcomings

I can preach body acceptance all day. And I can talk about the ridiculous body standards our society clings to. I can go on and on about self-love, throwing the scale away, about size being unimportant. And I believe all of it. At the same time, I practice low-key self-loathing over my size and weight. Not all the time. But practicing it at all is not something I’m proud of. I wish that I wasn’t so concerned about fitting into the last pair of prepregnancy jeans. That I didn’t look into the mirror and have days where I internally freak out over what I see. I wish that I could look at myself with the love and enamor that my husband looks at me with.

I have days that I feel really good about myself. And sadly, many days where I pick myself apart, and frankly, probably am viewing myself through a funhouse mirror lense. I’m aware that I likely have some body dysmorphia going on. And I know that health is so much more important than size. I know that the BMI is a complete and utter farce.

Learning to make the two opposing world views I adhere to around weight and size come together is more of a struggle than I’d ever imagined. But I am definitely trying. In the meantime, I will continue to remind myself that my body is what it is. That it’s exactly what it needs to be right now. That I don’t need to criticize it. That I can love my body while accepting that it doesn’t look exactly as I’d like it to. And that I need to stop being so mean to it.

I will continue to keep embracing my imperfections, including my inability to sometimes embrace said imperfections.

***I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this blog is medical advice or to be used in lieu of medical treatment or advice from a doctor.

In the Kitchen

In the Kitchen

As you probably know from looking around my blog, I’m pretty natural-minded in my life. I use vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap for my cleaning products. I make my own shampoo, lip balm, body butter, sun screen, and deodorant, etc. So what does that translate into in the kitchen? Well, on top of being naturally minded, I’m also incredibly frugal. I hate to spend money. It’s a quality of mine that my husband loves. I am all about buying things second hand, I’m all about making my own instead of shelling out money for something I can do. And that can sometimes be difficult to translate into groceries. Here’s a look at what we do in our kitchen.


How We Eat

We try to eat as cleanly as possible, meaning we avoid highly processed foods, opting to make things from scratch as opposed to buying things premade. We also buy organic as much as possible. While still being frugal. I was a single parent living on a tight income for many years, and I made it work for us, so I know it can be done! It means sticking to staples. There are ALWAYS apples and carrots in our house. Because organic apples and organic carrots are two of the most budget friendly organic produce items you can find. And they’re delicious and easy to pack in lunches. There are several Aldi around us, which makes it easier to shop organic items without breaking our budget, but I know not everyone is so lucky. Before Aldi started carrying so much organic goodness, I shopped at other grocery stores and it truly was about double the cost. But, again, we stuck with staples. I buy grass fed ground beef, and Aldi has the best prices there, almost always. Though, at a little local grocery store where almost everything is more expensive than at larger stores, they have local grass fed meat at about the same price, which is AWESOME, and definitely something to look into.



I haven’t done it yet, but have always coveted local grass fed beef shares. It’s a high up front cost, but works itself out to be a good deal. The up front cost is what has kept me at bay, but maybe next year we’ll take the plunge.

As far as meat goes, I stick with the cheapest organic options. That means ground beef, and organic chicken legs. My daughter and I lived off of those for years. Organic chicken thighs are very reasonable, as well. And we always stocked up when we found them on sale. I’ve gotten lucky enough to get venison several times, too. My husband was able to get an entire deer from a friend this year. That’s a lot of meat! And his mother just gave us an obscene amount of buffalo. I currently have backstrap in my crockpot, slowly cooking away.



Last year we bought a crop share, and it was great. It was a very rough growing year, and as such, we wound up with much less than is offered most years, but it was still worth every penny. Getting bags of fresh, organic, local produce every week is awesome. And when you wind up with items you wouldn’t normally grab at the store, or even that you’ve never heard of or eaten before, it allows you to try new things and get creative. There’s something really glorious about a big bag of fresh produce to do whatever your heart desires with.

We garden, too. Well, my husband gardens. My mom has large amazing gardens, as well, and we reap the benefits of that. Preserving the produce that you have in excess from the crop share and/or garden is important, as well. My husband cans tomatoes, pickles, and peppers. And my mom cans and dehydrates. Dehydrates? YES! It’s not something I’d have thought of, and it’s awesome!

We do handmade gifts to exchange with my parents and brother and brother-in-law, which is awesome in and of itself, but further made awesome by my mom giving us the most ridiculous amount of canned and dehydrated produce you can imagine. Dehydrated peppers, tomatoes, cabbage, onions, etc. It may sound strange, but there are so many ways to use them. I zap peppers, tomatoes, and onions in the food processor to create a powder, which is amazing in tacos or slow cooked/simmered meat. Or in rice. I put cabbage, onions, and peppers into a large bowl and pour boiling water over them, then cover, as I’m preparing fried rice or pasta, or whatever I desire to add them to. Then, once ready, I have hydrated and delicious add-ins, with very seasoned water to add to the dish.

Canned tomatoes are excellent for everything. Having pickles, pickled squash, pickled jalapenos, etc, is a great way to add some acid and crunch to dishes, too.



As for grains, I am allergic to gluten (confirmed by a blood test and my doctor). We stick to organic rice that is labeled gluten free (if it’s not labeled that way, they it may be processed in areas with wheat and could be cross contaminated), and gluten free pasta. Again, Aldi has great options for me.

They have an excellent gluten free selection, so I always have a decent amount of GF pasta on hand. While I didn’t really eat much in the way of rice or pasta when it was just my daughter and me, my husband REALLY likes to have a grain with his meals, so we usually have one or the other.


I Wing It

As I mentioned, I currently have buffalo backstrap in the crockpot. I added a jar of tomatoes from my mom, a healthy dose of garlic, some organic brown sugar, Himalayan salt, black pepper, some paprika, and a good amount of cumin. This is my first time making backstrap, so I’m just winging it. I’m hoping the tomatoes and slow cooking help to break the meat down and give us a really tender dinner. If it works out that way, I’ll shred the meat and we’ll do tacos or nachos. While I can’t have cheese (casein allergy…my body may hate me…), the rest of the family can, so I’ve got some organic cheese (which is a splurge item, because organic cheese is just pricey no matter how to slice it. See what I did there? I can’t imagine why my daughter thinks I’m embarrassing!) that I’ll shred for them. Those lucky fools also get sour cream. But I can partake in the jalapenos and salsa!

And that is a little on how we cook and shop here. It’s always interesting to see/hear how others stock their kitchen. Oh! Speaking of stock…I love the organic stock from Aldi because it’s gluten free (most are not), the price is great, and it’s so convenient to have the cartons on hand. I do, though, save chicken bones from the legs we make and when we roast a whole chicken, as well as the scraps of organic produce (onions, carrots, peppers, celery, etc), and make stock. I LOVE to have homemade stock on the stove when our house comes down with a cold. It’s a comfort food that even my very picky 9 year old enjoys.

With that, I will stop sharing my kitchen stocking with you, and ask if you have anything you’d like to share with me? I’d love to hear your tips and ideas!

I Poisoned My Baby

I Poisoned My Baby

The Stuff Mother-of-the-year is made of

Well, mother of the year right here. I poisoned my 13 month old. She’s been sick for almost a week now, and we couldn’t figure it out. Of course it wasn’t until Friday afternoon that I realized that it wasn’t going away, so I had to wait until Monday to call the doctor, and couldn’t get her in until Tuesday. She started, the Thursday before, to have diarrhea. She was a little more crabby than usual, but nothing terrible. But she was going like four times a day, which is not at all normal for her. And it caused her to be very red and rashy. Thanks to the insight and advice of my amazing facebook friends, I was able to get that under control, and she now just has two small red spots. But she’s still having diarrhea. Friday, we got her an electrolyte drink, and her big sister worked hard to get her to drink it. (Side note: she’s the BEST big sister). But she hadn’t stopped drinking fluids, and hated the drink, so we only made her drink it a few times. She was still drinking plenty of water and plenty of almond milk.

After it started, well, the day it started, but late in the day, I got the wrong kind of almond milk, because it was the only unsweetened version the store had. Let me say that neither of my girls like vanilla almond milk. At all. Doro was refusing her bottles in protest. We thought maybe the milk was what was causing it, but then remembered that she’d only had one bottle of it, and it was after the issue had already started. We were perplexed. But she didn’t have a fever, wasn’t lethargic, didn’t seem dehydrated, etc.

To the Doctor

Finally on Tuesday, I got her into the doctor. The doctor suggested just maintaining what we’re doing and giving her the probiotic drops again, as we’d stopped giving them to her when it started, as that is what helps her go. On the way home from the doctor’s office, I remembered that she’d had sashimi for the first time the Tuesday before she started getting sick. So two full days. It hadn’t dawned on me that it could be a reason, because it had been a couple of days before it started. I called the office and told the receptionist, and she noted it for the doctor. I got a call back explaining that the doctor is certain that was the cause.

It turns out that I am an idiot. Immune systems and digestive systems aren’t able to handle raw fish until roughly age 3. My doctor recommends to wait until 4 just to be safe. With Lucy, I hadn’t even had sushi until she was around 2, and didn’t give her any until she was 4. I can honestly say it didn’t even cross my mind that it could be harmful. I know “they” say not to consume raw fish during pregnancy, but the risk is actually incredibly low (I did my research, including research outside of the US), and it’s a natural and healthy part of the Japanese diet during pregnancy. So I ate it during my pregnancy, and I think that’s why it just didn’t occur to me.

Anyway, I feel terrible that I poisoned my sweet baby. She LOVED the sashimi, by the way. She even let me feed it to her with chopsticks (she doesn’t like to be fed, so this was really cool to me). I’m bummed that she won’t get to have it again for a few years, but relieved that I know she’ll be okay and can avoid it going forward. I feel terrible that I caused her to be sick, though. Like, truly awful. Motherhood is such a trip sometimes.

Life With an Autoimmune Disease

Life With an Autoimmune Disease

Life With an Autoimmune Disease

I felt like this would be a good time to kind of explain how autoimmune diseases can impact life. I don’t know what my autoimmune disease is, just that I have it. When I was little, around 6, I got sick. Very sick. It was around the time that Lyme Disease was highly publicized. My doctors felt that I probably had Lyme, but my tests for Lyme came back negative time and again. They decided to treat me as if it were Lyme, which meant antibiotics for about a year. My parents fought the doctors for a diagnosis. I went to U of M Hospital, I went to a hospital in Wisconsin, no one could figure out what was going on. But my parents fought long and hard for me. I remember being in complete shock when my mom yelled at my doctor. Because my mom doesn’t yell. And definitely not at a doctor. But I was utterly dismissed. I was 6 and struggling with debilitating exhaustion, double vision, rashes, joint pain, etc, and the doctor, unable to find an answer, decided that I was probably making it up for attention. That was the beginning of my uncertainty of doctors.

My symptoms went into remission, and I really didn’t think about it again until I got sick again when I was around 20. I went to the doctor, and got no answers other than that I was likely unable to get pregnant without medical intervention (which not only was completely false, but also not why I was there, and no testing was done for that, so why he felt the need to tell me that is beyond me). My hormones were not balanced with each other, but each was “within normal range” individually. So, he wouldn’t even address that, saying there was no issue (other than, you know, that I wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally. Which, again, was completely false). I kept going back and asking for referrals. Finally, to get me to shut up, he referred me to a couple of specialists. One was not helpful at all. At all. She told me that my adrenals were not functioning properly, but that there was nothing that could be done. The other did some tests and found that I have an autoimmune disease. It was, at that time, destroying my thyroid, but it was not Hashimotos. He told me that he didn’t know what it was and that he’d not seen in before. What that meant was no diagnosis. An autoimmune disease and no diagnosis. Which meant that doctors to follow wouldn’t acknowledge it.

Again, it went into remission until I was about 27. At that point I was doing extended crossfit 4 days a week, sometimes 5, and was eating no-carb Paleo. Just meat and eggs. You know what one of the doctors suggested after I explained that to her? She suggested I stop lifting weights and increase the cardio, because lifting weights “makes you gain weight,” and she told me to reduce my carbs. I was already eating ZERO carbs. I was so exhausted I couldn’t function. I went to work and came home, a single mother, and laid on the couch until I put my daughter to bed, and then I went to bed. I was a terrible mother. But I needed to work to support us, and I was so drained that work was more than my body could take. When it first started, I thought working out more and restricting my calories was the way to counteract my weight gain, which was happening out of nowhere, and my fatigue. I was wrong. I spiraled downward quickly.

I finally got my hormones balanced, and my HPA axis working as optimally as possible, and my thyroid and autoimmune disease seemed to be relenting. And then I found out I was pregnant with my little surprise. That kind of threw me out of whack all over again.

My current doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s last year, mostly just so that I’d have a diagnosis. It’s not truly Hashimoto’s, and I don’t really have any course of action or any idea of what to expect. I am allergic to gluten and casein, which my doctor suspects is due to my autoimmune disease, as those often go hand-in-hand. So for now I just try to take care of my body as much as possible and avoid pushing physical limits.


Present Day

Saturday, I did the March For Our Lives march, locally. It was a gathering with some speakers, and then a walk around the park. It was very cold out and incredibly windy. The walk was brief. But when I got home I was so wiped I couldn’t function. And I couldn’t get warm. My husband brought my heated blanket down for me to try to warm up with. But I was out of it and my patience was at an all time low. I went to bed. And I stayed in bed until the next morning. An autoimmune disease and adrenal dysregulation can wipe you out so much that you can’t function. That you can’t be a mother or a wife. That you can’t be anything.

It’s frustrating. And it’s embarrassing. And it’s saddening. And it makes you feel like you’re not a worthwhile person. Because your body is literally failing you, but you’re not terminal. It’s not cancer, it’s not a visible illness or disability, so you just look lazy. And so you feel like you’re just lazy. And that is really hard. My husband is very understanding. He let me rest. He is supportive. But I know it has to be frustrating for him. And I know it must be annoying when I look fine, but can’t get out of bed. I’m lucky because it’s not every day for me. I’m always tired. I’m usually quite fatigued. And that definitely impacts my life and what I can do. But it doesn’t usually leave me in bed all day.

I have this beautiful family and this beautiful life, and I feel like I am letting them down all the time. Not because I want to, but because I don’t have the energy, and with that I lose my patience. I start each day off with the energy and restfulness that most people end their day. By midday I am exhausted and truly just am counting down the hours until we pick up my 9 year old, which is a break in providing my 13 month old with my undivided attention, and then about 40-50 minutes after we get home my husband gets home and relieves me from the baby. How awful is that? I look forward to being relieved of parenting. It’s a horrible feeling. I don’t feel like I deserve to be the mother of these awesome girls. I have to remind myself that I’m doing the best that I can and that I’m not just being lazy.

This is where acts of self-kindness come into play. I have to actively remind myself that I’m not lazy. That I’m not worthless. That I have a body that doesn’t work the way that it should; that is literally attacking itself. That the best thing I can do for my girls is to take care of myself as much as possible so that I can present them with the best mother I can possibly be. But that’s not an easy pill to swallow. When you feel so tired and sore and drained all the time, it’s hard to remember to be kind to yourself. You feel like not only do you not deserve it, but that you’re selfish and self-serving for even considering it. We live in a society in which mothers are supposed to be and do everything. And do it tirelessly. When you physically cannot, and you don’t have a visible disability, it really makes you feel like you’re undeserving. Like you’re lazy.

That, in a nutshell, is life with an autoimmune disease.

***I am not a medical doctor and nothing in this blog is medical advice or to be used in lieu of medical treatment or advice from a doctor.

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