Monday, August 14, 2017

Chronic pain sucks

Chronic pain sucks. This is a venting blog post. You are warned.

Sometimes the treatments for pain/disease/etc make things worse or have weird side effects. I have a lower back problem. Well, several of them. One or two vertebrae slip (called spondylolisthesis). Same ones have osteoarthritis, which is actually protective in my case. One disc is torn (annular tear), which causes really terrible nerve pain (radiculopathy) that goes down my spine, into my buttocks, across my groin, and down my legs. All in all, a tough break. I have done just about everything short of surgery. Last week I had the 2nd radiofrequency ablation from L3 to S1 done. Saturday a new pain, on the outside of my left foot, started and has gotten worse.

Sometimes I feel like a fraud. This is why: I went to Boston Comic Con yesterday with my hubby and friends and had a great time. We met Stan Lee after waiting in line for an hour, It was wonderful nonetheless. I probably should have agreed to get a scooter, wheelchair, or at least go forward when the folks who asked us to queue for Stan Lee asked about ADA and people who can't stand in line for long periods of time. I should have done that. I didn't. I did wear comfortable boots though. I did take lots of Tylenol and sat down as often as I could. We had an excellent time, did lots of walking (limping in my case) and bought some cool stuff. I suffered, not in silence (my poor friends). I did pay for having fun though, and that's the catch.

I woke up early this morning, as planned, for school and got ready despite the pain. I limped around the house, got a shower, got dressed, made coffee and breakfast and etc. Went out to the car, got sprayed by the damn sprinkler, which meant I had to go back inside and change because I was SOAKED, of course. Changed, went back out to the car, all ready to go, pushed in the clutch while starting the car (I drive a stick shift) and bam, the searing pain got worse and brought me to tears. Nope, can't drive my car. This lead me to a mini breakdown and back inside the house where TJ listened and comforted me. Thankfully, I can take his car (automatic) to school, which is 2 hours away in Boston (that's another story). I called my spine and pain doc's office and left an urgent message for them to call me and/or get me in ASAP. I won't go to the E.R. because I know there isn't anything they can do for me.

Going back a paragraph, paying for having fun is a sad part of having chronic pain. On one hand, I want to be pain-free, and on the other, I want to have fun with my loved ones. It's a delicate balance that anyone with chronic pain/disease deals with every day. As I said, sometimes I feel like a fraud because I can have many good days or many bad days, and they aren't even, fair, or even correlated with each other. It's miserable and it sucks but it's a part of life I have accepted and just deal with. It's hard for people on the outside who don't have a chronic illness to understand how I can go from being great, full of energy, relatively pain-free, and having a grand time, to being crippled the next day and unable to drive, for example. I consider myself lucky though. I could have it SO much worse. I count my blessings every day and try not to get down about it, which can be challenging too because depression is a part of the territory.

What's the point of this post? Mostly to vent and complain. Partly to make people understand that this is how it is with chronic illness. I am a pretty healthy person with chronic illness/pain too! I have mostly good days, but many setbacks also. One of my daily goals is to get through the day because the next day will be better. I try to be positive, to look forward, to keep going. I have so much more life in me, years to come, adventures to find, experiences to live, etc etc. But some days...some days are shit.
x

Friday, August 11, 2017

Special post: GF & AF Expo

Today's special post is about the Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly Expo that I attended as a blogger on July 23rd in Worcester. This was my 3rd year attending and it was great as usual. There were about 100 booths, split between Gluten Free that may have nuts and GF without nuts, which is great. Each table has a little allergy card with boxes that can be ticked off for certain allergens, like Dairy and etc. There was lots of food, snacks, and fun times all around.

My Top 5 Favorite Things at GFAF EXPO 17 were:

1. Bfree's Pita bread
https://us.bfreefoods.com/product/pita-bread-2/


2. Flax milk yogurt from Good Karma Foods
http://goodkarmafoods.com/products/

3. ONION RINGS (Maybe this should be #1)
http://eatveggiefries.com/products/veggie-rings/

4. Seed butters from 88 Acres.
https://88acres.com/collections/seed-butters

5. GoVeggie's new vegan cream cheeses
http://www.goveggiefoods.com/products

Friday, July 7, 2017

Monthly blog posts and upcoming GF & AF Expo

Hi, everyone! I have a new strategy about this blog. As I am in graduate school and driving a lot (school is in Boston, 1.5-2 hours away), I do not have a lot of free time, and even less time to write here. With that in mind, I am going to try to do monthly blog posts. The plan is to write myself notes, snippets, etc and then put that all together and write a post. Hopefully, you will stick around for this!

The Gluten Free & Allergen Friendly (GF &AF) Expo is coming to the DCU Center in Worcester, Ma July 22-23rd. I will be attending the 22nd with a friend who is also gluten-free. I am very much looking forward to the expo; it is always a wonderful, tasty experience. For more information and to buy tickets, check out the website: GF AF EXPO

 I wanted to mention that I am trying to cut down, and eventually give up, sugar again. It is a lot easier this time around than it was last year. Perhaps I have more motivation this time. Regardless, I still eat chocolate, though I try to just eat a handful of chocolate chips once a day, usually in the evening. My favorite chocolate chips are Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels, which are dairy-free, gluten-free, and nut-free (check the out here Enjoy Life dark chocolate morsels). Enjoy Life even makes snack packs now, in Dark Chocolate Morsels and Mini Chips (see baking chocolate snack packs). Sometimes I have a handful of these Morsels and a spoonful of peanut butter.

However, today, oh today I discovered Hail Merry's Dark Chocolate Espresso cups at one of my local health food stores, Organic Market (OM) in Dennis. My oh my these are lovely, and they are GF, dairy free, NON-GMO and made with maple syrup, not sugar.  They are nothing like peanut butter cups, which is what I expected, but they are soft, not hard, and smooth, not chewy. You can find out more information on Hail Merry's site. I hope you can find them near you and experience the yumminess.


Stay tuned for my monthly blog post, although THIS month there will be another post after the Expo. Remember that you can find me on social media:

Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Cheers!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Today I made some gluten free dutch oven bread...


I recently had a hankering for good ole gluten free bread from scratch, so I dug around the internet for a good Dutch oven recipe. Gluten free Dutch oven bread is what I went with. It turned out well, but make sure to use a LOT of flour. I actually had to make it twice because I messed up by using TABLESPOONS instead of TEASPOONS for salt. DO NOT do that! I started over and wound up with a pretty good dough. It was VERY sticky though so definitely use a lot of flour.

For the 1st batch, I used brown rice flour and tapioca, then had to use Trader Joe's pink bag of all-purpose gluten free bread for the 2nd batch. I like the TJ's pink bag as it's easy peasy but I do prefer to make my own gf flour mix.

Also, you NEED a dutch oven for this recipe. If you don't have one, get one. It is SO worth it. Mine was a gift and I do not use it as much as I should.

It has to cool so I haven't had any yet, except for some of the scraps, which I liked. And the house smells like bread. :)


Sunday, February 12, 2017

Hello hello February

Yes, I know it has been AWHILE. I am well into the second semester of graduate nursing school and thus have little time. But, I wanted to stop in and say hi. I hope I still have some followers.

What's new? Not much, just graduate school and planning my handfasting in May (yes, this May).
Nothing really new on the gluten-free front.
February is a drag, as usual, but it will pass, eventually.

You can see more of my life on social media, such as
Instagram
Twitter

I recently made some delicious gluten-free pulled pork and roasted cauliflower. (see Instagram pic here. The recipes come from:
1. cauliflower from Extremely Good Parenting

I LOST the link for the pulled pork...I will find it!

Otherwise, just drinking tea, reading books, and surviving the winter. Lots of Spotify listening going on. Mostly Birdy and Ed Sheeran these days.

Cheers!