About Me

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I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Lesson Learned in an Unexpected Way.

Yesterday a little bird smashed against my front door window. It was loud and sounded like a rock. I looked out the door and saw this little bird suffering, rolling around frantically on my sidewalk, flailing around. Feeling awful, I stopped watching; fearing I was watching its slow death.

Still worrying about the bird, I returned to the window 30 minutes later, to see it sitting up in my flower pot, a foot from where it had been lying and flailing. It sat like a statue. I went outside and knelt next to it, thinking the worst. Is it dead? Did it lose his sight? Is something broken- his neck? Is he stunned or dead? Because even when he saw me, he didn’t move an inch. So I took one finger and lightly once pet him and said nice things to him. Then I left him alone so as not to frighten him further.

I went back inside, drawing up a game plan: What does he eat? Maybe I should bring him food in case he is unable to move or is paralyzed. I began googling what birds like him eat. One website mentioned sunflower seeds, worms and mosquitoes. I had none of those things. So I thought about driving to the store to buy bird food. I also thought about the cold evening coming, and wondered if he’d survive the night. Should I bring him in? Maybe put him in the garage, protected from the cold winds? What to do, what to do. I felt this enormous responsibility to protect him.

I couldn’t stand to see him suffer. Then I stopped what I was doing and began praying. “Please God, please save this little bird. I know he is important to you because you created him. He matters to you. Please don’t let him suffer, whatever his fate is. Please let him be okay.” And sadness covered my heart as I thought about the pain he was feeling.

About 10 minutes later I looked out the window and didn’t see the little bird. I walked outside and knelt close to where he had been. I saw the twig on the ground he had earlier been standing on like a statue. I looked around the perimeter. No sign of bird.

At that moment I walked in the house with my heart filled with awe and love and thankfulness. Something struck me. In that moment, I realized that “I” was that little bird. The prayer I said was about me; it was reflective of my own worries and insecurities. All the fear I have held deep in my heart of having no one that will protect me. The fear that I will go through this life -and all its challenges- alone. Then God showed me that he cared enough about that little bird to save him. It made me think, if God could love a little finch that much, imagine how much he loves me. Me, I matter. He won’t let me suffer alone, whatever my fate is. I will be okay. God has rescued me in many situations, and he continues to protect me every day. I just need to have faith and hand my worries over to God.

It was just the reassurance I needed.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Gluten Free Barbecue Pizza



The other day I craved something carby for dinner. I eat low carb most of the time and every so often I just get that hankering for a little blood sugar rise :)

I found a recipe in All You magazine for bbq pizza. I made a few changes to make it gluten free. You can make more changes if you want it to be dairy-free, too.

This recipe is VERY easy and took less than 10 minutes.

1 frozen Udi's gluten free pizza crust

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

3/4 cup mozzarella or Daiya dairy free cheese(shredded)

1 cup chopped/diced chicken breast (rotisserie chicken would work, too. Use whatever you have on hand).

5 Tbsp. bbq sauce

a little chopped onion

On the crust: Brush olive oil over the surface of the crust. Sprinkle 1/2 the cheese on crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border. Toss chicken with 1 tbsp. bbq sauce. Spoon remaining bbq sauce in a spiral over the cheese on the crust. Scatter chicken, remaining cheese and onions on the pizza.

Bake pizza according to crust directions, which for Udi's crust is only 7 minutes (I use the toaster oven, too, to save energy). Let pizza rest for a minute or two before cutting.

ENJOY!!!!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

It's Not Cheap Being Me.

It's a good thing I'm good at budgeting. I'm expensive, and not by choice. Diabetes is certainly a very expensive disease, as you maybe saw from an earlier post, where I calculated that diabetes costs me $40 per day.

Then there's the gluten free diet, which is more expensive in that you can't just pick up whatever brand of food (or generic version) that is on sale; you have to buy whatever brand is gluten free; on sale or not. I don't buy much in the way of processed gluten free foods like bread (which runs $5-$8 a loaf), or pasta ($3-$5 a bag), or pretzels ($8-$9 a bag). I did stop at the gluten free bakery in town recently and saw that a 6 pk of blueberry muffins was $18.75 (I passed).

And now there's the newest addition to the family, the chemical allergies I was recently diagnosed me with, eliminating the option of using lower-cost bath/cleaning/kitchen/hair/makeup products. I finally found the one and only shower gel/cleanser that I can use. I got it at the pharmacy (no prescription needed):



Yep, that's an $18.25 price tag on that puppy. You can bet I won't be wasting that stuff. My special shampoo and conditioner are about $10 each in smaller bottles. And I am now using Seventh Generation cleaning products and dishwashing liquid, which runs about $4 each.

Nope, it's not easy on the budget living with illness. But I'm still grateful to do it. And really, most days it doesn't bother me too much to live a little differently. It just is who I am now; it's part of me. I sometimes feel a little self-conscious; being "different" in so many areas of my life. But true friends will still like me and my family is stuck with me :)

Next Sunday I finish my Financial Peace University class. I've learned SO much and gained so many new ideas for budgeting and saving and living debt-free. I now use the envelope (cash) system for all purchases except for when I pay bills online. You "feel" the money going out the door when you see it coming out of your wallet versus swiping your bank debit card. And having an actual budgeted amount for each expense category has helped so much.

I have an upcoming fun event. I volunteer at the annual Animal Humane Society's Walk for Animals every year. Every year, I'm on Poop Bag Patrol (what a hilarious name for a position!!) I hand out poop bags to all the walkers and get to meet LOTS of different animals. SO much fun. I'm a huge animal lover, if you haven't learned that about me yet. LERRRRVE fuzzy faces. (click on the pics to make them bigger)



And finally, I found a funny greeting card that I bought.. for myself! No, it's not my birthday, but I loved what the card says. It is a good reminder to me to take it easy; don't be so serious all the time and that it's ok to let loose a little.



It even came with a funny fridge magnet with a made-up food pyramid. Oh, I had a good laugh.







Friday, April 12, 2013

I get knocked down, but I get up again (sing with me)

Just when you think you can’t handle anything more on your plate, you do. Just when you think you will never be able to live with chronic illness, or chronic ailments, you do. When you think you’ll never enjoy food the same way as ‘before,’ you do. When you think you’ll never find friends who understand, you do. When you think you can’t be happy again, you are. When you think God doesn’t understand, He does. When you think He has abandoned you, He hasn’t. When you don’t think He is there for you, He is.

If you are reading this blog, it’s likely because you (or your loved one) have diabetes or celiac disease, and you have lived through a lot. You have been to hell and back with your disease. And yet here you are, standing tall, facing another day.

Repeat after me.

I AM RESILIENT.

I AM STRONG.

I AM WONDERFUL.

I AM SUPPORTED.

I AM NOT ALONE.

I CAN FACE ANOTHER DAY.

I CAN FACE TOMORROW.

NO MATTER WHAT IT BRINGS.

I’M IN THIS FOR THE LONG HAUL.

AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT.

LIFE, YOU CAN TRY TO TAKE EVERYTHING AWAY FROM ME, BUT YOU CANNOT TAKE MY SOUL.

I AM STRONGER THAN YOU.

I AM STRONGER THAN THIS DISEASE.

I AM MORE THAN THIS DISEASE; THESE AILMENTS.

YOU CAN KNOCK ME DOWN,

BUT I’LL JUST GET RIGHT. BACK. UP.


Monday, April 8, 2013

On the inside, I'm junk.

Do you ever feel exhausted trying to take the best care of yourself? Do you find yourself envying others who don’t have any health conditions to manage every day? I do.

Just over three years ago, I was “healthy.” No medical diagnoses, no foods eliminated from my diet, no spinal cord injury. I got to wake up every morning and just LIVE. It was fabulous! There was no worry at nighttime about dying from hypoglycemia, no limitations on physical activity, no allergies to everything on the planet, no sleeping pills needed to ward off nightmares. I was just a happy, healthy person. Life was easy. I remember when I could just worry about normal-people things, like how to manage my time better, which shoes I should buy, which new restaurant to try.

From the outside I look like a normal, healthy person. There isn’t anything that stands out that would indicate I am anything other than “healthy.” But while I look normal on the outside, on the inside I’m junk. That’s the joke I tell people now. Things just don’t work properly. I’m like the car on the car lot that’s all shiny and buffed up, but then doesn’t start when you turn the key or has smoke billowing out from under the hood as you drive down the road.

The latest in the health saga came a few weeks ago in the form of allergic skin reactions. I had a “patch test” done at my dermatologists’ office. I had been having multiple skin problems, ranging from eczema on my chest and legs, to rashes on my face and neck that I couldn’t get rid of for long periods of time. The results came in at the end of that week, after wearing patches of suspected allergens taped to my back for 3 days, indicating lots of new allergies to some very common things; things that are very difficult to avoid, including an ingredient found in MOST shampoos, conditioners, bar soaps, hand soaps, body washes, dishwashing liquid, laundry soaps, household cleaners, and make up. I am also allergic to rubber- including rubber bands, my eye lash curler, rubber mats, rubber gloves (including latex), the rubber soles on tennis shoes, even certain power cords that are made from rubber, etc. I am allergic to artificial nails and most nail polishes. Also adhesives- including bandaids, but where this affects me the most is the fact I wear an insulin pump and a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM), both of which are attached with adhesive. I am also allergic to bacitracin, which is in all over the counter first-aid creams, like Neosporin.

My dermatologist did some research for me, and emailed me a 111-pg. document that talks about the allergies and lists what products I am able to use, broken up into categories like makeup, soaps, detergents, etc. The part that stood out the most to me is the last paragraph on the first page, which says:

“You were not sensitive to these substances for most of your life. Allergy develops from repeated exposure.
You were exposed enough times to these substances that you became sensitive to them.
You must remember that just because you weren’t sensitive to something in the past doesn’t mean that
you are not sensitive to it now. Your body has changed and is sensitive now to things that didn’t cause you
trouble before. You will be allergic to them for the rest of your life. You will always need to avoid them.”

I wonder, why is my body still continuing to break down? Allergies are auto-immune reactions when the body decides to attack healthy tissues when it is exposed to certain ingredients/chemicals/products. Why is my immune system so crazy? What can I do to make it not be so crazy? How can I prevent future immune system issues, like additional auto-immune diseases, or new allergies? The short answer I’ve been given over and over is that there is no prevention; there’s nothing I can do differently. And that scares me.
I copied the first page of the document to show you the substances I am allergic to. So basically, in addition to having to read every FOOD label for my celiac disease and diabetes, I now get the pleasure of getting to read every label on NON-FOOD items, to ensure they don’t have any of THESE ingredients (FUN!):

ALLERGIC CONTACT DERMATITIS
"Testing has shown that you have allergic contact dermatitis. This means that you are particularly sensitive
to even extremely small amounts of these substances:
Acrylates/Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Lauryl Acrylate Copolymer
Acrylates/Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Methoxyethyl Acrylate Copolymer
Acrylates/Methoxy PEG-23 Methacrylate/Perfluorooctyl Ethyl Acrylate Copolymer
Acrylonitrile/Methacrylonitrile/Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Ammonium Acryloyl Dimethyltaurate/Carboxyethyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
Bis-Hydroxyethyl Acrylate Poly(Neopentyl Glycol Adipate)/IPDI Copolymer
Butyl Acrylate/C6-14 Perfluoroalkylethyl Acrylate/Mercaptopropyl Dimethicone Copolymer
Butyldimethicone Methacrylate/Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer
C6-14 Perfluoroalkylethyl Acrylate/HEMA Copolymer
Carboxyethyl Acrylate
Cocamidopropyl Betaine
Dimethyl Acrylamide/Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Methoxyethyl Acrylate Copolymer
Ethyl Acrylate
Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/IPDI/PPG-15 Glyceryl Ether Copolymer
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Methoxyethyl Acrylate Copolymer
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer
Hydroxyethyl/Methoxyethyl Acrylate Copolymer
Hydroxyethyl/Methoxyethyl Acrylate/Butyl Acrylate Copolymer
Methyl Acrylate/Methylene Drometrizole Methacrylate Copolymer
Methyl Methacrylate
Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer
Methyl Methacrylate/Acrylonitrile Copolymer
Methyl Methacrylate/Ethylhexyl Acrylate/Butyl Dimethicone Propyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Methyl Methacrylate/Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer
Methyl Methacrylate/Trimethoxysilylpropyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer
Polymethyl Methacrylate
Sucrose Benzoate/Sucrose Acetate Isobutyrate/Butyl Benzyl Phthalate/Methyl Methacrylate
Copolymer
Dibucaine
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolyme
methyl methacrylate / glycol dimethacrylate crosspolymer
methyl methacrylate / glycol dimethacryla
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium
Acrylonitrile/ Methacrylonitrile/Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Acrylonitrile/Methacrylonitrile/ Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Acrylonitrile/Methacrylonitrile /Methyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Carba Mix
dibucaine (cinchocaine-HCl)
Soybean (Glycine soja) seed extract Hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate
copolymer
2-hydroxyethyl acrylate
Cocamidopropyl Betaine Or Sodium C14-C16 Olefinsulfonate
Hydroxyethyl Acrylate sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer
Octylacrylamide/Acrylates/Butylaminomethyl Methacrylate Copolymer
Methyl Methacrylate/2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate Copolymer

You are so sensitive to these substances that if your skin comes in contact just one time with any of
them, you may develop a rash. Itching, pinkness, small bumps, or blisters may appear within 4 hours,
but usually starts 1 to 3 days after exposure to the substance.
The skin reaction lasts from 2 to 8 weeks, even if you don’t come into contact with the substance again.
If you have had many exposures over time, it may take 3 to 6 months for your skin to get completely
better after you start avoiding the substances. During those months, your skin will slowly get better, but
you will probably have multiple brief flare ups of your rash, even as it is overall improving. If you come in
contact with one of the substances again during that time, that can cause a significant set-back in your
recovery.
You were not sensitive to these substances for most of your life. Allergy develops from repeated exposure.
You were exposed enough times to these substances that you became sensitive to them.
You must remember that just because you weren’t sensitive to something in the past doesn’t mean that
you are not sensitive to it now. Your body has changed and is sensitive now to things that didn’t cause you
trouble before. You will be allergic to them for the rest of your life. You will always need to avoid them.
It is very important to learn how you can avoid the substances that cause your allergic reaction."


I am frustrated. I am scared. I am mad. I love life and I want to enjoy it. I will find a way to live with yet another obstacle. I know I am resilient and flexible. I know God will not give me more than he thinks I can handle. I know all these things. But I miss the days when life was easy and uncomplicated. I want to enjoy the same simple pleasures that others get to enjoy. And little by little, things are getting chipped away. I wonder, how much can a body handle before it just breaks down for good?



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Jussst escaped getting glutened on Easter; Food loves, and my new D-Bag.

Happy day to you. Did you have a good Wednesday? I've been offline for a while; life has been so busy. Almost every day after work I run home to let the dog out, don't even take off my shoes, and run right back out the door to appointments. Does life seem to get busier as you get older?

Easter was good, it's always a challenge to spend it with people other than your family (mine are out of state), and ESPECIALLY when you have celiac disease and diabetes. I am in the habit of bringing my own food to these types of events; I don't want to risk getting glutened by well-intentioned friends. I just about got glutened in two different instances, minutes apart. I want to give you a glance into the world of being celiac, so I'm going to share with you what happened. The first time was with a freshly put out veggie and olive tray. Both of these items are naturally gluten free. And as I was about to grab some vegetables, I watched as someone grabbed a handful of crackers, drop the crackers on his plate, then with the same hand, reach right into the vegetables, foregoing the tongs provided, and as such, glutening the vegetable tray. Had I not seen that and grabbed some vegetables, I would have been in big trouble. Moments later, a well-intentioned person handed me a basket filled with crackers, happily advising me of the new gluten free Triscuits she found. She told me they were now made from brown rice. Me, being my skeptical self (for good reasons, I might add. I alone am responsible for keeping myself healthy) asked if I could please see the original container/box they came in, so I could verify for myself their gluten-free status. And it's a good thing I did. She went to the pantry and handed me the box, which in big bold letters exclaims on the front "NOW MADE WITH BROWN RICE!" Now, turn the box to the side where the ingredients are listed, and it says at the very end in bold, capital letters: CONTAINS WHEAT. Whoa. I wonder how many fell for that. The packaging is very deceptive to those not paying attention. Luckily for me, I am Type AAA about checking these things. Alas, I stuck to my own food that I brought.

I made homemade Gluten Free Apple Celery Stuffing (see pics below of it in the making- the BEST stuffing I've ever had in my life), and Gluten Free Fettucini in a mushroom cream sauce in the crock pot.

This is me frying up the onions, celery and honeycrisp apple (all organic) in Earth Balance butter, and on the right, is when I added the seasoned gluten free bread pieces to the mix along with an egg and organic gluten free chicken boullion (called Not Chk'n). I wish there was an "after" photo but as soon as it came out of the oven, I shoved it in the car and took it over to Easter brunch. And there was none left to take a picture of :(


Here is the gluten free fettuccini I made (made with organic Health Valley gluten free mushroom soup, organic almond milk, Tinkyada pasta, organic whole fat sour cream and grass fed chicken breasts.



Another food that I've made recently and loved:



If you see this over at your local co-op or store, definitely do yourself a huge favor and grab one. These are FANTASTIC gluten free muffins!!!

I plan to do a separate blog to talk about the paleo menu I made last week and share the recipes with you. They were yummy. Here's a sneak peek of one of the dishes (mini meatloaves):



These were quite good and loaded with healthy veggies and ground turkey in place of ground hamburger. I made them "mini" because they are more easily transportable to take for lunch, less messy, too.

Final food pic for the night... here is a picture of a very typical breakfast for me. Two hard boiled eggs, 1/2 grapefruit, water. It's my easy work day breakfast when I don't have time to make something else.



Enough about food. I also wanted to show you my cute new diabetes bag. Isn't it adorbs??????



Cute, right? I got it at Target in the wallet section for $12.99. It holds everything so nicely. Ohh the little things that make us happy :)