Saturday, December 6, 2014

Obesity and Autoimmune issues

I always joke I am not fat I am fluffy but the truth of the matter is I am obese!  I am trying to eat and live more healthy now days but the truth of the matter is this excess weight is causing me all sorts of worries and issues recently.   Being a few pounds overweight isn't a big problem but when you reach the point where I am it is a matter of trading quality years of life for that extra piece of chocolate.   Recently Chuck and I started on a journey to institute a lifestyle change after receiving some disconcerting news from our doctor that our health was being impacted by too many unhealthy lifestyle practices.  I am cooking lower fat, lower carb, and more health proteins in hopes to get some of the weight off and improve our health.   Chuck has started and exercise program and I do what I can with all my disorders. 

What is obesity?  Obesity as defined by Wikipedia, "Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems.[1][2] In Western countries, people are considered obese when their body mass index (BMI),[3] a measurement obtained by dividing a person's weight by the square of the person's height, exceeds 30 kg/m2, with the range 25-30 kg/m2 defined as overweight."  (I left the links in so you can go read it)

I decided to investigate this BMI thing further and Googled a BMI calculator and set to work to see what my BMI was...NOT good of course!  I am 5'3" tall and weigh about 209#.  My BMI was 37.02 (Chuck's was 33.3.)  On the BMI calculator site they said my BMI is between 35-39.99 (obese Class 2) and I am at higher risk for weight related health problems and even death.  Now my first inclination was to blow them off but kept on doing a little more research.

On the Celiac.com site this week they had an article "Does Obesity Play a Major Role in Triggering Autoimmune Diseases?" by researchers TelAviv University citing some research done on obesity and autoimmune disorders.  In the article it tells us "obesity erodes the body's ability to protect itself, triggering a pro-inflammatory environment that promotes the development of autoimmune diseases, hastens their progression, and impairs their treatment."  So years and years of unhealthy weight is taking its toll.  Immune related conditions they talked about included rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, type-1 diabetes, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriatic arthritis, and Hashimoto thyroiditis just to name a few.

Now comes investigation into autoimmune.  What is autoimmune?  Medline Plus a service of the National Institutes of Health  that it is the body's immune system attacking an destroying healthy tissue by mistake.  The article says that there are more than 80 identified autoimmune disorders.   
The article sites the most common autoimmune disorders are:
(I left the links intact)
That's the short list and I suspect new ones will be found as time progresses. 

Symptoms are vague and include fatigue, fever, malaise, joint pain, rashes to name a few.  Autoimmune disorders are chronic and not curable but treatment of symptoms, reduction in symptoms, and helping the body to fight off what it happening to it....

Okay...I am at an ah ha! moment here.  It is hard to change a lifestyle over night that brought on all my problems.  I am believing the hype on obesity and autoimmune disorders because I currently am the proud owner of several autoimmune disorders that don't seem to react to any medications favorably so I am trying to treat my whole system in hopes of slowing it down.  I am 62 years old and I would like to be here to see my new grandson graduate from high school in the future.  I will plan on blogging each week my journey to a healthier me again.  Follow along and/or join me on MyFitnessPal.com learning to eat and exercise.  I also joined The Fresh20 to help with the menu and nutrition. 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter...some thoughts

A week ago Monday it was 82 deg here in Norman.  Beautiful sun shiny day and my fibro and other health issues were on hold! It was nice to go outside and sit with a cup of coffee and relax.  We had had a fairly cold night a couple days before and were touched by a little frost so the garden plants were looking a bit worse for wear but it was still a beautiful day! 

That was it for beautiful 80 degree days for this year.  That night a system moved in that dropped temperatures down into the 20+ range at night and it doesn't get much over freezing during the day.  I kept on keeping on rushing around with my daughter and husband during the week and I started noticing I wasn't sleeping well again, hurt all over and sat with my muscles all tensed up all the time.  I finally had to call uncle on Friday and told everyone I was staying home in the warm as much as I could.  It was just too damn cold for me to be out and about and I couldn't seem to get warm no matter how many layers of clothes I put on and when I did it was almost a feverish warm.  I put the flannel sheets on the bed along with the electric blanket and comforter! I found my tennis shoes and socks and started wearing turtle necks and sweat shirts.  Anything to get warm. 

And it just keeps getting better and better!  It snowed Sunday...about 1-1 1/2" and was in the low teens temperature wise.  I am 62 years old and I can remember running around in shorts at Christmas but I can't remember ever having snow in November or it being so cold.  People laugh at global weather changes and I am sure my husband would say this isn't part of it but just one of the 100 year things but...I am miserable none the less. 

So you are asking me what does this have to do with a Fibromyalgia CFS blog.  Well dear reader it is simple.  Weather affects everything I am and do now days.  I keep trying to get Chuck to get together a research group to go for a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Foundation and research why weather affects me and people like me.  There has been some done but it is so subjective...(ya think so)!  Weather affects everyone so differently that there is no control group that they can base it on.  What I think is miserable hot or cold is different to you.  It is a problem with no solution I can see so I guess what we have to do is take care of what is the issue. 

Right now my issue is sitting here typing on the computer my hands and feet are like icicles!  Check it out!  My computer tells me it is 54 degrees outside right now, the thermostat just outside the door to my room says the heat is running and the thermometer says it is 70 degrees but I am cold!  I have on sweat pants, sweatshirt, heavy socks and a lap blanket on but I am cold!  My fingers and toes are the culprit I am sure!  My fingers and toes hurt and feel swollen but they aren't and my ears and nose are just about as bad.   If I get those four body parts warm then I feel warm all over.  What's up with this?  It is so frustrating and in turn it makes me run to the computer and start surfing the web to investigate what might be causing it!  I have told my doctor and he is clueless but is sympathetic like other health care providers you go to see (like in the ER)with a diagnosis of Fibro or ME/CFS you don't get a great response from them because they are convinced you are just there seeking pain meds or worse yet that you are crazy!

I read an article and posted it a few months ago on the Solve ME/CFS Initiative (used to be called the CFIDS Association) website about some research being done showing that the autonomic nervous system in people with CFS/ME and Fibromyalgia is compromised and we are unable to maintain body system regulation at normal levels.   The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls just about all our body systems automatically and when that goes awry there are problems.   Another article that the Solve ME/FMS reported on was some research done on orthostatic intolerance (OI) done by big league university researchers showing that people with Fibromyalgia and ME/CFS have a problem with ANS control.  There is no miracle drug to cure the disorder nor is there a specific treatment for OI...we just treat the symptoms and OI can ANS dysfunction can affect every system in your body. 

My family have several members plagued with a disorder called Raynaud's Syndrome.  About.com's health page has an interesting article about Raynaud's syndrome/phenomenon and how it is an overlapping disorder in people with Fibromyalgia and CFS.  "Raynaud's syndrome is a condition in which the blood vessels constrict, causing inadequate blood flow. That leads to frequent cold in your extremities and makes it hard to warm them up. The most commonly affected body parts are the fingers and toes. But your lips, nose, ear lobes, knees and nipples may also be involved."  Wonder if Raynaud's is an ANS dysfunction?  According to several sources it is highly likely that is the issue. hmmm....I think I may be getting to a solution to what ails me!  Once again medications don't do a lot for this disorder and symptom treatment seems to be the solution! 

I keep looking up and reading about different things and it worries me sometimes that I might be assimilating issues like the Borg out of Star Trek!  If it goes with Fibromyalgia and CFS then I seem to have it in one form or another.  I hate it when I doubt myself cause it seems I am the only one who really believes that what is wrong with me is a real problem.  When my memory is so faulty and I am confused as to what is REALLY going on with me!  What do you do to 'keep the faith'?  It's hard when the disorder has no lab or radiological tests to prove what you are feeling and going through is anything more then just in your head. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

and time goes on...

I am a lousy blogger right now...why?  Can't say.  I have all sorts of interesting ideas {{{at least in my mind they are}}} but to sit down and blog about them...well I have a deficiency of remembering why and what I was going to blog about!  Decided I would link this to Annie's Fridays Smiles this week.  Writing this post made me smile and feel all happy so it fits! Go check it out.  Lots of fun things to smile about!

I am going to blame it on all the summer time fun going on around here and my "feeling good" most of the previous quarter of the year!  I was too busy with all the stuff I was doing and enjoying the warm summer days.  I spent some time treading water in the swimming pool, tending the garden and eating the products of my efforts.  All without a lot of increased pain issues I might add.   Today it is a different story.  I have a flare up going on that has been bugging me for about 3-4 days now.  I hurt all over.  I can't use my thumbs because of too much pain and I wish summer was still around.  Chuck and I closed up the swimming pool for the winter on Sunday because 80 degree days and 50+/- degree nights aren't conducive to keeping it warm enough for us to swim in.
I love the swimming pool in the summer and I still feel like it was one of the best "home improvements" we did just after buying the house in 1987.  It is 8 1/2' deep and about 38'x18' wide.  The shallow end is only 3' deep and not big enough for water walking but treading water is gentle and causes very little stress to my already stressed body.
The pool closed and winterized...I'll probably open it again in April 2015
Gardening is another exercise in the summer that I miss when it turns cold.  With my fibro, chronic fatigue, orthostatic hypotension I am fearful...yes fearful of falling over all the time.  It takes me weeks to get back to feeling good when I do that! :-)  Chuck had the yard workers build us some raised beds last year and I love them. 
Six beds total four are about 5'x5' and the other two are 6.5'x6.5'  Being two railroad ties tall makes it easy for me to bend over to work in the bed and not worry about bending over too far.  I also use the wide edges as seating cause I can reach halfway across each bed from seated position so that really limits my ability to fall over!
I tried to follow the Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Barthalomew and the Square Foot Gardening Foundation method of gardening.  Sometimes it worked for us sometimes is didn't but we still had a good time playing in the dirt!
the cabbages when we first planted them. 
ready for harvest

cabbages after a few weeks.
we had a total of 9 of these gorgeous cabbages this year!!
 Chuck loves corn so each year we are devoting one bed to grow a corn crop.  This year we did pretty well getting about 50 large ears of corn in our harvest. 
corn patch at about 4 weeks!
Chuck holding an ear of corn he is harvesting!

one days harvest!

 
large beautiful ears!


Do you see the sunflower above Chuck's head in the picture above?  
It started out like this...
grew to this...

and ended up like this...the seed head was a good 12-14 inches across and the birds and critters really loved munching on it!

Add caption
Potatoes!
This was taken on a hot dry day in July and the Okra looks pitiful as does the green beans.  Suffice it to say I have about 30 pint bags of okra off those pitiful plants.  Yummy for the tummy!
okra growing tall!

I bought a couple watermelon plants and planted them in with the corn.  We got a total of 5 melons off the two vines.
And surprise!  I forgot they were yellow meated. 

a volunteer cantaloupe grew in the corn and we harvested a couple great melons off that freebie vine.
We had tons of tomatoes and pepper s this year also.  Here is a heirloom tomato I tried that was purple topped.  They were prolific but not as tasty as the Juliet plum tomatoes I also tried this year. 



Lots of red and yellow peppers.  This lot ripened to orange!
 Well that was a pretty intensive gardening pictures.  I really did enjoy gardening and it was something that I could do and it didn't cause a flare up in my fibro or chronic fatigue.  I enjoyed that a lot.

Now how about something yummy to eat?  I tried a new recipe last night and ended up eating two pieces...I know I am a pig!  I found this recipe on the King Arthur Flour site.  It is a gluten free pumpkin spice bar!  Yummy!  Recipe is huge though so I suggest using the adjustment for a smaller pan. 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin... 
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars

1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice, or 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon and
1/2 teaspoon each ginger, nutmeg, and cloves
3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour
1/2 cup toasted chopped walnuts
1 cup golden raisins, or 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup ginger
mini-chips
Frosting
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt

Directions
1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a large rimmed half-sheet
pan, about 18" x 13"; or line the pan with greased parchment. Note: to
make these bars in a 9" x 13" pan, see "tips," below left.
2) Beat the oil and the sugars together until well blended.
3) Beat in the eggs, then the pumpkin purée.
4) Stir the baking soda, baking powder, salt, spice, and xanthan gum into
the wet ingredients, then stir in the flour, beating gently to combine.
5) Stir in the nuts and raisins/ginger. Let the batter rest in the bowl for 15
minutes, then stir again to combine before pouring it into the pan. 
6) Bake the bars for approximately 20 to 25 minutes, or until a cake tester
or toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
7) Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it onto a rack to
finish cooling; or leave it right in the pan, if you've lined the pan with
parchment.
8) To make the frosting: Beat the cream cheese and butter together.
9) Beat in the maple syrup, then mix in the confectioners' sugar and salt.
Adjust the consistency of the frosting with additional maple syrup or
confectioners' sugar, if necessary; it should be nicely spreadable.
10) Frost the bars and sprinkle with the toasted walnuts. Once the
frosting has set somewhat, cut into squares or rectangles.
Yield: 4 dozen 2" squares, or 3 dozen 2" x 3" bars.

Tips from our bakers
To toast nuts, place them in a
single layer on a baking sheet and
bake in a 350°F oven for 8 to 10
minutes, just until you can start to
smell them; let cool before using.
Want to make this recipe in a 9" x
13" pan? Change the amounts of
ingredients as follows: 2/3 cup
vegetable oil, 2/3 cup brown
sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 4
large eggs, 2/3 cup pumpkin
purée, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/8
teaspoon salt, 3/8 teaspoon
xanthan gum, 2 teaspoons
pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/3 cups
King Arthur Gluten-Free Flour, 1/3
cup chopped toasted walnuts, 2/3
cup golden raisins/ginger mini
chips. Bake as directed in the original recipe. 
For the frosting,
reduce ingredients as follows: 4
ounces cream cheese, 2
tablespoons softened butter, 1
tablespoon maple syrup, 1 1/4
cups confectioners' sugar, pinch
of salt, 1/2 cup diced toasted
walnuts.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cake Bars:
http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/gluten-free-pumpkin-cake-bars-recipe

Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 8

Woke up today to the sound of the wind howling across the plains.  The sky is a little murky with all the dirt and dust being transported in from West Texas and western Oklahoma.  It was a quiet Sunday on the Doswell home front...I spent some of the day outside doing some of the endless projects of taking care of the pool, picking up and putting away etc....etc...etc...sounds like  stuck record and feels like one some days.   I hadn't been outside very long when the wind really kicked in strong from the north and a frontal passage of cold air blew into town.  I heard something go bump across the deck earlier in the day and when I went outside I found various and sundry items ie: lawn chairs, buckets etc. in the pool.  Thanks to Michael and Heather most of the leaves and debris that were in the bottom had been netted out and the pool is operational already this year. The pool is really looking clear and I plan on vacuuming it sometime this week after the cold front rolls on through!  It will probably be another complete month before it will be warm enough to get in the water!  Brrrr... 

I planted a few of the onion, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage plants I bought last week.  Chuck says he thinks it is a little late in the year for Oklahoma planting of these items but I planted them none the less and hopefully they will do something.  I also put together my herb garden planter that I saw on DIY at Home Depot.

I bought the pots and plants at Lowe's and I am planning on planting some seeds in the top 2 pots.  Okay you asked why did I steal Home Depot's ideas and go to Lowe's to get the things I needed?  Well I just found out that Home Depot is a misogynistic organization that has all sorts of philosophies that go against what I believe. I have heard that they don't believe in equal rights for women, they are racists and racially inappropriate at times, and don't support the US troops.  I also have heard that they are pro LGBT rights so I am clueless as to what to believe about Home Depot.  Anyone with any thoughts on this?

I ended my day going over to Heathers house to take care of the critters while they are out of town.  I love my grand-bird and grand-kittehs!  The grand-dogs have been boarded because they need more care then I can give them and I think that Heather and Michael are worried that a 60# dog might knock me down or harm me in someway.....While at Heathers I managed to watch Game of Thrones....NOW can you believe in Karma!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

OMG!

It didn't take me long to get behind on my daily blogging did it...two days blogging and 10 days off!  I thought I would try and sneak in the missing 10 days but you know that's not the name of this game is it.  So I will pick up here and try to stay on top of the game from now on.  I will do a daily synopsis of the week that I didn't blog daily!

Tuesday April 8-day 3-Didn't do much cause I didn't get out of bed till after noon today and that was because my daughter called and invited me to go to lunch at Red Robin for a real hamburger...now there is nothing big in this except that they have gluten free hamburger buns!!!  It is the little things I know!!! It has been over 2 years since I have been able to go out and order a hamburger complete with bun and this was a real treat!  We did a little shopping at Tuesday Morning and Michaels then she brought me home so I could play with all my loot!

Wednesday April 9-day 4- went to see the counselor today.  I was impressed with how fast she got me in and I was thinking she probably didn't have many clients or wasn't much good but I was pleasantly surprised when I met Mary.  I suppose I had fairly illogical reasons for picking her...she was a woman and she was a nurse but I felt comfortable with her from the moment I met her.  I don't want some one who is going to dispense drugs to cover my ills but someone who will sit and talk with me about what is going on in my life that has caused some of my issues.   I wasn't ready for her question of why I was there...I guess I thought she would ask me a few questions and would tell me why I was there but we spent the hour getting to know one another and investigating reasons I am there.   The one thing that was clear from the beginning with Mary is that she wasn't going to give me reasons for being there but to help me explore why I feel I need to be there.  I also found out that my Lyrica, Savella, and Requip might be part of the reason I am having obsessive compulsive issues.  More on this later.  I went up to Heather and Michael's to get Michael to drill the holes in the PVC to make my towel bar for out by the pool.

Thursday April 10-day 5- I went to see Dr. Malik today and then went to lunch with my daughter Heather and our friend Jennifer.  We went to Jasen's Deli and I love going there cause I can get a a sandwich on gluten free bread and soup that is gluten free.  I enjoyed visiting with them and catching up with what is going on in Jennifers life now days especially since she is going to be a Grandma soon!  Nothing new came from the visit with Dr. Malik except she is now thinking I probably truly do have fibromyalgia and that I might need to try alternative therapy for the disorder...ie rest, massage, etc.  I told her about my conversation with Mary about the OCD issues and she agreed with me that my weaning off the Lyrica, Savella, and Requip might be a good idea just to see if they are doing me any good or not and to weigh the pros and cons of taking them.  I went to Riverwind Casino for a little bit of free play today. 

Friday April 11-day 6- slept in again today.  I think I forget I can't be out and about everyday like I used to and not pay for it physically.  I think that is something I probably should talk to the therapist about.  I feel out of control most days and even though I don't have the control I know I need to learn coping mechanisms to deal with them.  I am going to start rereading and doing the work book for the Eckhart Tolle program again cause I really think it helped me back years ago get control of self.  Terri texted and reminded me that it was a crop night so I loaded up a bunch of stuff and went over to the store to spend some quality time with the BFF's tonight.  I didn't 'crop' or make cards tonight but instead made a canvas to hang in my craft room. 
I don't consider this 'taxing or over doing' because it relaxes me but sometimes I forget that it can be 'work' too and I need to take that into consideration when I am having fun too!

Saturday April 12- day 7- taught a tag class at Scrap That today.  Only 2 of the three students showed up for the class but it was a good time had by all.  The class was from 1-4pm but we spent a lot of time cussing and discussing various things and I didn't make it home till after 6 pm!!  I decided to stop by Taco Casa and get nachos for our supper so we ate nachos and watched TV most of the evening!

So that is the week in a nutshell.  I will set an alarm on my computer to make sure I remember to blog each day!  Promise, cross my heart...well I won't promise anything cause I don't want to tempt fate! 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Day 2 of the blogalong challenge

I came online and found that I hadn't hit publish on my post from yesterday...well I did but then I saw some mistakes and I hadn't hit spell checker before publishing so I didn't hit update to publish the post so there really aren't two posts in one day...just a corrected one and the one that is suppose to be Day Two.

I have been giving this project some thought.  I have contacted, well left a message with my friend Pam about getting some help with pain management.  I think that the past 4 years have taken their toll on my body.  I don't sleep well, I am always in pain on a daily basis, I am really frustrated with my memory issues and I am not coping with stress at all well!  I have effected changes in my diet to help ensure I have a balanced and nourishing meal plan.  I have been lusting after pancakes recently and even the gluten free pancakes aren't pushing the desires away.  I know if I eat gluten I will have abdominal pain, gas and bloating, not to mention the diarrhea, headaches, all over pain aches and body pain but I still want to go to I-Hop and have a big plate of them!  I know they aren't good for me but lusting I am.  So far I have been able to hold off the demon but I still am wanting them badly.

Secondly I contacted a therapist/counselor that deals in women's issues, addiction, chronic relapse, self esteem issues, depression etc.  All of which I think I qualify for.  I am hoping that she gets back to me soon so that I can set up an appointment and get on with this because I am not foolish enough to think that I am going to change on my own but I am not going to think that my family is going to help me change either.  I have all sorts of hateful hurtful thoughts regarding that and I think that it would be best to keep them out of this mess as best as I can.  I got a call back from the counselor and I will be going in to see her at 2:45 on Wednesday of this week.  The counselor is an ex-RN so I feel we will connect on one point anyway.   So one appointment made now waiting on Pam to get back to me on setting up an appointment.

I also have an appointment at 10:30 on Thursday with the rheumatologist  Dr. Sanobar Malik.  I really like Dr. Malik cause she doesn't treat my pain issues as being somatic and rule them out as being all in my head.  I would recommend her to anyone who has pain issues cause she is awesome.
So one appointment made now waiting on Pam to get back to me.

I am really not a sexist but I have recently turned towards women healers more then men...with the exception of Dr. Merrill my internal medical physician.  Dr. Merrill is one of the best diagnosticians I have encountered in my career and he is as tenacious as a bull dog when it comes to searching out the cause of your problems.   I think the reason I have more women on my team is that I relate to them and they are more in tune with women's issues.

I think I will get started on some gardening this afternoon.  I bought some plants, broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage that need to get in the ground.  I don't know if they stand a chance this late in the year in Oklahoma but I am going to give it a try and see what they do.  I love to garden...always have...and the new gardening beds make it a lot easier for me to enjoy the process without causing me more physical issues.

Looking at taco salad for supper...Yum homemade taco salad is hands down good eats!

Day two done.