Bacon as a way of life

So my beloved says to me, “look at how far you have come,” related to my diet.  Indeed.  When we first met I was eating gluten-free, low sugar and fat, largely organic, and sweetener-free, and dairy-free foods.  I cooked a lot and was very particular what I ate at restaurants, often bringing my own nuts or dressings.  Supplements?  Yeah, in due time with my new doctor at the helm my pill box burgeoned to over 60 doses of something per day!  Then part of the story got crazier . . .

As severe illness set in, the supplements would change and almost disappear as time went on.  I could not tolerate any supplements at all after a brief hiatus required during overnight testing at the Epilepsy Center, University of Indianapolis Methodist Hospital.  By then I had added a low oxalate and Candida diet too.  After A YEAR on all of this with daily bone broth too, my brain fog cleared and my gut started to heal.  They say that 95% of your immune system is in your gut.  Perhaps part of your brain health is there as well?  (Now that last part could lend itself to some embarrassing teasing if I stay here too long.  Let’s move on!)

When dental pain increased, my nutritional sustenance all went into the VitaMix for about 6 weeks.  I became the master of the pureed diet and many soups, sauces, smoothies, etc.  My gut health slowed yet the convulsive episodes triggered by chewing diminished.   Gradually I got back to a chopped diet which is where I remain, 4 weeks post surgery for the extraction of two root-canaled teeth.  Healing continues.  It is wonderful to be able to chew better!

Then the convulsive episodes that had diminished some returned to their prior level:  2 to 5 hours per day.  So sad.  Over three years into this time of serious illness and still no one has figured out how to stop them.  I fasted for 24-hours, drinking only water and praying when my brain cells fired in the right direction.  The episodes stopped.  As intense hunger pangs overtook my weakness I decided to break the fast with an apple:  easy to digest and surely a boost to my low blood sugar.  I did not expect what followed.  One of the most violent types of convulsive episodes started my beloved hubby out of a sound sleep and sent me into an enlightened frenzy.  Enlightened?  Yes, this episode was triggered by glucose!

That night and the days thereafter I quickly ventured into a ketogenic diet.  I found a couple of Facebook Groups on the subject and the App they recommended to get me started.  A few days into the new direction a gal from one of the groups contacted me to clarify something:  was I using the diet for weight loss or medical reasons?  The grams of protein/carbohydrates/fats or “macros” are different with each type of ketogenic diet.  For both programs a person consumes very little carb grams yet for weight loss you eat more protein than fat; for medical ketosis to occur you must focus on more fats than proteins.  But it is in consuming very little carbs (I eventually got to 21 total grams) that the body is forced to utilize fats for energy instead of carbs.  The body then produces ketones that can often be picked up in a simple urine stick test or special blood glucose meter that includes ketones.  Ketones are hypothesized to stop or reduce seizures and may even help treat dementia in the elderly.

This week I reached ketosis.  My breath got bad and another tell-tale symptom appeared that is too much for even the transparency of this blog post!  It took me three weeks to get here and it could take a minimum of 2 months, usually 4-6 months, to see if the ketogenic diet will help me at all.  I am willing to try.  Heck, I already have a very restricted diet anyways.  And who doesn’t like (uncured, unsmoked) bacon?  The MyFitnessPal App is a gift from the Lord in managing this.  I would recommend it and their Facebook to everyone on a diet where a person must track macros.

So how about the blessings in all of this?  Surely there were some?  Indeed Gentle Reader.  You know me well!  You see I researched the ketogenic diet two years ago and periodically thereafter but could not find a local neurologist or dietician to guide me.  Close medical oversight including lab tests every three months are needed in addition to the periodic self-monitoring via urine or blood sticks.  Help has arrived just at the right time.  Briefly, check this out:

My first week venturing into the food plan, the gal who messaged me off Facebook just happened to be a retired nurse from the neurosurgery center at John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  She manages her own true epilepsy in part with this diet.  Did you know that the only medical center in the USA with a dietary research and treatment center for adults with epilepsy is at John Hopkins?  I knew that and was ecstatic to spend that first Saturday night receiving mentoring from my “guardian angel” named Vicki.  Thank you Lord!

Around this same time I researched a foundation known to assist children with true epilepsy.  Maybe they would have some new information?  Oh yeah, a medical center close to our home in a smaller town had just hired a dietician to work with children and adults in all aspects of the ketogenic diet.  She had recently attended a conference with the Charlie Foundation and was added to their list of practitioners the week before!  She manages all of the referrals, orders for lab tests, and consultations.  And Mary is very sweet to boot.  Wow, Lord.

In many ways, in many long and exhaustingly arduous ways, this new treatment direction could be one more  bunny trail in the quest to recover from this wretched illness.  O.k.  Poor me baby.  Well then again, maybe not.  Sometimes you have to do more than one task to completely recover from a serious illness.  Remember the phrase, “recovery is a jagged line?”  The Ann Landers column about life being about the journey and not the destination?  The gratitude I feel in my heart for having met you Gentle Reader?  All of the computer skills I have learned about everything from ecommerce to social media?  The deepening of my relationship with Christ?  The revelation of the Godly character of my beloved husband?  And the fact that I did not die in all of those near-death experiences?  On this day I must say that I have seen the faithfulness and blessing of the Lord at some level every single day of the past 3 1/2 years.  His promises have seen me through and rung true every single day.  I will leave you with my fav promise from another time in my life of refining fire (and a side of bacon too please, crispy as in nearly burnt.  I like it that way!)  Take care, JJ

Jeremiah 29 11, Jeremiah, hope and a future, hope, plans, trust in the Lord, Christian hope, encouragin scripture, faith, ketogenic diet, chronic ilness, Christain and disability, Hope Beyond, Julie Horney
Jeremiah 29:11

The decision to be tooth-less?

It’s not like I am planning another wedding or something.  I’ve done that twice and twice is enough!  If a couple of teeth are missing I just can’t smile or laugh really BIG so the void in my mouth is noticeable.  Not that anyone would be looking at my molars anyways!  I suppose there are the exceptions for some of you out there . . .

Then my beloved teased me that I might have trouble eating bacon and potato chips.  Not!  I grew up with a GIANT bag of Better Made potato chips on the refrigerator and a dad who had to have a generous helping every day plus ice cream.  When we visited his parents where they lived in the Irish Hills, between the view of the lake and the country kitchen was another HUGE bag of Better Made potato chips on the frig.  So if I have two opposing teeth anywhere in the yard then there will be Unsalted Kettle Chips too!  And bacon, just because we can.

Don’t you love Facebook?  Or maybe you hate Facebook?  Perhaps you would love to hate Facebook a little more since it can be such a “time eraser” extraordinaire.  Well anyways, I have joined many groups who have the answers to this or that ailment I have faced over the past few years.  Recently I joined the “Bottoms Up” group to learn more about digestive health, only to realize that I did not want pictures of worms in feces gracing the screen of my smart phone if I were to check it when dining out somewhere.  Yuck!  TMI for sure.  Delete!  The mercury, root canal, mold avoidance, Lyme disease, methylation, candida, etc. peeps have all greatly contributed to my vast brain swell of mixed anecdotal/psuedo research information.  There’s a cause and cure for everything right there in my newsfeed.  Even business opportunities, rudeness and meanness fit in where pretox/detox really should dwell.  But I digress.

These forums have been part of my lifeline too.  I have made some sweet friendships with gals who run in the same groups.  Members have helped shorten my learning curve and evaluate relevant research, news articles, and success stories.  Many folks really do get well!  Then they drop out of the group and the rest of us left behind try to figure it all out before we also leave the comfort of the group nest as well.  Hey, I won’t mind moving on if I can take a few happy FB Friends with me, eh?  Currently they are helping me navigate the potentially painful decision of whether or not to have two teeth with root canals extracted.  These puppies may be a source of years of discomfort from hidden infection, possibly contributing to some of my chronic health issues.  I am already in the preparation stage of mercury chelation which certainly wreaks havoc in one’s brain and body.  Gratefully my brilliant functional medicine Doc is leading the way along with acute spiritual discernment from the Lord and my beloved hubby.

This treatment crossroad is more confusing than some others.  Extensive testing has not revealed hard data on the need to extract two teeth (yet it just doesn’t seem like complications of a sinus infection or trigeminal nerve inflammation either).  Travel would be needed to a skilled biologic dentist who can meet my needs for extra TLC should we decide to proceed.  The requirement for all of this extensive screening became extremely clear this afternoon after a very bad appointment with a recommended, local oral surgeon in a musty office!  Bad, bad.  Steve and I prayed about all of this as we navigated a particularly rough evening for me tonight, placing our trust again in the Lord to guide us.  I’ll make a few more phone calls tomorrow.  At least a dear friend gave me the tip of a concoction with cloves to manage the moderate pain in my gums.  Cool beans.  It worked quite well!

So for now I’ll be eating bacon and potato chips on the right side of my mouth and cutting up other delicacies into small bits so as not to trigger seizure attacks or pain.  Thank the Lord for our VitaMix which chops, whips, cooks, and practically washes the dishes for you afterwards!  Like teeth, little things can mean a lot to a gal like me.  See how good my Jesus is:  providing for my every need and heart’s desire too.  Avocado-coconut smoothies anyone?

As I close I must profess that through it all God is good.  All the time.  God is good!  JJ

Toothless smile girl

 

Breakfast of Champions

Keeping it real today:  it was the best breakfast I’d had in a long time.  Held me over for hours.  Can you believe it?

The ingredients were:  gluten-free oats, coconut/almond milk, ghee butter, lactose-free whey powder, 2 walnuts, and bacon!  Gee I often wonder if I need a ketogenic diet (KD) since I feel so much better after eating ghee butter and red palm oil spread by the tablespoonsful!  I’d like to try the KD when I can find the medical professionals I’d need to calculate ketones and monitor cholesterol levels in this middle-aged frame.  Otherwise it’s probably not a good idea long-term.  Until then, just please pass the avocado oil for my coconut cream and blueberry smoothie!

The “champion” this morning was not me, however.  My beloved Stevers was my hero as I was unable to move without eliciting seizure attacks in bed.  So he fed me.  Spoonful by spoonful of rich bliss came to me with breaks in between bites to catch my breath.  I was so depleted from another hellish night dontcha know that I needed to rest often.  And then I revived enough to take myself to the bathroom and return to bed for more sleep.  A brief noxious episode ensued, an indeterminate amount of sleep, and waking convulsions on the other side.  Holy cow!

My other hero today who kept me company when I awoke sometime in the afternoon was our pup, Elle.  She often watches over me these days, sleeping within view of the bed.  Next to Jesus Christ, I love having a friend nearby with fur-on.  That is true only if my friend with skin-on has to go to work!  My beloved got there 2 hours later today for having taken care of me this morning.  I am so grateful for his care and hope his boss understands . . .

The afternoon was slow-going as I progressed from being beat-up to stable.  I recovered quickly from a brief afternoon replay of this morning.  I am glad that thereafter I was able to finish the Fall clean-up for Winter and gather some anise hyssop seeds for a friend before lopping off the last of the spent garden beauties.  Then I plopped myself down in front of the computer for a few hours and was able to do nothing else.  My sewing project 2 feet behind me, due in 2 weeks, will wait once again.  Such is life in the preparatory stages of mercury chelation.  Working on kidney detox to aid the chelation pathway for inorganic mercury.  Hmmm.  Sure hope I clear before Thanksgiving . . . sure would like to travel to see some friends and family . . .

My heart is heavy with all of this.  Knowing my brother may be stuck in a nursing home for more months is a burden too.  His Social Security Disability Income will likely take awhile to be awarded even though the left side of his body remains quite debilitated from the stroke in April.  I am glad that he was able to go “home” with his fiancé for a few hours yesterday:  the first time since this all happened.  Finally!  Sish.  The occupational therapist in me has been frustrated more than once by the whole ordeal.  Therapy is on hold again for Mike due to Medicaid paperwork delays.  So life in a better nursing home is where he will be indefinitely.  Kinda sad, really.

In case this is sounding like a pity party I will end it right here.  Just keeping it real.  I still have that joy in my heart that I wrote about this past weekend.  I still have hope that I will be restored to health and probably land in an even better place a couple of years from now when the mercury chelation process has succeeded.  I still am grateful for so many blessings that were never in my life even one year ago.  I have a plan for recovery!  I still look forward to the simple pleasures that make life so sweet.  Ah yes, here comes our German shepherd wagging her tail from having played with my hubby in the front yard since arriving home from work.

It’s late.  It’s time for the dinner of champions, Steve and me.  And it’s a good thing I saved a little bacon for us too.  I mean who doesn’t love bacon?  JJ

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A Pig for Sale

Only in Indiana.  Or maybe in any other State with farming.  Well that would include all 50 States.  I guess it’s just new to me . . .

The Facebook page for selling stuff in my town had a posting for a pig for sale:  $300 for the live beast.  I actually thought about it for a moment!  The biggest issue would be finding a place to store all of that meat.  Our lil’ freezer just ain’t big enough for my hubby’s ice cream and my bone broth in addition to a virtual bevvy of pork!  Darn.  I’ve been missing BBQ ribs for some time now!

I suppose that someone else with a chest or upright freezer will jump on the offer.  Maybe our neighbor who bought our used freezer will find it in her budget to feast on Porky Pig for the rest of the year?  Or maybe not.  But if she invites us over for some Famous Dave-style ribs I am sure that we would oblige!  We will even bring my Grandma’s famous potato salad.  Yeah I won’t forget the horseradish, pickle relish, and bacon grease (aka “secret ingredients”)!

Porky Pig here.
Porky Pig here.

We live in a time where you can buy and sell just about anything.  With the diversity of our world and our accessibility to most of it via the internet, we can get much of what we want for a price.  Do you want someone to paint your business logo on his hairy belly and sing a song for you?  Just check out the gigs on http://www.fiverr.com and it will be yours for the price of a latte’.  My preference for that one would be “NOPE.”  That is, in the physical realm.  There are other realms for which I would need a song you know.  And tonight my heart realm can’t buy me even a lullaby for peace of mind.  My heart is breaking and there simply is not much I can do about it but pray.

My brother, Mike, whom everyone else calls Michael, continues to live in a wretched inner city nursing home after a serious stroke.  He is four months post-CVA and three months enduring the “3 hots and a cot” provided by a one-star facility.  I flipped when I found out that he had an infectious rash on his hemiplegic hand!  I asked his fiancé and Mike to check for signs of bed bugs and call the State Ombudsman immediately if they found any signs of them.  Mike’s roommate itches too.  Hopefully it will be a case of an allergic reaction to the laundry detergent.  But why would the bumps become infected?  Good golly.  Water (no juice, milk, or coffee) for breakfast, a delayed response for significantly elevated blood pressure, and no follow-up whatsoever on a 6 cm kidney tumor ARE ONLY THE FIRST THREE items in the long list of substandard care complaints.  So sad.

Lisa, Mike’s precious fiancé, is at her wit’s end trying to get Veteran’s Administration or Medicaid benefits processed correctly to change his situation.  She faithfully visits him when she can, brings him home-cooked food, and follows up the paperwork nightmare as Mike’s legal guardian.  Just when I wonder if things moving forward fast enough or why she hasn’t returned my phone calls I find out that she has started a new job to try an better their overall situation.  She is such a trooper.  Thank the Lord for Lisa’s love and care for her Michael.  And our cousin, Lisa, helps out where she can as well.  Cousin Lisa is an optometrist for the nursing home and has more than once been able to positively influence his care by her presence, her visiting, her dipomacy, her support of fiancé Lisa.  They are doing the best they can and that is both a gift and all I can ask from 200 miles away.

This is such a curious situation, you know.  I am an occupational therapist with over 30 years of professional experience including patients with the very same medical condition as my brother.  Yet due to a severe illness I am enduring, I cannot even visit him!  The dirty conditions of his living environment would surely trigger seizure-like attacks for me.  Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, or whatever you want to call this nightmare is keeping me from seeing my brother.  And this is the Lord’s plan for both of us right now.  I don’t understand it.  My heart is hurting.  I would be honored to work more closely with Mike, even provide supplemental therapy or visits.  I cannot do it right now.  Oh sure, I send him something in the mail occasionally or make a phone call to his facility and get placed on hold for a very, very long time before actually getting through to anyone less than 50% of the time.  We are all doing what we can and waiting on the Lord.  It’s just so very frustrating for each of us!

So if you’ve got an extra 300 bucks to donate to our cause, kindly send it to St. F—— Nursing Center in D—–, room 207.  Leave the pig and get my brother out of there please!  They might not notice Mike missing for awhile since a piece of meat is a piece of meat when you don’t care much for the sweet sense of humor that used to characterize my tall lanky sibling.  Oh geez, I’m getting a little upset here aren’t I?  Well at least the pig will stomach the food a little better without complaining.  Like the Cheerio’s commercial said many decades ago, “he’ll eat anything!  Hey Mikey!”  Yeah but it won’t be Mikey.  One day Mikey will be gone from the place he and his fiancé are calling, “the dump.”  May the Lord pour out His grace on those left behind when he does go.

I just hope that moving day will be soon.  O.k.  I’m done venting.  Gotta get back to praying.  JJ

sad pig