Sundog –noun 1. parhelion. 2. a small or incomplete rainbow.

Archive for May, 2010

Letter to a Friend

I wrote a letter to a good friend last night and oddly, turns out we both had the same ideal – that the things I said in the letter need to be heard by more than just one person. This is a very candid view of my life right now. Edited only for name, “Late night chat”

Hola! 🙂

Its about 1 am here and just killing a few minutes before Jeremy is ready for bed. We forgot our b12 shots till sometime after 10 tonight so not in a big rush for bed. Seemed like the lesser of the two problems – skip them a day or be up late.

Don’t have enough time I don’t think to reply to your email today fully so will hit it in the next few days. The simple reply – sure sounds like a lot of really fun stuff you’ve got going on! 🙂 Good luck with the relatives visiting if I forget to wish it later.

Well, Jeremy and I had a long chat tonight. Happened after I went for a bit of a walk by myself tonight. Jeremy’s ankle was kinda sore from some exercising we tried last night so he stayed home. Was good to get out by myself for a bit anyways. Granted I chatted with myself and nature the whole way I walked, but was a good chat.

Ended up giving me lots to think about and talk to Jeremy about. We ended up talking for probably 2+ hours but I think it ended in a really positive place. Not a fully happy place, but positive.

The not happy part is because of where our health is right now. Quite frankly I’m rather worried about us. We seem to have suddenly had a rather large downturn these last several weeks and we always are so dang close to that point of life being more than we can keep up with, that any downhill motion is very worrisome.

But we figured a few more things out and hopefully will have some stuff improve in the next few months from it.

Its hard coming right out and saying stuff like this, you know? Hard to admit just how low we end up sometimes. We really need more help but I don’t think there is any where to get it from. Most of the type of help we need is beyond what Jeremy’s dad can do and we are simply too broke to afford to pay someone for work.

We need to be indoors. Life is so very much hard outside like this. :/ It tears me up to see Ron’s place every day just off through the woods about 200ft and know he has a spare bedroom we could use with very little notice. But figure there’s no point to it because we get ill just being downwind of his open door/windows on sunny days so I really doubt we could live there.

You know what occurred to me yesterday? Summer 2004 was likely the last time I might possibly have been inside a house, but only for a visit. Might even have been 2003. I know 2003 was the last time we cooked inside a real kitchen and that was while sleeping in a friend’s yard and using their house one night when they were out of town, though we just cooked and watched some tv before going back outside. Was a nice and low toxic place, unfortunately they sold it and moved about a year later.

Fall 2002 was the last time I lived or slept indoors. December 13, 2002 was the date we left all that and have been in a tent since. That’s a long friggin’ time.

But aside from the length of time, its our health. We need to be indoors. I don’t know if I’m going to find a way to make that happen and the worse our health gets, the less options we have.

I’m not sure what happened, we had been doing well with the diet change for a while. But we’ve been getting weaker and more easily injured the last maybe two months. Its a real problem, we don’t have much to loose. I’m actually thinking about paying Robb Wolf for some consultation time in another month or two if we can’t swing things around ourselves. Just don’t know what to do and I think part of it might be diet. Its like – all of a sudden we just stopped getting the nutrition we need from what we eat. Will see our normal doc first and see what he suggests, but talking to Robb in a nutritionist type capacity might not be a bad thing. Might be well worth the money and at least this way we would know its a person who has some knowledge of diets like this.

Honestly, it really feels like somethings gotta change in the next few months. We’ll do pretty much anything to find that change because things stopped working right for us and in a big/bad way. I am very hopeful still that Jeremy being off his candida med will be that change, but it may have pushed our already taxed bodies too far. I’m a bit scared to be honest. Hard to admit, but I am.

We’ll find a way, we have to. I just would feel a lot better if I had an inkling of what that might be.

I know you’ve said that you pray for us sometimes. I really don’t think I’ve ever asked anyone to pray for me before, but think you could toss in an extra good word or two for us?

heh, here I had intended on making sure to write something that wouldn’t worry you and I’ve a strong suspicion that I failed on that point. I am sorry for the worry, I just really needed to tell someone these things. Well, someone besides Jeremy. 🙂 I just hadn’t wanted to add to your load and I do most certainly apologize for it. 🙂

So yeah, had a good long talk with Jeremy tonight about all this and more. Started some fresh action that should help towards putting things right for us with just a bit of luck.

Alrighty, Jeremy’s done and its very late here. I got longer winded here than planned and now he’s been waiting for me. lol I’m going to head off to bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. 🙂 Big hugs, Lisa

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Robb Wolf

As some of you already know, I’m a big fan of Robb Wolf.

He’s a very smart guy who knows TONS about eating paleo, making it your lifestyle, and it often seems just about everything else. The blurb on his site says this about him:

“Robb Wolf is a former research biochemist specializing in lipid metabolism. His CV includes research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and graduate work with Prof. Loren Cordain of Colorado State University, author of The Paleo Diet and The Paleo Diet for Athletes. Robb is a co-founder of the CrossFit NorCal (the 4th CrossFit Affiliate), a review editor for the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, and a co-founder of The Performance Menu.”

A few months ago I ran across his blog and the weekly podcast he had recently begun. I was quickly a fan and tuned in each week to hear him answer 5-8 questions from listeners. The questions seem to vary considerably, but its about a 50/50 split between stuff on reaching fitness goals and things involving chronic health problems.

The information in his podcast could easily fill a book and I have learned a tremendous amount from him. Its impressive how passionate he is about helping people and it shows in the detail he gives each question. Nobody is paying him for this, he willingly shares his knowledge for free – something not many people would do.

A few weeks ago I finally figured out a few questions of my own and posted them on his site. This week he answered them! Here is the link to the podcast:
The Paleolithic Solution Episode 29

And below are the questions I asked. He answers mine first in the podcast so just start at the beginning. The previous podcasts can be downloaded still and are very much worth the time to listen to if you have chronic health concerns, are interested in gym performance, or would like to know more about paleo eating. I hope you all enjoy!

“Hello Robb!
Long time listener, first time caller. 🙂 Nine years ago, mine and my partner’s health plummeted after some prolonged solvent exposure coming over from the neighboring apartment and compounded by a black mold infestation in our apartment. Our health steadily declined for the first several years but in the last three we seem to have leveled off at about 25% functional capacity. It has left us nearly fully housebound, bedridden about 8-10 of our waking hours a day and completely knackered. In my never ending search to find a way back to health for us, we swapped to a strict Paleo lifestyle just over three months ago and have seen a small improvement. We are in our early 30’s, have been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, and Fibromyalgia. Our allergies are crazy bad to most chemicals which has left us homeless in a tent for the last eight years.

I had a couple of questions about leaky gut, supplement inactive ingredients, and the Now Super Enzymes.

1. I have no doubt our gut is leaky as a sieve and we have been taking aloe, slippery elm, and marshmallow for six months to try and aid this. We use lots of organic coconut oil with our cooking and about a month ago started taking copious amounts of Kirkland fish oil (13.5g/day, we both weigh ~170 and are working up the amount). Two weeks ago we removed all eggs and nuts, have been dairy free since going Paleo. We haven’t been able to afford grass fed meat yet, but do buy hormone and antibiotic free. Any ideals on how long a bad leaky gut problem can take to heal and/or experience greatly reduced inflammation? Anything else that you know of which we could try to do to help speed this up?

2. We have been taking Source Natural’s Pancreatin 8x enzymes for six months and I recently picked up a bottle of the Now Super Enzymes to give them a whirl as they have the HCl the other ones lack. At 2 caps per meal I had a bit of a bad aftertaste which I suspect was the HCl as it reminded me much of smells from chem lab years ago, but no heat. Tried 3 caps for two meals but though there was no heat, it produced a surprising amount of burping, a general sour feeling in my stomach and later my gut, and even more of a bad aftertaste. Any thoughts? Too little, too much?

3. Lastly, our doctor has us on many, many supplements to help with the lack of nutrients our body had been absorbing from our very poor diet. I’m a bit concerned the added ‘inert’ ingredients in the capsules might be tossing a wrench in us trying to remedy the leaky gut. Are there some non-obvious things I should watch out for on the ingredient list?

Thank you very much for all the time and effort both you and Andy put into these podcasts. I have learned an incredible amount of information and feel very strongly that you have already helped my partner and I make healing progress we might otherwise have been much slower to achieve. Also, I attended Butte College for couple years at one point in my travels so hearing you and Andy chatting about Chico always feels like a little piece of home.

Have a beautiful day, Lisa/Sundog :)”


A Beautiful Day

I had very vivid dreams last night of driving to town and going grocery shopping. For most people this surely would have been a pretty mundane dream and rather boring even. For me, its usually the nearest I come to living normally again because most things like this are beyond me at this time.

But apparently they weren’t beyond me today! What an exciting and wondrous day we have had.

It all started with a good night’s sleep – the first in at least a week. We both slept in well this morning and were pleased to see the first warm day without some rain in weeks. Shortly before we got going on breakfast and everything else that begins our day, Ron (Jeremy’s dad) called to see if we needed anything from town.

While Jeremy was chatting away with him on the phone it just suddenly occurred to me that it would be a lot of fun to go in to town with Ron for some fresh produce. I mentioned it to Jeremy who immediately liked the idea and he asked Ron about it because we’d have to keep the trip short and he had plans for several errands.

In one of those moments that makes me really thankful for how cool Ron is about helping us out, Ron spontaneously changed his plans and in less than half a hour we were all piled in his car and off to town!

It was a beautiful day, warm with a lot of sunshine. We went first to the Farmer’s Market where we turned in some paperwork for purchasing a CSA share at a local farm. This is a program many small farms offer of letting you buy a membership that will provide one box of produce a week throughout the summer of all the fresh stuff they are growing. It supports the local farmers, in this case an organic farm, while also letting us diversify our veggies. I was very pleased to see that the produce stocked at the booth was the best looking stuff compared to several other small farms with stands at the market.

Next we popped over to one of Ron’s favorite burrito joints, a new place that has opened in town. Remembering to go with tacos instead of burritos because of corn vs. flour tortillas with wheat/gluten, we got our food to go. It was the first restaurant we had gone into since Jeremy’s mom took us to lunch on the way home from a long distance drive to see a neurologist in 2003. Seven years went by with an amazing amount of speed.

Steak tacos with extra veggies instead of cheese.
Steak tacos with extra veggies instead of cheese

The trip to the restaurant highlights how odd life has become. It was loud with voices all around me as many people enjoyed their lunches. I found I no longer posses the automatic noise filtering I never knew I had, as it was very hard to focus just on Ron’s speaking – all the voices in the background were just as much in my attention as his was. The air felt very stale and the acoustics of a high ceiling were a bit disorienting.

Even the trip to use their ladies room was strange to me. They share a hallway with a next door cantina and its down this hallway that I found the bathroom. As soon as I stepped into the hallway I was surrounded by familiar smells from just about every bar I’d ever been in and memories of times past flooded in. I found it interesting these odors were comforting and inviting even though usually when suddenly surrounded by strong scents I react with anxiety and concern for my health.

Another thing I’ll share just because of its unusualness. That was the first toilet I had the chance to use since last October. Think about it next time you are using one yourself – months have passed for me without one. Its been seven years since I have used one more than a half dozen times in any give year. As odd as that must seem to you, it was just as odd to me today in using one. This was a first for me as in the past its always still felt normal. Perhaps its the length of time passing or just me having accepted my current state of life more, but it was definitely odd for me.

We made one last stop on the way home – our normal grocery store where Ron buys for us the majority of our organic produce. It was a bit surrealistic there because it was the same store I used to shop at while going to college and working, but it had been heavily remodeled a few years ago and this was my first trip in since. Nothing was recognizable as the old store after I walked through the front doors. The sights and smells were very strange to me as well.

All the soda, candy, chips and just plain junk that I was so used to seeing around me before, it now stood out to me as very odd things to consume. I have eaten quality food for many years. Since going paleo there hasn’t even been anything processed as we cook everything from scratch. None of the brightly colored boxes and giant logos looked like anything editable to me. While in the aisle at the checkout counter I innocently sighed a bit and was revolted by the sweet and cloying taste to the air from all the candy, gum, and mints next to me.

So many things today are so foreign to me now. When I do go into town and am active in normal pursuits there instead of only seeing a doctor, it feels like a different country. Some days a different planet even. I don’t feel entirely the same as everyone around me, in fact I feel fairly different. They all belong to a culture that is not mine now.

I am now part of a tribe of people spread all around the world who share in my hardships and joys, our one joining feature being a deep understanding of living with chronic illness. We are all very different from each other – even our seasons can be completely different with me just going into summer and them going into winter. Yet I feel distinctly more a part of the tribe that has formed on the internet of my fellow chronics than I feel while walking the streets of a town I’ve lived in for most of the last 11 years.

It has been a very interesting day for me and there is only one last thing to share. Today really showed me just how much improvement Jeremy and I have seen since going paleo and starting the b12 shots. We reacted much less to all the stimulus around us regardless of if it was loud sounds (live band at the farmer’s market), crowds of people, scents, perfumes, and lots of walking on cement (normally just on dirt paths in camp). We even had a chance to see improvements in how our bodies handled us skipping breakfast and only grabbing a small, quick snack before leaving. Being active without breakfast would usually have our blood sugar plummeting quickly, but today we did well despite the lack of food until 2 pm.

I am pleased with today and how my body handled it. Its been years since we spontaneously went to town just to have a good time. This speaks volumes for the mental changes taking place along with the physical ones. I deeply believe that part of getting well is mentally wanting to be well and being willing to accept change. It pleases me to see a trip like today because its a very real symbol of how ready we are for change to come to our lives.

I look forwards to taking more trips like today’s as the summer comes upon us!


Happiness Award is Here!

I had a nice surprise yesterday. My friend Jody Smith over at Ncubator passed the Happiness Award on to me. Thanks for the award Jody, I shall see if I can spread some cheer in kind!

Without further ado – on with the show!

The rules for the Happiness Award:
1.) When you have received this award you must thank the person that awarded you this in the new post.
2.) Name 10 things that make you happy.
3.) Pass this award onto other bloggers and inform the winners.

Rule number 1 – check! Muchas Gracias la Senora Jody… and with many festive hugs!

Rule 2 – As it is my style to be ramble along, this may end up a bit longer than just 10 things. Hope the award doesn’t get revoked for me already breaking the rules! I’m such a rebel! In no order:

Native wildflowers with a wonderful scent.

Being surprised with flowers Jeremy finds and picks because he knows I love getting them.

Little race car, baby bunnies who dart back and forth under our tarps at night because its the only dry place to play.

A hot cup of cocoa made by my sweetie.

Planting onion seeds on May Day that a friend had sent from Australia, despite the customs restrictions against doing so. (no worries, they will not grow well enough to be invasive in the spot I garden)

Having more friends who are in foreign lands than those who are from my own country – no wonder I never fully fit in here!

My spirit rock.

A sun warmed rock to lay topless on and sing off key very loudly while soaking up the heat of a beautiful day.

Hearing the geese circling overhead while trying to figure out which way is North every spring. First gaggle of them was yesterday and it always means summer isn’t far behind!

Cuddling up with Jeremy to watch The Muppets together.

A really good movie that we have saved for a few months until just the right occasion to see it for the first time.

Poking fun at my friend Grant when we instant chat, he’s such a good sport about it! *Poke!*

Finding odd little animals, like salamanders and tree frogs, who make in front of our tent their home for a night before moving on the next day. I love having animals feel safe here for the night.

Silver dollar sized frog and computer cables.

Watching first the parent birds come to feed at our oat pile in front of the tent and then later the fledgling birds. Mom and Pop have to teach them how to eat and its exciting as they learn not to eat rocks but instead the food.

A hot shower outside while big, fat snowflakes are falling all around me. Along with this is listening to the hush of snowfall and watching it blanket the woods.

Jeremy reading to me every night before bed.

Watching my garden sprout from seed, grow, and then fill our bellies.

My garden two years ago.

Clear nights with many stars.

The rare days when I wake up feeling refreshed and good.

Daydreaming of all the things I will be able to do, because I will be getting well again.

Listening to the birds signing every morning. Also with this would be the owls hooting at night near us and coyotes howling at the moon.

Last for this list and saved for the end because it is the very best – Jeremy. All the wonderful things he does, his love and kindness, and his fight to never give up seeing us through everything that comes our way.

Rule number 3. I’ve had a bit of a hard time deciding who to pass this on to as I know several other bloggers who immediately sprang to mind for this. I will send this award on to Laurel of Dreams at Stake because she never stops fighting and keeps finding ways to pass that strength on to others.

That’s it for this brief… er… wander down the lane of Lisa’s happiness!