Clear Passage – Day 1

16 Nov

I’m not holding any details back in these entries, so consider yourself warned! 🙂

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Background is here.

My first appointment was scheduled for Monday, 9am. We arrived a few minutes early to fill out some last minute paperwork and make the final payment (thanks mom!). The place was clean and cozy and less flashy than I had imagined (I figured private health clinic in the US would be big on appearances). It is in an office/clinic complex – small waiting room when you first walk in with lots of magazines and books on health, well-being and fertility stuff. Once we were all settled, the administrator took me on a little tour of the place – washrooms, treatment rooms, kitchen that can be used by us as well. Mom came with me and sat in on the first two sessions.

I was given a robe and fuzzy blanket that are mine for the week. I was also given a paper gown that I was told I would wear during treatments. She said they would be replaced as I went because they might get a little torn up – I didn’t think she meant they would actually be ripped apart! But that’s what they do, as you lay there, they rip open the parts they need to access whatever part of your body they are working on. Keeps you covered otherwise though…..some of the pictures I saw before hand had people with strategically placed towels but I guess the laundry got to be a pain in the butt? Who knows…..

Anyway, my first one hour session was with Evette – a really lovely woman from Louisiana. For this first hour, she did an overall assessment of me. Had me standing in a bra and underwear poking, prodding and looking at my posture, feeling where there might be restrictions, checking my range of motion etc. The consensus is that my right side is wound up tight tight tight. From head to toe.

After a 10 minute break, I met Kim – also lovely, but at this point I liked Evette the best. Kim did the first ‘hands-on’ treatment – basically, she massaged my abdomen for an hour, all the while feeling for the mobility (or not) of various organs. She also felt that I had a lot of restrictions on the right side – things just aren’t moving and sliding around as much as they should be. Her session was ok in terms of intensity. Felt like a lot of treatments I have had from my osteopath before. Some stuff she did elicited some strange pulling and tugging sensations in other parts of my abdomen, but that would only make sense if you think that things are all stuck together in there.

After that I had a two hour break where mom and I did some grocery shopping for the week. We have a hotel with a kitchen, so we can cook our own food rather than eating out so much.

Then back we went for the afternoon sessions. This time I met Belinda (one of the two co-founders). She was a little less warm and fuzzy, a little more clinical. She did some work on my sacrum and my hips. Like my osteopath, it feels like there’s not a whole lot happening and then she straightens out my leg real fast (or something) and I feel all kids of things shifting in my pelvic bones and tightness I didn’t know I had disappears! Magic. She worked on my abdomen a bit, giving a decent amount of attention to the area around my appendix scar.

Another 10 minute break and then back with Evette for the final session of the day – she wanted to finish the assessment from the morning, this time paying particular attention to my cervix. It wasn’t so bad (though it was strange to be on the receiving end for a change). She was checking the position and mobility of my cervix and tailbone and started doing a bit of treatment on it (ie pushing it around). I was prepared for much worse, and I’m happy to report it wasn’t so bad. During this session, we talked a lot about my job and her births and the culture of birth in the US. How odd to be talking midwifery while someone is mucking around with my cervix – definitely a first!

They said I might be a bit achy after the treatment and they recommend walking after the morning and afternoon sessions and also epsom salt baths etc. All in all I felt pretty good. Took my arnica, walked and swam in the pool and had a warm bath. At the end of the day I was still feeling a little apprehensive about how effective this will all be, but hopeful.

Oh, and as an adjunct to all of this, before I left I picked up the new protocol my naturopath wants to try – which basically involves me taking 30 pills a day (to help decrease inflammation and scar tissue and help my liver to detox). We thought the treatments and her protocol would be enhanced by happening together. And it does feel kind of therapeutic to focus on myself so much for this week – my diet is great, I’m drinking lots of water and getting some decent rest. All good things!

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Feeling defeated…

1 Nov

As you all know, my diet has been REALLY REALLY good since the beginning of September when my friend started cooking at my house. All kinds of GFV yumminess being consumed and frozen for those on-the-run meals.

So you’ll understand why I’m so puzzled as to why I’ve been SUPER SICK since Sunday. A while back I had posted about a new health issue that I wasn’t prepared to talk about – basically I found out that my fallopian tubes are, in the words of the doctor, “a train wreck”. In short, I have bilateral hydrosalpinx – he says caused by my endo (but I have my doubts – more on that later**). It is so bad that my tubes, which are normally supposed to be the width of a human hair, are now dilated to an inch in diameter, the entire length of the tube and filled with who knows what. The doctor said they are some of the worst he’s seen and given this chronic infection in my pelvis, he’s surprised I’m not sick – like really sick.

Except, the funny thing is I DO get sick when I get my period – and have for a couple of years. On days 2 and 3 of my cycle, I get bloated, achy and chilled. One time it was so bad (before I knew what it was) that I made Ian take me to the hospital where they kept me all day, heavily medicated on painkillers, did all kinds of tests and said they didn’t know what was wrong with me. A few other times I went off-call ’cause I just didn’t know what was going on and I just felt awful. Lately though, it’s been manageable – and better since my diet changes.

This month though, has been the worst it’s ever been (except for the time I went to the hospital). I was so bloated I looked pregnant and my entire abdomen hurt to the touch. I am nauseated (haven’t really eaten much in 3 days) and any time I do eat it gives me terrible intestinal cramps. I feel like I have the flu – weak, achy, chilled, fever. And yet, when one of my midwife friends came to do blood work on me yesterday, the results showed ZERO infection. Absolutely no increase in white blood cells. Being the medical mystery that I am however, I am not surprised – when my appendix was taken out I had no increase in white blood cells; when I went to the hospital so sick two years ago, no increase in white blood cells. I wonder if my body is just so used to being chronically inflammed that it takes more than a little pelvic infection to register with my immune system.

Ugh.

The solution that they offered me was to take my tubes out. Not an option I’m keen on – up until the past few days, I have really liked my tubes and want to keep them around as long as I can. But, if this is going to be an ongoing thing – my tubes and I are going to have to revisit their tenancy agreement.

Being the hippie that I am, and holding my firm belief that the body can heal itself if given a chance (you’ll recall last year during my GVF trial that I had NONE of these sickness symptoms that final month), I am not giving up. I will keep eating GFV and doing things to promote wellness and healing in my body. And as a further part of that little endeavour, I am flying to Florida in 10 days for some physical therapy, not unlike intensive Osteopathic treatment.

Clear Passage claims to be able to break down adhesions and scar tissue from endometriosis, previous surgeries, IBS and a whole host of other things, including treating blocked tubes. They do this by doing some pretty deep, intensive, abdominal massage for 4 hours a day (2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon) for five days. Some people might call it quackery, but given what I know about massage and osteopathic treatment, I am hopeful for SOME kind of improvement.

And as a nice bonus, my mom is coming with me – so even if it is total hooey, I’ll still have a nice week in Florida with my mom. And after how I have felt this week, that will be a nice treat!

Though I am hopeful about the continued diet and the treatment in Florida, this sickness has me feeling pretty defeated. Even more so the fact that I can feel so terrible and it doesn’t even register with my body. That is just not fair.

 

**As to why my tubes are blocked, I have my suspicions that it is a result of the hysterosalpingogram that I had done in December 2009. At that time, I was told that my tubes were nice and normal in size and shape and open. In August of 2011, the ultrasound showed a train wreck. How does this happen? The doctor said that an infection from that is highly unlikely….but, you know me! I seriously wonder if my immune system didn’t just over-react to the dye in my tubes (given my auto-immune pre-disposition to attack everything in sight) and cause the blockage. He thinks I’m crazy. My GP knows how messed up my body is and she also had the same question. I guess we’ll never know….

Camping – Part 2, plus menu.

6 Oct

Brrr! Camping last weekend was a bit chilly! But we did have a really nice time, got to see some lovely fall colours and spend some quality time together. Finding tasty, easy to prepare camping meals was not the easiest task – I didn’t want anything too complicated because I didn’t want to spend hours cooking. Also, I wanted some easy, go-to, grab and go snacks since I had been hoping we were going to do some hiking and canoeing. As it turns out, the snacks were fun while we were playing cards in the tent!

We got up there LATE Wednesday night – around 11. Obviously, it was pitch black and we were setting up a tent we had never used before. FUN! And it was raining lots. MORE FUN! But, we got the tent et al. set up pretty quick and snuggled in all cozy, me, my dog and my man.

The weather the whole time we were up there was inconsistent – cold, or rainy, then cold AND rainy. Thursday morning was cool and crisp, but the sun started to come out a bit in the afternoon – so we went for a walk. At our furthest point from our site, the thunder/lightening started and the skies opened up. We were drenched by the time we got back to the site. The next day, we wanted to try canoeing. The day was crisp and beautiful until 3, when the rental place opened, and as we headed over to rent the canoe it started to pour rain again. Oh good! 🙂

The only time our spirits were dampened (haha) came when we tried to start a fire – we had really crummy wood that just wouldn’t catch. Ian and I are both experienced fire builders and it took us almost 2 HOURS to get a good fire going! Sheesh. So annoying!! Our last night and morning were COLD – I think it was 3 degrees C that last night! And windy – and rainy! It was miserable. The next morning we just wanted to get the heck out of there!! We went into ‘town’ for breakfast (ie, the mechanic shop/1980’s greasy spoon closest to the park), and then got back, packed up and hit the road.

As far as the menu was concerned, I did some pre-prep – and made a lot of things ahead of time. That way I could just heat things up, but we were eating good, un-processed food.

Wed Night:

Plan was dinner on the road (I was hoping Kindfood “to go”) but the day got away on us and it ended up being a stop along the 401 that was neither vegan, nor gluten free and made us both feel ick.

Thursday:

  • Breakfast: GF/V pancakes from a mix – just ok
  • Lunch: OSG Carrot Apple Ginger Soup & Grilled Cheese with Aidan’s bread and Daiya (I made the soup ahead of time and brought it with us).
  • Dinner: OSG Maple Baked Beans (These are the BEST things I’ve ever eaten!! And they were so easy to make – I will certainly be putting these into heavy menu rotation.)

Friday:

  • Breakfast: Breakfast Burrito – GFV tortilla filled with refried beans, guacamole, salsa, daiya and fried potatoes
  • Lunch: OSG Hummus, Veggies, Crackers
  • Dinner: Amy’s Lentil Soup

 Saturday:

  • Breakfast: Intended to be Overnight Oats, but it was so cold and miserable out, the thought of eating cold oats (or even heating them up) was sooo off-putting, I made Ian take me into town and ate things some breakfast type things which I lived to regret. Informed choice right? I knew the risks of my decision and I did it anyway.
  • Lunch was going to be a black bean salad, but we were still full from breakfast and just wanted to pack up and get out of there! So we ate tortilla chips on the road. And some dried apples.

Snacks:

  • Fruit roll-ups
  • Dehydrated cinnamon apples
  • OSG Go Go Glow Mix (this stuff is awesome!)
  • Kale chips
  • Popcorn (yes, I did bring my whirly pop!)

While we were there, we found some amazing walk-in campsites, right on the lake and away from the hustle and bustle. We may just try to book one of those for a weekend next fall!

Camping!

18 Sep

We have booked a weekend to do some fall camping. We are heading north east, to Bon Echo provincial park. I’ve heard a ton of nice things about it and I am really excited. Apparently there are all sorts of fun things to do including hiking and canoeing. I can’t wait! It’s been over a year since we went camping – and I especially love fall camping.

Now I just need to plan our meals to stay within the vegan gluten free parameters. I am excited by this challenge – though I see a lot of prep work in my future. And it’s a good thing we’re just going car camping, cans of beans could get real heavy on a hiking trip!

I’ll post a menu as soon as I’ve got it figured out!

“We’re only vegan at dinner”

9 Sep

Day 6 of being back to strict ways of eating and I’m already feeling better! My back doesn’t hurt when I wake up which is always a sure sign I’m eating the right stuff for my body. If I eat bad stuff, my intestines get all out of whack, which then pulls my insides out of alignment, which pulls on my muscles, which gives me a sore back. So I often use back pain as my gauge….

This really was great timing because recently, my family has expanded. We are now a family of 7. Four adults and three kids (ages 6, 4, and 1). You see a friend has just moved to a house around the corner from me. As part of the move, they gutted the kitchen with the hope it would be ready in time. Except it wasn’t. In fact, the “kitchen” is still basically a big, gaping hole – right down to the studs. So they come here to cook. Her boys have lots of dietary issues, so she’s used to cooking how I need to eat. The deal that we made was that she could have total and complete access to my house/kitchen/food, she just had to make extra for us! It’s working really well so far. It’s kind of like Sister Wives, except we each have our own husband!

Her family does eat meat though and the boys were asking about this because she’s not really cooking it while they’re eating here. She was explaining what ‘vegan’ meant and they weren’t too thrilled, so she told them that they’re “only vegan at dinner”.

So far so good though, and as I said – it’s great timing to really get me back on track. Last night we had these amazing “spicoli burgers” made with brown rice, hemp seeds, onion, red pepper and spices – all pureed and made into a patty. DELICIOUS! Tonight’s dinner was Thai Chick-Un Pizza – GF crusts topped with sauce made from ketchup, peanut butter, ginger, garlic, and coconut milk, topped with red pepper, chick peas, pineapple, onion, cilantro and mung beans. Super duper tasty – you wouldn’t think that combination of ingredients in the sauce would be appetizing, but it really was fantastic.

Having children around at mealtimes is also helpful in another way, it’s teaching me to get over my thing with having food particles *everywhere*. Well, it could be teaching me that….really what it’s teaching me is how to wipe faster and ignore my uncontrollable twitching!

The Return

6 Sep

I have been a very bad blogger. I have also been a very very bad GFVer. The summer was hit and miss and a few slips turned into bad falls until the whole thing was almost going sideways.

And I felt like crap – no shocker there.

I started to feel as though I should really get serious about it again, get all prepared like I did last fall. Make a big thing of it. Maybe even hit Ribfest again, you know, like I did in the good old days. But I was really wanting to start thinking about maybe getting back on the wagon – for serious. But then, you know how it goes…..there’s always a little snack to be had somewhere….

And last week I got some more bad health news (which I’m not prepared to share publicly at this time) and it was just the kick in the ass I needed to really repent of my poor dietary ways and turn back to the good.

So, here we go again!

 

And for your information, I opted NOT to celebrate my renewed commitment by going to Ribfest! Just ’cause I know you were all dying to know!

 

Detox Update

13 May

Well, it’s been a bit hit and miss since starting my green smoothie detox. The prep week was interrupted twice by babies and while I did manage to stay vegan and gluten free, I wasn’t so “green”. I think one day all I ate was toast with PB&J – three times, once before going to bed at 10 in the morning (was up all night), once when I woke up at 5pm to go back to the hospital, and again at 1 in the morning when I was finally making it to my bed again! All in all, staying VGF was a success because we know how I tend to eat when I’m tired.

The detox officially started on Monday with a modified water fast. From Sunday night after supper to Monday night after supper all you were to have was water, tea, lemon water etc. I had a jam packed clinic day on Monday so I didn’t really have time to eat anyway. By the time 6pm rolled around I was STARVING so I didn’t manage to make it home to make the nice, simple dinner they recommended but again, small victories, I stayed VGF and mostly raw (conveniently, a client had given me a wonderful basket of my kind of goodies).

Since being in Vancouver, I’ve been doing not so bad. With no prep time the first morning of the conference (only 5 hours of sleep!), I figured I could just grab a salad and maybe a vegetable wrap or something. Well, it was a complete bust! There were NO VEGETARIAN SANDWICHES! Unbelievable!! And both salads had either egg or cheese in them. Since I’m really trying to stay dairy free and I shouldn’t be eating eggs they were out too! I grabbed a bowl of the corn chowder only to get halfway through and realize that they probably made theirs with milk or cream (my intestines later confirmed this to be true!). Anyway, it was a hungry afternoon!

Other meals have remained within the boundaries of the detox, though I have to admit I’m having a hard time with the level of “raw” the detox recommends, sometimes I just want something cooked!! Obviously I have been eating hummus.

One thing I am really enjoying is our daily trip to the steam room and sauna. Each evening mom and I spend 20 minutes in the steam room and then 30-40 minutes in the infra-red sauna. You can almost feel the toxins pouring out of you! (haha!) Seriously though, it really is relaxing and I have been sleeping GREAT!

Tomorrow is supposed to be an “all smoothie day” but we are doing it today since we will be out and about tomorrow!

Overall though, I’m feeling pretty awesome! Decent amount of energy, well rested, feeling refreshed in the morning! Looking forward to not being in a conference all day (starting today) so I can get in some time to start exercising!