Thursday, February 28, 2013

Happy Day, Oh Happy Day!

I saw Dr. D on Tuesday.  Had a blood draw (a bad, bad blood draw, complete with tunnel vision and nausea) and after not getting the results the next day like usual, I finally called Dr. D's nurse today and begged her to call me. 

Dr. D had said that if the enzymes were back down, great, we'd wean off the prednisone and hope for the best.  But if the levels were still high, then we needed to try another, more complicated, medication.  And before he prescribed this more complicated medication, he would want to do a liver biopsy to be absolutely sure what we're dealing with. 


The procedure doesn't scare me.  Needle in, suck a little liver out, all good.  It's that word "biopsy".  Scary word.

Needless to say, I was freakin' the &*$# out by this afternoon because I still hadn't gotten the test results.  So I called.  Because I am the squeaky wheel.

And happy happy joy joy, that magic number (which, at the beginning of December, was 280) was a mere 58.  Woohoo!  I don't know if it's the cleanse or the no alcohol or the lack of azathioprine, but regardless, the liver is getting better!

No biopsy!


Speaking of the azathioprine, Dr. D said that's usually what they use to get people off the prednisone.  Unfortunately, when my liver processed the azathioprine, it turned it into a toxin.  Which made my liver flare up.




And speaking of The Cleanse, my new favorite salad is salmon and beet with a vinaigrette dressing.  Sounds icky, huh?  It's not.  It is delicious.  If you like fish and beets.  Which I do.


This weekend is Emerald City Comicon.  I will not be going.  We don't have anything to promote this year, so Todd is working it with a friend, shooting video.  No sitting in booth for three days!

I am essentially on my own this weekend (probably good I'm not drinking these days, huh?) so I've got big plans.  A little sleeping in, a little shopping, a little reading, maybe a nap.  Then Trish and I have some girl bonding planned for Saturday night (it might involve sparkly vampires.  I'm not at liberty to say, really), and hopefully I will get some Steph time on Sunday.  I should probably do some laundry at some point, too.

Anywho, ECCC, girl bonding.  Big weekend.

And only eight days left on The Cleanse!  Then bring on the wine and cupcakes!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Weekend Update

We had big plans for this past weekend.  We were supposed to go to our friend's house on Vashon Island to write a script with a few other writers, but as the Universe would have it, everything fell apart around 11:30am on Friday (after I'd already taken the day off).  The rest of Friday was spent cleaning and killing time until dinner.  And I was cranky.

Saturday was spent making up our lack of exciting weekend to Kayleigh who was extremely disappointed we didn't get our weekend away.  So, we to see Django Unchained (which I had planned to sleep through, but I actually liked it and watched all three hours of) and have lunch at Blue C.  But my mood was still sour and Mercury went into retrograde, so everything was outta whack and I was still cranky.

And Sunday, Todd spent most of the day playing his Star Wars game online while I toodled around, read some of my book, napped, cleaned a little and generally tried to recuperate.  Kayleigh and I went to try and get her ears pierced (for the third freakin' time because her holes keep closing) but the beauty shop in the Junction is closed on Sundays (gah!) so we hit some consignment stores, where I treated myself to a pink leather purse.  Dammit.

So there.

Todd and I also went an perused PCC where we bought an $8 loaf of gluten free bread.  Very exciting.


I am on day 17 of The Cleanse.  The last four days were detoxing, but now I'm back on white rice and other grains and milk substitutes.  I can also eat any veggies and fruits I want.  Life is good.

Well, good except for the lack of coffee, wine and chocolate.  But, you know.  Whatever.

Todd is still eating the good stuff along with me, but he's incorporated meat back in already.  I get that on Day 21.  If I want.  I'm pretty happy with my fish.


I miss being dehydrated.  I am up at least once a night to pee.  And that disrupts my sleep and makes me cranky.  (Well, what doesn't, really?)  Anywho, I try to not drink anything after 8pm, but regardless, I'm still up and stumbling to the potty in the middle of the night.  Grrr.


I see my liver doctor tomorrow.  I am very anxious to see what my levels are now.  I should know within a day or so.  I'll keep you posted.

Oh, also had my "well woman" exam today.  I've skipped the last couple of years, but figured it was maybe time to go have the old reproductive parts checked out.  She said everything seemed to be a-okay, but I'll get test results back within the week.

Funny thing - you know how prednisone suppresses the immune system?  Well, suppressing the immune system can also lead to abnormal pap results.  Fantastic!  Because I don't have enough shit to worry about right now.


On a positive note, the doctor's scale said I was down to 176.  We'll see how that compares with Dr. D's scale tomorrow.  Todd says I look less puffy and a little "tighter".  I'm not seeing it, but that doesn't mean it's not happening.


And now, a picture of the kitties.

I do love weekend mornings with my kitties.

One Of My Favorite Songs Right Now

And my favorite line:
"But my head hurts remembering the memories I lost.

Could just be my sober state of mind.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

So Far, So Good!

While it is absolutely UNFAIR that I have been detoxing and eating so well for 11 days, but have yet to lose any weight whatsoever (damn prednisone), I have to say, I feel pretty good.  Not as stiff.  And my right knee doesn't make any noise now when I walk up and down stairs!

I am finding that I'm hungry more frequently, but I don't think that's from being deprived.  I think it's just the stuff that I do eat gets used up by my body (rather than sitting in my gut for hours) so I need to refuel more often.  And since each refueling is with the same healthy food, I never have more than two or three hours between eating.

Now, given that I'm quite limited in WHAT I can eat, I'm getting a bit bored.  A girl can only have so many apples, bananas and carrots a day.  Lunch and dinner are an absolute joy - cooked foods!  I saw my naturopath on Monday, and told her about the constant low grade headache since Friday (after stopping rice, nuts, and milk alternatives, as well as berries and other more sugary fruits and veggies)  and she suggested having rice or steel grain oats at one meal a day, just to keep the sugar levels up.  So, I can have Todd's yummy steel cut oatmeal in the mornings now, which is so much better than just a smoothie and a banana.

This is only until Thursday, then Friday I can go back to any ol' fruits and veggies I want and white rice.  Brown rice and alternative milks come back a week after that, and then on day 20, I can have nuts again.  And then, on days 21 - 28, I can go back to free range meats.  Note - they say "free range" but they really want me to eat meat that isn't corn fed.  Corn and cornmeal is weeded out on this detox.

Also, I think sweet potatoes are my new favorite food.

And I still want a glass of wine.


Let's see, what else is happening besides The Cleanse?

I walked the treadmill again last night.  One mile.  In 22 minutes.  Is that good?  I don't think that's very good.  But I didn't have an asthma attack or pass out, so again, WIN.

We're getting our taxes taken care of tonight, which is very exciting.  Hopefully, the refund (because our tax woman is amazing and always gets us a hefty refund) will finance the three week vacation I'm dreaming about in June.  It includes a train trip to West Virginia, visiting with the family in Maryland, another train ride to Boston, a day toodling around there, and then a flight back home to Seattle.  We'll see if I can actually get time off for this trip, too.  I'm scared to even ask.

After our tax appointment, I'm getting my roots touched up.  Because I am that woman now who colors her hair and has to get her roots touched up.  Gah.

Oh, remember how I said I was going to take it easy on Sunday?  Give myself permission to not do much of anything?  Yeah, that didn't work.  I washed the sheets and remade the bed, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned out the junk drawer in the kitchen and then, thankfully, took an Epsom salt bath between The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey, and read a few chapters of a new Jen Lancaster book.

And I didn't take a nap all day!

Which reminds me, my liver doctor told me I could start weaning my prednisone.  Twenty milligrams one day, 10 the next, 20 the next, until I see him next Tuesday.  Hopefully with The Cleanse and absolutely no alcohol, my levels will be back down in the semi-normal range and I can start tapering off of it completely.  Funny, I have a couple of people tell me I should start lifting weights.  If I have to have the steroids in my systems, might as well tone up a little!

I did look up little dumbbell weights.  Gotta go to Target soon.

I think that alone is a clear sign that my body is doing better.  I'm actually thinking using weights.  And I'm walking.  Twice now!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

(Early) Weekend Update

Yes, it's only 2:30pm on Sunday afternoon, but I already know what I'll be doing tonight, so I can update you now.

Friday was rough.  Started getting a wee bit of a headache late in the afternoon.  Todd picked me up from work and we met his old friends from high school at Kell's for dinner.  They hadn't seen each other in 20 years so it was quite the reconnection.  Coincidentally, one of his friends is going through a similar health issue.  Apparently allergens have built up in her system and are now causing horrible joint pain and swelling.  So she's on a very limited sulfates free diet.  She even brought her own salad dressing, which she shared, because I had a smoked salmon and beet salad.  Absolutely cleanse approved.  Yum.

Toward the end of dinner, however, my head hurt so bad and my eyes were heavy and well, it was time to call it a night. Oh, but Nachos-n-Karaoke was going on in West Seattle, so you know we had to drop by for a minute and say hi.

Our friend Lisa is a nacho lover.  And a karaoke lover.  She's been over to our house a few times for Downing-style karaoke.  So she organized a evening of nachos at a restaurant just up the street, and then afterwards, they were heading over to karaoke.

Todd and I didn't make it for karaoke, but we did stop in and stay and visit with friends for a couple of hours.  And by the time we got home, I was nauseous from my headache.  But Todd made me my smoothie and I mellowed out a bit, then we hit the sack.

I was up at 9am Saturday morning and the headache was still there.  I don't get headaches a lot, so when I do, I'm just broken.  I don't know if it's the new, extreme portion of The Cleanse, or what, but it was killing me.  But at 10am I was out the door, stocking up on goodies for Trish's birthday brunch.  All Trish wanted for her birthday was some girl time and pedicure (did I mention she has a three year old and just had another baby on New Year's Day?  Yes, she just wanted some girl time).  So, Amy, Cherie and I threw her a little brunch in Cherie's condo building's lounge (just lovely) and sat around for a couple of hours eating and chatting.

And here's where I realize how special my friends are.  Cherie offered to buy the food for the brunch.  Not a lot, just some fruit and veggies and champagne and orange juice.  I told her she didn't have to do that, since I was very limited in my food, but she said it was a-okay and to send her my approved foods list.  I was in charge of decorations (and twice baked almond croissants), so when I arrived, Cherie had this gorgeous spread laid out.  And she had bought San Pellegrino and fresh pressed apple juice, so I could have something in my champagne glass, too.  She said she went by my list, and the only thing I couldn't eat on the table were the grapes and the ranch salad dressing.

How incredibly thoughtful is that?  I am just in awe of how supportive and accommodating the people in my life are.  I don't think I will ever not be in awe.

While Amy is very supportive, she brought her crockpot o' oatmeal, which smelled just like fall.  Amazing.  I'll get to have that in a few weeks.

Anywho, after brunch, we headed out for pedicures.  After hitting a few different walk-in spots, we ended up at my usual place, Tulips, right down the street.  The ladies there are very sweet.  And my toenails are very pink now.

After all of this activity, I was ready for a nap (damn liver) so I took the girls back to Cherie's, dropped them off and said my goodbyes.  I got home, briefly said hi to Todd, then passed out for an hour.

And then it was time to grocery shop for the upcoming week.  We got a crapton of (approved) fruits and vegetables, so I think I'm good to go until Thursday.  I bought a few sweet potatoes so that's the "hardy" food for the week.  Todd cut a couple up, along with zucchini, yellow squash and mushrooms, and roasted them last night.  Yummy.  I also bought a bag of flash frozen, wild caught salmon.  I pulled on out, put it in a bowl of hot water to thaw it, and cooked it up to go with my roasted veggies.  And it was damn good.  Todd's not a big fish eater, so this works perfectly.

After dinner, Todd's sister and niece, Sara and Zadra, arrived to crash on our couches during their mother-daughter road trip.  It was nice to just sit and visit with Sara.  With her living in Bellingham, we don't get to hang out too much.  I stayed up as late as I could, but at 10pm, I excused myself and went to bed.

I got up at 8:30 this morning to say goodbye to her, but have made the declaration that I am taking it easy today.  I have a load of laundry in, and I tidied up the kitchen, but I think that's enough for this weekend.  And I hate that.  There is so much I want to do, and while I could very well do it, I would be utterly exhausted tomorrow and completely unproductive at work.  So I have to pick my battles and budget my energy, and again, I hate that.

And also, this:

Holy crap, who is that tired, bloated girl in the middle?  Man alive.  No wonder I'm having an identity crisis. Let's compare, shall we?

I actually had cheekbones in 2010!

Todd tells me that I'm still beautiful.  I'm just sick.  That helps, really, but, oy. 

Sigh.  It's temporary.  I know it's just temporary. 


Oh, and tonight?  The Walking Dead, Epsom salt bath, then Downton Abbey.  BOOYA.
I love Sunday evenings.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Welcome to Day 7

It's Day 7 of The Cleanse out here in Raechelle-land, and I am devouring my lunch of cod fish, roasted squash and broccolini like there's no tomorrow.  I do love the Cafe downstairs.

I also very much love my husband, who made me a weakened smoothie today, using only (I believe) a banana, pear, apple juice and ice.  Can't have the berries or coconut milk.  I believe Todd will be bowing out of this seven day stint, and I think that's okay.  The fact that he's even doing this cleanse with me, and he makes me a smoothie every morning and every evening, is enough dedication for me.  I would starve without him.

I find that I'm paying more attention to food now.  Having the list of approved foods posted at my desk makes me reference it often, and the information is starting to stick.  Now when I eat something, I'm thinking about the sugar content and how processed it is.  I don't know if this cleanse will help my liver in the end, but I guarantee it will affect the way I eat in the future.  Which, in turn, will affect my overall health and weight, so really, this is like a project for school.

Speaking of weight, I walked the treadmill in the basement gym here at work on Wednesday.  It's a small gym (and I use the word "gym" lightly) with three treadmills, a couple of stairsteppers, couple of bikes and some weights over in the corner.  All of the machines face the wall, which is a little weird, but that way you don't see anyone and no one is looking at you.  They just recently attached TVs to each of the machines, and each has their own remote.  And there's full cable.  However, the TV on the treadmill I used on Wednesday was wonky, so I sent in a request to have it fixed. 

Other than that, it was pleasant.  I walked for 20 minutes and didn't even pass out or anything!  I have a note on the calendar for next Monday and Wednesday to go again.  And the Crazy Aussie says she wants to join me on Monday.  I'm not sure how I feel about that - the woman runs 14 miles in the morning and is training for a marathon.  Sure!  Come run by me, like the gazelle that you are, while I lumber along like a hippo.  Luckily, she's very cool and funny and sweet and sarcastic, so she'll make it fun.  One way or another.

To close, here's the beautiful view from my office today.

Not a bad Friday, at all.  It almost feels like spring.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Random Thoughts - Valentine's Edition

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm so glad I didn't plan an expensive romantic dinner out.  However, the Crazy Aussie brought in two boxes of Cupcake Royale cupcakes, some with bacon (the bitch).  And she asked to see my Cleanse approved food list a few days ago, and I didn't think anything of it, but then she handed me a gluten free cupcake. 

So freakin' thoughtful.

She said they had vegan cupcakes (no eggs, no dairy, would have ALMOST made the cut) but she couldn't bring herself to buy one.  Shoot.  Tricia recommended on Facebook that I freeze this one and celebrate after The Cleanse.  That sounds good.  If it makes it home.  Which I cannot guarantee.


I'm having quinoa and broccoli for lunch.  Which is quite a treat, because tomorrow begins day 7 - 13 of The Cleanse.  Here where it starts kicking my ass.

No oats, rice or brown rice.  No milk alternatives (I've come to like almond milk).  No nuts of any kind.  No meat of any kind (all the fish I can eat, though).  No fruit juices of any kind.  And the fruits and vegetables are extremely limited.

Todd and I are a bit stressed.  We're not sure what to eat for dinner.  He doesn't like fish much, but I could live on that and steamed veggies for two weeks.  I could also just drink the smoothies he makes me.  Those puppies fill me up.

We'll re-evaluate the situation on Saturday, when it's time to grocery shop again.


I'm wearing my skinny jeans and I don't feel very skinny.  In high school, we used to call these pegleg jeans.  And, as we often do after high school, I swore I'd never wear them again.  And here we are.  At least we're not wearing Z Cavaricci's.  Oy.

I had black ones.  That white tag, right on the zipper, always bothered me.  It draws the eye.


I had a little identity crisis last Friday.  Well, I think I'm still in it.  Just not as bad.

I went out to happy hour with my co-workers, who are all mid 20's to early 30's.  I know my three principals are older than me, but that's about it.  I'm the oldest support staff.

Anywho, sitting at happy hour was an eye opener.  One, I felt extremely fat (PMS bloat, plus prednisone) and that's not familiar to me.  I couldn't even really cross my legs (in my skinny jeans) and I just felt like a blob. 

I treated myself to one glass of Prosecco as The Cleanse was starting the next day and that was just weird.  To be at a happy hour and not throw back a few cocktails.  I was limiting myself.  And I didn't have any dating horror stories, and I was really, really tired so I quieter than normal, and on the drive home it dawned on me - who the hell am I?

This is not me.  This may have to be me for a while, but I don't much like this person.  She's dull and boring and has bags under her eyes and she's got two chins and she doesn't drink.  What the hell fun is that?!

I think what bothers me the most is that my new co-workers don't know the pre-sick Raechelle.  I like her much better.  I know they like me, and they've welcomed me with open arms, but I just want them to see the fun, energetic, thinner Raechelle.  Maybe even the younger Raechelle. 

Holy crap, I'm going to be 38 in two months!  I should be secure and confident and not taking any shit from anyone. Except the insecurity is overwhelming because I feel ugly and I want to be liked so very badly so normally I would drink a lot of wine to mask the insecurities and make me likable (I think) but I can’t drink the wine right now so I’m faced with my insecurities and it makes me feel 14 again and I don’t know how to cope with that feeling but at least I have a boy who loves me.

Why do I even pay for a therapist?

On that note, I have a massage tonight.  On Valentine's Day!  I'm so bad.  But I'm so excited to have insurance that covers it again.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Must Have Been The Sugar

One small change that I noticed today is that when I woke up at 6:20am (after going to bed at 11:30pm - no one told me Downton Abbey was two hours last night!), I decided to just get up and get going.  I had my therapist, Ruth, at 7:30am, so I needed to wake up earlier than usual anyway.  Why not go ahead and get up and have some spare time to pack some food to take to work?

Who is this woman, you say?  I KNOW!

And when I got to Ruth's, I had a voicemail from her - her daughter is sick and she debated too long about leaving her for an hour to come to our appointment, but decided she just couldn't and could we reschedule.

Well, sure!  This just means I'll get to work 45 minutes earlier than normal, which means I get to leave 45 minutes earlier than normal, and how is that a bad thing?

Also helping me today - I'm wearing my Miz Mooz boots.  So comfortable.

And now that we're here at 12:34pm, I can share another change I've noticed.

I am not starving like usual.  Even with taking the prednisone this morning. 

Before I left home (and before I was really hungry) I had a bowl of Cleanse acceptable cereal, with almond milk, and a handful of blackberries.  At about 9:45am, I had a banana.  I finally just got a little rumble in my tummy, so I'm having lunch.  I won't tell you what it is.  You won't approve.  You'll make retching noises and mutter to yourself, "Gah, how can you eat that?" 

I know you.  Mother.

Anyway, so far so good.  Still feeling somewhat energetic (maybe I should just say "awake") and not hungry.  I guess it was all of the refined sugar in my system that made my stomach growl all day long?  I don't know how long it takes to get all that out of my system, but I'm guessing after three days you start to feel it.  I'll have to look that up.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Cleanse Day 2

So, I didn't blog on Day 1.  Shoot me.  I'm a busy woman.


On Saturday morning, I was actually out of bed at 9am.  And I had energy!  Todd and I got up, he made some oatmeal with raisins and walnuts (and almond milk, thankyouverymuch), we had a lovely breakfast and then I purged the kitchen.

I put the coffee pot away, and replaced it with the blender.  I moved all the teas down in the cabinet, and the coffee up to the top.  On to the pantry, I moved all of the stuff that's still edible, but not allowed on The Cleanse down to the bottom shelf, including all of the baking stuff.  I moved the normal food (mac-n-cheese, Triscuts, chips, pasta) to the left side of the pantry, and started The Cleanse food on the right side of the pantry.  I threw out expired stuff.  Including my CoCo Wheats.  That hurt.

Then I went to the fridge and did same thing - normal food on the top shelf and deli drawer, The Cleanse food on the middle shelf, joint drinks on the bottom shelf.  And then the same thing with the spice and oils cabinet.


And then it was time to shop!

We actually did the bulk of the grocery shopping at Safeway, then went on to Trader Joe's to supplement with things like almond butter, sunflower seed butter, rice pasta, rice crackers, apple crackers, and fruit juices.

Side note: when these cleanse is done, dinner will be a tub of Cookie Butter and $30 glass of wine.  Oy.  Oh, and Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallows.


Wait.  Where was I?

Grocery shopping!  So, anyway, we did a huge trip, came home and organized.


Beautiful, huh?


The first day of The Cleanse went fine.  I think the hardest part was the powder crap I'm supposed drink twice a day.  It's horrid. In the morning I tried it with water (HA!  no.) and that evening, Todd made a smoothie.  Even with the smoothie, it was hard.  That stuff is strong.

My stomach is have a bit of a time adjusting, and Todd's head is fuzzy from the lack of caffeine, but we don't feel deprived.  The fact that we can eat brown and white rice makes up for a lot.  And today, I'm finding that my back is aching, which is expected (muscle aches) because I'm detoxing from refined sugars, but I also have a crap load of energy.  More energy than I've had in a long time.  I was up at 9:30am, had breakfast, showered, took Kayleigh to Target for clothes, picked up her friend Darian, came home, cleaned the bathroom, dusted, vacuumed, started laundry and then laid down for an hour and a half to watch a movie that our friend is in (but I did not nap!)

That was a nice rest, but afterwards, I made dinner, then cleaned up, swept the kitchen and am now camped out on the couch getting ready for Downton Abbey.

It's a lovely Sunday

Thursday, February 7, 2013

As The Liver Turns

First, let me say, I've had the same thing for lunch for the past three days and it's awesome.  AND it's acceptable on the liver cleanse that I'll start on Saturday.  Brown rice, tofu in a curry sauce and stir fried veggies.  Maybe I'll just see if the cafe can make this for me every day.  There's probably an oil or something in there that's not on the cleanse, but oh well.  For the most part, it's perfect.


As you know, I got the latest round of test results back - my hepatic panel.  This is the standard blood test I've been getting every week or every other week since this started.  It specifically looks at the liver enzymes.

While nine out of the 10 numbers are all fine and all within range, there's one little bugger that is going up.  My ALT(GPT).  The normal range is 0 - 33 and mine is currently 141.  It started at 281, dropped to 77 around Dec 20th, then started creeping back up again (104, 139 and now 141).  I emailed Dr. D, the liver specialist, and said "Uh, what does this mean and what do we do?"  He responded pretty quickly with, "As you can see, your enzymes are going back up.  Quit taking the azathioprine, that's probably what's doing it.  See you at your next appointment."

I like Dr. D.  I really do.  But hello? 

I know the interwebs are both a blessing and curse, and I don't believe everything I read on there.  But it does appear, from what I've read (even on official pamphlets) and from what Dr. D has said, that the higher that number is and the longer it stays up there, the more likely that there is permanent damage being done to my liver and therefore, scarring.  Scarring is bad.  Scarring is loss of functionality.  You cannot function without your liver.  So starts the downward spiral.

Needless to say, yesterday, I was quite bummed.

Bummed because I'd been putting this crap into my body and it was making me bloated and tired and icky, and it wasn't doing a damn bit of good.  So I look like shit, and my liver is no better.

Bummed because feeling crappy makes me really, really homesick and a freakin' plane ticket to Pittsburg is $500 right now.  That's infuriating!  I used to be able to fly there for $250.  I could jaunt there for the weekend.  I hate living so far away from my folks.

And bummed because I feel like I'm stressing out my husband and kids who have already had to deal with enough sickness to last a lifetime.  I told Todd, when he asked me to marry him, that my greatest fear was that I would get sick.  I'm already guilty by nature - how could I possibly deal with putting him, and the kids, through that again?

He said he was willing to take that chance, and if gawd forbid I got sick, he'd take care of me.

Yes, I realize every day how wonderful he is.

Granted, this little liver flare up isn't anywhere near cancer, and I'm not going through chemo and I'm not incapacitated, but there are triggers for everyone, I'm sure.  Just look at my bloated face and the dark circles under my eyes.  Sheesh.

Anyway, yesterday I was bummed.  But I Skyped with mom at lunch and that helped, and today is actually sunny, so that helps.  It's really just a day by day, up and down thing. 

I'm very much looking forward to starting The Cleanse.  Dr. O (the naturopath) tells me that the first seven days are tough because you're restricting yourself and not eating what you normally eat.  But, she said, once you get past that, you start to feel energetic and lighter. 

We shall see...

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

And The Naturopath Says - Liver Cleanse!

I saw the naturopath yesterday, Dr. O.  She's a really nice, young, caring woman who seems to actually be interested in my health!  Go figure.

After talking for an hour, and giving her my life story, she said the first thing we should do is a liver cleanse.  My friends do these things up here and I just feel sorry for them.  No caffeine, no chocolate, no wheat, no dairy, NO ALCOHOL. 

What's the point in living, really?

But like I told mom on the phone this morning, I already feel deprived of my most favorite thing ever, so why not just go ahead and give up most everything while I'm at it?  And it's only temporary (28 days - just like rehab!), and I know I'll feel better and hell, I'll probably even lose some weight (I'm up to 179 now). 

The cleanse really isn't as bad as it sounds.  I was surprised.  Yes, there are certain foods I can't eat, but I probably shouldn't be eating those foods anyway.  It starts slow, ramps up to extreme, then tapers off again. There's a meal replacement powder drink thing, but that's just a supplement.

And like Dr. O said, I'm going to be 40 in about two years.  You want to feel good when you're 40.  I don't feel good now. 

So, we'll start on Saturday.  Todd and I need to go the store and stock the kitchen with good stuff (and finish eating the cake that Amy brought over on Sunday and the three pints of ice cream in the freezer).  It helps that Todd is the cook in the family - it's hard enough to eat new things, I couldn't imagine trying to come up with how to cook them, too. 

I'll stay on the medication for now, until I meet with my liver specialist at the end of the month.  Dr. O said the cleanse won't be a problem.  Eating will be, though, since the predinsone makes me hungry constantly.  It's just a matter of having the right food on hand so I don't have to think about it when I need to stuff my face. 

I wonder if dried fruit is allowed?  I have a hankering for dried plums right now.  Weirdness.

Better than a Snickers bar, right?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Random Monday Thoughts

Traffic was exceptionally light this morning (at 8am - I love my new job), and then I remembered it was the morning after the Super Bowl.  I'm sure a lot of people took today off, or went in late, due the excessive drinking and partying last night.

Ah, I remember those days.  I drank a Sprite and cranberry juice cocktail yesterday.

We had a couple of people over for the game.  But it was far from the event we usually throw or go to.  And I'm okay with that.


I have my first appointment with a naturopath this afternoon.  That's something.  At this point, I'm even willing to acupuncture for my angry immune system, if it means getting off these pills.  My face is swollen, my feet are swollen, I can't remember simple words and I'm tired to clean my own house.  This will never do.


We didn't get any snow this year.  I don't think.  Maybe a dusting one day, but no accumulation and no snow days from work.  We're all very disappointed.  In the past we've gotten snow in March and April, so it's not completely hopeless this year, but I'm not holding my breath.


Let's see...what else is going on?


Oh, I watched my first Joan Crawford movie Saturday night - Mildred Pierce.  And it was good.  Todd laughed when I said that - "It was an award winner!"  Oh, I know, but the old movies just don't grab me like they grab him. 

We stopped to watch it because it was the movie Joan won Best Actress for, and that was the scene where she and the kids are listening to the awards on the radio in Mommie Dearest.  So I wanted to see what all the hype was about. 

Again, it was good.  Murder mystery with nice little twist at the end.  I feel more cultured now.


And we watched Safety Not Guaranteed on Friday night, because it was shot locally and we know some of the actors and crew.  I was pleasantly surprise - it's a really good movie.  Very sweet.  You should watch it.

Okay, I think that's all I've got for now.  But lookie!  Two posts in a week!  Go me!

Friday, February 1, 2013

And We're Back!

Did ya miss me?  I've missed you.  There have been so many times when something has happened and I've formed a blog post in my head, thinking "Oh, they're gonna love this!"  But I just didn't feel like it was the right time to start back up.

I think it's the right time now.  Got your coffee or wine (depending on what time of day you're sitting down to read this)?

Here we go!

My Job:

When we last spoke, I had been laid off from the commercial real estate company (thank gawd) and was starting to play the role of Domestic Goddess.  It was then I decided to stop blogging, as I thought that it might be a bad idea while trying to find a job.  Everyone googles everyone now, and I was enjoying not working a little too much.

But then funds started to get a little tight and the lack of health insurance was starting to weigh on us, so in July I signed up for Volt, a temp agency, and got a few gigs.  Starbucks Corporate was the first job.  And it was awesome.  Free lattes EVERY SINGLE DAY.  I got pretty good at making my own.  Only scalded myself once!

The team I worked for was great, the environment was great, the commute was great.  My manager tried very hard to get me hired on permanently, but after two different interviews, and being denied for both of them, it was apparent that Starbucks was not as fond of me as my manager was.  She told me they were tough in interviews and it took her two years of interviewing to get hired on.

Um.  Two years?  Really?

I like Starbucks and all, but I don't have two years to prove to these people I want to work here and I know how to manage calendars.

While the Starbucks interviews were going on, my friend Amy started in again about trying to get into the Gates Foundation, where she works.  It was wonderful, she said.  They're so great, she said.  I read the job descriptions and was just kind of "eh" about it.  The Foundation does wonderful work, but it just didn't sound like an environment I would enjoy. 

But then a job came up on on her team and she was not taking no for an answer, so I submitted my resume and had a couple of phone interviews.  And I got really excited about the job.  Really excited.

I was called in for an in-person interview and it looked pretty solid.  Everyone loved me, they were impressed that I wasn't nervous, I had the right skill set.  We'll let you know.

In the meantime, I'd take a temp job at PATH, which does the same kind of work as the Foundation.  But PATH was quiet, and somber and oy.  I was only there for two weeks, filling in until the permanent assistant was to start, but one of my co-workers had already talked to HR and said he really wanted me hired on to the team.

During that time, I heard that I was not selected for the position on Amy's team at the Foundation.  And I was quite disappointed, as was Amy.  But she vowed that she would get me hired on and by golly, she started talking to people.  As it happened, one of her good friend (we'll call her KF) was hiring an Administrative Assistant for her team.  BINGO!

Amy told KF about me, we talked on the phone, she brought me in for an interview and a day later, the recruiter at the Foundation called to say they were going to offer me the position.  Two days later the paperwork came in the mail, I talked to the recruiter and went over everything, she told me how much I'd get paid, I said "Oh hell yeah!" and BAM.  I had a new job.

And I had three weeks off in between jobs.  Bonus!

I started on November 12.

And I am very, very happy.

My Health:

Since most of your are my friends on Facebook, you're in the know about my stupid liver.  But since this is a blog and not a status update, I'll give you some more background.

On October 27th, Todd and I went next door to our neighbors' annual Halloween party (and I'm not blaming them for the liver stuff - just so you know).  I had two glasses of wine while we were there, about three or four hours.  We left there and met up with a couple of friends at Shadowland, a bar in the Junction.  I had two jack-n-cokes.  In about an hour and a half.  Then we bar hopped with some people, went to another place, where I had another drink, and then after about an hour, the four of us went back to the house where I had one last glass of wine.  That I don't think I even finished.

I woke up the next morning itching from head to toe.  And to give you more detail than you'd probably like (but if you're reading this, you know there's no such thing as TMI here), my urine was extremely concentrated.  Much like it is after you have six drinks the night before.

While I wasn't really hungover, I pounded the water like a good little drunk does and showered and changed my clothes, thinking the itching was something I had gotten into the night before.

It's not unheard of.  I could tell you stories.

A week went by and the itching didn't let up, and the pee was still dark.  I continued to live my life (i.e. drink) thinking it was an external thing.  Then, on November 9, I noticed that my eyes were yellow.  And my skin looked a little yellow.  And being the smart girl that I am, I thought "Okay, kidney's aren't filtering, toxins aren't filtering, toxins are coming to the skin and making me yellow, which is probably what the itching is about."

So I went into the urgent care clinic on that Saturday and got some blood drawn.

On Monday the 12th, my very first day of my brand new job, my doctor called me to tell me that my liver enzymes were off the charts, my billirubin was off the charts and she wanted to do a host of hepatitis tests.

Did I mention that my health insurance kicked in on the very first day of my job?


So I immediately made a doctor's appointment with my primary guy, and went in for tons of tests.  All said the same thing - liver enzymes off the charts.  My primary guy referred me to a liver specialist.  Actually, my primary guy called the liver specialist and made an appointment for me and told me "Go see him now."  Which freaked me out a bit.

I had numerous vials of blood drawn from my body to test for every hepatitis under the sun.  I was also sent in for an abdominal scan, as they were thinking it was maybe gallstones or a blockage of somesort.  My primary doc actually said "If you were elderly, I would consider pancreatic cancer, but you're only 37". 

Ha!  I reminded him that my husband's late wife died of a cancer that usually affects older men...and she was in her mid 30's.  So that wasn't really a comfort.

But the ab scan didn't show anything abnormal anywhere.  Liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidney...everything looked fine.  And all of the hepatitis tests were all negative. 

And yes, I asked several times, what about alcohol damage?  Cause, really?  That seems about right.  Doc said nope, alcohol damage presents in certain patterns in blood tests and this is absolutely not alcohol damage.

However, my liver specialist, Dr. D, reiterated "No alcohol."  Wha...?  At all?!

"Come on!  It's Thanksgiving!"


"But our Christmas party is this Saturday!!"


He's a hardass, that one.

In early December, Dr. D started me on prednisone, and that did some good.  So much good, in fact, that on my December 21st appointment, when I asked once again "Wine?  Can I please have a glass of wine?!  New Year's is coming up!!" he replied, "Okay.  One glass of champagne on New Year's eve.  And because I like you, one glass of wine on Christmas."


He also started weaning me off the prednisone, in hopes that my levels would stay down and all would be dandy.

So I had my one glass of wine at our Bellingham Christmas gathering, but then completely blew the shit out of the water and had a glass of wine, two pints of hard cider and a sip of champagne on New Year's. 

At my next doctor's appointment, my levels were elevated.

Could have been the alcohol, could have been the weaning of the prednisone.  We'll never know, really.  Let's not dwell.

So, back to absolutely no alcohol.

After all the testing, and working with the prednisone, Dr. D has officially declared this autoimmune hepatitis (did you know that hepatitis just means "sick liver" really?  Funny how that word freaks people out - like I'm contagious). 

At this time, I am still on the prednisone (until the most recent blood panel comes back) as well as azathioprine, which suppresses the immune system and is usually prescribed for organ transplant patients.

Yee haw.

The combination of the prednisone, the attacking immune system, the ill functioning liver and the immunosuppressant makes me very tired.  And that's saying a lot.  You thought I could sleep before?  Boy howdy, I'm good for about four days, and then I need a three day nap. 

There's also the anger and the weight gain.  Good times, I tell ya.  What the hell good is giving up wine if I'm just going to gain weight because the prednisone makes me hungry CONSTANTLY?  There's no winning here.  Really.

I'm all about "there's a reason for everything".  Granted, this isn't a terminal disease or any great life threatening thing - my immune system is pissed off - but it still makes me a Sick Person and it still makes me re-evaluate things in life.  Maybe that's the purpose?

We can talk more about that later.

Anywho - let's move on.

My Family:

My family is good.  Todd is good and still juggling five project while thinking of 10 more.  Kayleigh turned 15 in September and is a Sophomore in high school.  She still plays guitar and has even taught herself to play piano, which is just awesome.  We started up Guitar Night again, so she's major contribution now.

Tyler turned 18 in May and now has his GED and took some courses at South Seattle Community College before realizing he's just not ready for this grown up shit.  And really, when you think about his "childhood" years, there really was no childhood.  He, and Kayleigh, were both made to grow up pretty quickly and they missed a lot of crucial kid stuff.  So Tyler is catching up and growing into himself.  Much to the delight of me and Todd.

And the cats are just awesome.  Of course. 

So!  I think we're all caught up on the major developments over the last year.  Shall we get back to quick posts about our weekend, our glamorous social life, and how much I hate traffic?