Friday, March 8, 2013

The Rundown

I haven't been blogging much lately because:

1. I'm just rereading old books
2. I'm no longer dating anyone
3. I would pretty much just be blogging about how terrible I feel all the time.

Not exactly uplifting, or anywhere near entertaining.

However, I'm getting ready to blog about my health, because I'm (hopefully) entering a new and exciting phase of recovery.

As of tomorrow.

You see, I finally found a doctor in Texas who realizes that your body's systems work together, and that you can't separate your digestive system's malfunctions from your immune system's malfunctions, because without one, the other doesn't work.

A few months ago, I went to see a gastroenterologist who pooh-poohed my explanation that my Reynaud's syndrome had improved significantly since I gave up gluten, dairy, and nightshades. "That won't have anything to do with it," he said, "Reynaud's is autoimmune: it doesn't have anything to do with your digestion."

Undoubtedly, you are now sitting before your computer or PDA or iPhone or whatever electronic device you carry, jaw on the table/lap/floor, trying to figure out how the man has a job. But here's the thing: his response is essentially the same response I've received from every doctor I've seen: the rheumatologist, the general practitioner, the pain management specialist. All of them seem to be under the mistaken impression that the body's systems function independently.

And I'm (supposedly) in the healthcare capital of the world, people!

Anyhoo, there's a doctor 45 minutes north of Houston who treats the body holistically. She has diagnosed me with a - very yucky - gastrointestinal yeast infection.


Granted, I suspected for a while that this was the diagnosis - I've researched the hell out of my body, because apparently none of my doctors was going to - so I wasn't at all surprised.

The doctor linked my constant state of exhaustion to adrenal fatigue, because my body is unable to create cortisol due to its constant immune battle against the yeast. (The rest of my hormones are also wonky. It's really fun. Really.)

Starting tomorrow, I begin Phase I of a 28+ day yeast cleanse.

"What the hell is a yeast cleanse?" you ask?

It's a week (or more) of eating, low-sugar/starch vegetables, nuts, and meat. Add in an anti-fungal medication and a bunch of nutritional supplements - because the yeast in my gut is interfering with my ability to digest and absorb nutrients, so I have to get them in the simplest way possible.

I can also drink protein shakes for breakfast, because breakfast is required. And like hell I'm getting up 30 minutes early to scramble eggs.

After the week (or more) of veggies+nuts+meat, I can add in 1-2 servings of fruit per day, but preferably relatively low-sugar fruits, like berries. Bananas are evidently verboten. This continues for 3+ weeks, or until the doctor says I can have a smidgen of dairy or sugar, again. But she might keep me on the strict diet for an additional 2-3 weeks, depending on my progress.

So, no refined sugars, no yeast, no cow dairy (a little sheep or goat cheese is okay), no soy (which isn't a problem), and no gluten (also not a problem).

Did I mention that I have a nutritionist on-call 12 hours per day 6 days per week, in case I have a question? And that I can call or email my nurse at any time with questions?

Because I totally can. I know. It's CRAZY.

Considering how much I've spent in the past 5 years trying to get healthy, the price tag for the treatment ($3000, including supplements, blood tests, nutritionist, the whole shebang) isn't bad.

I - and my very generous and supportive parents - think it's worth it.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Books. Lots and Lots of Books... And Sexy Spies

Long story short: health problems, craziness, new treatment plan starting this Tuesday.

Okay, so on we go to talking about the GOOD parts of my life, at present (apart from playing with my niece every chance I get).

I've been feeling pretty crappy, lately, so I've been reading a lot. Because that's what I do when I don't feel bad. I read.

You're shocked, I'm sure.

Books I've read in the past two months:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Deadweather & Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey
The Little Drummer Girl by John Le Carre
The Karla Trilogy by John Le Carre

I've also read all of the Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan, who also wrote the Heroes of Olympus and the Percy Jackson series.

Series. Serieses? No. Series.


The Book Thief is about a girl living in... a part of Europe occupied by Nazis... during World War II. She steals books. And those stolen books lead to a strange friendship with a Jewish refugee. Also, she's been given up by her mother, who can't afford to take care of her. And death is the narrator.

Uplifting, right? Actually, it has a happy-ish ending, so there's that, but I probably wouldn't recommend it if you're in a really deep funk.

Deadweather & Sunrise is at the other end of the spectrum, in regards to happy-go-lucky-ness. It's about Egbert - who adopts Egg as his nickname, because that's obviously better than Egbert - and his family's home on the island of Deadweather, which is a pretty awful place to live, given that its climate is about like Houston's in the summer and the only occupants other than Egbert, his dad, and his two awful siblings are a bunch of pirates in between pillagings.

And then his family flies away in a freak hot air balloon accident (yes, really).

And someone tries to kill Egg.

And there's treasure on his family's island.


It was a rollicking good read, regardless, and I can't wait for the next book to come out, which is why I pre-ordered it already.

The Little Drummer Girl is about spies. Sexy, sexy spies.

And Israel's Mossad. And Palestinian terrorists/freedom-fighters. And not knowing where you stand on issues.

I sincerely hope referring to them as freedom-fighters doesn't put me on some government watch list.

Anyways, I've enjoyed reading John Le Carre's books, which I hadn't done until over the summer when I went to my parents' house in Dallas. I ran out of books, so I pillaged my parents' bookshelves and sneaked off with my booty. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that the one book I read by John Le Carre was the last book in the Karla trilogy. When I found that out, I bought the first two books.

The last book made a lot more sense after reading the first two.

One of the good/bad things about reading John Le Carre is that it makes me confront some of my personal beliefs in re: the world political situation. I won't go into it much, because a lot of what I believe is based on snippets of information. I'm in that grey area where I think I know what I believe, but I don't have enough information to really feel informed enough to make a strong judgment. Maybe, if I ever get around to it, I'll read more intensively on the facts surrounding a couple of historically tense issues (like the founding of Israel).

So, yeah, after reading a lot of John Le Carre, I'm not sure where I stand on certain issues.

And now, I'm rereading the Harry Potter series, because I'm at a point in the semester where I have LOADS of work to do, so I don't want to get completely sucked into a book. Since I already know how ALL of the Harry Potter books end, it's not as big an issue as it would be if, say, I was reading another John Le Carre story about sexy sexy spies.