Sunday, April 13, 2014

Why I've Been Silent

I know it's been a while since I have posted. I will say that I'm truly sorry for the silence. I didn't mean to go dark on all of you, I just merely needed to process what was going on and try and find some answers before I talked to all of you.

The truth of the matter is that I still haven't found any answers. I only know what my friends have been able to tell me through comfort and consoling.

I have found NOTHING on the subject, except speculation on my own part which I will offer, BUT PLEASE, do not under ANY circumstances take my words as truthful. There are NO studies backing up my speculations at this point, BUT, having said that-- I hope they will one day try my speculations.

I turned 40 this past year, I'm actually almost 41, and this year is the poking and prodding year for me when it comes to yearly exams. I probably should have had some of these tests a little earlier in my life, but insurance only covers so much and I'm not rich, so therefore, I'm on a payment plan when it comes to my health. I have been since 1999. I'm sure MANY of you can relate.

This year I've had 2 EKG's for my heart. The first one was to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack. I wasn't and was diagnosed with anxiety. That's pretty normal for Fibro people, especially when you don't know you are allergic to wheat. Now, I still suffer from panic attacks every now and again, BUT they are mild compared to what I experienced before. The second EKG was for hitting 40. I passed with flying colors for both. In fact, one doctor said I had the heart of an 18 year old. I'm glad I "feel" less than half my age!

My second screening was a mammogram for 40. I thought that would turn out fine because I've never felt, nor has my OBGN's felt, a lump. It did not turn out so great.

I remember feeling numb during the first phone call. It honestly was the first call I had ever gotten that sounded bad right from the start. I could hear the woman's sympathy loud and clear. She wanted to schedule a second test. I confirmed a date without thinking of anyone but myself. Which to be honest, is actually a good thing, because I rarely think of myself. Of course, sadly, my ulterior motive was to get a second testing to clear me so I could care for everyone in my life. Yeah, I'm NO different than you. I have A LOT of people that count on me.

The second test had a lot more prodding than the first and I was sore for almost a week after. It was not a pleasant experience, but I was still hopeful until I got the third call for an ultra sound while I was still there.

I was prodded and poked again and the specialist came in and told me that I needed an MRI because they still see "something". BUT I had to wait until I had my period to schedule an appointment. Sometimes there is fluctuations in hormones and they want to capture that on an MRI.

In a week and a half, I was literally lucky to schedule an appointment. Terry, my OBGYN's receptionist nurse, was nice enough to explain more of my situation while scheduling the MRI at the hospital. I apparently had fibro dense breasts, but the left breast was the one in question. It was only one particular area. The top right, and deep in the tissue.

I went into the MRI scared as hell, and not because of the small quarters, but because this was a 5th check of my breasts at 40.

The MRI went okay. I heard A LOT of noise that felt annoying at times. I couldn't truly hear the music they tried to blast in my ears. I only heard the annoying buzzer of the machine.

My MRI didn't turn out great, though. They want to see me in 6 months because the area in question is still in question. The good news is that it's small. The bad news is that they can't biopsy it because they could hit a lung or a vein according to where it is.

Needless to say, I am overwhelmed by emotion and I had to wait to tell all of you. I just couldn't find the words. It pains me because I want the answers for all of you. All of this has happened in the course of the past 2 months. I hope can you forgive me for not speaking sooner because I want to research for you to the best that I can. IF this is Fibro related, I will do my best to research and keep you posted. If not, this is just another part of me.

Love and friendship!
Kimberley
AND
Stay fabulous!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

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Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Food: When is it an Allergy and When is it a Sensitivity?

There is MUCH controversy in the medical field about allergies and sensitivities to foods. Some doctors feel that there is a clear distinction between an intolerance to food and an allergy. Others have used the two terms as a unified definition.

An allergy, to me, is defined as having a severe reaction almost immediately after coming into contact with something. For instance, I'm allergic to the drug penicillin because I go into anaphylaxis within the first minute of consuming it. My entire body, not just my throat, will swell up. I had this reaction at the age of 3 so if I were to try it now, I could possible die within seconds. I have a similar reaction to blue cheese, a component of penicillin.

A sensitivity is a much broader term to me. A sensitivity could be an upset stomach a couple of hours after eating dairy or red meat. Or a headache from drinking a glass of red wine. But again, I only consider these a sensitivity if they happen while digestion is occurring.

Some doctors may disagree with me when I say that people can very well have an allergy to food and NOT get the classic hives rash or anaphylaxis. I do believe that allergies can cause bloating, gas, skin rashes that are not hive-like, migraines, hot flashes, panic attacks, or even nausea if they occur within a few minutes after consumption of the food.

I believe this because I feel these symptoms almost instantly after I consume wheat. The only difference to these symptoms vs. anaphylaxis, is that anaphylaxis will go away with an epinephrine injection. But if you are allergic to wheat, your symptoms will not go away unless you stop consuming wheat for about 2 weeks.

I tried to go gluten-free a while back to see if wheat was causing my eczema to flare. I was doing okay with it in the beginning. I was very diligent about reading labels and I changed everything including my toothpaste. But once the kids went back to school I found myself slipping into old habits and wheat wound up becoming part of my diet again, especially if I was on the go. I'd deal with a few skin outbreaks from time to time, but it was bearable, or so I thought.

After a while though, I started noticing some other symptoms. My stomach would bloat within minutes of eating wheat and it got to a point where I had been wearing only yoga pants because those were the only comfortable pants I owned. I started to itch within minutes of eating wheat and I found that I would also get panic attacks right after, too. Long term problems that I faced was all-over weight bloat. I went up three dress sizes to be exact, but I didn't put on a lot of pounds at the scale. I've only put on a whooping 5 pounds of weight since Olivia's birth which brought me up to a grand total weight of 127 pounds. Yet, size 6 jeans, the size I was at 122 pounds, were too tight around my mid-section.

I also became extremely tired. I had no strength to lift pots or pans from the stove, I couldn't vacuum, mop a floor, or even carry my purse for a few short minutes without feeling extremely fatigued. My body would want to go to bed by 8pm, and if I could, I would fall asleep at that time and not wake up until 5:30 am. But once I woke up, I was still tired and very stiff. My hands and feet started to develop Raynard's Syndrome. I would have poor circulation in my lower extremities, and I started to develop hot flashes and a change in my cycle.

At first I dismissed these things as a Fibro Flare and nothing more. I was dealing with a lot of stress in my life so I assumed my flares were a direct result of my stress, but once this flare started to last for months where it was going onto almost a year, I thought maybe there might be something else to this. I wasn't exactly certain if I truly had a wheat allergy. I thought if I could have a little, I wasn't actually allergic and I was being pretty careful and only consuming really small amounts of it because I didn't want to develop severe skin eczema again.

And then my daughters started to get tired and have muscle fatigue too. The youngest also developed stomach issues and skin rashes that mysteriously came and went quickly. We, of course, went to their doctor to see what it could be. But we were all baffled and started to think we should monitor for Fibromyalgia in them.

After a few weeks of fighting with my daughters to get them up for school, I really wanted to pull my hair out. It seemed that their symptoms were getting worse by the minute. And then a Dr. Oz show aired giving you 5 tell-tale signs of having a wheat allergy. As I listened, I not only realized that I had all 5, but my kids, husband, and grandmother seemed to have most of them too!

After that show that aired on Feb 18, 2014, my whole family and I started to go gluten free and I can't begin to tell you the almost immediate change that has occurred! You can see a link to Part 1 of Dr. Oz 5 Signs here:

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/5-hidden-signs-you-have-gluten-allergy

And part 2 is here:

http://www.doctoroz.com/episode/5-hidden-signs-you-have-gluten-allergy?video_id=3221669178001

After one week we are all experiencing less fatigue. None of us have a problem getting up in the morning. My grandmother has less swelling in her legs and is actually able to stand up with less pain after being basically bedridden for the past 6 years. My Raynard's syndrome, Fibromyalgia pain, and panic attacks have decreased significantly. I have not felt this little pain in at least 3-4 years and at that time I was seeing a Chiropractor to relieve a good majority of the pain. And my hot flashes have stopped too. My husband has shed almost 10 pounds this week alone and his arthritis pain is easing up.

Now, having said all of this, I do not believe that wheat is the only reason for my Fibromyalgia. I believe I will still have it even if I stay wheat free, but I know this will keep me from flaring as much. There are many sites to help you decide what to do if you have an allergy to wheat or gluten. One that I recommend is Dr. Mark Hyman. You can read his blog here:

http://drhyman.com/blog/2011/03/17/gluten-what-you-dont-know-might-kill-you/

Another thing you can try is eliminating wheat from your diet for 2 weeks and see if any of your symptoms clear up. If they do, you probably have an allergy. At that point you can try and reintroduce wheat back into your diet to truly see if wheat is the problem, or stay away from it all together.

Either way, it is your health, and I wish you the best of luck in your wheat free journey! You should, however, consult a doctor if you decide that you need to go gluten free. It may just be a food allergy due to Fibromyalgia, but it could also be Celiac, a much more serious issue.

My journey of getting tested for Celiac will start soon. And I'll keep you all updated on my progress ;)! I'll also from time to time post some delicious meal creations that I've come up with in my gluten free adventures. Till then!

Stay fabulous!
Love and friendship,

Kimberley

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