Saturday, October 27, 2012

It Turns Out, I Am Laid Back!

For years, I defined myself as high strung, anxious, non-emotional, perfectionist.  That's how I felt all the time so that must be what I am, right?  Wrong.  I felt that way for a myriad of reasons that I discovered in phases and then recently, with the help of a medical and a homeopathic doctor, put it all together and realized these characteristics were symptoms of a major physical dysfunction (adrenal fatigue and inflammation) and not ME.

I have been in therapy for a year.  It's awesome.  I've worked through things I never thought I'd ever get past and now I go because I really enjoy my therapist and discussing the future in a positive, nurturing environment.

I haven't had ANY dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol for 30 days.  It's difficult.  I can't eat out with friends, I can't drink a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, I can't eat pie on Thanksgiving, I can't enjoy a free catered in lunch at work, and my grocery bill has significantly increased because foods without these ingredients are freakishly expensive.   However, I have learned something about myself this past month:

I am laid back.  Seriously.  My real personality is calm and cool.  Not anxious, stifled, and explosive.  I'm not a perfectionist in all areas of my life.  When stressful situations come up, and I mean legitimate, crazy stressful situations, I hustle and problem solve, but I don't feel out of control.  When little stressors come up, I'm able to laugh them off.

My boss asked me the other day, half kidding, if I had started smoking weed.  He told me that I don't seem in "fight or flight" mode all the time.  I told him, with a grin on my face, that I'm not in "fight or flight" mode all the time and that I am not smoking weed.  :) (Just wanted to make that clear).  So there's a problem?  We'll figure it out.  Something went wrong?  We'll learn from it.  I no longer have this intense pressure from within to be perfect, to be all things to all people, to solve every problem.

I don't have heart palpitations, migraines, muscle pain, joint pain.  I don't randomly lose eyesight, feel panicked, or feel crazy fatigued and foggy.  Symptoms from my supposed fibromyalgia and lupus are GONE.  Completely gone.  I find out Wednesday if I am officially out of the auto-immune disorder category!  I might actually have an immune system?!  The thought of that is so hard for me to fathom.

It turns out that adrenal fatigue and foods (listed above) that promote inflammation within the body made me high strung, anxious, angry, stressed, and impatient.  It also caused me to have multiple strokes over the last ten years, to lose my depth perception in my left eye, and to become dyslexic.  I felt trapped in my body for the majority of my life up until the last month of my life.  I feel like I am meeting someone new, and that someone is ME!

So, I can tell you this:  While it's difficult to give up everything that even contains a little dairy, soy, gluten, sugar, caffeine, or alcohol I can guarantee you I will never go back to eating/drinking those things.

There are so many details to this awakening.  This has been a 10 year journey with many ups and downs, with many cool discoveries and with many many frustrating elements that I can't share it all in one blog post.  You have to start somewhere, though, right?

In restriction, I have found freedom and best of all, I have hope for the future.  That is quite a long way from being the girl who couldn't imagine growing old.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Don't Forget the Trash!

Take it from me, should you ever place a bag of trash in the trunk of your car (with the intent of disposing of it in the dumpster located 1,000 miles from your apartment) before heading to work, don't forget to actually stop and throw it in the dumpster.  This is especially important if the crazy Midwestern weather throws in a random 80 degree autumn day.

If you do forget, and the bag of trash remains in the trunk for the duration of your work day, your car will smell like something curled up and died in your front seat.  Yes, I did this just this week.  I would love to say that this is the first time I have let this happen, but it's not, and it most likely won't be the last time.  

Luckily, the smell is now out of my car.  If this saves even one car from smelling like roadkill, then I guess it was all worth it.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Aunt Jessica in the Hat

"The sun did not shine.  It was too wet to play.  So we sat in the house all that cold, cold, wet day.
Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball.  So we sat in the house.  We did nothing at all."        The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss 

Although I love rainy, grey autumn days I was disappointed that my plans with my five year old nephew were ruined by the wet weather.  The day prior I had promised him that we would spend all day outside at a park where he could climb, play, and run around screaming to his little heart's content!  Saturday morning, we woke up to the rumble of thunder. His sad face said it all.  Even our back up plan to have an indoor play date with two of my other nephews fell through.  Poor little "A" was pretty down in the dumps.

"A" had some other back up suggestions that involved toy shopping.  "We could go to Target," he said in a sing-song tone, "and get me a toy. . ."

"No, Buddy."

"How about Toys R Us?"


"We could go to Michael's and buy art stuff."

"We have art supplies here."

"Well, I mean better art supplies."

Disapproving look.

In order to avoid doing nothing at all, we decided to have a pajama day!  The first pajama day activity was to make breakfast. We had scrambled eggs, fruit, and tall glasses of coconut milk.  It's definitely a bonus that my nephew is now old enough to help during meal prep time!
He's still getting the hang of the art of whisking.  Our eggs were perfectly stirred, though!

We spent the rest of the morning boxing, shooting nerf guns, and coloring.  We also watched a few episodes of Martha Speaks, an unexpectedly entertaining and educational kid's show on PBS.  Later in the day, we got dressed to go out for lunch.  Neither "A" nor I wanted to cook.  Breakfast took it all out of us, I guess.

After lunch we ended up at the mall.  Basically, we ended up there because "A" could see the mall from the restaurant and very politely asked if we could go in and "just walk around".  I can't believe I fell for that because "A"'s "just walk around the mall" is the same code I use when I really mean "walk around until I find something shiny to buy".  I decided to stand firm in my earlier decision not to purchase toys, but then. . .we saw the most wonderful store.  The Lego Store!

There are Legos everywhere!  I guess that's to be expected in the Lego store.
Super fun station where you can build your own Lego guys/girls
"A" spent a lot of time here

One of the guys "A" created.
 "A" built three guys and I, of course, purchased them (and a space car kit).  I just can't deny a kid Legos!  "A" handed me one of the Lego people and said, "Look, a female cop.  Just like your friend Laura."  It's my favorite :)

Lego Laura's awesome braid
Lego Laura

Yes, I let my nephew go out in public looking like a scrub.

At the end of our time together "A" said, "You are like 'Aunt Jessica in the Hat!"  I asked him to explain what he meant.  "You are wearing a hat and you made a fun day even though we couldn't go outside to play, you know, like the Cat in the Hat!"

He was pretty accurate because in between breakfast and the mall we managed to make quite a mess in my living room, too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Birth of a Blog Post

This is where Mind of Me posts are born

They are born on scratch paper, scribbled quickly yet meaningfully before the thought flutters away.  They are born during my work day in between meetings and just after payroll is submitted, they are born at home after I've changed out of my business attire, they are born in my car, in the woods, and in the middle of the night when sleep won't come.  

Paper is always kept nearby:  notebooks, tablets, post-its- anything with which to record the thoughts that cross my mind.  They aren't written eloquently or neatly, initially.  I often trace compulsively over select words and phrases until they are dark and bold.  I scratch other words out.

Not everything that I capture haphazardly develops into a post.  Sometimes it becomes a  bookmark stored in a random book for safe keeping in hopes that someday in the future it could develop into something if I happen to stumble upon it again.  Novels and non-fiction favorites are filled with my writings on scraps of paper.   

Before my thoughts and stories become clean, typed posts, they are physical, handwritten evidences of spontaneity, of humor, of sadness, of struggle, of memories.  Works of art; raw thoughts made tangible with paper and ink.   

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Coffee: Day 3 Withdrawals

Oh dear sweetness I need some coffee.  I am on day three of absolutely no coffee.  No coffee.  It's like they are trying to kill me.  It isn't enough that I can't have anything with dairy, soy, sugar, meat, or gluten in it?  Must they take away coffee?  Well, yes, they must.  If only my adrenal glands worked correctly, or better yet, at all!

The worst part is that a co-worker, who is not privy to the treatment I am undergoing nor the new diet restrictions I am under, brought a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups for me.  RPBC are my all time favorite!  I almost cried when he proudly set the bag on my desk.  I squeaked out a weak, "Thanks," but couldn't bring myself to tell him I can't eat them EVER again.  Ever.  Again.  Ever.

I really can't ever eat Reese's Peanut Butter Cups ever again or drink caffeine.  Ever again.

If someone handed me a bag of coffee beans right now I'd chew them up and I would LIKE it.  Oh dear sweetness I need coffee.  Did I already say that?

Day One and Two weren't terrible.  I was feeling competitive with myself.  I smuggly walked past my coffee maker, past the bags of coffee my boyfriend's parents brought home from Hawaii for me, and I didn't even pick up my coffee mug at work.  I had a horrendous headache but I'm used to headaches and migraines, so no big deal.  Day Three, though, I found myself standing in front of the coffee maker, mug in hand, staring at the beautiful brown liquid streaming into the pot.  I took in the wonderful aroma and thought, "Just 1/3 of a cup?  I could do it and no one would know."  Suddenly, one of the executives walked into the break room and, before I could comprehend what was happening, swiped the mug from my hand, ran for his life, and yelled, "Don't even think about it!"

Gosh, I love the people I work for.

If only this headache would go away and hot, decaffeinated tea would bring me the same joy as a hot, black, dark roast, cup of coffee does.

I'm halfway through day three!