Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, cooking, Laurenaissance

When A Diagnosis Gives You Back Your Life

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Five days ago I started an elimination diet for thyroid dysfunction after I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease.  The photo on the left (where I look like a serial killer) was taken on Sunday (day 1). The photo on the right was taken this afternoon (day 5).  Neither photo has a filter, and the only makeup I am wearing in today’s photo is lipstick.  Even I can tell that the difference is fairly amazing.

So what causes the difference?  A diet that has no sugar, no dairy, no grain, no fruit, a considerable less amount of vegetables that I am used to eating, way more protein than I want to eat – which forces me to drink twice the amount of water than normal.

This is what has happened to me in the last 5 days:

  • I had a really rough start – I woke up having a panic attack in the middle of the night, and ended up in the emergency room.  I can’t 100% be sure that it is diet related (considering it happened on the first day), but eating animals is not natural for me – so it might be related. A little valium and some rest, and I am fine.
  • My skin is a lot clearer, and brighter.
  • My eyes are clear.
  • I am hungry all the time. I am obsessed with food now. If I am not eating or cooking, then I am counting down the minutes until I can be eating or cooking. I hope this passes soon – I am so tired of looking at photos of food on pinterest and instagram.
  • I have lost 7lbs in 5 days (without trying).
  • I walk faster
  • For the very first time since I have been living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome I don’t have huge dark circles under my eyes.
  • I don’t crave salt! Seriously for 20 years I have basically wanted to have a salt lick installed in every room in my apartment. NO MORE!
  • I am still exhausted but its a different kind. Its the kind that is caused by over scheduling ones self.  I understand its early days still – but I am hopeful.
  • Today, I feel pretty.  And I can’t tell you the last time I was able to say that.
  • I smile

I feel a little like I am getting my life back.  I have a long way to go, but I am definitely healing. And a healing journey makes me happy.

One final lesson that I learned  – a single cinnamon red heart is enough to cause a headache for an entire night. So now we know, sugar really is detrimental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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intovertism, Laurenaissance

Now That I’m Home

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I’ve been struggling since I’ve been home. I’m still not sleeping well, I am living with a new auto-immune diagnosis (although its not much of a surprise, its forcing a lot of change in my life), and while I want to go outside, I think I have gone out once in the 10 days I have been home – and that was to get a bottle of wine – which I am not allowed, due to the new auto immune diagnosis. I am feeling dissatisfied with life, am extremely anxious, and am really irritable. I need to make some changes.

Here is what I propose to do – starting the moment I finish this blog post, and get out of bed. After all its 11 am on Saturday morning.

Regarding the Hashimoto’s Disease diagnosis I received last month, starting Monday I am fully committing to a 30 day elimination diet, and am researching other diets geared towards auto immune diseases.  For years I have experimented with vegetarian and vegan diets – and I feel really good on them, but its quite clear that they aren’t really helping me.  I am nervous about how I am going to feel while eating meat – my little experiments eating meat in Austria were met with a great deal of pain.  But I made a promise, so I will keep it.  My doctor thinks I can turn around the diagnosis with just diet, and not have to take hormones -so I am willing to give this a really good shot. Today is the day I go to the shops to turn my life around.

I have no idea what my fear of the outside is about – but the only way to conquer it, is to just go outside and enjoy it. So while I am not going to pressure myself so much, I am going to plan to go outside for an hour every day – rain or shine.  It should help now, that there is some extra daylight hours happening.

Being dissatisfied with my life, is nothing new. I’m kind of the girl that just keeps plugging along, thinking that this is my lot in life.  But I have some very big dreams, and I need to start pursuing them. We start small.  A business plan is the first step, and finding some like minded people to hang out with.

Finally, I have been reading The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, and its been helpful in getting me to connect with my creative self. One of the ways it does this, is by suggesting you go out on a solo date once a week.  When I’m traveling, I do this all the time- but not so much, when Im home.  So I’m going to start doing this again.  The only rules are that you must do this alone, and it must be something that you do outside your home.  It doesn’t have to cost anything, but I think she suggests investing at least $5 into the activity – but I don’t think its necessary.  Im starting the project this weekend, by taking myself to the VIMFF Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival – where Im going to see this.  The VIMFF is my most second most favourite film festival – second only to the Samurai Festival that is shown every year or two at The Cinematheque.

What are you doing to get out of your rut – Id love to hear some suggestions.

Photo Credit – PracticalCures.com.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Uncategorized

Who Needs Sleep? 15 Things You Can Do Instead

 

I have bouts of insomnia throughout the year – but January is when my insomnia game is the strongest.  I don’t know if its the pressure of starting a new year off right, or what. But when January comes around, my circadian rhythms decide to pack a bag and go on vacation.  Over the years I have come up with a way to deal.  It doesn’t involve tossing or turning, or laying in bed waiting for sleep to come, or even watching netflix documentaries.

Here is my list of 15 things you can do to stop stressing about your lack of sleep and have some fun.

  1. Get some crayons, paper, and maybe a colouring book or two. Go to town. Colouring is a great way to relax and destress – and it engages your brain just enough to help you forget the stuff that is actually keeping you up at night.
  2. If you aren’t a classical musician, I would suggest listening to some music written before the romantic period. If you are a musician – may I suggest listening to ambient music written by Brian Eno (or someone similar), Music for Airports is my go to work for nights when I can’t sleep.  And if I’m still awake, I listen to Keith Jarret’s The Koln Concert. Here is  a snippet of him talking about some of the problems that came before the recording. *Not so fun fact- Keith Jarrett has lived with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – and so he knows insomnia.  Why not commiserate together.
  3. Make art. Try to make art without using any electronics – the light that comes from that equipment is not your friend. Find other means.
  4. Clean. Get up and sweep floors, wash dishes, scrub your bathtub, make your bed.
  5. Write mantras in lipstick on all of your mirrors. Use sports quotes – In the past I have used quotes from Wayne Gretzky (but you will need a big mirror – he is wordy), words of wisdom from grandfathers work well, as do bon mots spewed by members of the Algonquin Round Table. This morning I wrote a bunch of hideous lipstick mantras about how failure makes you great – and that its healthy to fail – and then I cleaned my mirrors. Wiping out words about failure made me feel powerful – which is something we don’t often feel-when we can’t sleep. And fear of failure could also be the reason why you are still awake at 3am.  *side note – only use lipstick that is so hideous looking that you can’t believe you ever bought it.
  6. Resign yourself to the fact that sleep isn’t going to happen for you. Get up and start your day.
  7. My favourite insomnia activity (best done in the spring and summer) is to go outside with your camera every hour on the hour, and take photos of your street – notice how the light changes, if the cars have moved, wave to your neighbours, capture the trees blowing in the wind, or the crows digging for worms.
  8. Do some yoga. Im new to yoga – but am finding a lot of peace and enjoyment out of sun salutations. A couple of these will totally wake you up – and you will be ready for some coffee.
  9. Call a far away friend.  Just call someone that is several time zones ahead of you. Don’t interrupt someone else’s sleep – that’s a bit rude.
  10. Read a book. May I suggest opening an actual book made of paper – remember screens are bad.  I read 110 books last year, mostly during hours I should have been sleeping. You can find what I read here. Try reading the book backwards – read the last word first and make your way to the front of the book. This will help tire your brain – and you may find yourself back in bed sooner than you think. Hat Tip to Casper for this.
  11. For me, simple math is hard. And when you are in the throes of Chronic Fatigue – doctors will often ask you to start at 100 and count backwards by subtracting by 7.  Try doing these exercises – if you are anything like me, you will give up and fall asleep long before you get the final answer (its 2).  Its way better than counting sheep.
  12. If its safe to do so, go for a walk. A little bit of fresh air and exercise might be just what your body needs. I usually walk just before 5 am, head to Starbucks (because thats the closest place that is open) and walk for about an hour or so- but only if I am restless.  I won’t go earlier than that because when streets are too quiet, I find it a bit too scary to stray far from my home.
  13. Organize a closet. There is a strange clarity that comes at 2am that you don’t get during the rest of the day. Its an optimal time to do a clothing purge. Be quiet though, if there is someone else is sleeping in your bedroom.  Best practice would be to weed out a closet in a room where no one is sleeping.
  14. Make coffee, cinnamon rolls, and bacon. It’s a gentler way to wake up the other person/people in your house, if you are feeling a bit lonely and want someone to talk to. Chances are they would appreciate this method a lot more, than being pestered to wake up by being poked and nagged.
  15. Practice. Surely you have something going on that needs to be worked on. For me its guitar. But for you in might be a keynote you are preparing, or math problems, or getting ready for baseball season. Whatever you are passionate about find a way to work on your craft.  If you can practice full out – great! If you are sharing your space, find a way to practice quietly.

What do you do when you can’t sleep? Do you have an insomnia regime?  I know that the usual form is to do something to get you back to sleep. That rarely works for me – so I find ways to distract myself. But I would love to hear your tricks. Please share.

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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Friends, intovertism, Laurenaissance, Uncategorized

Its Gonna Be Great

IMG_1953The past couple of years a lot of us have moved away from making resolutions, and instead have chosen three words to focus on for the coming year.  I have been one of those people.  In the past, I have chosen words like: practice, learn, imagine,  sparkle, engage.  Some of the words I have chosen were completely within my comfort zone, and some were ones that I simply wanted more of in my life – because at the time they were nonexistent.

For example, practice is something I do everyday – if I am referencing my guitar.  Sparkle on the other hand – is something I am still lacking, unfortunately.  But I am not going to punish myself for being a bit dull.  I will simply add it to this years list – along with 3 more.  But I am going to do something a bit different this year- and that is add some specific action items to go along with each word.  I will say, that I plan on keeping up with my regime from 2017 – practicing every day (trying to reach 90 minutes), reading every day, and cooking at home as much as possible (maybe even try to learn proper spanish cooking this year).

So here is my list of 3 words + 1 word from last year.

Broaden – this refers to my outlook.  So I plan to travel, go outside, talk to strangers (good luck Laura), take myself out on solo dates once a week, learn a new language, look for new opportunities (purposely vague) and listening to podcasts.  Things that i plan on continuing – reading every day (incorporating more non-fiction).

Float – this is to remind me that I need to let things go.  If a plan doesn’t work out -I shouldn’t get upset, rather I should learn from it – and understand that there are reasons for things not working out.  Just let things happen, and don’t force them.  It’ good to paddle.  But sometimes we need to let go of the control.

Energy – I spent most of 2017 in rehab for an injured elbow.  I have come a long way – and I am ready to move into more intensive forms of exercise.  Along with a physical therapy regime that puts me in the gym/therapy offices 3 days a week, I will commit to a daily yoga practice – which I will steadily improve on, with an aim of getting to an actual class in a yoga studio by the end of June.  I have already gone back to a vegetarian diet – and am looking forward to getting into a stricter vegan diet, because that is I feel best when I don’t eat or drink animal products.  As well, I am going to practice becoming less introverted this year. I spent 2017 turning down invitations and instead spending time reading or alone thinking.  Its time to add some people into my life.

And last but not least – Sparkle.  The only thing I managed to do last year, is grow my hair, and get my skin looking healthier.  Im not really sure what sparkle really entails – but I think its along the lines of looking and feeling my best – and maybe smiling a little bit more than occasionally.  So thats the plan for 2018.

Do you have any resolutions/focus words for 2018? If you feel like sharing, I’d love to read them. Maybe we can help each other reach our goals.

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