New “Diet”

What do you call a change in the way you plan to eat? The word “diet” makes it sound like I’m doing some fad thing for 30 days to slim down for vacation.

I recently met a nurse (she’s a PhD candidate) who has spent the last 30 years working out a diet for people with IBD. She’s got Crohn’s disease herself, and she follows the diet. Plus she just finished a study on the diet out of UVA. I’m always wary of programs that claim if you only eat THIS, or in this COMBINATION, then you’ll be cured/healthy/magic. Another woman I know was actually in the study and she did really well.

So after lots of thought and lamentation, I decided I would give it a try myself. You need to realize that Candy and Bread are my two favorite food groups. I’m a big snacker and I’ve always got some kind of candy around (sugar-based, like Skittles or Haribo gummies).

This is how it works:

  • No white sugar
  • No white flour (or anything refined, like white rice)
  • Eat 1/2 cup of Bran Buds cereal each day (they are some other health food store brands, but basically it’s a super high bran-content cereal with a ton of fiber)

That’s it, those are the only rules and restrictions.

So it’s not as bad as being low carb, or gluten free, or trying to keep my blood sugar low…

I can still have bread or pasta as long as it is whole wheat (real whole wheat, which is harder to find that some of the bs the grocery store sells) and doesn’t have added sugar. I can still have starch like potatoes, and rice as long as it is brown rice or similar. I can still have sweet things, as long as I use honey, or agave nectar, or maple syrup.

I’ve been making a batch of brown rice every few days. I’ve found peanut butter that is sugar-free and a few jams that are just sweetened with fruit. I bought a bunch of fancy honey that is good just spread on whole wheat bread. I can still have cheese, and nachos, and potato chips. I’m trying to eat more veggies so I don’t gain 100 pounds from all the sodium I’m eating instead of sugar.

I bought a few cookbooks, but I haven’t had time to try anything yet. I’m hoping to try to bake something this weekend, because I need more carbs back in my life!

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My Off Week

Friday I started feeling bad. Worse than normal. Saturday I had to come into “town” to run a few errands, and as soon as I got back I went straight into chilling mode. I was exhausted. Sunday, I was on my way to meet my parents, but went to a walk in clinic instead. Apparently these places vary, and mine is the “treat your exact complaint, but do no further tests or investigation” type, so I got an anti-viral to stop the spread of the sores (you can’t cure them) and that was that. I spent 3 days in bed.

Wednesday morning I finally got in with my regular doctor. She is awesome and knows my deal, so A) she does her job and B) she takes me seriously. They did a pee test which they said came back fine and a CBC blood test that they also said (much later that day) came back fine.

I spent Wednesday at my parents’ house because it is closer to the doctor and closer to my parents (even when they are at work) in case stuff got worse. Plus they have way fewer stairs than me and that was kicking my sick butt. Wednesday evening I made my mom take me to the ER so I could get a full set of tests done and make sure there wasn’t anything seriously wrong with my insides.

The ER did blood tests, the CBC and also stuff that measures how active the Crohn’s is. The doctor sent off for a West Nile Virus test, just in case, since I’d been bitten to death in Maryland recently where there were some cases reported. They told me that there are new guidelines to limit radiation exposure, and as a result they didn’t want to do a CT scan unless they had to, so we did an ultrasound first.

Which I hate. I’ve debated going into details, and if you ever go out drinking with me maybe I’ll tell you, but for now let’s just say I hate this test for a lot of good reasons. If you’ve had the same then you know what I mean and if not then you can remain as blissfully ignorant as I was when I walked into my first one. I got a super nice tech though and that really does help. It’s also cool because she explained things to me as she was taking the pictures, why she kept going back to the same spot, hoping the picture would change…

The picture never changed the way she wanted it to, because it seems like I have inflammation in both the right and left sides of my reproductive system. I’ve had trouble with the left for several years now, but (because my insides have been so hacked up already) my surgeon basically forbade surgery unless it was an actually emergency. So the right side is a new thing. And they mentioned infertility.

[I’m 30. I’m not dating. When I was dating the guy I thought I would marry, we both admitted to not wanting kids. I still don’t want kids. I like kids. I don’t want my own. It’s probably not a great idea to pass on my wonderful genes and by the time I’m in a kid-having situation, it’d be sorta silly to have babies. However, if I ever have a midlife crisis and need kids, I don’t have any hangups about adoption.]

They did find a bladder infection which doesn’t feel like any UTI I’ve ever had. And you’ll remember my doctor said that test came out clean. So I’m on antibiotics now too.

My ultrasound pictures were mailed to my gynecologist and I’m hoping she can call me back and let me know if we need to do something. Or if there is anything that can be done. While I’m not worried about fertility, I do not want to have to be on hormone replacement the rest of my life. I also don’t want stuff left in to get infected and cause me additional pain.

I’m hoping she calls soon and that everything gets figured out.


Laughing in the ER

Today I was listening to an old Nerdist podcast with Mike Birbiglia. Birbiglia, a comedian, was telling a story about telling jokes about cancer. He was explaining how sometimes it was stressful to tell jokes about such a touchy subject. He went on to explain that often said axiom that a lot of comedians “are people who had to make things funny at home,” had to make uncomfortable situations funny as a way to cope.

This made me think of an experience I’ve had a few times.

Typically when I go to the ER, it’s because I’m in terrible pain and I usually get tests done to see if everything is okay, some pain medication to ease my suffering, and am then sent home and told to follow up with my doctor. That’s what happens when they don’t find anything bad in the tests, obviously.

Nearly every time I go to the ER, my mom goes with me (usually she’s driving). There is a lot of waiting involved in an ER visit, and typically even if you are back in a room, there’s no TV, or nothing good on and it’s just boring. Plus after several hours of being in pain, plus a car trip that can be up to an hour long (I don’t go to my local ER – that’s another story), I can get a little loopy.

So we normally joke around. It helps pass the time, and it helps take the edge off a not fun situation.

I’ve had doctors and/or nurses flat out say that I couldn’t possibly be in that much pain because I was laughing. Like pain means you have to be wailing and gnashing your teeth and writing around on the floor every fricking second? Because I’ve also had an experience when I was in a ton of pain and was told that I needed to be quiet because I was disrupting the other patients in the doctor’s office.

So, I guess it is a no win situation. But I’m not going to stop joking around, or even laughing whenever possible. Because if I’m going to be treated weirdly no matter which way I behave, then I’d rather try my best to make the situation more comfortable for myself.


Book Haul

The fancy bookstore at my local mall is going out of business/bankrupt and they have the clearance people in there to liquidate. I haven’t been able to get over there until Friday afternoon, when I was lucky enough to be allowed to leave work early for the holiday weekend (hurray!). This ended up being a good thing, since lots of books were only marked down 30% off retail after about 2 weeks of liquidation. 30% is about what you can get on Amazon, so I was disappointed and wandered around the store for a long time with just one book in my basket.

But they announced if you bought 3 books, you get an additional 10% off everything and if you buy 6 books you get an additional 20% off everything. So I ended up getting 10 books.

I got a real assortment: two books from the health section, two travel books, The Pioneer Woman’s new book, a science book, a book about work, A Visit From the Goon Squad

Orla Kiely Pattern

Probably the two I am most excited about are Orla Kiely’s Pattern and Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase & Fable.

I love to read, but rarely spend a lot of money on books (since adolescence anyway) since I don’t like to waste the money, or have to store them, or more and more lately I don’t have the time to read very much. Today I didn’t have anything I needed to do, so I stayed home and read an entire book.


Facebook Depression

The latest news is that there is a new condition affecting teens, “Facebook Depression.”

My initial thought was basically eye-rolling, but then when I learned a little bit more, I felt I could relate somewhat, even though I’m not exactly a teen.

“With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.” (source MSNBC)

I don’t get upset about friend counts, because I’ve always preferred to have a few close good friends, than a large number of false friends or just acquaintances. Sure, I use Facebook to keep tabs on people that I might not ever see face-to-face again, but I deleted a bunch of people that I once knew, but who I never interact with even online.

In addition, seeing photos, or hearing about events that you were not invited to, or included in, can be hurtful. This is the part that has gotten me in the past. I’d go through a cycle of seeing photos of happy shiny friends having great times at parties and other events that I was never invited to, getting really upset, getting over it, then seeing similar photos all over again. I never said anything to the “offenders” in these cases, but I eventually made the personal decision to just remove these accounts from my Facebook. I’m not sure if anyone has noticed. I have never gotten any emails, phone calls, or other comments since. And in this case ignorance has not quite been bliss, but has stopped salt from pouring into my wounds.

I can’t imagine how hard a situation like this would be to a teenager, when everything in the world is SO DARN IMPORTANT. I think I am very lucky I didn’t have to deal with so much social media when I was a kid.


101 Things About Me

It’s always hard to start a new blog, so when I saw this idea on My Milk Glass Heart’s blog, I decided posting 101 random things about myself would be a good way to kick things off.

  1. I was named after Carly Simon
  2. I’ve met her twice, both times at malls. She cried when she found out I was named after her.
  3. I was an only child until my senior year of high school
  4. As a kid, I loved Art and Theater equally
  5. Since I always had after school jobs in high school, preventing me from attending rehearsals, Art eventually won out
  6. I had my first job when I was 15
  7. I have worked as a file assistant at a eye doctor’s office
  8. I have worked as a grocery store bagger and cashier (at Ukrop’s)
  9. I have worked as a ice skating rink party host (second worst job ever)
  10. I have worked as a basketball games operator at King’s Dominion (third worst job ever)
  11. I have worked as a dishwasher at a college eatery (this was the grossest job ever)
  12. I developed an deep aversion to seeing food floating in water (gag)
  13. I don’t think I’ve ever worked on a Sunday in my entire life
  14. I lived outside Los Angeles as a toddler and I constantly wish I could go back to California
  15. I won’t move back to the West Coast while my parents are still on the East Coast
  16. Traveling is my favorite hobby
  17. I went to London for a long weekend once
  18. I went to Cancun after high school graduation thanks to a generous friend who took about 10 of us there to stay in their time share suite for free
  19. I took an awesome one week road trip from San Diego to Oakland California when I turned 25 and could rent a car without penalties
  20. I’ve been on two cruises, both to the Caribbean
  21. I’ve love to to a European Cruise
  22. I went to Lourdes France the day after Senior Prom, on a religious pilgrimage sponsored by friends and family
  23. I’ve been to New Orleans once pre-Katrina and stayed in a sketchy hotel full of prostitutes
  24. I’ve been to New Orleans once post-Katrina and stayed in a sketchy hotel where the bathtub faucet fell off from being rotted
  25. I organized that trip for my whole office. We were there to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
  26. Even though I don’t party, or like strippers, or gambling, I love Las Vegas
  27. I’ve gotten to see Oprah in person, at the groundbreaking for the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial
  28. I’ve heard then-President G. W. Bush speak at the National Prayer Breakfast (still cool)
  29. I’ve seen Mo Rocca at a book signing in DC
  30. I’ve also seen him live at a taping of The Daily Show
  31. I’ve seen John Oliver at a performance in NYC during the writers’ strike (and got a picture)
  32. I also saw him at UVA
  33. I met Neil Gaiman at the DC Book Festival
  34. I had him sign a book for my then-boyfriend
  35. I hadn’t liked Gaiman until I met him in person and saw what an amazingly nice person he was
  36. I still don’t think I like Sandman, though
  37. I’ve slept in the car overnight at a rest stop (with my parents) once en route to a family vacation
  38. I am a terrible singer
  39. This doesn’t stop me from sing-talking, especially at work, when things are frustrating or stupid
  40. I like what I do for a job, but wish I had more flexibility
  41. I hate that I get extremely passionate and opinionated about things that I cannot change
  42. People think I look much younger than I am
  43. I’m not flattered by this. It’s annoying.
  44. And potentially creepy if I’m out trying to meet people, and they assume I’m a teenager
  45. I just turned 30
  46. Every boy I’ve ever actually loved is now either married or engaged (to someone that isn’t me)
  47. I’m glad they didn’t end up married to me
  48. I like being single
  49. I don’t want to be single when I’m 50, though
  50. I’m Catholic and I’m down with a lot of their religious philosophy, and the social justice stuff where you help people out, but not the social stuff where homosexuals don’t deserve basic human rights
  51. It’s complicated
  52. My mom is my best friend and I don’t care if you think that’s lame
  53. I hung out with adults, or alone for most of my childhood
  54. I would spend all day in my room reading
  55. I sorta hate the library, because I don’t like the way the books smell, and when they have weird stains in them, or the fact that the popular books are wait-listed for months
  56. But I love the library in theory and have been a lifelong patron
  57. I would be 100% on the e-book bandwagon if they would more bathtub friendly
  58. I buy a lot of clothes
  59. I return a lot of the clothes I buy
  60. I went an entire summer (possibly 2) in high school never once wearing shorts because I was so embarrassed by the stretch marks allover my legs
  61. I got over it… mostly
  62. I’m one of those bitches that is actually trying to GAIN weight
  63. My favorite food group is candy
  64. My least favorite types of candy are black licorice and chocolate
  65. My favorite types of candy are gummy
  66. My favorite brand of gummy candy is Haribo
  67. I drink a Red Bull every morning because coffee doesn’t really get along with me. People think I’m totally hardcore, but it doesn’t really have that much caffeine in it.
  68. I used to take growth hormone shots as a pre-teen.
  69. I’m 5’3″…
  70. … I used to be 4’11”
  71. My favorite typographical element is the em dash
  72. I throw out 90% of the catalogs I get in the mail, so I’m not tempted to buy things
  73. I lived across the street from a crack house for years as a kid
  74. I lived next to subsidized housing for a year and would walk through a parking deck to get to the grocery store, which had my roommates convinced I would get murdered
  75. I’m not really afraid of getting murdered
  76. I used to ride horses, then I became severely allergic
  77. Also allergic to: cats, dogs, pollen, mold, dust…
  78. I finally got an iPhone this month
  79. I’m working on my MBA
  80. I’m that annoying girl who likes learning and does her homework early
  81. I also like education because it’s pretty much the only constant source of measurable, merit-based, praise I get as an adult. (Not just “You look nice today” or “good comps.”) I like getting that A, even if the grading scale isn’t that tough.
  82. I don’t think I ever want kids of my own
  83. But I like other people’s kids
  84. I run a support group with my mom
  85. I always want to “help people” – whatever that means
  86. I met a lot of my friends on the internet
  87. I got back in touch with a lot of my friend because of the internet
  88. I eat a lot of rice
  89. I eat a lot of sugar
  90. I love bread, but pretty much only freshly baked bread. I hate sandwich bread you get in the grocery store.
  91. After a childhood of nothing but horrible canned asparagus, I discovered fresh and fell in love
  92. I once went two (medically supervised) weeks without eating
  93. I’d rather eat a small amount of something really good than a bucket full of something mediocre
  94. If I had a bucket list, then it would include a visit to miniBar
  95. My favorite vacation destination: the beach
  96. Runner up: the city (San Fran, NYC)
  97. I’ve never been to Chicago
  98. I’d like to improve my Spanish
  99. I’d like to take voice lessons
  100. One day I’d like to write a book