Sunday, August 25, 2013

Clouds, But No Rain


I have been waiting and waiting and still we have gotten NO rain this summer!  
Our monsoon seems to have fizzled yet again.  Boo.

But the clouds are beautiful and it has been cooler than normal (right now it's 6 PM and only 87!)

I have been better off digestive-wise, but not perfect.
While I have been resting, I have 

made cookies


watched the Star Trek movies


and enjoyed my cats!


Here is Stephen, all wrapped up in his favorite toy!



And then he climbed up on the couch while I was reading and snuck UNDER my legs! 
He's a very snuggly little guy.


And Allistair enjoyed being close enough to sleep on my computer.  He entered a password for me with his chin, but it wasn't the correct password . . . 

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Welcome!


WELCOME!!!

Nice to see you!

Allow me to give you a little tour around my day!


First, there were cute cats!!!

Sleeping . . . 


Tipping over nicely folded towers of 
a big heap of towels I piled on the chair . . . 


Being exhausted after a day's exploring . . . 


And being desperate to get at us when we're outside!


Mostly today, everyone slept all day except Allistair, who slept MOST of the day and followed us around the other 10% of the day.


We noticed today that the cactus that broke off a few months ago in a wind storm is blooming right from where it broke off!  Just like people - we might get broken, but we can still bloom!



The clouds were beautiful today!






Exciting news: my Low-Dose Naltrexone arrived yesterday, and I took it for the first time last night! 
It's true: it definitely affects sleep patterns.  I didn't seem to have any especially vivid dreams (the most common side effect), but that's probably because I didn't sleep!

I had a dream about 5 minutes long early in the morning about intrigue and plotting between the staff members at the church we left in December - probably that was psychic, not really a dream!

I already was coming out of the most current flare, and today my stomach feels better than it has in quite a long time.  I was able to eat more normally the last couple of days.  The LDN can only help!  (Once I'm able to sleep, of course!)  Other people who are taking it say that the sleep thing normalizes after a week or so.  Thankfully, I can adjust my work schedule around the sleeping thing for a while until it gets sorted out.

Because I didn't sleep, I have been a walking zombie today and have definitely not been on top of my game. 
I kept falling into naps of fitful sleep.  Not very restful, either.  
But I did alllll the laundry and didn't shrink anything!
And I even was up early (5:45 am) when Greg got up to do some yard work, so I was able to help him a little tiny bit. The yard looks beautiful now (right now it's all blowing in a crazy wild wind - I'm hoping RAIN is coming!!!)


Here are some gorgeous pictures of the clouds yesterday evening:
I love all the colors!
(That's the roof of our house that you see in the photos).





Happy Saturday!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

LDN + Soda Box


The visit with the Gastroenterologist on Thursday went GREAT!  
He was very interested in the studies I took with me that showed the value of some of the supplements I'm taking (Boswellia, CLA) and he was willing to prescribe Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN).  
I sent the script off to a compounding pharmacy in Florida that specializes in LDN and knows all the ins and outs of putting it together effectively.  There are lots of things that can be done wrong that make it less effective (or not effective at all!)  It should arrive in a few days!  I may have sleep difficulties for a little while, and I probably will have crazy dreams between 2 and 4 am, but those are small side-effects if this makes a difference and I start feeling lots better!  The doctor even asked to keep the print-outs of the journal studies I took in.  Hopefully they will help with his next patient who has a similar issue!

The Gastroenterologist also prescribed the above probiotic, which is extra strong and especially for the treatment of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.  It says "ulcerative colitis" on the packet, but the disease processes are similar (the results in the colon are different)
I mix this stuff up in my protein shake in the morning and in Gatorade in the evening (when everything's inflammed, I have been getting faint and dizzy, and my Mom suggested some Gatorade to replace electrolytes - smart lady!)


We've been having a lot of fun around here with this empty soda box!


Soda Box, Part I
video


Soda Box, Part II
video



Soda Box, Part III
video


Baltazar has been feelin' spunky, too!
In this picture, he is hunting Claude, who was peeking out the sliding glass back door
at some birdies.  Baltazar doesn't like her that close.


Juvy watched birdies from the windowsill in the hot afternoon.


And she played ball through the soda box!  


Stephen looking sleepy and lovey


Here is some proof of how helpful Stephen and Allistair are when we are making the bed!
video



Here is a little glimpse of what I do!
This is what I do on Sundays (though I don't always lead the story time or lead the classroom),
and during the week, I create lessons like the one you see being used in this picture.  
This lesson is #3: God Made Everything!



We have been using fabric softener sheets again after not for a while, and Claude is HAPPY!!!



Last video for today - Allistair and Stephen BOTH bring their toys to Daddy while he's playing the guitar!



Happy Tuesday!!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Comforts Of A Rainy Tuesday!


Yes, I'm riffing on the title of the wonderful Alexander McCall Smith book,
(book five of the Isabel Dalhousie series)!

I woke up to RAIN this morning!  And it hasn't blown over!  Yay!
In fact, it's only 77 degrees right now!
I am going to enjoy every moment.


Stephen has taken to relaxing on the arm of the couch like this:
 (Our Roomba, Sandy, was vacuuming the kitchen when this picture was taken, so please 
excuse the chairs and cat scratching posts all over the place!) 



He was also watching birdies out the window with his shining big eyes!



I am still juicing every day.  This is what a normal juice is for the past couple of weeks:
2-3 carrots, one peach, one pear, 2 stalks celery, 2 leaves kale, one bunch parsley (this picture shows an orange, as well).  I love something really sour in there - it masks a lot of the bitter green veggie taste.  Lemons are especially good!  But there aren't any organic lemons in the stores right now.  Guess they aren't in season.


After my juice, I usually get a spike in energy and mood.  Yay for nutrients!


Health Update:
Overall, I haven't been feeling very well the last week (thus the disappearance from the blogosphere) . . . not only have I been having more digestive distress, but I've been very fatigued and my joints have been hurting.  I had a big curriculum order placed last week (a church in Texas ordered the entire first module PLUS holiday lessons - hooray!  I'm excited for their students to hear how much God loves them in a way that will make sense to them!), so I've been working hard and not feeling well, which was emotionally tough.  But yesterday I started bouncing a back a bit.  Now I have to make sure not to do too much while I'm still healing.  

I made an appointment with my Gastroenterologist to talk about why I'm not taking the scary drugs he prescribed (Uceris and Lialda).  They have side effects I do NOT like, and there are other drugs that are more effective. 

Uceris is an immuno-suppressant, which I won't take because I don't agree with the overall strategy of weakening my immune system to decrease problems. It seems like a possibly faulty assumption to me that my immune system is overactive.

Lialda is an anti-inflammatory, which I won't take because a natural supplements, Boswellia, has been shown in a double-blind placebo study to be equally effective at reducing inflammation in Crohn's patients and it comes from a plant (frankincense!) and has no side-effects!

It's annoying to me that doctors are sold drugs by the pharmaceutical companies, and that's what they automatically prescribe ME, even though there are better and SAFER and more EFFECTIVE options out there! GRRRRR!!!  (picture me with a face of righteous indignation!)

I am not necessarily anti-pharmaceutical, though; I am thankful for the many medications that have been discovered that have helped people (me!) get better from things.  

There is a drug that's been shown to be VERY effective for Crohn's Disease in a teeny tiny dose (4.5 mg).  It would have to be prescribed off-label because it's only been approved by the FDA at a much higher dose (50 mg) for recovering heroin addicts, but click here to read more about the science behind Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN).  This drug is about 30 years old and is useful in almost every disease out there, it seems.  It costs about $15/month (which is probably why it's not being prescribed - it doesn't make anyone much money).

Click here for studies on LDN and auto-immune diseases in general
Click here for the best study on LDN and Crohn's

I would like this to be the next step in treatment for me because of the high success rate (67% of patients with Crohn's in the study went into remission and 89% demonstrated response to treatment - just by adding this tiny dose of LDN!) and because the side effects are minimal (and not scary - the only one that people mention is vivid dreams during the 2-4 am window).  

So I am meeting with my doctor on Thursday to talk about why I don't like the medication options he has offered me, what I AM taking and the science behind it, what other options he sees and recommends, and the possibility of trying LDN.  I am praying that he is open minded and that he doesn't just write, "non-compliant" in his chart and get angry.  If he is NOT helpful, I also made an appointment with the Integrated Health Center in Phoenix (thanks to my friend Jessica for the referral!) so I can get medical advice from someone (an MD) who will look for the least negative treatments before jumping to the scary ones.

Time for some more work - another lesson must be delivered tomorrow!