Chronic Pain

A 51 year old female living and dealing with lumbar back pain and fibromyalgia. Sharing things I do for relief, reduce stress and control weight gain.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The road to Gluten Free

This journey to learn about being Gluten Free has been very interesting.  I ordered two books (after much research) that I thought would be easy to read, full of information on getting started and helping me determine if I may be gluten sensitive or not.  I've already finished one and half way through the second.  It can be overwhelming if you let it.

I want to at least do it for 30 days and see if I can tell a difference or not.  I saw my PM doctor this morning and discussed with him.  He tired to let me down easy. ( he could see the excitement in my eyes ) He was honest with me about patients who have told him they thought they found the answers to all their ailments only to be let down with no changes.  He said it definitely can't hurt me to try he just didn't want me to believe it cures everything it claims to.  

We talked about my upcoming scope and my struggles with the reflux and gastritis.  He asked me if I ever tired a medication called Limbrel 500.  Matter of fact I had.  Unfortunately, not for long enough to tell if it would work or not.  Not covered by insurance full price was in the $200 range.  Limbrell is a medical food and works by reducing swelling and providing pain relief.  At the time I was using only NSAIDS for pain relief.  This was pre back surgery in 2009.  My rheumatologist was hoping this would work better for me.   I haven't been approached or thought of trying it again since that time.  I'm game though.  I do however want to talk to my rheumatologist and GP to make sure it is ok with everything else I take.  I totally trust and respect my PM doctor, but prefer to have another opinion on adding this to my list of medications.  

Another concern I have is starting this medication and starting to remove gluten from my diet at the same time.  If I get some relief I can't be sure which one it is.  Another reason I want another opinion from my rheumatologist on both aspects. 

I made the call to WW's today to cancel my subscription.  I have use of the online tools until next Tuesday the 27th.  I want to take some notes and jot down some recipes I've seen that may still come in handy.  I mentioned the books.  The second one I'm really into right now is simplified and complicated at the same time.  She breaks in into sections to read what you thing you need to know.  If you want more info it is there for you but the basics are in the beginning of each section to get you started.  

Each day I get more into the book I discover something else I live and deal with that could be caused by a sensitivity to gluten.  One of the things she gets into that she welcomes you to pass over if you think it doesn't pertain to you is readers with ADD/ADHD, Autism and Mood/Behavior.  She believes there is a possible relationship between Autism and Gluten Sensitivity. Why food affects mood.  I was surprised yesterday with an expert on Dr. Oz going over a 3 question quiz to help you decided if you should be tested for ADD/ADHD.  In the end he stated another thing that should be tried is going gluten free.  He'd been diagnosed long ago and recently tried removing gluten from his diet.  He said his brain is much calmer and he never felt better.  An added bonus he was happy about was that he lost same weight along the way.

It's almost as after my little let down at my PM doctor visit I really needed to hear another professional say it's worth a try.  The import thing is I keep an open mind and don't get my hopes up to much yet another time only to be disappointed that this is not the answer to being free from chronic pain either.   Some real work and studying is being put into me getting ready for this.  If anyone tells you "it's no big deal" or "it's so easy",  in my opinion. they are wrong.  If you plan to do it correctly with no short cuts or cheating you have homework my friends and readers.  I'm determined to at least get through 30 days and see how I feel.  

Here is a list of some of the things related to gluten sensitivity or Celiac Disease

Bone and or Joint Pain
Depression, irritability, listlessness and anxiety
Trouble with Glycemic Index
Acid Reflux 
Dermatitis Herpetiformis 

This list continues on with plenty more.   These are just a few that relate to myself.

Lastly for this post, my children (grown up children) gave me the absolutely perfect gift for Mothers Day. A Pandora bracelet!  I was SO surprised.  I can't wait to start adding to it.  I've already made a trip to the mall to get a book to make a wish list.  I'm a huge bracelet fan.  I always have one on.  Not much on necklaces, but always a bracelet.  Even when I'm dressed down I just don't feel right without one.  I'm happy to know they have plenty dangle choices.  I had no trouble finding ones I liked.

I'd like to say hello to a reader who just went through her trial with a SCS.  She had some really nice things to say about reading my blog.  God Bless her for reading though my bore and complaints.  In some way it was helpful and that is my entire purpose.  Best Wishes to you and I'm here for you anytime you have any questions or just need some support.  Hang in there.  Better days are ahead Dana

Full of H.O.P.E (hold on pain ends)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Time for a Change

In past years I've been very successful with following the WW's plan.  I've always met my goal weight and kept it off for a good period of time.  Things like medications and pain restricting my exercise for periods of time let me slowly gain it back.   My latest issue has been a medication I was taking for the fibromyalgia.  I've been off since the beginning of April but I'm in a rut.  I'm stuck on weight I started at back when I started WW's in the fall.  I was 2 pounds from my goal weight when I started the medication and slowly climbed up to where I started and stayed there every since.

I've taken into a lot of factors.  I've increased the dosage of my antidepressant from 20 to 40 ( under advise of my psychologist ).  She said the increase could also be effecting my weight.  I'm also aware that the older you get the harder it becomes to loose weight.  It's always been pretty easy for me.  I have a lot of will power so sticking to the plan has been easy.  So imagine being super strict and you get NO results.  

One thing I'm really thrilled about is I've been back in the pool now for two weeks.  The water temp has been awesome.  I've started slow with walking first.  This week I did some water jogging.  Increasing time a little each day.  It's just unbelievable how my back pain just disappears when I step into the pool.  With that in mind I have to really be careful.  I did a lot of stretching the first day and I was so so sore the following day.   

Speaking of stretching, the bursitis in my shoulder has greatly improved since I've been getting in the pool.  It's really hard to do the PT stretches they asked of me.  I'm a very compliant patient because I want to be better.  However, sometime it's just so painful I cheat and cut the reps or time I spend.  In the pool I've been able to do it mostly pain free.

Back to my title "time for a change".  What am I planning?  I've been doing a lot of research on becoming gluten free.  One of the things that attracts me to the idea more than weight loss it is really supposed to help with inflammation.  I've tried so many things to help with that.  Inflammation is one of my biggest culprits.  In my research I read you loose weight also.  If that happens, great.  My biggest hope it that I will just feel better.  I'll take 50% better.  The fibromyalgia has really had me beat.  

Here is my plan...I have a book I plan to pick up and hopefully read before the end of month.  ( saw on Dr. Oz )  Continue to research what I can and can't have.  I want to slowly start buying the things I need a little at a time.   My WW's plan ends at the end of the month and I hopefully will be ready to get started on a Gluten Free diet.  I figure even if it doesn't work for my pain maybe I will loose a few pounds.  If I don't loose any weight but start to feel better that would be the BEST outcome.   

I have a friend who is gluten free that I spent some time with this past week end and she was in a car accident a while back.  Days later she started having a lot of neck pain.  After getting checked out at the doctor she discovered she had to bulging discs in her neck.  A period of time when by when she couldn't get the pain level down with PT and home care and they put her on pain medication.  She is a health nut so that didn't go over well.  Even though she was hurting bad enough to take it she told me there was not way she was just going to continue to take it and mask the pain.  Like me, she could tell she had a lot of inflammation in the area.  That's how she got started.  Within a couple of weeks she didn't need the pain medicine at all and she's feeling so much better overall.  

I'll share with you two things I've started doing as a "pre prep" to start some healthy habits.

1)Some time back I mentioned my new obsession with coconut oil.  I've been using in cooking, popping homemade popcorn and baking.  I knew about benefits of using as a replacement for other fats and  a lot of uses for it.  What I'd never looked at was the benefits of ingesting coconut oil.  There are plenty I could tell you about but if your interested just goggle.  It's all there.  

I mentioned to my friend and she said she put in her coffee every morning.  That was one of the ways I read about.  I gave it a try and I loved it.  There is an adjustment for a few cups because you can SEE the oil.  I loved it though because it made my lips so moisturized.  I usually put powder creamer in my coffee but read it helps to use milk ( I don't like anything cold in my coffee) and it helps make it creamer.  The second cup I used a little almond milk in place of the creamer.  I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk so it didn't add any sweetness to the coffee.  It's a new and exciting thing at breakfast!  

2)She also told me about the benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar.  Another that there are plenty of....but like the coconut oil ingestion google it.  I dont' mind sharing but don't want to keep this post going on and on.  The main one I tried is for detox.  As part of balancing the body's PH apple cider vinegar creates an overall detoxification of the body.  Research shows that it can help stimulate cardiovascular circulation and help detoxify the liver.  

Another that caught my eye the aid in weight loss.  For daily weight management add 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to 16 oz of water.   You can sip throughout the day or just drink all at once.  I added juice from half a lemon to cut down on the acidic taste.  With that added it tasted like lemon water with a taste of apple.  Enjoyable and good for you.  I drink two glasses of lemon water a day anyway so it wasn't like I really had to make a big change with this one.  

I'm hoping trying gluten free may help my hives go away.  I must say it's been the best year ever for the reduction of appearances.  Unfortunately, they've still been around.  Especially on days when my pain level is up or I'm having some really bad break though pain.  The week after returning from the cruise was the worst flare up I'd had all year.  In reading the benefits of the Apple Cider Vinegar it didn't mention hives ( at least on the sties I viewed )
but it did talk about the benefits if you have allergies.  I'm always hopeful.

I could use to see Mr. R for an adjustment but I have several programs that I'm really pleased with.  I seldom turn it off anymore.  When I go to bed I just turn it down really low.  In the first year I'd try that but it would wake me up when it would come on and off.  I think because it's in a better place now it's more comforting than disturbing.  I'm having to charge my battery every couple of weeks.  A huge difference from the first year to year and a half.

I have a follower who recently had a SCS implanted.  I started following her blog and I hear myself in her writing in the beginning months after surgery.  ( She's a better writer and much more positive)  I'd just like to say to her not to be to discouraged in the first year.  I'm sure your doctors have told you but the longer you heal the less movement you get in the stimulation.  It also means you have to have less frequent adjustments.  Both of my scars are still tender to some degree.  The area in my spine where the paddle leads are placed always stays somewhat sore.  There is a little "connecter so to speak" that sends the leads out to the IPG (battery) and it's like a bump or knot in the lower back area of my spine.  Some days if I lean against something hard it reminds me it's there.  

As far as my battery site I've excepted it is what it is.  The revision surgery we did a year ago helped so much.  A smaller battery and going deeper helped it to not protrude so much so it's less sensitive.  I still need a cushion everywhere I go but I'll take that any day over a wheel chair.  I remain certain I made the right decision in having a Spinal Cord Stimulator placed.   My pain is still there but the stimulator does help relieve it and help me from taking the amount of pain medication I once needed.  

Dallas is doing amazing.  He had a successful surgery.  They completely removed the tumor and stalk that was attached to it.  There were three arteries coming from the stalk.  She cut and tied all off.  That is where all the bleeding was coming from.  This past Monday he had his stitches removed and seems almost fully healed.  He came a long way from having 3 months to live to a surprising recovery.  The lab results showed the tumor to be something called Eosinophilic cystitis.  Very rare but the few number of cases they've seen has been with dogs that previously had a bladder stone.  Yeah, we're so happy he'll be around some time longer.  

If you have any advice or tips for me on my plan to move gluten free, I welcome it.  I'm pretty nervous about being prepared.  Not about "what will I eat" but will "I have what I need?".  I've found a great web site to refer to and my gluten free friend has told me of several sites that will be helpful to me.  Wish me luck.  As with this and my daily struggle of coping with chronic pain I have H.O.P.E.

Happy Mothers day !!

Gentle Hugs, Theresa

My son and A
Poppa & Nonna at AJ's dedication day

The whole gang