Posts tagged “anemia

Sick of being Sick

I’m sure there are others who feel the same way.  I’m so sick of all the illnesses we’ve had in our household.  I believe there has been at least one illness infecting our home since before Christmas.  We are on our second strep incident in less than a month.  I have some kind of virus…feeling much better than I have in the last 5 or so days but still have a hoarse voice, cough and extremely tired.  On top of the day-to-day illnesses, I’m fairly certain that I’m pretty anemic now too.  I had an abnormally heavy cycle over the weekend and a Crohn’s/UC flare-up began on Sat. And, it’s not a minor flare-up.  A good amount of blood loss in outputs.

I know my doctor will again push daily shots of Humira.  I’m very much against the treatment.  I think he was using a scare tactic by telling me I had to take the shots to prolong my life so I can see my kids grow-up. Hmmm, not exactly the best thing to say to a person who is dealing with Post-tramatic stress and severe anxiety due to her step-father being killed in a horrible construction accident on Christmas day ’09; which was in a string of deaths affecting our family.  I was literally scared to death of death.  It was all I could think about. I didn’t want my hubby going to work.  I didn’t want my kids going to school.  With that aside, I’m still shocked my doc used this approach.  At the time I thought ‘ok, this is really serious.  I’m going to have to take the shots.’ I’ve been through numerous docs in the last 15 years and he is one of the ones one I’ve trusted the most so that does weigh-in on my decision.   On the other hand, I’ve been in much worse shape…like in the hospital without food for several days.  I wasn’t bleeding, not throwing up, not in sever pain…was the Humira really necessary??

Over the course of the last 18 months and a few unfortunate situations, the trust I had in my doc has been trickling.  In the past, I’ve respond well to antibiotics and he refuses to use them in treatment.  We used to have a relationship where he presented the options and then together we choose what to do…not anymore.

When this Humira issue began budding its ugly face, he even presented me with paperwork to apply for charity assistance due to the drug’s cost. To me, the cost doesn’t even qualify as a reason to consider not taking the shots. Giving my self the shot would be a compliance issue. However, the largest reason is their own pamphlet/brochure!  Every single page addressed the side affects of the meds..in a rather large font size for a brochure.  Then you begin considering why each page is designed around these warnings.  Did the government require the warnings?  Is the company that unsure about their product?  It is a product after all, not just a treatment.

No matter the reason, after a flex-sigmoidoscopy, I was able to get around the shots.  However, I continued and still have this pain in my upper abdomen off and on.  I should have been scheduled for a colonoscopy not a flex-sig.  I questioned it twice and the nurses insisted the flex-sig is what I needed.  When I was on the table and the doctor walked in he was prepared for a colonoscopy.  Ugh!  Duh! He claimed that he had changed his mind after my appointment and someone forgot to call and tell me.  Accidents do happen and I settled with that.  We proceeded with a flex-sig just to get an idea of the amount of inflammation in the lower portion of my colon.  Turned out, it wasn’t bad enough for the shots.

I went back for another check-up and again complained of the pain.  I had noticed by then the pain did correlate with how many outputs I was having.  If I was backed up, the pain was there.  If my outputs were fairly normal, there’s no pain.  He said his guess is that the lining of my colon is thickening causing some discomfort when I’m constipated.  He once again began his debate for Humira.  I insisted on first having a colonoscopy (my preferred choice), or even in the least a CAT scan.  He chose the scan.  I thought about it and called back saying I really thought a colonoscopy was warranted.  Nope, he wanted the scan….which ended up showing ZERO, zip, nothing…expect for a $5,000 bill.  Still no answer to my pain but it got me off the hook where Humira was concerned.  He said that over the last 5 years, I have had ‘smoldering inflammation’ that will end up with the need for surgery if I choose not to take the shots later down the road.  Generally, the main area of inflammation is in the last 32 cm of my colon.  Therefore, I will likely end up with a colostomy.  Again, a scare tactic??  I truly believe a lot of this has to do with the endometriosis which surrounds my colon in the same spot, just on the outside of the colon.  My GYN tends to agree.  My GI disagrees.  But she’s a she and he’s a he.

I missed my last GI appointment because he had to reschedule – I’ve yet to reschedule.  I’m almost out of my meds and now with the bleeding as it is, I’ve got to buck up, stop avoiding the problem and do something. Recently, I saw a friend of mine who also has Crohn’s and the same doc. He’s been pushing the Humira on her, too.  All I said was that I was having some issues with him.  She said she was too.  Then I brought up the Humira.  We both have the same reason for our issues.  Why is he pushing so hard?  I’m just not convinced that the pro’s out-equal the con’s in this instance.  Especially since he pushed her to take Remicade and high levels of prednisone.  Neither treatment helped.  She ended up having surgery and as a result of those meds she’s now been diagnosed with has Lupus and osteoarthritis…she has two biological children and two step-daughters.

Should I even bother going back to him though?  I’ve been seriously considering just changing docs, yet again.  It’s exhausting just thinking about it.  I don’t even feel like I can go to our local support group for suggestions because he is an intricate part of the group.  And, then I begin asking myself, why is he practicing like he is…I don’t want to think about the possibilities…..

Thanks for listening!!

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Going Dutch!

Last week I reviewed the Cub Scout Camp out we hosted at The Magic Farmhouse.  I’m going to continue with that topic today focusing on our morning activities.

Once they were awake the boys immediately, with a capital ‘E’, ran back to the maze.  I didn’t know it could be such a hit.  While the kids went crazy the parents were preparing to prepare the meal.  Once we had all of our ingredients outside and on our prep table we called the boys over.  In groups, according to den, the boys helped make US breakfast!!

In preparation for our camp out I completed the Boy Scouts of America’s Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation (BALOO).  One of the activities was preparing food at the camp fire.  We were each in charge of our own meal and then as a group we make a wonderful peach dessert using a dutch oven.  For years I’ve listed to my hubby talk about the ovens however, I couldn’t place a face to the name.  I really did know what all the buzz was about.  Now I do – and I knew what it was all the time, just didn’t know it had a name.  The best portion of the orientation was by far the cooking.  It reminded me of ‘true’ camping.  Since we purchased our camper in 2003, we’ve seldom gone tent camping.  Prior to having children we would often boat and then tent camp along a nearby river.  Needless to say I came home from BALOO boasting of our experiences talking quite a bit about the dutch oven and tent camping.

It just so happens that my birthday fell the week after BALOO training.  Guess what my hubby and boys got me!  Guess?  You’ll never guess.  A Dutch Oven!!  I was so super excited!  And that brings us back to today’s story…

Now that a dutch oven was available we merged a breakfast recipe from the cookbook which accompanied the oven and a recipe provided to me by another den leader (I will post the cookbook recipe at the very bottom of this post).  Due to the size of our oven and the hungry kiddos who I knew would be getting restless we went with something like this…

The Magic Farmhouse Dutch Oven Breakfast Casserole

  • 2 lbs. sausage (we used pre-cooked sausage patties which were broken up into little pieces)
  • 2 doz. eggs (we pre-scrambled ours)
  • 2 cups (approx.) Bisquick mix
  • Milk – enough to get the mixture a fluffy consistency
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – 2 cups or more depending on your taste buds

Rub a bar of soap around the bottom of the oven.  According to my instructors, this will help with clean up time and preserves your oven.  Pre-season the dutch oven using butter or cooking spray.  Add eggs and Bisquick.  Stir gently until it’s somewhat mixed.  Then slowly add milk and stir.  Continue until the consistency is just shy of being able to pour.  Cover with cheese.  Each den was responsible for adding the ingredients or stirring.  It was a great way to incorporate some teamwork instruction.  Now comes the tricky part…

Place the top on the oven and cook with 8 coals underneath the oven and 16 on top for 20 to 25 min.  DISCLOSURE:  We have found that these instructions will sometimes work but you will probably need to adjust things depending on how hot your coals are and what type of coals you are using.  To keep things real we used hot coals left over from the fire pit.  In the cookbook, they are talking about grilling charcoals.

Ours cooked in about 15 min.  Just in time because the kids were turning into animals.  Aside from needing salt it turn out very well….nice and yummy!  The boys were pretty proud of themselves which was the cherry that topped the cake!

We've been using my hubby's, Grandparents' old stove with the dutch oven on top. Pretty cool! Or, hot!

Since the camp out we’ve been trying different recipes, dutch style.  We recently made an outstanding pot of Chili.  Instead of cooking on coals, my hubby decided to try it out on his grandparents’ old wood burning stove.  This made for easy cleanup and a nice history lesson for the boys.

I challenge you to start going dutch with your cooking!  I’ve heard it provides additional iron to your food.  I can’t verify that as true however, when your anemic like me you are willing to try anything.  (Yes, my hemoglobin has dropped again…another topic for another day.)

Happy cooking, dutch style!!

Mountainman Breakfast – taken from ‘Camp Dutch Oven Cooking 101: from Backyard to Backwoods’ published by Lodge 1896

  • 2 lbs. sausage
  • 2 lbs. frozen hash brown potatoes
  • 8 eggs, beaten with 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups cheese, grated

In a 12 inch Lodge Camp Dutch Oven oven full bed of hot coals, fry and crumble sausage.  Remove cooked sausage and drain on paper towels.  Using the sausage drippings in the pan, brown potatoes, and spread them evenly in bottom of camp oven.  Place cooked sausage over potatoes.  Pour eggs over sausage layer.  Sprinkle top with cheese.  Cook with 8 coals underneath and 16 on top for 20 to 25 min., until eggs are cooked.


11.7

To me, right now, THIS is a fabulous number.  It’s a number I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s a number that means energy, spunk,  motivation and celebration.  It’s such a wonderful number and for now it’s mine.

What in the world am I talking about?  Stick with me, I’ll get there.  In July, I was invited to attend a No-Toxic Zone meeting in a neighboring town.  I live next to a landfill, can’t drink my water due to high arsenic levels and have a child with asthma…it was a no brainer.  I needed to go and see what this was all about.  Although very informative, it was somewhat of a sales pitch for a company called Melaluca.  I was hesitant at first but after listening to some of the chemicals which are in our everyday products they had my attention.  They offered a $1 membership fee (which can be canceled at anytime), so I didn’t have much to lose.  I order 35 pts of products each month (roughly $60-$65 US).

I was pleasantly surprised with the company’s tranquil and easy to navigate website.  They carry a wide array of products from household cleaners to vitamins and minerals.  One of the first items that caught my eye was their Vitality Pack for Women.  They explained how many vitamin supplements are produced with synthetic materials where as these are organically bound increasing your chance for absorption.  A large portion of your inputs (food, water, supplements, etc…) are absorbed through the sigmoid portion of your colon.  Although I’ve had flare-ups and issues in other parts of my colon my disease is primarily located in the sigmoid.  So the organically bound theory, which is backed by published research, grabbed my attention.

Still there?  I’m almost to my point.  Promise.  Since my problem with anemia began I’ve been sent to a specialist who has told me to eat more high iron foods such fortified cereal.  I’ve stuck to strict time frames because iron isn’t effective when taken with calcium.  It gets a little boost when taken with Vit. C.  I’ve tried numerous supplements.  They even

Melaluca's Vitality Pack

prescribed iron infusions.  Of course, I was allergic and went into anaphylactic shock twice…an experience I do not wish to repeat.  I’ve taken iron prescriptions as well as over the counter iron.  This increases my constipation, thus causes bleeding in my diseased areas and makes the anemia worse.  It’s a vicious circle.

Needless to say, I’m very tired of being tired and am willing to try anything.  So after 3 wks. of taking the Vitality Pack (only taking 1/2 of their recommended dose for fear of constipation) I went in for a CBC.  My CBC showed my hemoglobin at 11.7!! Normal is 12 but knowing what I’ve been through my nurse practitioner called me NORMAL.  I can’t remember the last time it’s been that high.  I can’t remember the last time I’ve gotten over 10.  I’m ecstatic and thrilled.  I’m no longer in need of coffee everyday to get myself motivation.  Life is good!

If you are interested in finding out more info on Melaluca their website is simply http://www.Melaluca.com.  I can’t guarantee the same results but I can say I’m glad I gave it a try.

I hope you were able to stay awake through all of that and found the information useful!

Until next time….


Two out of Three Kids Agree!!

I’m so proud right now!!  For years and years and years I’ve tried growing green beans and peas.   Every year they would undoubtedly fail but try, try again I did!  This year my green beans took off & I have a crop!  At first I thought I’d only get a few and that was enough of a victory for me.  Then they kept on budding and growing.  We picked the first time about two weeks ago and I had enough for one meal.  After eating canned, store bought green beans these were honey to our taste buds.  Even two out of three kids agreed, mom’s beans were much better than those ugly, gross green things she shoves down our throats! Willis has been a picky eater since he was two…the doctor said it’d be a phase he’d grow out of…I guess I forgot to ask when!

On Friday, little Pudder and I headed out to the 93 degree/113 heat index weather and picked again – before you judge, at the time I had no idea it was really that hot.  I’m starting to wonder if my iron counts are depleting again or maybe the Magic FarmHouse has given me a delightful power to endure heat.   Pudder didn’t seem to mind and wasn’t hurt in anyway and the little trip to the garden resulted in some cherished memories.

It was a rewarding experience as we began to pick.  The moments quickly turned entertaining as Pudder, asserted himself and decided he would be mama’s helper.  I was picking beans from one side of the row and he started picking leaves.  To change position and reach beans on each side, I straddled the row.  All of a sudden I was stopped in my path as he ran in front of me, lifted his leg and attempted to walk with the row between his legs.  The plants are about half his height so this was amusing to say the least.

Noticing the process wasn’t very effective I began picking the beans and making him a pile next to the row – my subtle way of giving him something to do.  To my surprise he left his position which looked similar to a cowboy riding an over-sized bull and began picking up the beans, taking them to the bucket and dumping them in.  Score!!

These are fun times!  We finished the row and took our loot inside.  I’m estimating a total of 3 quarts give or take a few.  I LOVE to eat raw green beans…I know I’m a weirdo!  It’s times like this that I should be called a Backwards Mama! LOL!

It’s sad to see how fast the summer is coming to an end.  Even so, I love this time of year.  It’s a time when you can harvest the seeds you’ve sowed and worked so hard to nurture throughout the spring and summer.  Or, fall, I just planted my pumpkins, zucchini and cucumbers about two weeks ago but that’s another story for another day.

Now, where did my salsa recipe go??  The tomatoes are going to be next….


Wow! Stop the lawn mower! REALLY!

Who knew we were all sitting on herbal goldmines!?!  I sat down to read my newest copy of ‘Turkey Country’ the NWTF’s (National Wild Turkey Federation) member magazine and came across an article that blew my socks off.  It talked about a plant that many pay big dollars to eradicate from their lawns.  Being frugal and cheap we at The MagicFarmHouse just mow them over and pray they never return.  Until now.

I gasped as I read all of the common ailments it may cure or relieve…

  • Reduces hypertension
  • Cures anemia (I’m chronically anemic)
  • Improves night vision
  • Acts as a mild diuretic
  • Improves liver and gallbladder function
  • Detoxifies the body
  • Mitigate mild constipation and other digestive issues (as a Crohn’s/Ulcerative colitis and IBS sufferer my colon was kicking me in the butt)
  • Clears skin problems including acne, eczema, warts, fungal infections and psoriasis
  • Eases arthritis
  • Stabilizes mood (I could use that all the time!)

What is this plant?  DANDELIONS! I know I still can’t believe it.  The author Lisa Densmore explains in the article that “It turns out the weed I tried in vain to eradicate is a nutritious herb, valued in Europe and the sub-Indian continent for myriad medicinal uses.”  Who knew?  Here’s one of the recipes they included with the article.  Unfortunately, since all of our dandelions are gone now (they usually dominate during the early spring), I haven’t had an opportunity to make any of their recipes.  I can’t wait to try them though!

Dandelion Blossom Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup dandelion petals
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (we will exclude this since we have a son with nut allergies)
  • 1/2 cup dried sweetened coconut (same as with the pecans)

Happy dandelion hunting!