Wednesday, January 30, 2013

I Just Whistled

Simone has had a few nights of difficulty falling asleep, and tonight is no exception. Mary and I are on the couch, talking about the day and the books we're reading. We've got the washer and dryer going to provide some white noise to help Simone.
Suddenly I hear a high pitched whistle.
"I just whistled!!!" shouts Simone, at the top of her lungs.
We cheered for her and told her it was bed time.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Changes In Diet

A little over 6 years ago I had surgery to break up a stricture just above my stomach.  I took prilosec for a few months after that to "help" my body avoid re-creating the stricture, but stopped taking it because ... I didn't like the idea of taking it for the rest of my life.  Plus, there are a wide range adverse effects reportedly related to taking it long term.

About a year and a half ago the stricture announced it was back, and I began taking prilosec again.  Luckily, for whatever reason, the prilosec helps with my symptoms (food getting stuck in the esophagus).  It doesn't really make a lot of sense as the stricture is certainly still there, but perhaps the prilosec helps keep down my acid re-flux (well, likely it makes it "pH-neutral reflux") and that helps my esophagus from being overly irritated.  And a less irritated esophagus means no problems swallowing.

Yah, I know.  TMI.  You can stop reading at any point.

The next step was to talk to someone who might be able to help (other than my very knowledgeable, yet too personally connected, wife), so I'm seeing Dr. Sandberg-Lewis.  We're working on a plan to get my body back in order to eventually get me off the prilosec.

What does this mean in practical terms?

We ran some tests and found a number of food allergies, and that I have SIBO.  The food allergies can be related to a number of issues, but the hope is to reduce/eliminate those reactions so my body can be healthier in general (less inflammation, better digestion of food, etc.).  The SIBO could be influencing my acid re-flux by causing pressure that forces the stomach acids up into my esophagus (if not the fluids from my small intestine up there...).

For the SIBO, I'm taking a garlic extract and another supplement (neem) to control the overgrowth of bacteria.  I'm also to eat a particular diet (specific carbohydrate or gaps or cedars sinai) - which reduces/eliminates the foods which feed the bacteria that are over populating my gut.

For the food allergies, I'm avoiding the foods I'm allergic to, and rotating through the rest of the food families.  My food allergies are: dairy, egg, almond, wheat, yeast, beans (dried and green), bell peppers, sesame, and I'm mildly allergic to corn and rye.

Mary's been super supportive, and other than the beans, egg, and sesame, it's the kind of food she'd prefer to (not) eat.

We're also drastically reducing sugar intake - which actually isn't too difficult given the fact that most of the sugar I take in is associated with wheat/dairy/egg (baked goods, desserts of all kinds).

It's been almost a week now, and I'm doing pretty well.  I was a little worried about not getting enough calories, but I'm quickly realizing how I can get them in different ways (I've got to watch out for eating too many nuts).

The biggest issue, for me, is my lack of symptoms.  I don't really notice the acid re-flux  unless I eat late at night, or eat a huge dinner - then sometimes I can feel the heart burn (if I'm not on prilosec).  And, of course there's the difficulty swallowing - but that's one I actually didn't have for a few years after the surgery, so it's not a very useful symptom.

So, when I re-introduce the foods I'm avoiding, will I notice anything?  I kind of hope so, but then again, I want to be able to eat dairy/egg/wheat... I'm not noticing much of a difference yet - other than my ring finger has shrunk just a little and the ring sometimes wants to fall off - so perhaps I'm already less inflamed.

When I had the surgery, the surgeon commented on my esophagus being irritated and corrugated, and didn't recommend doing the surgery again.  So, my goal is to get healed up so that if my SIBO is gone, and my acid re-flux is gone, my esophagus is healthy and could handle another surgery to get rid of the stricture (should it be a problem).  Then, with a healthy body, perhaps the stricture won't regrow.

For now, I'm focusing on the elimination diet, and will begin my supplements as soon as they get here.  And, some time in the next week I'll read up more on the specific carbohydrate, gaps, cedars sinai diet and make some more adjustments to what I'm eating.

But baby steps for now.

Not to mention, all of this should help avoid gall stones too.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kitty Paddling

We went to the wave pool in Springfield today, much to Simone's delight. She immediately took to the wave pool and was as happy as a clam there, floating around with her life jacket.

We then went to the shallow pool to recover from papa taking Simone in too deep (she held on tight like I asked, but then I didn't float over the waves like she does...) the respite was more for me and Mary than Simone. She seemed food to go and after we were done, she reported her favorite part was the wave pool.

Next we went to the slide, and after the first slide together, Simone rode the rest if the time by herself. Her first ride down was incredibly slow because she was sitting up and all the water was just rushing around her a d not pushing her down the slide. She had to pull herself along. The next slide was much faster and seemed even more fun.

While we were in the wave pool, Simone was splashing around - swimming between me and Mary. I asked if she was dog paddling, and she corrected me saying she was "kitty paddling." It made even more sense after I thought about the costume she made up earlier today.


No snow today, but blue skies and frozen puddles everywhere. Luckily, I've got booties to keep my feet warm, bar mitts to keep my hands warm, and a bunch if layers in between.

One if these days I'll actually go on a ride in the rain to test my newly installed full front fender.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

And so begins a new year. Mary and I turned into pumpkins at 10:30 last night after a raucous evening of lounging about.

We woke up to a beautiful blue sky. I donned many layers and headed into the woods for a ride while Mary and Simone made pancakes and then went for a walk with P'Nut (a dog we're taking care of for a few days).

We reunited to snack and put together a puzzle.