Sturm und drang. So throw me a donut.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Winter...

The season I don't have:
 
 
I miss the cold wind
the chilblains and frostbite,
snot frozen on my scarf and
scratching my face as I walk,
frisky dogs panting steam and
begging me to hurry up and stop taking pictures already!
 
 
 
And then there's the snow and ice
wiping out visible landmarks and creating
new vistas,
ephemeral and magical,
once seen and then gone,
and I never know how to make others understand
how much life there is when everything contracts and
waits for spring.
 
 
 
The deeper the cold,
the bluer the sky,
the deeper the snow and
the thicker the ice,
the more alive I feel.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

This week, from the bowels of my mind...

To play, just click to go to Lunanina.


Week 524

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Massage :: What? Strangers touching me?! The horror, the HORROR!
  2. Financial advice :: You. Are. Screwed. Prepare to work until the day you die. Doesn't exactly make me want to live to 100...What if death-by-chocolate really is a viable way to end it all?
  3. Guide :: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Would it really matter if the planet was blown up?
  4. Packing :: UHaul. The bane of my existence.
  5. Trombone :: I started playing it in 5th grade. Continued through high school. I just donated it to Goodwill a year ago. What I loved about it was the deep, mellow tones. But I hated the spit valve.
  6. Water cooler :: Office Space. Pieces of Flair. Swingline Staplers in Red. Horrible Bosses.
  7. Delivery :: It's all about the delivery. Don't let them smell your fear.
  8. Smoke :: I just watched "Thank You for Smoking" and I still dearly love that movie.  
  9. Cane :: When I'm 80 years old, I will have a cane and I will use it on people who piss me off.
  10. Suitcase :: That story about the rocket man, by Ray Bradbury, where he longs for home when he's gone, but longs for space when he's there. And his son sneaks his dad's uniform out of the suitcase to touch it and smell it to try to understand where his father has been.

Shot down in flames...

The arthritis doctor totally shot down the "leaky gut syndrome" theory. I half way expected that. I respect this doctor and moved this theory even farther down on my list of things to do. Is it worth the time, energy and money to change our diets this radically? Probably not. Realistic, small changes and small choices made day by day will probably be just as effective. Why someone's immune system gets so out of whack that it attacks him or her is still a mystery.

What this really reveals is my momentary wishful thinking that there's solution to my question: Why him? Why this disease? That's the danger of publishing articles about one person's supposed - and maybe accidental - solution to his or her problem. I realized when I was reading the article that one or two people finding a cure to a disease that plagues millions is not representative of a real solution. It was an accident, a coincidence, or maybe a real solution specific to only one person. That's not a cure. But there's always that tiny voice that says, "It might work."

As I perused websites on gluten-free and refined-sugar-free foods and recipes, the marketing of this lifestyle was pretty slick. Beat cancer! Lose weight! Cure arthritis! Look younger! Live longer! Feel younger! There is a grain of truth in all of this...but a whole lotta wishful thinking, too. It's marketing. Play up to the current, trendy fears. Show pictures of people who achieve the ideal along with slogans and quotes that make this achievable and relatable...It is so easy to get sucked into a dream, isn't it?

But here's something that really hit home while I was perusing recipes online...there are plenty of articles on "the end of the era of cheap food." What?! No more walmart prices on food shipped from the other side of the planet so I can have whatever I want whenever I want? The continued drought conditions in Texas - where more cattle are raised for slaughter than anywhere else in the country - have caused cattle ranchers to cull herds or go out of business. Smaller herds destined for market equals higher beef prices. And that's just one example. 

So while I'm still contemplating making small, weekly changes to our diets, the reality is that I might not be able to afford some of the foods that promise to boost our health. The luxury of adding berries and fresh vegetables in place of cheaper starches could become a luxury I can't afford.

But ironically, I can afford arthritis medication thanks to insurance and a co-pay program from the makers of humira. Twelve hundred dollars a month on their part, five dollars on mine and to hell with worrying about what we eat, right?

My favorite line from the movie "Cloud Atlas" keeps reverberating through my head:

Soylent Green is made of People!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Subliminal messages waiting to be found...

Lunanina, as always click the link to see the game for yourself!

Week 523

I say ... and you think ... ?
  1. Baked :: The Dude abides.
  2. Excited :: Can't sleep!
  3. Print :: My favorite book store and the library.
  4. Obstruct :: That jerk who won't let me do what I want to do.
  5. Bladder :: What gets me up at 4 a.m.
  6. Matrimony :: Twenty-two years!
  7. Car :: I want a new one but I won't get one until I get a better job.
  8. Reconstruct :: tummy tuck: I want one.
  9. Lenses :: Dark sunglasses are the best. I wear them all the time.
  10. Best for last :: Really, why wait? Why not have the best all the time?

Leaky Guts and Arthritis

In between grocery shopping and getting ready for the work week, I've been ignoring all the football crap and trolling online newspapers for interesting articles. I found one article, here in the New York Times, about a young boy who developed idiopathic arthritis and went through some pretty rough medical treatments before his parents found a better way to help him.

I perked up, sat up straight in my chair and read it carefully...my husband has psoriatic arthritis with no known cause. He has no genetic markers, no physical changes in the spine, and his sudden and severe onset was far from normal. We think that stress brought it on, although what could have been leading his body toward this arthritis is unknown...but maybe we have a partial answer now.

The article I read was about Leaky Gut Syndrome. Basically, the intestinal walls become "leaky" through repeated bouts of inflammation and start allowing toxins, undigested fats, bacteria, etc. to get into the body. The inflammation may be caused by gluten intolerance, or eating lots of refined foods and refined sugar. This "leakiness" eventually leads to the immune system getting out of control and attacking various parts of the body. The gut is the largest immune system organ, so if things are going wrong it seems to lead to serious illnesses. You can read more about it here. I am using this website as a base from which to compare other sources of information because there's nothing wacky on it. Just a few minutes with google, and I found all sorts of sites trying to sell me something. WebMD doesn't have much to say, since this is a "gray area."

Well, okay. Gray area it is. I'm going to move forward with the premise that gluten and sugar might be a problem for my husband. In the NYT article, when gluten, dairy, refined sugar and refined foods were removed from each child's diet, the arthritis went into remission or became controllable through diet alone.

My question is: Will a change in diet targeting possible allergy-causing foods help after having had arthritis for over a decade? We decided to take a measured approach and start cutting out the obvious sources of refined sugar and begin replacing gluten in our diets (it'll be a joint project because I'm not cooking special meals just for one person!). I bought probiotics and digestive enzymes at the store today. And he will chart his pain and inflammation as we make progress on changing what we eat.

Arthritis is such a bitch to deal with: Expensive medication, insurance companies digging in their heels and trying to find a way to get out of paying for it, and the anxiety over what activities will bring on too much pain are just a few things arthritis sufferers have to live with. Maybe using this theory of illness as our guide will help my husband change the way his immune system is attacking his body.