Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Good Versus the Bad: Make Sure YOU Win (Part 1)

Every day when I get up, my body likes to give a lot of reasons not to. So many reasons to slip back into those covers and hide.

It's more than the crippling abdominal pain that feels like a ninja star got lodged in my gut and is too tangled to be removed. I'm tired. I'm sore. My legs feel heavy. My head hurts from lack of sleep. The sleep I could not get because I hurt. The nausea, the dizziness, the paaaaaiiiiiin. And aside from physical issues, I am stressed because I feel overwhelmed by my challenges. I agonize over every day things because I have an overtaxed tolerance for anxiety. I am sad every time I want to do something that 'former me' could do but 'current me' struggles with. I am frustrated that every day I have to look at my calendar and see if my body will let me accomplish what I want to.

With these 'negative' things hurled at me from the moment I open my eyes, it could be easy for me to wonder what the point to getting up is and just curl under those blankets. Which is why, everyday, I appoint myself as a 'personal cheerleader' and cheer the holy melted cheesy gravy out of myself (is this a good enough expression?). When life isn't going your way, there is more than enough negativity filling it. It makes sense to throw in as much positivity into it as possible. No matter how cheesy or fake it might feel at times.

I know we hear this all the time. "The Power of Self-Affirmations!", "Fake it Till You Make it", and "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Maybe we hear it so much that it sounds too silly or easy to be true. Like some bizarre rumor you hear in middle school; like how folding paper can somehow tell you who you are meant to marry (who else remembers the paper fortune tellers?). But this is different.

You don't have to tell yourself something fake. You just remind yourself of everything good in your life. Every day. Because when you are sick, every day you are reminded about the negative. So fight back.

When I get up, I tell myself that I have a great job. I tell myself that I am lucky to have a mind that lets me study and pursue what I want. I tell myself I'm pretty. I strip down in front of the mirror and try to find anything about myself I can complement (even if sometimes it's only half true!). I do any exercise I can and then tell myself how great a job I did. When I learn something new, I let myself feel clever about it. Anything and everything I can find with a silver lining, I magnify it and give it the attention it needs and deserves.

No one wants to stay curled up in bed. Or trapped in a head full of negative thoughts. Or trapped in a negative life. They do not choose to feel bad or frustrated or defeated. The little and large negative things pile up and bury you without you even realizing it. I've found that the way to keep from drowning and keeping the pile at bay is to build up my wall of good things. Little by little.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Question Everything

I've always been one to advise people to question and challenge what they get from doctors or any other professionals. Not because they're more qualified than their doctors, but simply because it is part of taking charge of your life and taking responsibility for what happens in it. After all, regardless of how caring and empathetic of a doctor you have, you ultimately have more invested in your life and well being than he/she ever will.

So I cannot really excuse or explain what happened to me recently.

I thought I researched and explored all the positives/negatives of my medications I am on. I thought I had challenged, I thought I had taken control, when really, I was on something I never should have been. I found myself suffering and I felt like I had failed myself and my mantra.

To summarize the situation, I was diagnosed with neurological damage in my abdomen and I had been trying various medications to control the pain caused by misfiring neurons. A lot of these medications made me very sleepy and dopey and I personally hated them. Every time I tried one, I was focused on researching what the possible 'uncomfortable' outcomes could be. Maybe because I was distracted, I missed a much more significant complication. The complication of a chemically induced depression.

Here I was, merely trying to stop my confused gut from telling me it was in constant pain, and suddenly I found myself severely depressed and not sure why. Yes, honestly, my life is not what I imagined it would be at 24 (no one wishes for chronic pain and illness when they 'grow up'), but I had been dealing with it fairly well. Why would I suddenly feel so awful about everything? It took some digging, but I figured out that it was caused by the pills and set about my process of ditching them.

When I stepped back and looked at the situation, it hit me how really terrifying medications can be. They change your body. Your chemistry. Your thoughts. Yet so many people pop them in with less consideration than what they will eat for breakfast that morning. And, even if they do inspect the possible outcomes for such powerful pills, they can still be surprised by unexpected and uncommon damages.

I have successfully removed the nerve blockers that affected me so poorly, but the problem with mood disorders is that once the chemical imbalance is created, it is difficult to reverse it. While I am not crushed under the weight of the dulling effects those medications created, I feel a bit better but not normal. I am going to have to word hard on myself before I can return to the same balanced self I was before. Like a building after a hurricane, the winds are gone but I still have damage to repair.

Repairs are ongoing and difficult, but I am optimistic I will return to my former balance again. I have the motivation and means and I refuse to let medications determine who and how I want to be. My only grudge is that I wish it was easier! Though I suppose the lesson would not stick so strongly if it were.

Please learn from my mistake. Investigate advice and prescriptions given to you with a high degree of skepticism. Do not fall into traps of certain biases; do not let your expectations shape your searches. Be strong, independent, and intelligent when you look at a treatment and think, "Is this really right for *me*?" Whether it is a doctor, lawyer, friend, family, or your dog, let yourself and your investigations influence the advice you follow. Because it is for you. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fear

It has been months. Months since my last post.

I've got a visitor counter that shows a lot of people checked in on this place in the mean time and probably wondered, "What happened?" Whether these visitors were loved ones looking for updates or people looking for hope, information, and direction, they left with nothing new. And I want, I need, to say why.

I've been dealing with a lot of fear lately. The fear that I've had to mourn the death of my old life. The fear that I've had to make peace with my new life. The fear that... if I continue this site, that I'm truly accepting that I am a chronically ill individual and that is part of my identity. Or, worse, that that is my identity.

Every time I thought about writing, a clenching twist of my gut kept me from even unfolding my laptop. I let my fear control me to the extent that I would not even write down my ideas or keep track of what made my life easier--I tried to forget my site and I am ashamed for it. I am ashamed because I was proud of what I have built up. More importantly, I was proud of the messages I have received that said, "You helped me."

Fear is what makes people helpless because it is the mechanism of helplessness. Fear is what keeps you from helping yourself and from helping others. It turns you selfish, it turns you withdrawn, and it turns you into someone that cannot fight against the onslaughts of life. Clearly, letting fear dictate my approach to my illness was going to set me up for failure.

So, tonight, when I was having an especially rough day with fears and anxieties, I did the opposite of what it commanded me to. I opened my site and wrote this post. Because I want everyone to know that sometimes the fear gets to me too. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the pain and frustration and exhaustion and just want to check out and pretend I'm 'not sick'. But it solves nothing. I will make excuses and pretend I am taking the easy way out when really I feel more lost than ever. Giving into the fear only leaves me with fewer tools than when I fight to stay above it.

Fear and anxiety can work really hard to rationalize its way to stay in command of your head. But the best way to get out of its control and stay above it is to challenge it. Because as weak as it makes you feel, it really does not fare well against strength (ironic, no?).

My illness may be chronic, but I am not it. I will deal with my fears for it, one at a time, and my first step was to write this out. I'm back, and I am here to stay. I have some ideas to write, ideas to draw, and hopefully some things people will want to read.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Distractions

I am still stuck in a rather painful flare and have been thinking of lots of things to write because of it. Unfortunately, there is no better inspiration for a pain/disease help site than a painful disease. It always seemed that doctors really had no solutions to offer for coping with the pain of my disease and I think I have figured out why: without being backed into a corner by the disease itself, you do not think of bizarre, creative solutions to deal with your ordeal.

One method that I am particularly fond of are (broadly stated) distractions. Now, I am fully aware that not everyone benefits from the same tactics in pain management. If that were true, there would be one miracle pill that we could all take once a week and skip through the rest of our merry days. However, there is a possibility that one or two of my methods may work. And even if they do not, I would like to prime your own creative pumps to see what you can come up with.

From a neurological standpoint, distractions are useful in pain management because there are two main parts to the pain experience. The pain sensation (where the pain is initiated by the nocioceptor (pain neuron) at the point of aggravation) and the pain perception (where our central nervous system determines how uncomfortable the pain is; how pain is experienced by the individual). Distractions can lower pain perception because they divert resources used for pain perception and lower the overall effect pain sensations have on pain perception. To give a very basic example, if you are having a pain in your lower right abdomen but pinch yourself on your left arm, you will feel both pains at a slightly lower level than either pain would be alone. This is partially because of neurological restrictions in pain signaling (which I will not delve into) and partially because of diverted attention. There is only so much attention the brain has; when you spread it out, you have to take it from one place to use it in another.

I have a few basic tenets I follow when brainstorming for effective, reliable, and valuable distractions. The following lists characteristics/qualities that make an activity/behavior a good distraction for me.

  1. Something that calls for a high amount of attention out of pure enjoyment. It should be easy to focus upon and easy to lose oneself in. It should be interesting enough to suck me in.
  2. Something that requires focus on another part of my body, other than what hurts. It requires coordination, practice for muscle memory, and not painful. Exercise is a distraction, but not for super painful days where it could cause more damage than benefit.
  3. Something fulfilling. It may not be particularly enjoyable at that moment, but it is important enough to me that I focus on it out of self interest. Not saying selfishly--think of something that has so much self investment that your incentive to finish it is especially powerful. 

The list alone may not be particularly helpful so I want to give some examples as well. I will try and aim for two each! Obviously, there will be some overlap between them, but there should be some distractions that better represent one quality than another.


For #1, I offer my two best distractions: time with very good friends and games. 
Good friends can make you laugh, smile, cry, whatever, but they grab your attention rather enthusiastically. Playing Harry Potter Scene It with my boyfriend is especially distracting, because we get to laugh and fight over the game and how much bizarre trivia I retain concerning the stories. Talking with friends is easy to lose yourself in and can be a great distraction from the feeling of knives in your gut. It's fun, socializing, and makes me forget.
Additionally, when I am feeling less than social, video games have been a great distraction. There are actually studies that show that video games are an effective method for pain management and lower pain perception, making it beneficial in health care (e.g.,Griffiths, 2005). For me, a game simply has to have a good plot and motivating. Whenever I am having a more than bearable pain day, I retreat to my computer or PlayStation and enjoy some gaming time. One of the great things offered in gaming is the variety of video games available. There are games of varying types, difficulties, and styles for pretty much anyone. I highly recommend it for anyone in pain. 

For #2, excluding exercise, I have music playing and humming. 
My two instruments are piano and guitar. I admit that I am no prodigy in either art, but I do greatly enjoy playing. It is not only incredibly relaxing, but the focus required for my fingers distracts my mind from the pain it is trying to process. Especially when learning a new song, which requires an especially high level of attention. The audio and motor involvement in what I am doing can pull my sensory attention away from the spot that is hurting.
Humming was a distraction I discovered by accident really. I think I was groaning/moaning uncontrollably and it was making the pain even worse. So I started groaning louder but forcing a tune. Then I was humming. And suddenly the pain lessened. Humming, though simple and easy, does require focus to hit the right notes and devout the correct time to each sound. And it uses your diaphragm, lungs, throat, etc., so it took away focus from my lower body. Now, whenever I'm in a lot of pain, I try to play name that tune with my friends. It distracts me from my pain and allows me to disguise my groans. 

For #3, I offer learning and writing. 
I really am a nerd at heart and always enjoy learning something new. I try to spread that thirst into different areas and try different hobbies, different books, different subjects. Even if a text is somewhat dry, I want the information badly enough that I dive right in. I do not lose myself in education in the same way I do recreation, but it is distracting. I want to be knowledgeable badly enough that things that would be boring otherwise call my attention. 
Writing is the most difficult one to explain because it is the most personal. Although my readers here get a glimpse at my site entries that are (I am embarrassed to say) far from polished/perfect, my real passion is stories. And, if anyone has written, they know that story writing in itself can be a painful, difficult, and trying process. Almost as if I am trading one type of suffering for another! But I want so dearly to be a writer that I feel in another place when I work on my stories. It is my goal, my ambition. So that diverts my attention enough to make it through a bad day. 


These are not all my distractions, but I hope this has been interesting and helpful. If anyone has any suggestions for other distractions, I would love to list them along here. Thank you and I hope you have a pain -free day!


***EDIT: I've realized that after writing this and some of the response I have gotten, that I should do an entry purely on the mechanics of pain and how we experience them. I'll try and make it easy to understand/read from a layman's perspective. Knowing how my pain actually happens in my PNS & CNS was a huge benefit for me. I"ll try to pass that along.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

I Think my Brain takes the Pain the Worst

I was going through one of the more painful aspects of my disease the other day (burst a rather large chocolate cyst) and I was forced into a lot of bed rest and (like it or not) time to reflect. I was a bit put out about it all because the exact day before the event was the best I had felt in a long time. Some new medication was apparently beginning to work and I was tempted to find hope for normalcy. I say tempted because I personally find it dangerous to get too attached to the idea. So, when the next day was a total train wreck, I was upset but only partially surprised.

So I sat (okay, laid down in the fetal position) and thought about my situation and the pain I found myself in. And all I could think of was that, physically speaking, the pain was not that bad. Now, let me clarify this. I am constantly between a 5 and an 11 on the pain scale. I've got tremors shooting down my leg that have routinely led me to contemplate sawing the thing off. When I walk, I feel like I have a machete jabbed into my abdomen that twists with every step (which, for some reason, no one else can see). My physical pain is a tremendous difficulty in my life and I'm not trying to say that it's not there. However, in comparison to my mental pain, it seems like a splinter in my finger at times.

That weekend was a great illustration of why. Despite trying to remove the temptation to find hope in feeling better, I was still devastated when I could not move the next night because of my throbbing body. Being stuck in bed, losing my hobbies, envying and losing my friends, being seen as a downer, that is what truly hurts. The mental pain is what truly gets to me. Fighting an uphill battle takes it out of me and when I slip down the slope it takes a huge toll on my fatigued mentality.

So when I tackle the pain, I do not merely focus on my swollen belly. I focus on my frustrations. My depressing moments. My envy of 'normal twenty-somethings'. My fragile hopes. Trying to groom up happiness and success wherever I find it. Because if I ever ignored the mental toll this disease takes, I would find myself in a deep and dangerous pit.

I think a lot of us focus a little too much on the physical aspects of diseases and disorders. Distracted by the physical limitations, we can ignore the mental ones that follow. And I think recognizing those problems before they become problematic is where you can succeed. For a great illustration, I recently read about how a family kept all their mother's favorite foods on the bottom shelf of the pantry, so that she could reach them from her wheelchair. This arrangement prevented her from having to constantly ask for help with food and gave her a greater enjoyment of independence.

What the handicap keeps you from that is what's frustrating, not the handicap in itself. Being in bed for a day(s) is not so bad, but I get angry when the situation is thrust upon me. So, instead, I try to work on my book, read, draw--do productive things that make me feel like it is convenient rather than a prison sentence. In that mental reconfiguration I cannot change the physical circumstances of my ridiculous body, but I can change my mental reaction. Yes, I would prefer to go hiking and work, but if I can't... I have to find a way to make it work. Otherwise, I am setting myself up for a loss of control and will be completely at the mercy of my disease. I can be miserable or happy. Those choices are still mine!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Managing Chronic Pain

For the chronic pain that comes from chronic illness, one of the most difficult things about it is this: everyone that should help you with the many other aspects of your disease... can't do a darn thing for it. Meaning, that your main specialist is poorly equipped for managing pain if he/she can not stop the source. They are used to treating a problem and seeing it resolve. When it does not... they feel lost. I was lucky enough to have specialists humble enough to admit I was beyond their help. When the pain was beyond any control, I was referred to a chronic pain clinic.

At first I was skeptical. So many doctors have dismissed my misery and pain because they could not understand. I was being sent to clinic that took care of injuries and back problems--what would my doctor know about endometriosis pain?

Still, I drove the twenty miles to the clinic and waited to meet my new physician.  I could not expect him to give me a chance if I was unwilling to give him one. The wait in the office was long. I was given a lot of time to wring my hands and question my reasoning for finding hope in this option. When I finally shook his hand, I felt I was sitting on the edge of a precipice: between a semblance of normalcy or a fall from my last hope into despair.

As we spoke, I began to relax. He did not question the reality of my pain in the least. He criticized the doctors who led me to relying on emergency care for pain management.  He praised my specialists for recognizing that more surgery and/or a hysterectomy was not the solution for me. And he immediately asked me what sort of pain management plan I desired. He treated me as an equal and asked for my input on every option we explored.

The first few months are filled with trial and error. Frustrations too. For example, one primary issue with my pain is due to neural damage and inappropriate neural firing. So I was put on cymbalta to help mitigate this neural dysfunction. Unfortunately,  this pill has made me really sleepy. This almost made me more discouraged than the pain, because I am always quite envious of the energy levels of other women my age. I hated requiring naps throughout the day and I was criticized as lazy. However, rather than quit, I tried taking it at different times in the day. Because I wish to persevere through this trial and error.

I'm not going to pretend to be some invincible or happy go lucky patient. I've had some very discouraging and depressing nights. But I've chosen to find hope in this new option, because it is easy to see. If I cannot stop my disease, I can at least fight against one of the most awful symptoms of it.

The primary reason for this post is that, prior to my doctor's recommendations, I had never really considered a pain clinic as a valid option for me. Usually, when I was presented the idea, it was presented under poorly veiled criticism of my use of pain killers. As if I was an addict that needed proper rearing. I had a bias against pain clinics as if they were the end of the line for hopeless cases.

But they are not the end of the line--they can be a start of a new life for some individuals. A proper clinic with a dedicated physician can really brighten some dark spots in a suffering soul's body. So if you are hurting, constantly, and have not looked into it, give it a try. I wish I had investigated it sooner. Talk to your doctor and see if a pain clinic could help you live a normal life.

Best wishes to everyone, thank you for your continued reading, support, and kind words. I apologize for my time off, but it was needed.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I Almost Lost It

Hey folks, this will be a personal one tonight. Please understand it might sound emotional and not completely organized. I went to the ER this weekend and am still very sore and tired.


This weekend was pretty scary. I have been in mounting pain for about two months now, and I reached a breaking point this weekend where I could not even walk. I have been trying to get into a pain management clinic, but I am in an area where no one really seems to recognize the serious pain that endometriosis causes. I am in a smaller town and, unlike Portland (where I was constantly referred to pain clinics), no one here seems to understand why I am even calling them. I have been bounced from doctor to doctor, with some not even examining me before passing me on. Rather than dealing with my pain, I was forced to shove it in a box and pretend it was not so bad. And then that box exploded.

And something really bad happened. In meandering manner, I need to get this across. Because this is serious and needs to change. Because in the weeks I spent searching for a doctor to actually help me, I was driven into a corner. I was in so much pain that I literally did not care if I dropped down dead. I lost my will to keep fighting. I was not sad or depressed. My physical pain simply overwhelmed me so completely that I wished that I was dead. An otherwise completely happy and content, bright, and loved 24 year old, was wishing that. I was wishing that my disease would do me the courtesy of just killing me. And the reality that my doctors were okay with letting that sort of mindset happen, terrified me.

I made the level-headed decision--I got help when I knew I was out of my depth. But I also had the money and insurance (and support) to do so. How many people do not have that? What if I had listened to my first doctor and believed that I was not going to get the help I needed? I believe that I am strong, but a never ending battle can really weaken you at times; especially without the medical care and support you need. I was fortunate. My pain was managed when I got to the ER. When the pain settled, I felt terrible for thinking what I had. And I was balling, confessing what I had felt and was asking my significant other for forgiveness for ever thinking such a terrible thing. With my pain subdued, I could hardly believe I felt that way. But I did. And it was a completely unnecessary complication induced by unconcerned doctors.

The doctor I saw in the ER was disgusted when I told her how difficult getting treated had been. I told her everything, including what had lead up to me coming in that night. She gave me enough medicine to get me through at least a week and said to come back if I needed to. Not only that, but she was willing to give me both the stronger stuff for horrible days and the milder/safer stuff that I usually prefer to take. Many doctors do not trust me when I tell them that I want both because I try to minimize how much I take the stronger medications. They treat me like a drug addict looking for a larger haul. I am so relieved and thankful that this doctor was concerned enough to try and help me. I said goodbye to her in tears, and I expressed overwhelming gratitude for having a doctor who actually cared.

The point I'm trying to make is this: I've read stories where women with endometriosis have taken their lives and/or tried to take their lives, because they could no longer handle the physical pain. Chronic pain patients are, by an large, more willing to attempt or commit suicide. And yet many doctors continue to tell patients to 'tough it out'? I had one doctor tell me to just learn to live with my 'woman troubles'. The lack of interest or compassion for the pain I felt was beyond discouraging. And I could not believe the lack of recognition for the intolerable hell this disease can bring on a person.

I am not advocating an un-involved distribution of pain medications. Far from it. I try to avoid narcotics as much as humanly possible. They can be addicting, damage your liver, and cause all sorts of side-effects. But if a patient loses the will to live, stops taking care of themselves or their needs, or commits suicide because s/he can no longer tolerate her or his suffering, you have a problem much worse than drug addiction.

I'm seeing an acupuncturist as soon as possible and am continuing to take my natural pain supplements (i.e., bromelain, curcumin). I try to avoid the heavy stuff as much as possible. But when you are in enough pain to wish you were dead, you have to take care of that pain first and then regroup. I'm regrouping tomorrow and will continue to pursue healthy/safe pain management.

I'm sorry if this post sounds gargled and unprofessional. Like I said--not feeling so well. But I hope the message is clear--doctors need to recognize the kind of pain this disease causes and be more proactive about helping their patients manage it. No one should have to suffer like this.




Note: In case this needs to be made clear--I did not, at any point this weekend, consider taking my life. What happened still scared me; I honestly lost my will to live for a short time. I take something like that very seriously and am ashamed I felt that way. But I would prefer that how I felt be shared and acknowledged, rather than hidden. Because I am sure many of my readers have been in enough pain to lose sight of what's possible. Thank you very much for your support and empathy. Please do not worry over me. I took care of myself and am good (relatively speaking) now.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie Spice Cornbread


                                                                   Pumpkin Pie Spice Cornbread

Ingredients:

2 and a half cups of yellow corn meal

2 cups of whole milk

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1 egg, beaten

Pinch of salt

2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1 teaspoon of ground allspice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F and spray a 9-inch baking dish with your favorite non-stick cooking spray. Make sure you spray the sides, too!

2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add the beaten eggs and the milk; stir until just combined. The batter should be thick, but you should still be able to pour it into the dish; add a little bit more milk if it looks to thick.

3. Pour the batter into your baking dish and place it in the preheated oven; bake for 15-20 minutes. The cornbread is done when it’s firm in the middle, and the sides of the cornbread start to get a little bit crispy.

4. Let it cool for a few minutes before slicing.

5. Enjoy!


Credit Goes to Zachary Rowell, thank you for your submission! 

*note: my camera is non-functioning, so until I get her fixed, no pictures :(. Sorry! 




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gluten Free Recipes

[Note: This post was imported from the original blog this site is based on. It is a personal account of my experience and is not very relevant to the current website. I have kept it out of respect to the journey that led me here.]

So, remember how I wanted to do a new recipe every week? What happened to that? Well, partially I'm disorganized, partially I'm busy, and partially I've been working on some new recipes to post. Finalizing some, researching some, panicking over others. Sometimes I can be a bit protective of my recipes. Remember the old days, when people traded their secret family ingredients and saved their best recipes for themselves? Well, the internet makes that a pretty impractical practice. And yet I still have this fear that if I give up all my secrets, I'll somehow become less of a cook.

I started cooking at age eight. My mother went through a phase where she did not feel like cooking anymore. It ended sometime around... well. Food has always been a passion of mine and cooking was a way to get at all the foods I wanted. There was no 'homemade omelet' option at the grocery store, so I learned how to make them myself. When I went off to college, most my dorm mates were barely making cereal and I was baking cheese cakes, turning out stir-fries, and making from-scratch pasta. I'll never forget when I made my grandmother a pumpkin pie out of pumpkins. I was working at a virology lab and finishing a science degree. And yet all she could say was how lucky my future husband would be because of what a great cook I was--that I would be the perfect homemaker!

Well, BOOM comes endometriosis and IBD. They kicked down the door of my cooking fancies pretty violently. Suddenly not flour, no red meats, no eggs, no dairy--a life of baking was flashing before my eyes. I stopped cooking for months because I was so depressed. All the foods I wanted were now off limits. My cravings were without bounds and I would dream about eating a fresh baguette at least once a week.

Over the past couple years I've been rebuilding my kingdom of recipes and kitchen secrets according to the restrictions of my diet. I'll admit that I still eat dairy and eggs--I could not give them up for long. And the consequences of ingesting those foods were much less severe than my main opponent... that of gluten. Gluten has been a serious problem and, quite honestly, that's unfortunate for a passionate baker. But I've been managing, coping, and learning quite a bit.

So I want to pass on what I've learned. How a passionate cook has managed to revamp her methods to accommodate her restrictions. And, hopefully, by posting the recipes on here, my readers can also dive into cooking foods that they might have seen as off limits. Not to mention the main driving force behind my cooking: shopping for pre-made gluten free foods sucks. They often taste terrible, are overpriced, and come in way too small of portions.

Now, while I'm compiling these recipes and readying to add at least one a week (A new solemn vow I take--every Thursday. Keep an eye out.), I ask that you maybe make a few suggestions of your own. If you have any good gluten free recipes, please email me! I will of course credit you on the recipe page, and link to any sites you have. I'm starting to get a serious flow of visitors to this site every week. So I'm trying my best to make it a good resource. Any help you give me (or any readers) is appreciated. Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful day!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Scar Solution

First, I know it's been quite a while since my last post. My mother was diagnosed with cancer and my overall production slowed to a halt. However, she had her bilateral mastectomy this weekend and I finally feel ready to focus again. Thank you very much for your patience and I hope you enjoy today's post!


This post can apply to anyone. Women with endometriosis will likely especially find it useful, but it is a useful thing for anyone. Useful because, well, everyone has at least one scar. Most people have many. I had too many, and this post is about the scar solution I finally found after years of frustrating let downs.

After several surgeries, my abdomen has become littered with insertion scars, some which are especially knotty and painful. Some formed into hypertrophic scars, which are raised scars within the original boundaries of the injury with increased deposits of collagen, and a few even developed into keloids, which are painful scars that expand past the original boundary with type III collagen being reconstituted with type I collagen. Basically, it is collagen gone wild. Feeling a little shy in a bathing suit was not a huge deal, but the pain and discomfort these scars caused was more than undesirable.

I had tried quite a few common scar treatments, such as a vitamin E and mederma, but they did not help. There was slight improvement with weeks of steady use of mederma, but it would all revert back if I stopped using it for even a week. Not to mention a tube costs about $30, which is a lot of money for something that does not work. Now that I am actually working with homeopathy, I did some research on tissue regeneration and found some interesting results. I wanted to find a scar solution that incorporated what I had found and a co-worker recommended I try a product we sold. I did, and HOLY COW, this stuff really works!

It is called Scar Repair, by Kuumba Made, and I am unbelievable happy for this stuff. I tested the salve out on a particularly large scar from my reconstructive shoulder surgery. The insertion was on my birthmark (a Port Wine Stain or henamgioma birth mark, where the skin is a little different) and it turned into a large keloid. The next day (not week, day), the scar was half the size. I bought the small tub (1 oz) for about five dollars and began using it on my painful abdomen scars. The results have not been quite as dramatic as the effects on my shoulder keloid (as it was not particularly dense collagen, just far expanded), but I have been watching and feeling the scars on my belly slowly shrink and decrease in pain. It actually works.

How does it work? Scar Repair contains a combination of essential oils and herbs that are all known to have various healing aspects and work well together to fix the scarring. For example, one of the ingredients is helichrysum. This herb stimulates tissue regeneration due to its unique di-ketones (a chemical the coaxes the cells into repair). Another key ingredient is yarrow, an herbal astringent, which most effectively helps if used soon after the original injury, greatly reducing later scarring. The remedy also contains chamomile for the inflammation, aloe vera for better absorption, and calendula, an amazingly effective healing herb. There is a lot more about its ingredients on the company's webpage, but I think the product is a little pricey on their site and recommend looking for it locally.

Before I found this product, I was planning on having eventual plastic surgery for my shoulder scar. That's how well this stuff works. I have not recommended a particular product on this site before, but this time it just has to be said! Because I am sure many other people have spent lots of money trying to ease the appearance and physical pain that can come from intense scarring. I'm glad to have finally found a real solution that did not burn a hole in my wallet. Plus, it works on any kind of scarring--acne, chicken pox, skinned knees--all of it!

Thank you for reading and thank you for your patience with me--I look forward to resuming my faithful weekly writing, now that I have a better head on my shoulders. Hope to hear if anyone else gives this great scar solution a try!

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Oregon, United States
Contact me at bedhead@bedriddenhead.com

About The BedRiddenHead

I want to be happy. And this site is about that chance. How to strive to thrive in the body I've got and maybe turn my experiences into something worthwhile.

This site aims to help educate and reach out to people all over that struggle with pain or illness. To try and make something helpful. I work as a medical research writer, my background is in neuropsychology and biology, and I want to share what I learn in a way that is easy to understand. I am not a doctor. I'm definitely not your doctor. I am just some lady who wants to make someone's (anyone's) life a little bit better. Whether you have endometriosis, a chronic injury, a struggling friend, or just want to learn something new, I hope to make a place that has what you are looking for.

Thank you for stopping by, I wish you strength in your health and happiness.