Adventures in Gluten (and Sugar) Freedom from a southern blogger chick!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The winds of change

I've been in a deep meditation over the past three days, trying to figure out my diet life. The fact that there have been gale-force winds all day, well, maybe that's the sign I needed. They are indeed the winds of change here at GFINGF.

No, this isn't about my Oprah-revelation "I'm going on a New Year, New You diet" kinda thing. But I don't know how I'm going to keep blogging about gluten-free cooking with the task before me.

This is about a medical emergency called gastroparesis. It is time for me to heal myself.

Backtrack: I have mentioned a couple of times here lately that I have been diagnosed with gastroparesis by my GI doctor. I have dealt with it for a long time, actually -- since Dr. Catherine Roberts diagnosed it in 2005 or 2006 -- and she said I had that before I decided to become gluten free, to be tested for Celiac, and before I found out about the pernicious anemia thing. ALL those items are chronicled here on this blog. Oh yeah, and the menopause thing after the ovary surgery. Whatever...

But really, after a battery of tests in December, I came to my senses. In fact, I told my sis Susan that things are going to drastically change. I HAVE TO CHANGE MY DIET. That, or as the GI doctor said "You have to treat your stomach as if you've had gastric bypass surgery, except without the benefit of the staples." My stomach does not empty but is massively bloated and distended, and this is because my type II diabetes has destroyed all the nerve endings in it. So I can only eat food that will naturally digest.

I have gastro (stomach) paresis (paralysis).

After 52 years of loving good food, I have to stop eating.

Yeah, you heard me. I have to stop eating.

Now I can no longer have:
Gluten and its derivatives;
Concentrated amounts of sugar, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup;
Lactose (unless I take the Lactase);
Most grains, including the GF grains that I have come to depend on;
Nuts and dried fruits (except peanut butter, in tiny tiny quantities, and not chunky);
Foods high in fiber including dried beans, broccoli, vegetable peels, most fresh fruit with peels and raw veggies in general;
Salads and raw greens of most kinds (and salad dressings, too);
Fried foods (bye bye my one last indulgence -- Micky Ds fries...
High Fat foods;
Chunks of meat, especially beef, including meats with preservatives.

What do the experts expect?

Six small meals a day. Each meal of around six to eight bites of food, unless it's totally liquified, and then, no more than about a cup of liquid at a time. No diet soda or coffee or tea (ok, limited amounts) BUT ONLY after the meal is complete.
Sit up for an hour after I eat, or walk for a half hour, or both. Sleep with my head elevated.
New med in the a.m. to go with the three others I'm already taking.
...and most importantly....
Keep blood sugar as low as possible at all times (which right now is impossible because of another medication I'm having to regulate, but hey, I get it. I'm working on it and testing three times a day.)
And though I lost 10 pounds over the holiday break, you won't notice it -- and I might not lose any more weight, because that's not uncommon with this malady.

For four days, I have carefully counted my food intake and calories and written down every bite of food and how it affected my stomach. My Monday meal of Black Eyed Peas and turkey sausage....oooh groan. I shouldn't have done that. I'm going to keep journaling for a while, to see if I can figure it out.

But here are a couple of things I noticed already:
When my stomach doesn't empty, it doesn't growl. If it doesn't growl, I don't eat. I have gone 24 hours without food several times since Dec. 15. Most people can't imagine going 24 hours without eating, but I do it all the time. And my blood sugar is still elevated because of the fermenting food in my stomach.

Pleasant, isn't it? Well, I'm flummoxed by all of it.

So what is the purpose of this post? I was wondering that myself. Well, I have to take this new lifestyle to work tomorrow. And I don't know what to do.

What is this going to do to this blog? If you'll look at all my last food posts, you'll see that I posted about ham, prime rib, pecan pie, garlic drunk chicken, etc. Most of those foods I ate a small amount of in a one-meal-a-day plan over the holidays. (I'll admit it -- I also had to get some foods out of my system once and for all.)

But what does that mean for this blog? Well, I have other things I need to be doing for a while, and I hope you'll understand.
Do you really want me to blog about my morning power shake of almond milk and sugar free carnation instant breakfast? I didn't think so.

So I don't know what I am going to do for now, but I do know this: I need a little break and the time to figure things out. I need to read, do my research, take my pills, and change my life -- again.

Will you promise you'll check back in a week or so to see what's new? I promise I'll be back with an update on Jan. 15 with an update. But I gotta figure some things out, and I won't, in good spirit, be creating any new recipes right now.

Oh, and keep those emails and prayers and good thoughts a comin'.....I'm trying to keep my New Year's Resolution to be optimistic. And yes, I knew about this when I wrote that, too!

Much love, and thanks for understanding!


Addison's Mommy said...

I applaud you for taking these steps. While reading, I kept thinking "isn't there some type of surgery that will fix this...not being able to eat..."

I am so thankful that you are smart enough to recognize what you have to do to fix yourself. I am surrounded by (mostly) family members belly-aching (no pun intended) about their health issues and not willing to take matters into their own hands. I will be praying for wisdom, acceptance and non-growling stomachs in your immediate future.

And thank the Lord you have excellent doctors to help out along the way : )

Gluti Girl said...

Oh Ginger. With all of my multiple foods allergies, I know how hard of a time I had. I was depressed all fall. It's been really hard. I've not blogged much. So with that, I can really understand this is magnified 50 times worse for you. My heart really aches for you because I can't imagine how difficult this will be.
You know a blog can be more than just recipes. It's support and understanding, friendships, inspiration. Maybe this can be a place for you to write down your feelings, ups and downs, etc. while you are going through this. Somewhere out there it will inspire or help someone else of a similar circumstance and by that get you through it. I think everything we go through in life is to somehow help and pull someone else along. We can help you get through it by knowing what you are going through.

The ultimate goal is to get healthy and you deserve to have a healthy life. After being on this diet, will your body, after a rest, start to get better and return to a more normal place? Hopefully this would not be long term.

Love you, and praying for you.

Antari said...

Gastroparesis is alot of trial and error.. I have had it since 2001 from Diabetes as well. had to have a jtube in order to get enough nutrients in the beginning went from about two hundred lbs to 130 before they figured it out. Have the gastric stimulator/pacemaker now and it has helped and I have regained what I lost. it is a battle everyday. some good some bad days.. always watching what I eat for the diabetes and gastroparesis. it is not fun sometimes. Take care.. Chuck in Jasper, Ga.

a kelly said...

Oh dear sorry to read of your struggles with food and health. I'm keeping you in prayer and will continue to read and be encouraged and inspired by your blog.
Tonight I was discouraged by my own IBS attack while at work. The words you share will help someone else and we all feel a little less alone in this journey of discovering how to live in peace with food. I thank God for blogs...
You can do this.
All the best

Karen Russell said...

Maybe start a new blog -- "Food Free in Ga. and Fla." -- except that's not funny. :-( Sorry, Ging, this sounds like a confusing and unhappy mess. I hope you and your doctors can get it all sorted out. Keep us updated!

Raven said...

Sis Susan aka Raven here,
Hugs, [[[Gin]]]!
We're pulling for you, darlin'. I just know that with your resolve and determination, you can improve your health. Losing that 10 pounds over the holidays is a good sign. Just take things a day at a time.

Love, prayers and good healing energy vibes from the Goggins.

Kate said...

My Sweet Ginger -
There are so many thoughts that I have running through my head about this post that I don't know where to begin. So, I will start at the easiest place.

Please keep blogging.
You're light, life and laughter are the reasons we come to read. We love you and the amount of love and joy that you spread in the world. Food may have been the impetous of your initial bloggings - but in reality we read it because of YOU. That will always remain the same. And I am sure that there are people in the world who will seek solitude and comfort in your guidance through this latest diagnosis and trial that life has given you.

Love yourself by caring for your body as it needs to be cared for.
I do not pretend to be able to identify with the learning curve that you face or the social-situtaions in which you will be placed that have been forever altered by this. I do, however, honor and love you and the choices you now much make for your own health. What kind of a friend would expect you to anything less? We need you to be healthy in order fo ryou to continue being here as our friend.

And lastly, whatever I can do, I will. That is my promise to you. If it is just my love, energy and support that is carried on the winds to you in GA from WA, so be it. You have it.

We LOVE you, Ginger.

Mary Frances said...

Given that your grocery bill will be decreasing (I would think)maybe you can spring for a juicer. A bought one for my husband for Christmas ($50 on Amazon) and the juice is magnificent. I have never tasted better apple juice. It is so amazing. Maybe that could put a bright spot back in your day?!?
Good luck.

Vittoria said...

Best of luck! You're a strong woman and I know you can do this. As hard as it may seem, you are #1 in your life, and if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else either. You might consider reading Breaking the Vicious Cycle, it really helped me out. I'm not as restricted as you, but I too eat small frequent meals with no sugars or grains. I'm here if you need a shoulder, or whatever.

David Castle said...

Ginger - You can count on our prayers from Steve and I here in CO... and, it's clear you have lots to share, so you bet I'll be back to see what you'll be posting about in the near future!
David (the Artist)

cgharv said...

Wow! I cant imagine what you must be going through right now, but Im sending prayers your way. Stay strong and keep us posted every step of the way!

Gluten free Kay said...

Hey Ginger, we're friends now! I'll want updates on how you are doing! And I'm sure you'll have to poke fun at some tv foodie soon.

My friend had gastric bypass surgery. She said using 2- and 4-ounce plastic condiment containers (with lids) made her life lots easier.

It's not easy and it's not fair. But I know you can do it! Let me know how I can help.

jacobithegreat said...

You GO girl. You can do it, and I hope you get to feeling better soon.

celticjig said...

From one Ginger to another, I know you will weather this and become even stronger as Ginger's have a bit of pluck in them. You must keep blogging as this is your community of love and support! We want to know about you, not just what you might be cooking! To that end, I noticed vodka was not on the list, shall I send you a bottle of vodka to use with your juice? It might help for the first week, once you are back from work.... Ginger of the very snowy North.