Archive for the ‘Lactose Intolerance’ Category

(From someone who worked at St*rbucks.) If you have a milk/dairy allergy AT ALL. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. Drink Pumpkin Spice.

It contains dairy IN the syrup that is used to make the drink. Even if you get it made with soy, you will still be getting doses of dairy in there.

Depending on the severity and intolerance it can and will cause reactions. I found that as a barista I was constantly warning people about the dairy in the product. No one ever seemed to tell them that there was dairy in the mix. More times than I can count I heard people realize that’s why they kept having reactions, or that’s why it made them sick.

People legitimately do not know that pumpkin spice no matter what you do will always contain some amount of dairy.


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I am trying very hard to make updating here a regular part of my schedule. It can be tough to do, especially when there is no real news. After all my GI tests came back negative I was a bit at a loss. In general, I have IBS-D (no big surprise there). I am officially on a lactose-free diet for pretty much ever. It has been an easier transition than I expected, although I really miss cheese. I’m still doing daily probiotics and metamucil and take meds for it three times a day. I’ve figured out a few of my triggers. The next step is working with a nutritionist to establish an adapted FODMAP diet but I’m dragging my feet a bit… I’ve been doing better and I’m a little overwhelmed- I may wait until after the medical study I’m participating in wraps up next week.

The study has been going well, even if I’m struggling to meet my self-established goals. The support structure is a huge help, and having more tools in my treatment repertoire is a good thing. I saw my rheumatologist today and have a script for a new TENS unit (since my old one bit the dust). I’ll be swinging by a medical supply store soon- I don’t use it often, but it is really, really helpful to have when I need it. I have also been reminded how useful icing is. I really don’t like the cold (it makes my everything ache), but it really does help certain kinds of pain. The PT for the study also lined me up with some good exercises for my knee (I twisted it two weeks ago and I’m still getting back up to speed).

I’m still using the FitBit and will write a formal review when the study is over. I haven’t been doing great with tracking my food, but being able to record and evaluate my sleep patterns is really useful (I just have to remember to turn the sleep tracker setting on and off- I sometimes have trouble getting it to switch programs).  I haven’t lost much weight, but I haven’t gained any and can tighten my belt a notch and slip my wedding ring off easily again (when my hands aren’t swollen), which are both welcome progress markers.  :}

Hubby and I talked it over and decided that this isn’t a good time to buy a new house and we’re putting the hunt on hold. I am disappointed but also relieved- we’ll still be buying a house and moving eventually, but the timing just isn’t right at the moment. Hubby and the cats are keeping me sane, and I’m looking forward to the Independence Day weekend (even if I know my sleep will suck thanks to fireworks every night). I am still enjoying learning how to care for my betta fish (named Fish, because, seriously, I can NOT think of a name for him). After a bumpy start he’s doing well and we love giving him bloodworm treats- he’s so FIERCE!

Back to the subject of this post- my doctor is moving to a new location. I really like working with her, but the new office is not at all convenient, so I’ll be staying with my current practice and have been assigned to their new rheumatologist. I’ll really miss working with her and I’m a little sad but completely understand (her new practice will be closer to home for her). Overall, my pain is down and while I’m still frequently tired, I’m not fatigued (which is a huge improvement). My bloodwork still isn’t where we would like it to be, but at this point I’d be going back on oral chemo and I’m really hoping to not do that. I have three months before I meet with the new doc and we’ll she how my rates are then. *fingers crossed*

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I am back from my business trip and generally had a really good time. I was up in the mountains, and despite the altitude (~7,000 feet) I got in a fair amount of walking. And it snowed! I haven’t seen snow is years, so that was a rare treat (even if it meant the trails were too muddy for hiking). I had packed a windbreaker and layers, so other than having to buy a hat I was well-prepared for the weather. I hadn’t, however, taken into account that Utah is officially in the Southwest, and garlic is used to season almost everything.

If you’re new to my blog (and I’ll admit, I don’t talk about it often), but I have a fairly severe allergy to garlic. As in “my-throat-closes-up-and-I-can’t-breathe-carry-two-EpiPens” kind of allergic. I can usually tolerate a little dried garlic if it’s mixed into pre-packaged food (anything with “spices” on the boxes probably has trace garlic in it), as long as I don’t do it too often. The Southwest is pretty blatant about their garlic usage, so it’s easy to identify but hard to avoid. There was a “food allergy buffet” (lots of gluten-free, etc. foods) but 4/5 had garlic in it, and the 5th was pork (no pork or red meat either- sometimes it amazes me that I weigh as much as I do). It’s a rare allergy so I did notify the conference folks ahead of time, but I ended up having a cheese quesadilla and frenched fries that meal.

Speaking of, you know that I’m lactose intolerant, right? Even lactaid can only save me so much. I am currently going completely dairy-free for a few days/weeks until my body settles down.

None of this is really a surprise though- I came prepared with lots of me-friendly snacks and oatmeal so I could make breakfast in my room; every other meal I was able to find good alternatives, and every other single thing about the resort was amazing. They were super-kind about my feather allergy, swapping out my comforter, checking all my pillows and bringing me an extra blanket (which I ended up needing when the snow started!). I did them leave feedback, both good and bad, and especially praising the chef and server who helped with my food issues.

To be honest, I don’t think of my allergies and dietary restrictions as being particularly major or, well, restricting. It was just one of those cases where I’m reminded that I’ve shaped my immediate environs so I don’t need to worry about these things on a regular basis. The joys and tribulations of leaving your comfort-bubble, right?

As for other health stuff, my right hip was pretty bad the whole trip, which was very disappointing. The plane ride out was painful and I never quite 100% recovered from it (maybe just as well I didn’t try hiking after all). I also never managed distilled water for my CPAP and learned that dry air causes things to evaporate faster, so I need to refill more often. I had the usual dry-air problems: dry skin and nosebleeds, but I never needed to use my inhaler which I count as a win! Staying hydrated avoided any altitude sickness headaches as well, so go, me!

You’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about the actual conference so far- this is long enough so I’ll make it a separate post. I also have PICTURES! So I’ll post some of those as well. Stay tuned!

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Hubby surprised me yesterday by bringing home makings for a key lime pie to celebrate Pi day (because we’re geeks like that!). However I made a small error (in addition to forgetting and throwing out the plastic cover that comes with the pie crust- EVERY SINGLE TIME, YO.)

I SAW him unload the ingredients from the grocery bags. I WATCHED him make the filling. And I STILL did not equate the fact that key lime pie is 90% condensed milk and I should really take a lactaid…

It was not a pleasant evening, sadly.

My whole day was a bit off, however. I’ve been bitterly tired, and opted to car pool yesterday, forgetting that I had my endocrinologist appointment in the afternoon. So hubby picked me up at lunch and took me home to get my car. I ended up taking half a day instead of just two hours off work.

In good news, my thyroid is trekking along just fine, and I now only need bloodwork every six months instead of every three- yay! It’s so nice to have one thing stable and under control.

I am still hunting around for GABA based on my therapist’s recommendation- I’ll try a GNC next. Doing some research, it’s really not proven to help anxiety- have you ever used GABA? What did you think? I can’t use St. John’s Wort due to side effects, but I’m not quite ready to jump into a full-on antidepressant (even a mild one). I’ll let you know how it goes.

I really, really, really need as nap. And maybe some quality kitty-cuddle time. I am just a bit sleep-deprived at the moment, yes.

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No, not a political post, sorry for the confusion.  ;}

Actually, I have been somewhat off all day (hence the post title). I stayed up very late (for me at least- 11:30!) and fell into bed pretty wiped out last night. The building inspection went very well, and our mortgage broker offered us a lower interest rate, so it was an exciting and exhausting day. Unfortunately, I did not sleep well- I had very broken sleep with disturbing dreams. I finally gave up trying to rest early this morning. Most of the morning was a wash- playing computer games and listening to Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me on NPR with the hubby.

I did rally at lunch and made a yummy pizza. I washed my hair, got dressed, and opened up the patio so that the cats could enjoy the nice weather. I felt a good bit better and got some little house chores done: washed dishes and put them away, changed the bed linens, worked on laundry, etc. Hubby took over the cat litter for me, just in time for me to be hit with a wave of tired, but still unable to sleep. My insides also decided to tell me that they were very unhappy (sadly, most likely due to the yummy pizza, despite my Lactaid precautions) and I’m basically back down for the count.

BUT- I did get things done today, cuddled with the hubby, and sat out on the patio to read my book and enjoy the lovely weather. There are a lot of other things I would like to have done, but I’m satisfied with my day. Hubby is house-sitting tonight while his parents are in China, so I will make myself something bland for dinner and read a little more, and hopefully go to bed early and get lots of good rest (and keep updating our “house list” as I think of things!).

Image from We Heart It

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Right now, there isn’t a whole lot of it for the usual, obvious reasons, but I’m trying to change that.

After a couple rough weeks and some regression as far as inflammation is concerned, I am reassessing my exercise goals and slowly restarting. Right now, I am doing one hour a week with my trainer doing Qigong for balance and stretching, and light weights to build strength and control. Incredibly, I have started to work with my first kettlebell! It’s only 15 lbs. and the handle is too small for my paws, but it’s more than I ever expected to be working with, so that’s pretty exciting. My trainer is a good friend who recently completed her certification and is focusing on women’s fitness, so this is a learning experience for both of us. The weight training is good for strengthening the muscles around my joints and pain management, and I definitely have more “good days” the weeks when I work out than when I don’t (although that can be hard to remember when I’m exhausted and trying to get on a treadmill). Right now I can only afford one session a week (cost in both money and energy is high) but I always feel better for doing it- I *know* that I’m doing something good for my body.

The other half of my (sparse) exercise regimen is one day of cardio a week. Right now that’s 20+ minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph or higher. Not much, I know, but I was walking 5ks last year and and I want to build back up to that. I know that I need to do more, but I also don’t want to try and do everything at once and hurt myself or burn out, so I am focusing on these two areas for now.

I also need to get back on track with what I eat. In the past I have done Weight Watchers and SparkPeople with varying levels of success. While both programs are excellent for different reasons, between food allergies, high cholesterol, anemia and lactose intolerance, there’s more that I need to track than is included in most online tools. I tried The Hackers Diet recently (being a geek by nature and trade) but have to confess that I have fallen off updating my spreadsheets. I will get back to this in the near future, but for now I’m focusing on small steps starting with tracking how many servings of water I have every day on a calendar and my daily weight each morning. Keeping hydrated helps with my inflammation and joint pain, and it’s an easy change to get back into. Once it becomes a habit again then I’ll make further changes.

Ideally I’d like to add a second cardio session and an hour of yoga into my week, plus track food again. It’s amazing how easily a few bad days (or a couple holidays) can derail a maintenance schedule. I still have that early morning hour that looks like it would be great for yoga, but I’m still slowly adjusting to staying awake at that time rather than crawling back into bed.  I am sitting on my exercise ball again in the mornings, which is good for my back and provides inadvertant stretching in the morning to help get some of the kinks out. It really makes me realise how much I could be doing and haven’t been- no wonder my weight has gone up.

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And in this case, those “little things” are my vitamins.

I take my vitamins in the middle of the day so they do not counteract the thyroid medication that I take first thing in the morning. I have gotten pretty good about my pill schedule (I take various medications and vitamins four times a day) but every once in a while I forget to refill my pill case. Like this weekend. So I do not have my lunchtime vitamins today.

“How important can some OTC vitamins possibly be?” Well, there’s nothing like not having them to remind me. I take a regular multivitamin, and a calcium+d to help compensate for my lactose intolerance and just generally not getting enough d. (Most doctors recommend extra calcium for women of pretty much all ages.) I take a flax or fish oil caplet to help out my cholesterol, an iron supplement for my anemia, and a b complex which helps with my thyroid dysfunction and general afternoon fatigue. The last two are especially important to my ability to function, and I’m really feeling their lack right now.

I would chalk this up to psychological factors, except it’s happened before when I didn’t realise I had forgotten my vitamins and felt pretty awful; it’s been a bit too regular to just discount. Since I started taking lunchtime vitamins my afternoon fatigue has improved considerably, without resorting to caffeine or sweets to keep me going. Unfortunately, I’m so knackered right now I’m not sure I could even drive home. I’m going to see if I can scrounge a vitamin water to help me get through the end of the day and possible head home early.

And I’ll be sure to fill my pill case.

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