I cannot believe how neglected my blog has been the last several months, but life has just gotten incredibly crazy--too crazy to keep up with everything, so naturally, my blog was put on the back burner.
But because writing is the way by which I process things, I feel compelled to come back here and sort through the many, many thoughts tumbling around in my mind. And no, this blog won't follow all the marketing rules. I won't be able to give you Top Five lists of anything (except maybe actors who would easily inspire a romance novel's hero...) I won't overhaul the look of my blog (because TIME, duh.) And I might even, at times, pretend there's no one reading at all.
Because, seriously. Is there really?
I'm great with that, because for the first time in my life I can honestly say this blog, in this moment, it's all about figuring some stuff out for myself.
I'm starting the journey baffled, confused, frustrated and overwhelmed with absolutely no answers for anyone who might come along side me as a faithful (even fair weather) reader. But if what I discover along the way helps someone, well, that would be great and dandy then too.
I suppose I should start at the beginning.
This past summer. Extremely stressful. (I'm going to write in sentence fragments too because that's how I roll.)
I wasn't eating gluten or sugar and I even managed to give up my beloved Dr. Pepper. We did two summer performing arts camps:
And a show:
And it was all pretty awesome. And pretty exhausting. At the same time, I was working on edits for my new book, Change of Heart which releases in early March.
Side note: Got the ARCs today. Seriously made my week. Aren't they pretty?
A week and a half after our summer show, we had auditions for You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. We had 105 kids come out for it. It was incredible. We cast the show, started rehearsals and we were off. And it didn't take long before my stress level warranted fast food again. By the end of August, I wasn't eating a lot, but I wasn't eating well. I was eating fast.
And all of the sudden, I had the worst, craziest, most severe itching with patches of hives and welts all over my arms, legs, hips and back. I'd show you a photo but I value our friendship. And because it's gross. And every time I've looked up photos of rashes (in an attempt to figure this out) I've closed my laptop a little worse for the wear. (Seriously. There are some nasty photos out there.)
After a couple of weeks, I went to Immediate Care. I was told it was eczema. Not an allergy. Don't take Benadryl. Not going to work. She gave me a topical steroid.
Two weeks later, I went to my doctor (who I love, by the way), and over the next few weeks did two rounds of oral steroids. Pretty soon, the hives had turned in to a rash and my itching had ended in bruising and bleeding all over.
Worse, the itching wasn't getting better. I honestly think itching this severe could be a form of torture. It is absolutely horrible in every single way. My doctor recommended I cut out any foods that could be triggering an allergy so for the last couple of weeks I've been on a modified elimination diet.
That means I don't eat:
- Dairy (with the exception of a little bit of cheese)
- Wheat or gluten
- Food Dyes
- Switched from Coffeemate to Almond Milk Creamer (not the same)
- I even completely gave up coffee for a week.
Which meant I WAS eating:
Nothing. No change.
Part of me thought "I guess I have to figure out how to live with it..." but my husband was not okay with that. At all. I considered an allergist, but we've seen allergists before for my youngest son, and we had better results with a Natruopath, so this morning I spent two hours explaining my entire journey to a local doctor who specializes in Integrative Medicine.
And this is where it gets a little hard for me. Like, cry in the grocery store because I'm so overwhelmed hard. In case you don't know me, let me be the first to tell you that I cannot cook. Like, literally. At all. So when I was told my entire endocrine system is out of balance and it's likely due to stress and anxiety and one of the ways to help is with a true elimination diet the stress and anxiety levels in my system just skyrocketed.
I was also prescribed lots and lots of supplements. (There are FOUR more not pictured here.)
I also had acupuncture. The jury is still out on that one...)
So my meltdown may make me seem like a big old baby, but how do you cook when you can only eat a handful of things?
And how do you learn to effectively combat stress and anxiety when you're prone to both? And you have three kids, a husband, a home, a business and a writing career to maintain? And the lack of food options only increases your stress and anxiety?
So, today is day one. My elimination diet was faulty so here I go, following the doctor's orders... and praying that somewhere along the way I find some relief.