Monday, November 3, 2014

Chop Suey

Mix Bakeshop
Soy Decaf Cappuccino
Whiskey Apple something something scone thingy (which was awesome)

Sorry, not a System of a Down reference (sadly).  It's list time!  It's been eventful lately and I couldn't settle on what to write so here we go.

1.  Go fucking vote!  Fuck your fucking cowardly cynicism - even if it is valid and based on reality!  Vote anyway!  You may not change an outcome, but your not-voting definitely will.  It makes you a tool of those who want to see your demographic stay home, who want to you stay disaffected and uninvolved.  People fucking died for this!  They died in the Revolution.  They died in the Civil War.  They were beaten, falsely imprisoned, hanged! - in the decades of Jim Crow and Women's Suffrage!  Show them some fucking respect and get your ass to the poll!

If they give you shit about your address or registration - demand a provisional ballot.  If your employer gives you shit, inform them that it's a protected right that they have to give you time to exercise and retaliation is prosecutable offense.  I don't care what your other reasonable excuses are - they're reasonable, they're valid - now get the fuck out there and vote anyway!

Okay done.

2.  Last night I watched a segment on 60 Minutes where a female reporter was interviewing a fundamentalist British Muslim leader, of some sort or other.  At one point in their discussion he said she should wear the hijab.  She said something to the effect of, "That's ridiculous."  Which is a totally valid reaction that will in no way impact his thinking.  But what would?  That, to me, is the most unsettling question.

I tweeted later (around 2am - so much for getting that extra Daylight Savings hour for sleeping):

There are two ways you can make me wear a hijab: convince me you're right, or use violent manipulation.
Only one might save my soul.

And I could expound on that, but on to...

3.  Henry has a touch of autism.

We finally met with an evaluator from the school district and she said, in her opinion, that is the term that best describes his symptoms right now.  Someday down the road a few years, there may be a more succinct diagnosis, or combination of diagnoses.  That does not mean we should be trying to make his symptoms go away - no parent should hold on to that, to try to refuse to accept what is.  It's not about him being "cured" of autism.  It's just that he's 4 years old.  He has a lot of developing to do, and how we react and guide his behaviors now can greatly impact his mental terrain in the future.  Plus, more distinct behaviors may come to light over time.

One thing I really appreciated her explaining was that the door thing is a soother for him.  When he is generally more anxious - like after starting school, or going way off our really loose schedule - he will gravitate towards opening and closing doors to help him calm down.  Halloween was crazy with the doors, which brings me to...

4.  Halloween!  Oliver was an astronaut and Henry was a rock star.  So, naturally, Oliver wanted to be a rock star astronaut.  We tried to walk in the parade this year since we finally got there in time for the beginning, but it was too much for Oliver.  The parade here in Ashland is crazy and wonderful but just too overwhelming for one tiny toddler.  He loved the trick-or-treating though.  He giggled every time someone put a piece of candy in his bag, because he just could seem to believe this was a legitimate deal.

Mom was a vaguely Steampunk poet again.  My hat was spectacular - a top hat with a crow... wearing a top hat!  Unfortunately, I didn't like any of the pictures of me and I didn't have the same awesome jacket I had last year because I'm still about 25 pounds heavier than last year.  However, I am getting healthier, and that leads me to...

5.  Health update: I am not crazy inflamed woman anymore.  Also, less crazy, too.

I mentioned in my last fibromyalgia blog that I had my CRP levels checked earlier this year and they showed that I was super-inflamed.  Twenty-two point something.  I just had them rechecked, and they are not only under the four-point-whatever maximum, they are loooooow.  Okay, I forget that number, too, but, still - a 20-point drop?  To what do we owe this dramatic change?  Unfortunately, I can't quite say.  Here's a recap of what I've been doing.

So, last year, I weaned Oliver and started taking Prozac (or Faux-zac, as I called it since it was the generic).  Hence, my cool Steampunk jacket not fitting anymore.  But it did basically nothing, so I decided to try a diet change-up and tried to drop almost all animal products from my diet (I like my honey).  Unfortunately, I didn't sit down with a nutritionist first and structure my diet, and that led to my weight going up even more and, when we checked my CRP, mucho inflammation.

The problem was protein, in this case.  I woefully underestimated how much I would need, and I just wasn't getting enough calories during the day.  This brought on intense sugar/carb cravings in a desperate attempt to to catch up - and to make my head feel better.  Craving sweets is craving serotonin, too.  So, as part of my depression and pain treatment, I met up with a dietitian and came up with a 1400 calorie plan.  I struggled with it, especially getting the protein.  I finally was given a number to shoot for: since I was about 180 lbs by that point, I needed about 65 grams per day.  (Oh.)  That number will go down as my weight continues to go down again.

I added eggs back and that helped.  And here's another interesting factor - with the eggs came more salt.  And in my case, that seems to be a good thing.  When I was younger my friends used to joke about getting me a salt-lick.  No one would share my pop corn (and, in fairness, it was a little too much for me, too, sometimes).  But, as un-American as it sounds, I think I've generally been lacking salt throughout my life.  I used to get rid of headaches sometimes by pouring salt on my hand and licking it off.

So there's that.  And considering that I have wonky nerve functions, and that salt is involved somehow or other with the electro-chemical process, I think there may be a legitimate connection to my fibromyalgia and/or depression/anxiety symptoms.  Even if I can't quite explain it all properly.  At any rate, more salt (but not too much) makes me feel noticeably better.  But there's still a lot of other stuff going on.

I also cut my grain intake - particularly processed grains - way, way down.  Half a cup of oatmeal (non-instant) w/my breakfast, and maybe half a cup of rice w/dinner.  Two servings a day - that's it.  And in between... in addition to a mighty big salad for lunch, I have made it a part of our exploding budget to buy a good green powder mix and a good (non-dairy) protein mix, and I use that concoction to knock down my morning pills.

And, oh, pills...

First, we upped the fish oil (3 grams/day), and in addition to some other tweaks, I added GABA, Kava Kava, and turmeric.  I think these last ones have been the final, most important factors in the big turnaround.  GABA is good for anti-anxiety and as a muscle relaxer.  Then I brought in the kava and it has been the Great Mellower.  I am so much better about keeping my cool, and recovering it, with the boys now.  (Be careful with the kava, though, should you decide to give it a try.  There was a great kerfuffle over it about a decade ago.  Just make sure to not take any more than is recommended, and, as always, talk to your doc before taking it.)

The last thing I added was the turmeric.  There has been a lot of research coming out lately about its anti-inflammatory properties.  I used to take a certain brand a while ago (it had ginger in it, as well, which is another known anti-inflamer... that doesn't sound right... any-hoo) and I could tell that it helped bring down my pain a bit.  But I can't get that brand anymore and I don't have as noticeable an effect with the new brands I've tried.  But with the emerging data, it seems like it might be the biggest influence on my 20-point drop.

But I don't know.  We weren't checking my levels all the way through this last six month change-up, so I can't pinpoint one particular cause for the turnaround.  I offer this summary, these clues, because all of these - the diet, the supplements - seemed to have a benefit.  So many of my friends are struggling with pain in one form or another.  These are some clues to what just might help.  Maybe it's all of it together.  I wish I could be more definitive.  I hope some of it helps.

and the shop is closing.  No edits, once again.  Good night, and good luck!

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