great deal on Ascenta NutraSea HP High-EPA Omega-3

here’s my PSA for the year! I just came across a new online health store this morning (yay) and right now it’s 30% off their entire store!! type in FEST30 at checkout. (not sure how long the deal will be on, but my guess it won’t be long) … Continue reading “great deal on Ascenta NutraSea HP High-EPA Omega-3”

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another bad flare-up. ulcerative colitis.

today I am finally able to reflect on what has happened in the last 4 weeks and I’m putting my thoughts in to words. up until now I couldn’t bring myself to write since my last ‘to be continued post‘. I kept putting it off cause my mind was so full. of everything. full of to-dos, and planning, and dreams, and ambitions, and cloudy judgements, and failure, and unachieved goals, and physical + mental stress and illness. full of gratitude. full of worry and challenges. anxiety. full of THOUGHTS. my mind is always full of thoughts. usually mostly positive ones! but this time, this round in this game of life, has been a little more challenging.

about 3 weeks ago I had an appointment to see my naturopath – it was supposed to be a quick appointment to go pick up a homeopathic treatment to get myself off the birth control pill, because apparently it’s a really bad to be on. and I’ve been on it for 12 years. and I’ve had colitis for almost 12 years…hmm. (I went on the pill for excruciating cramping pains)
interesting enough is every time I go in to a flare it’s right before my woman cycle starts. (more on that later.. I’m pretty sure there’s a theory there).
so this 15 minute appointment turned in to a 2 hour therapy session. everything that’s been weighing on my mind and heart, the emotional stress that I apparently had bottled up, all unloaded on to my poor doctor.  I guess I was just mentally and physically exhausted from all the illness that seemed to be ongoing – flare numero uno started on Feb 14 and lasted for my entire vacation. then after my flare was done, my body was weak and  I caught a wicked flu/cold that lasted for almost 3 weeks (who knows, maybe I picked up a bad bacteria that took residence in my gut). then after that I got a ridiculous cold sore. after the cold sore was healed, my tummy started bloating up really big (which hasn’t been an issues since the first 5 years of having colitis) and I was getting a pain in my lower abdomen when I had to go pee.
my body was exhausted. and my immune system took a hike and left me for the wolves.

so bring on another flare, why not?

and it’s bad this time. I can’t remember a time where I’ve ever had two flares back to back. except way back when – those were the days that the flares never actually stopped. those were the days of prednisone. this is my grade 12 grad photo. that I never ordered.

prednisone-face

speaking of prednisone. for those following the blog, remember back in March when I became desperate to have a half-decent vacation and I took prednisone to get out of my flare? well, yesterday I went for an MRI of the brain as part of an IBD research study. When I got there I had to sign some waivers and go through some prep checklists. one of the questions was – have you been on any steroids in the last 4 months? ah, YEAH. good ole pal, prednisone. so she said, sorry, we’re going to have to cancel and reschedule your MRI.
for the life of me I CANNOT UNDERSTAND why these questions were not asked prior to me making a special trip down to the hospital? especially in my condition! I asked her why it mattered if I had been on prednisone. and the answer is because it F*’s up my brain. in a nutshell : )
seriously though. the prednisone messes with the chemicals and the hormones in the brain.
and now I am quickly reminded how important the mind and body connection is. (and going a little easier on myself for the emotional mess I was in last month)

anyway, every flare is bad, but this one is bad bad. bad like they used to be 10 years ago. it started at the end of April and it came out of nowhere. or so I thought. my first mistake this time around was pretending like it wasn’t happening. I was in mega denial that it was happening again. ESPECIALLY because last year I went almost an entire year in remission and now this year I’ve had TWO flares already? and only a month apart? WTH.
(so yes, I was in denial.)
At the very first sign of a flare I have to reeeeallly tighten up my diet. and that means NO COFFEE. and I love my coffee so that’s a really painful one. and it also means no roughage – no nuts or seeds, raw veggies, anything that is hard/crunchy etc.  it also means, no cheat foods – when I was in remission last year I was able to have the foods/drinks that I should be staying away from or at least be eating in moderation…  dairy, gluten, potatoes, popcorn, alcohol + more. anyway, the flare started and I continued to have my coffee like a moron. 4 days later I accepted what was happening and said my goodbyes to Joe. I started pureeing all my food to give my intestines a break – when I go in to a flare-up my intestines are raw and full of open bleeding sores. so yeah, liquid food, not so fun, but is a must. a week in to the flare and only eating ‘liquid’, I was getting worse. so the liquid diet thing must not be helping then, right? WHO KNOWS. but I convinced myself that it wasn’t and went back to eating more solid (but soft) foods. by the start of last week I was falling a part in every way. I was going running to the washroom 20 + times a day, my brain started working weird, and I was still trying to go to work. which I know wasn’t a good thing – I was overdoing it but we had an event coming up that I thought was more important than my health? or something stupid like that. STEP ONE in curing any illness is REST. so I came to my senses and now I’ve been off work since last Wednesday (missed the event and all that insignificant stuff.. in the big scheme of things) and I’ve been getting lots of rest which in itself has been very beneficial. when I’m in a flare as bad as this one, a simple glass of water will make me sick. every time I leave the washroom, I only have enough energy to go lay my head back down. when I saw my naturopath last week he said I was on the way to anemia from all the blood I was losing (remember I go in to flares also when my cycle starts. yes, FUN TIMES) so he gave me a B12 shot which gave me my energy back for about 2 hours. I really should have gone for blood work because my iron was probably for sure low. I’ve just been so sick of so many dr. appointments. all I wanted was to lay on the couch and get lost in someone else’s world on tv. my brain was paralyzed. a glass of water was enough to make me run to the washroom. and after running to the washroom 20 + time I’m pretty much just passing blood and rubbing my tummy over and over praying for the pain to stop. sorry for the TMI (too much info) but I have to be careful not to sugarcoat this disease. a really big struggle of mine is dealing with an invisible disease. when people say to me, oh you don’t look sick, that hurts. a lot. and this disease is a tough one to talk about. but after 11 years I’ve finally found the courage. I will try to be the voice for so many who can’t speak about it. you are not alone.

The major game changer for me in healing this particular flare has been a very very powerful probiotic I started last Tuesday. I’ve known about it for quite some time now but never tried it before because it’s expensive. and it’s not covered by insurance. It’s called VSL#3 and the pharmacy orders it in. It’s $114 for 30 packets. I would recommend it to anyone suffering with gut problems. If you can afford it, it’s worth the try! (even if you can’t afford it) There are a lot of testimonials out there  –  it’s even being used for Autism and some have noticed a significant difference  (which also includes being on a specific diet. I believe that is true with any disease, but I digress.)
so I started with 1 pack per day but quickly upped it to 1 1/2 packs a day because of how much of a positive difference it was making in my gut. it only took two days of being on this stuff  that I started to noticed an incredible difference. Today I’ve been on it for 1 week and am going to start taking 2 packs per day to try and get me out of this flare quicker.  I was taking one before bed and FINALLY started sleeping through the night. so now I’m also going take one first thing when I wake up.

colitis-flare-remedies
my ‘healers’ for ulcerative colitis flare-up: cognitive behaviour therapy (don’t STRESS), sweet snuggles, and VSL#3!!!

the two very big changes I had made to my diet a year ago was eliminating gluten and adding bone broth bone broth bone broth. this is what I believe played a big part in keeping me in remission for that entire year. (exercise and stress management are two other key components). What took me out of remission (and lead me to the flare in Feb… the flare that just keeps on givin’) was chronic stress [about something specific] and not following my diet. I had two alcohol ‘binges’ 13 days apart. SO ridciulous of me. but heck did we have fun! ;-) (not so worth it now)

I’ve been on asacol for 11 years. (and that scares the shit out of me – LOL no pun intended) this is a drug used for maintenance and for flare-ups. so when I’m in remission I take 3 800 mg pills per day. when I have a flare-up I take 6 of these pills. this medication is specifically designed to only ‘open’ when it reaches the intestine. and yesterday I found 3 unopened/undigested pills in the toilet. so yeah. my digestive system is still broken.

so the mayhem continues. it (this disease) actually all started to worsen around the time I started this blog. which is kind of ironic because one of the reasons I started this blog was because of how well I was doing with my colitis. and wanted to help others. funny, I want to help others and I can’t even help myself.
that’s not true. but sometimes it’s easy to believe.

aside from being a little broken [physically] at the moment, I am happy to report that my sweet friend sorrow has left me. which is a perfect sign that I am slowly healing. (they say the gut is our second brain. and these IBD research studies I’m involved in are studying the brain. I am VERY happy that is being studied ) I am also so so thankful for all the support I have from my family, friends, and colleagues. impromptu visits with Kate and my Mase man <3, my (better be future) sis-in-law did my grocery shopping for me last week. bless her. my boss and colleagues are so caring and understanding – they’ve got my back and have been stepping in for me. what a great team. a very sweet lady I’ve only met once, texted me her work schedule and said to call her for whatever I need (SO so kind). my residential design instructor is an angel and has been so accommodating with all the classes I’ve been missing.  my mom, my hero. she is still taking care of me like she did when I was a child. except now she has two kitchens to clean! ha ha. messages from friends and fam checking in on me. it all means SO MUCH to me and I THANK YOU.

as long as we have love in this world, everything will be okay.

-always with a grateful heart,

j

 

home sweet home. and holy, life is full.

mother-nature-confused

well here I am peeps. finally.  [just read kate’s reply post. tee hee. she makes me smile.]

it’s Easter Monday and I am thankful for having the day off work. well, ‘work work’.. the work that pays my bills. I am also on a three-week break from the interior design and decorating program i’m enrolled in. i’ve been working towards this certificate, part-time, since sept 2013. I have one more class to go and i’m GRADUATED this june. which feels very cool.

[in 2011 my first-love aka #illinoisboy and I bought an older home (from my dad..he’s a flipper-upper) – I think it was built in the 1930s – and we tackled a lot of cool reno projects to make it a really perfect place. I say ‘we’ but he did all the work while I told him how to do it  I wanted it ;-) !except! .painting. I did/do all the painting. and it’s never ending. anyway, there’s always still ‘the next project’, so for the last couple years i’ve been able to count on my dad and brother to help me with the latest. i’d really love to share all the before and after pics with you all some day. more about the design part of my life, later.]

okay, so thinking about my post before the last one, takes me back to my new favourite state >> !!hello AriZonA!!<<
the night I wrote the ‘colitis sidelined me’ post was the eve of a really cool day to come. some really awesome peeps from home//Winnipeg// were actually in Arizona at the same time as me, little did I know, so I was surprise+excited when they messaged me the night before to see if I wanted to go for lunch. and that they would pick me up ON.THEIR.MOTORCYLES. (!!!!!!!!!!). this was SUPER cool and I was bleepin’ excited. i’ve always wondered when I would get to go on my first motorcycle ride in this lifetime of mine. (!!!!!) and to top it off, we rode through the mountains. (!!) don’t think I could top that as a first ride.

mesa-fun-for-colitis-girl

later that afternoon/evening it was back to the mountains!!  I got to go 4x4ing with my local bestie. in her Jeep. what a freakin blast we had.  [all the bouncing around did make my #colitistummy upset at times tho.]

the next day was home time. sad face. and thank goodness my mom taught me how to pack. when I first piled up all my crap I wondered if I had maybe done a little too much shopping?!? I honestly didn’t think I was gonna be able to take all of it home. shockingly I made it work. roll your clothes my friends, roll roll roll. I even had an extra 4 pairs of shoes and my larger toiletry bag to add to the mix.

roll-n-pack

my first week back home was busy with work and fun and schoolwork. on vacay I missed 3 classes and I was a little worried. my final project was due only 4 days after I got home. stupid planning on my part. yes. but i’m pretty happy with the project results.

I did have to forfeit one day of #projecttime for a family affair [which is always at the top of my priority list anyway. (spending time with family)] kate’s sis-in-law had her Young Living launch. I hadn’t heard of Young Living before… it’s an essential oil company. kate and I got excited and both bought the premier starter kit which includes 11 different pure essential oils and the diffuser. one thing I did not know about essential oils is that they are not regulated in the US and Canada. so an oil we buy from the health store, or wherever, can be labeled as a pure oil but that may not actually be true or at least we don’t know how concentrated it is. it could be diluted. Young Living has a seed-to-seal promise – their oils are as potent and pure as they can come. I was really impressed and even more so when they finally got delivered last week – I’ve been putting them to the test for all kinds of things. and katelyn, you are going to be super excited about one of them. think: answer to your question. [!!!!]

well, it’s lunch time as I write this is so I think I’ll share what i’m having cause it’s one of my favourite dishes. it’s so good.
organic quinoa on a bed of organic spinach with avocado and cucumbers. after the quinoa is cooked I sprinkle on pink himalayan salt (healthiest kind of salt), extra virgin olive oil, and freshly squeezed lemon.
quinoa-salad-high-alkaline
it has been one of my favs since kate introduced it to me – they make a similar quinoa salad at her restaurant. if I hadn’t just come out of a flare-up, i’d have a ‘cheat’ and add feta goat cheese… YUM. and it’s in my fridge too so it’s stupid tempting. adding the goat cheese would also kill the alkaline boost I’m getting right now from everything that’s in it. come to think of it, I was eating this salad with the goat cheese and hard boiled eggs (both mega acidity) a lot before I wound up in this last flare [I am still weaning off from stupid prednisone. down to 5mg today. woo hoo.] and dairy is usually a big no-no for peeps with digestive issues and for sure for my loves with an inflammatory bowel disease. mind you. i’d argue that diary is good for no one. but I’m not looking to piss anyone off so i’ll stay away from that one, ha ha.

since we’re on the topic of food [one of my colitis ‘cures’], the first thing I had to do when I got back from Mesa was whip up another batch of bone broth. and i’ve already cooked my second batch.. it finished this morning. actually it’s on my counter waiting to be strained so i’m going to do that right now..it’s been sitting for too long.

../…/…/…/

bone broth has been a new staple in my diet for the last 13 months. I have it every day. I have so much to say about bone broth that it will take a separate post. but for now, in a nutshell, it’s a miracle worker. bone broth heals leaky gut. what is leaky gut? I learned about leaky gut and bone broth from my new naturopath. [up until last year I hadn’t seen a naturopath since I think 2006. the onset of colitis for me, with bad bad symptoms, was in 2004 – the beginning of the suffering part of my life. little did I know that I would not always suffer from ulcerative colitis. and the naturopath was the one who helped me get out of my very first flare.]
so leaky gut. this happens when the lining of our digestive track gets damaged and toxins leak in to our bloodstream. I’ll explain…
we all have tiny tiny holes in the lining of our intestines. like a net. that’s how we get nutrients into our bloodstream. it’s like our body’s filtration system. over time this filtration system (that’s supposed to let the good stuff in, and keep the bad stuff out) can get damaged from all the the crap we eat and the poison we put into our bodies. > . > unnatural lab-created fake and processed foods, full of chemicals and additives. artificial sweeteners. pesticides, preservatives. gluten. prescription drugs. !!antibiotics!!! alcohol + more. so damage happens and now these tiny holes are too big and nows toxins and undigested food particles can escape in to the bloodstream and wreak havoc. our immune system reacts. it starts attacking our good cells. our bodies are engulfed with inflammation.

anyway, here’s the ‘in a nut shell’ >>  bone broth helps to heal leaky gut << AND. leaky gut is not just a colitis thing. it could be the root of other digestive issues and autoimmune diseases. I encourage you to go visit our friend google.

my first week back to work after my holiday was tough. daylight savings kicked my butt. I wasn’t quite out out of the woods with my flare and making sure I was getting adequate REST was (and is) still a priority. rest, when I am not well, is crucial. actually. rest is important all the time to help avoid being ‘not well’ in the first place. and that goes for all humans.

with being on the prednisone, my sleep pattern was a little messed up. so add the hour timezone difference plus the hour we lost from daylight savings (which of course happened the moment I stepped off the plane). it took me a full week to be able to get back to my regular routine without doing any damage.

it has been go-go-go since the first day I got home….. [and I love it but i’m needing a week now of just vegging now.]

after all the project cramming was done, first thing was first: Costco. and the Ninja!! I ruined my sissy NutriBullet 600 (which was a decent blender for my smoothies. but i filled it one too many times passed the MAX line and now it smells like fire). So now I have the Ninja which has double the power of the NutriBullet. and I got the deluxe set which includes the food processor as well.

what else did I get up to..

>>> I went to check in with my naturopath (hadn’t seen him for a year). I did a little bragging about how I made it *almost* a full year in remission [for the first time ever!]. he was proud of me.

>>> went for a massage // and I should also be getting my butt to my chiropractor to get a good tune-up. my spine deserves better.

>>> finally mastered making a loaf of gluten free bread. third time’s a charm. but also bombed a pan of gluten free biscuits -the tallow from the bone broth *in theory* was a good idea as a substitute for shortening. however, the taste was not good. at all. I threw all 12 biscuits out. had I’d been making a meat pie tho.. it probably would have worked well.
[side note I learned about fat: lard is not the word for ‘fat’ from meat in general. lard means the fat from pork. whereas tallow is the fat from beef.]

>>> mom, my aunty (kate’s mom/my other mom/my mom’s twin) and me hit up the parade of homes. it’s our semi-annual thing we do. we go in the spring and in the fall. and we can’t. get. enough. and now i’m in love with the idea of getting a new couch. when we bought our house it came with fairly decent leather couches. I didn’t love them cause they’re not my style but I would have felt guilty getting rid of something that I should be grateful for having… I saved money not needing to buy new couches when we moved in.   anyway. let’s just say I settled. but now it’s been four years. soooooo…

oh and I guess another big reason I kept them is because they had to come in through the front window. so to get them out… yep. thru my front 5′ x 4′ picture window. so if I want them gone, the window has to come out. my dad says it’s a 4 beer job for him and my brother. sounds like a plan to me!

>>> I made some more of my homemade body butter – can’t wait to use my new oils next time.

>>> family dinners, my niece’s first birthday party, Easter festivities

>>> then a small group of us went to my brother’s friend’s wedding social. goodness I hadn’t been to one in quite some time. I LOVE wedding socials so I was excited to go.
for those of our followers from different places / other countries (#supercool btw), you may not know what a wedding social is, so here goes:
we here in Manitoba (it’s not a Canadian thing either)  have a party – usually hosted in a community centre – to raise money to offset some costs of our wedding. the wedding party is hugely involved in the planning of the event and selling of tickets, which are typically $10 each. money is raised by ticket sales, alcohol sales, 50/50 draw and silent auction sales. you can end up raising a shit ton of cash – i’d say under or above 10K – all depends on the venue capacity, how awesome your peeps are at ticket sales, how great your silent auction prizes are and the time of year / date you pick (you don’t have a wedding social during the summer, because no one will come, because everyone’s at the lake).
it’s like a huge private party with family and friends. and new friends. and cheap drinks, sometimes really awesome prizes, good music, lots of fun dancing (obviously), late night ‘social food’ + more. anyway, #colitisgirl still can’t have alcohol so I was the designated driver for the evening. story of my life. *buuut* guess what? fun can still ensue ;-) …  like two-stepping with my brother!!

wedding-social-two-step
moments like this is what life is all about.

the next day spring cleaning happened and I purged (woo hoo) stuff that i’m proud of myself for getting rid of. that i was just holding on to. for no reason. cause I’m a hoarder. ha. not. though #illinoisboy and my mother would say that about me.
the thing is, I LOVE thrift shopping and garage-sale-ing. and I find a lot of good deals. and a lot of vintage and old which I love. and I’m a DIY-er. so sometimes the things I collect for future projects get mistaken for stuff that is useless and will just collect dust. but this is just not so :)

what else…

CAA got to know me well this past week. (booooo cause that means vehicle troubles). thank goodness I decided to sign-up with them – only just in January too.
so I still drive the same truck I’ve had since I was 17 years old. and it’s been really really good to me. but, be careful what you wish for, jenna. or what you say around your vehicle. cause apparently they have ears and feelings…
after our jeeping escapades in the mountains, I was HOOKED and in love and decided I was getting a jeep. and for the first week back home, that’s all I talked about. that I was getting a jeep. thankfully the practical part of my brain talked myself out of it cause I can’t comfortably afford a car payment right now.
and then…

my truck broke down.

ha. which happened probably only within 12 hours of me deciding that I should be very grateful to still have a great vehicle that’s paid for. lol. shit balls. I totally jinxed myself. or my truck heard me talk about getting a jeep and thought I deserved a lesson!
I called CAA and got it towed to my cousin-in-law’s shop and he took good care of us (me and black beauty and my wallet). I had to get a new fuel pump.
when I called CAA I learned that the 4 service calls I can make within the year are for ANY service. here I thought I was limited on how many times I could get a tow. both my vehicle and my moms vehicle are old and tows are expensive so I was so excited to learn that I could get 4 tows if I needed!! right then and there I decided that I would never call CAA for something petty. like a flat. cause that’s what brothers are for. [actually baby bro did teach me how to change a flat. good little brother he is. but i’d still call him anyway]
and then ONLY 4 days later it’s Easter Sunday. we go to church, I’m driving us in moms car. church is awesome. we get back to the car. doors are locked and bleepin fricken bleep bleep keys are still in the ignition!!!!
cause I am a doorknob :)
my first thought out loud was, HECK if I’m wasting a CAA call only for them to come unlock the bloody door!!! and then we just started to laugh.
OMGoodness.
but we really had no choice but to call. Easter Brunch with our family + kate’s fam was at my moms place in 30 mins.
boy did we LAUGH. mainly about the irony. and my stupidity of course. and then we laughed some more when the biggest CAA truck in the city showed up. a flatbed semi. to unlock a door. ha ha.
so awesome. and more laughs.

…….
…..

okay well it’s no longer Easter Monday. I had a feeling my brain would get distracted. in the midst of this post I went to Design Manitoba to look at a sectional that i’m in love with. then all of a sudden today’s Friday.

where did this week go? I spent most of it fighting a wicked bug, probably the flu. and I say fighting because I’m taking it’s ass down. I will share how I did it, next time. [providing I don’t die from it this weekend]. it involves my new concoction I made up in Mesa. and now I call it my mesa concoction. it also involves my new oils that I forgot I had. and maybe some silver. and i don’t get the flu shot either. I’m one of those people, yes. and because I have colitis i’m in the ‘high risk’ category and according to the experts I should be getting the flu shot. but I believe otherwise. I also don’t do antibiotics. since almost forever.

on Tuesday my very own vitamin dispensary showed up. backstory: I wouldn’t shut up about my ‘happy pill’ that I’m obsessed with, so a couple friends [and mom and bro] are like, alright, alright, just order me some already, jenna. he he he. success.
its an advanced B complex and it is magical.
i’ve never ordered from the Canadian Vitamin Shop before but they are cheaper than where I used to get them. and shipping was free (if you spend $70) and super fast. I got this nice note too. I will be shopping there again.
vitamin-b-happy-pill

tomorrow my mom and I are going to the Winnipeg Home and Garden Show. I love learning about new products and getting design ideas and inspiration. not going to lie tho, I am MOST EXCITED to see Jillian Harris from Love It or List It Vancouver. Todd’s pretty cool too I guess. [her counterpart].

kay, psych. it’s not Friday anymore.

*>!*poof*!<*  it’s Monday. and now I can tell you how much more I LOVE Jillian Harris. small #girlcrush going on over here. haha. but she is seriously probably my most favourite tv personality. i’ve always been a big fan of hers ever since Love It or List It.  her and Todd were so funny. and funny just like they are on tv. makes their show feel that much more authentic and not staged. they are the exact same people in person as they are on tv. unedited realness. their bickering is hilarious. she’s pretty quick and witty. and she has no filter which is awesome. they killed it.
she also has the cutest little baby bump. and a great blog. thanks for being awesome, Jillian Harris.<3
home-and-garden-show-jillian-harris

something we learned today: wrinkle-free fabrics are made with formaldehyde
and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. so yeeaahhhh. how bout that iron?

alright, I think that’s about it for now. three weeks have passed since i’ve return from my mesa vacay and certainly life is full! full of outings and events. full of work. full of learning. full of doing. full of prep and cooking. full of appointments. full of fun. full of family. full of love. full of healing. full of gratitude.

speaking of gratitude. the url for our blog is kinda long and lame. and it will be that way until we decide what we want our domain to be. in the meantime, feel free to use gratefulheart.ca if you talk with someone who you think may be interested in following us.

until next time, loves. xo

tag, you’re it, kate.

-j