32.

I turned 32 yesterday. Every 6-7 years my birthday falls on Grouper Mole Sunday, which isn’t ideal for getting friends together and not being distracted by TV. So instead, I opted for a night out drinking Saturday night with my friends. We had a good time, and I imbibed liberally, thus leading to Grouper Mole Sunday hangover of death. Even so, we had an awesome time and I again remembered why I only drink like once or twice a year. Oof.

Still no news on the house front. The hubs and I are heading over after work today to walk through it again and take some better pictures. Hopefully we’ll get some news someday, haha. Otherwise we’ll eventually find something else. At least we know the local housing market hasn’t completely bottomed out. The house two doors down from us is currently for sale. It’s a beautiful brick Tudor with the world’s smallest kitchen. They had an open house on Saturday, so we checked it out. Cute place. Too bad it’s about $160k above our price range. And this is why we can’t buy in our neighborhood.

I’ve been having some tummy trouble lately, but I think it’s due to lactose intake. I have been a very bad girl and I’ve been eating as much cheese and other dairy as I’ve wanted. Time to cut that out again. It’s just that I love cheese so much! And sour cream. And butter. Oh for the love of dairy!!

And I got a new betta fish! Well, sort of anyway. I bought him from a breeder in Arkansas and he will be shipped to me this week. I can’t wait to see my new fish friend! I opted to go with a fish from a breeder this time for two main reasons:
1. I would know exactly what I was getting. The fish (theoretically) will be healthier, and the breeder can give me specific info about the fish (how old he is, etc.)
2. I didn’t want to “reward” a big chain pet store for treating their fish poorly by buying another fish from them. On the one hand, I want to rescue every betta from a miserable life inside a small container with dirty, toxic water and no quality of life. On the other hand, buying a fish from one of those places makes me feel like I’m condoning their stocking/selling behavior and I definitely don’t want that. It’s like buying from a puppy mill vs. a reputable breeder (although I’d opt for the shelter every time).

So I went with the breeder. And yes, I paid a bit more, but it’s worth it to me to get a happier, healthier, better-quality fish that will hopefully live a very long time. I’ll post pics as soon as he arrives and gets settled in his new home!

Let me let me update you

Two weeks have gone by since I last posted and I guess I needed the break.

No word on the house yet, to no one’s great surprise.  We know it could be several months until we hear something.  Most of the time it doesn’t bother me to wait it up, but yesterday it really got under my skin that we hadn’t heard anything.  Plus today’s news that the housing market in Seattle may yet fall another 25% before it’s all said and done.  It makes me a little skittish, but again, I’m a total commitment-phobe, so I guess this is to be expected.

I’ve been gluten-free for seven weeks now.  The GI issues have more or less been resolved now, which is awesome.  I’m limiting my dairy intake as well, and I’ve added a pro-biotic supplement to my daily regimen.  Unfortunately my weight has completely ballooned.  I know this is not unexpected, but it’s a bit disheartening.  I also know it means that my body is healing itself and absorbing nutrients, all of which will make me a healthier girl, but it still sucks.  I’ve been waiting for the exhaustion to subside a bit more before I start going to the gym, but since I’m starting to lose hope on that front, I think I’m going to start going to the gym anyway.  Maybe tomorrow.

My little betta fish died last week.  He had been sick for a few weeks.  I had been treating him with broad-spectrum antibiotics, but he wasn’t improving.  Finally, I went for the extreme last-ditch effort to try to drain the fluid from his swollen belly.  Unfortunately he didn’t survive the procedure.

In an effort to figure out what may have killed him, I cleaned his tank and left it running (filter, heater, everything) and tested all its levels this morning.  pH was a smidge high (but not dangerously high), and the ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels were zero.  So the tank is healthy. Whatever killed poor Nagano apparently wasn’t due to my fish-keeping ability, which makes me feel a little bit better.  I miss his little antics next to me at my desk at work.  I’ll probably get a new fish soon… It was nice to have the company in my cube.  Plus his tank just looks so empty and desolate without a little fishy dancing in there.

I’ll try to keep this a bit more updated in the future. Bad me.

Snow Day and other happy things

We’ve got our first snow day of the last 370-something days today in Seattle.  There are about four inches of snow on the ground at my place and it’s still falling at a steady clip.  My work is closed, as are many other businesses.  I’ve got a cup of coffee and purring kitties, so I’m a happy girl.  I, like many other Seattleites, am hoping for another snow day tomorrow.  [[fingers crossed]]

The hubs and I spent the weekend visiting some friends in San Fran, where we were treated to wonderful, clear weather, great food, lots of booze, karaoke, Cards Against Humanity, redwoods, mystery houses and some of the best company around.  We had a great time and I managed to stay gluten-free, although I was very seriously tempted by this amazing-looking dinner roll that came with my meal at Tommy’s Joynt.  In the end, I managed to avoid the bread (thanks for hiding it from me, y’all).

Finally, I’m starting to see some changes for the better.  I added a probiotic supplement to my daily regimen of vitamins and minerals, and have now been gluten-free for over a month.  My GI issues are definitely improving, and overall I feel less tired and run-down, which is awesome.  I’ve also severely limited the amount of dairy I consume and I have been feeling lots better.  I’m still dealing with some issues, but things are definitely improving.

The offer we made on the 1913 Craftsman in West Seattle was accepted by the seller!  Since it’s a short-sale, the whole thing has to go to the bank for approval now, but hope springs eternal, so we’re waiting it out.  We really love the place and we hope the bank agrees to the selling price.

Hopefully this will soon be ours.

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the company of cats, blankets, hot coffee and the hubs. Here’s to a great 2012!

More changes.

As I’ve previously mentioned, I’m growing ever more impatient with my lack of progress toward feeling better.  So I’m taking another step: I’m giving up lactose until further notice.  Today was my first day lactose free and I’m hoping to start seeing a difference within a week or so.

I didn’t eat breakfast this morning (bad, I know), but I ate a bowl of homemade black bean soup (dry black beans, chicken stock, bay leaves, cumin and salt, simmered together for 8-10 hours in ye olde crock pot) and a small fresh side salad.  For snack, I ate some dried cranberries.  After work, I hit up the local grocery store, and recommitted to eating fresh, healthy food.

Dinner was the last of the dolmades I cooked up on Friday (so. good.) and a delightful mixed green salad with carrots and cucumber. 

I also found these effing amazing almond “ice cream” bites.  So yeah, totally got those.  I also picked up lots of fruit, veggies and some soy yogurt.

Tomorrow’s breakfast will be gluten-free oatmeal with brown sugar, cinnamon and pecans, and possibly a banana or an apple. Lunch will be black bean soup and a side salad. Snacks will be soy yogurt and some raw almonds.  Dinner is yet to be determined, but it will definitely involve fresh veggies.  I’m aiming for one-third to one-half of my diet to be raw.

I’ve been really down and frustrated the last week or so.  I know I’ve been cranky, because my body hasn’t been feeling good.  I’ve been letting this get on top of me instead of just freaking handling it.  So tonight, I’m pulling myself back up by the bootstraps and committing to beating this damn thing. 

I will eat the way that my body needs me to eat.  I will be healthy and strong.  I will not dwell on minor setbacks.  Most of all, I will listen to my body and respond to it when it tells me something, instead of trying to dictate to my body and make it do what I think it should do, when I think it should do it. 

And tomorrow, we’re looking at five more houses.  Let’s do this.

24 days and counting

I’ve been gluten-free for 24 days now. I think I expected to be feeling 100% better by now, so not feeling 100% better has been a bit of a disappointment to me. I now realize that expectation was likely unrealistic, but so many people start feeling better immediately! Not me. Lame.

Last week was utterly brutal. I wound up working from home much of last week, as my GI issues were out of control. The weekend brought more of the same, but I am very glad that this week has been much better. I’m still exhausted, but I expect a great deal of the fatigue is actually due to my annoying inability to fall asleep/stay asleep this week. I’m not sure what’s causing it, but it sure is sucky.

Another odd thing is happening. I had read on the interwebz (and was excited) that many Celiacs lose weight upon stopping gluten. Since I’ve gained about 45 pounds in the last decade, I was thrilled to experience this particular side effect. Of course, I also wasn’t a skinny Celiac, so again, my expectations may have been unfair. I’ve actually somehow GAINED weight, which I personally think is a total load of malarkey. I’m eating cleaner and healthier than before, with no fried foods, very little in the way of processed food or sweets and I’m gaining weight. It’s bullshit, and I have no idea how it’s physically possible.

I want to believe all this weight will start to disappear as my intestines heal, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

On the flipside, I’ve been poisoning my body for who-knows-how-many years by feeding it gluten, so I guess it’s asking too much to expect my body to repair itself in a matter of days or weeks. [sigh] I just hate this whole process and wish I could skip to the whole “look how healthy and awesome I am now” part.

I was relieved to get the diagnosis, but I’ve been really bummed out about this for the last several days. I try my best to stay positive and know that things will get better, but some days are harder than others, and maybe I don’t want to be strong all the time. Celiac sucks.

Agony, misery, woe

Oh it’s different for each.

I fell in love with a 1928 brick Tudor. She was a grand dame and I wanted to bring her back to her full glory. The moment I set foot inside that house, I knew I was home. I was unabashedly in love. I could see the myriad problems, the dollar signs piling up, but I easily looked past all of those things and vowed in my heart to love this house forever and restore her beautifully.

After the husband and I talked it over, we called our Realtor and said, “We want it. Let’s write an offer.” He told us he’d call the listing agent.

An hour later, we got the call: she was under contract. Even as we walked through “our” house that morning, someone else was writing an offer. How could she do this to us?! I was so depressed I couldn’t even look at other houses. None could stack up. Finally, on Tuesday, I was able to lift my eyes to browse other listings. I found one close to our current rental. Not in love, but it’s cute and the price is great, plus we know we love the neighborhood. So I sent it to our Realtor.

Much to my surprise, he called me half an hour later and very seriously asked, “Can you talk right now?” I was a little concerned… were we about to be fired? But no. Our Tudor was under contract, but the listing agent was concerned his buyer might walk. So he called our Realtor and asked if we could put in a back-up offer. YES times a thousand! We took all of 15 minutes to make that decision. The listing agent disclosed a $4000 sewer repair found on inspection. Were we willing to lose our dream house for $4k? No.

Unfortunately, neither were the other buyers. They ultimately went through with the deal and we lost our beautiful Tudor a second time. The heartbreak of this house search better be worth it. I can’t imagine going through this multiple times.

Here we go

So I had my follow-up with the GI doc yesterday. He is a celiac specialist, having studied under Dr. Peter Green at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia. He was young, energetic and deeply committed to treating celiac.

What he told me was that I am on the more severe end of the celiac spectrum and that it’s time for my new life to start. I told him I had stopped eating gluten last week (save for one flub on Sunday that I paid for all. day. yesterday). So I guess it’s on.

Since I’m completely compulsive about things, I know I will get through this with flying colors. The official diagnosis was not unexpected at all, but hearing it in black and white was still a touch overwhelming. Luckily, I have a great support system in place with a wonderful husband, amazing friends, and an incredible family that knows nothing about celiac, but wants to learn.

I feel really grateful to everyone in my life. You guys have been so compassionate and understanding and supportive as I’ve continued to get sicker over the last few months, and all through the trials of getting this diagnosis. And I’m grateful to all the restaurants out there who aren’t going to treat me like a pariah; who will hand me a gluten-free menu with a smile and tell me all about your amazing flourless cake, or your organic gluten-free soy sauce, and who will gently steer me away from that incredible-sounding satay skewer because you’re not certain it’s gluten-free and you don’t want me to get sick. Thank you all for making my life easier.