Monday, March 31, 2014

hydro hydro!

The second hydrotherapy session went well! While I don't want to put the cart before the horse, I am hopeful that the detoxing after-math won't flatten me out for a week this go-round. :) 

On a different note, though, Tom has been having a lot of trouble breathing, and we're not sure why. Prayers for wisdom and for the cause to be revealed would be most appreciated. 

Love you all.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

a journal excerpt

Admittedly, after typing it up I realized that the tone of my private thoughts are a little different from my public ones. I believe this stems from vulnerability. In any case, however, this idea has been weighing on my soul for the past two weeks and the past few sermons (on Revelation 3:14-22 and Revelation 4) have helped crystalize my thoughts. The sermons are available through the church website and can be downloaded through iTunes for free. If you haven't heard them already, I strongly recommend that you do.


3/30

"We consider the fact of God's holiness... and yet when discussing sadness or hardship I use language like 'but then God blessed / graced / granted mercy to us with...' when there is a turn, something that moves from sadness to happiness, i.e. 'the good'. God's blessings are not restricted to something that I, in my imperfection and unholiness, see as 'good', as God's blessings can also come through what I might traditionally label as 'the bad'. I am sick, I am miserable almost constantly...and yet, through the circumstances of the past two weeks, I know I am blessed. I am confident of this. 

...


My prayer is this: that my life would be useful; that I would be either hot or cold water; that His perfect, holy plan would be realized through healthiness (and that I would be joyful if He chooses to realize it through continued illness). The sickness in me is fruit of the curse, but the fact that it can be used to the praise of His glory is the fruit of Grace and it is a blessing. The earth and my earthly body therein has been made imperfect through sin, but God is not only perfect, He has not been made. Unlike my own thoughts, which change and develop each day, His perfection and wisdom exist out of the corruption of time---to that I can and must and will submit, every insignificant day. In this I find my significance: worship through beautiful submission.  Regardless of whether I am ill or well, I pray that each day I would be humble in submitting to His will and cast my crown at His feet, over and over. This crown has been given to me by Him by His grace, bought for me by His mercy, brought to me by His love. How can I have anything by confidence in His providence and perfect purpose and pure intention through the course of each day. To that I submit; to that holy God I submit my prayers." 



Now, Lord, I would be Yours alone 
And live so all might see 
The strength to follow Your commands 
Could never come from me 
Oh Father, use my ransomed life 
In any way You choose 
And let my song forever be 
My only boast is You

Hallelujah! All I have is Christ


All I Have Is Christ, from Sovereign Grace







Saturday, March 29, 2014

boop

I've played ping-pong maybe three times in my whole life, but I think it is a good way to understand what has been happening. We (boop!) offer something to my body to see how it will respond. Sometimes it lobbies it back nicely and other times it drops the whole thing and we have to scramble to pick stuff up. For the most part it has just blinked at me whenever I'd send something its way, but it is getting better at responding. Good signs, friends! 

I'll be having another colon hydrotherapy treatment in the next two days (strategically arranged so that I will be able to go to church this week since it will probably leave me flat-out again, although hopefully not for more than a week). Prayers for both the treatment and the recovery would be greatly appreciated. :)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

coconut flour blab

I made a bread-slab, i.e. a blab. A plateau of bread. 

Don't get me wrong; I think it is very tasty. When I decided to make coconut flour bread, I found a few possible recipes before deciding which to execute. The recipe upon which I finally settled contained a photo of fluffy slices. Mine did not fluff. It flatted. Instead of rising, it declared that it was happy with its current occupation and refused to budge. Befuddling, but coconut flour is apparenfly a challenging ingredient to master, so biscotti bread it is until I learn the tricks of the coconut flour trade. 

The thing is...because it did not rise it is crazy dense. So it is surprisingly filling. And, like I said, quite yummy (especially with coconut cream*). 

If you are not able to eat many grains or need to avoid carbs, I highly recommend.




*Coconut cream = plop a can of full-fat organic coconut milk in the fridge before you go to sleep. When you open it in the morning it will be separated. Use the oh-so-magical cream on the top as butter and the watery milk on the bottom in your baking or morning smoothie. 

 http://www.foodista.com/blog/2011/06/08/coconut-flour-flax-bread-for-wheatless-wednesday

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

parsley, cucumber, chicken salad

We love bright, zesty salads. I made this today in order to use some ingredients 
we needed to eat soon (mostly the chicken and parsley), and we both loved 
the outcome. The recipe is pretty chill, so make it based your own jollies.



For chicken:
1 package of organic chicken thighs 
Water 
Red wine 

For dressing:
Balsamic vinaigrette (we make ours with a healthy oil like avocado + 
balsamic + dried onion + apple cider vinegar)
Tahini
Yogurt (we love unsweetened coconut yogurt)

For veggies:
2 telegraph cucumbers 
1/2 purple onion
1 bunch of organic parsley

Chicken: Start the chicken first, so that it is ready by the time everything 
else is finished. 
Boil in enough water to almost cover it and then add red wine cover (plus a 
little to account for the boil off). When it is cooked, scoop it out and set it aside. 

(Side note: the leftover liquid is perfect for boiling pasta -- delicious). 

Dressing: After setting the chicken to boil... 
In the bottom of the bowl in which you intend to serve it... Mix a scoop of tahini, 
a spoonful of yogurt, and about 1/2 cup of balsamic vinaigrette (do it to your own 
taste). It doesn't mix well on top of veggies, so... 

Veggies: Dice everything -- the cucumber, the onion, and the parsley (if you're a 
first-time parsley eater, consider mincing it finely so that it is well-distributed). 
Plop into the bowl containing that killer dressing you just made, and mix.

To finish: dice the chicken and add it to the salad. 

Boom. So good you won't even realize it is healthy. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

normal

For obvious reasons, I bring my own meals whenever I go somewhere, although that has really just been my family's house so far (but small group tomorrow, whoop whoop!). Today we celebrated Suzannah's birthday at their house, and yesterday we visited them after church. Monday is pasta night, so she requested alfredo (noone with all their marbles in place would pass an opportunity to pasta). Pasta and salad was a good choice, Suz. :) 

In order to join them I brought some Amy's Mac and Cheese (still mastering the whole vegan cheese thing myself). I didn't expect anything, but my family (especially my mom) totally floored me. They had made a safe salad for me. Well, had made a safe salad again, as they had literally just made me one the day before so I could join them for the Sunday salad. 

Being loved in this way is so incredibly wonderful, not because the food is delicious (which it is) or because I am depressed about being so high-maintenance (which I am not), but because (a) makes me feel normal and less like an on-going experiment, and (b)it is a tangible demonstration of their love and support. That's all I really need (well, since I can poop now). Their tangible love is a reflection of Christ's love, and that is truly all that I need. 



Not to be all cheesy segue, but... Speaking of reflecting Christ's magnificent love, Tom has been so patient. I cannot even begin to list out the ways he has been benevolent and kind. Well, I could, it would just be an obscenely long list. He is a trooper in every way possible. Tom has the best butt and is the best husband. A winning combination. I pray my sisters find husbands as godly and selfless as Tom. 

All that to say... My normal has been fluid. The days are long but the time elapsed is short, so while it feels like it has been an age since diagnosis and treatment began, it has really only been about a month. Things like salad from my caring family added to a patient husband and God's grace make this new normal simply that -- new. Not bad, just new. :) 

Love to you all and cheers to another week. 



Monday, March 24, 2014

symptoms #4

Italics = it's improved. A lot more improvements and no areas that have gotten worse! 

Chronic fatigue from morning to early evening
On/off nausea (it's returned)
Serious brain fog
Back pain
Neck pain
Stomach pain
Chronic constipation (we shall see, but right now it looks like it may even be gone!)
 Bloated / swollen: face, neck, tummy

Eczema: 
- L, R ears
- forehead
- L, R cheeks
- L, R eyelids
- under the chin
- L, R jawbone
- L, R, F, B of neck
- L, R, F of shoulders + along arm pit line
- top of back **March 3: is spreading downward. :-/ 
- chest
- torso
- L, R inner thigh 
- behind R knee 
- L, R arms, including wrist 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I came, I saw, I pooped

We did the colon hydrotherapy treatment last Saturday and, while it made me very sick & nauseous during the process itself, immediately afterwards I felt amazing. 

However... In the evening I started feeling awful. By 11:30 I was a mess. (Do I regret not doing it on Sunday after church? A little, yeah. Oh well.) This week has been---and continues to be---abundantly gnarly. Hopefully I will begin to improve again sometime soon. After making all that progress last week it was an epic bummer for it to be so thoroughly reversed before our eyes over the course a mere evening. This is the natural result of detoxing, though. It will be worse before it becomes better. And that is okay! I am, frankly, encouraged and praising the Lord for the doctor's wisdom in recommending the treatment. 

God is faithful, no matter the gnarliness or the easiness, though. The perceived quality of the current circumstances cannot render that false or moot. In the end, the question really is: How faithful am I? 

Anyway, the hydrotherapy worked and I am no longer chronically constipated! This is such an incredible change. In order for my body to get rid of the die off and toxins / toxic byproducts, well, that had to happen. In any other context the excitement Tom & I have for The Number Two would be irrational, but it has been the sincere impetus for many a high-five. Will you ever be able to high-five me again? TBD. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

symptoms #3

Strikethrough = it's gone. Italics = it's improved. Note that a lot of eczema has improved! Underlined = it's worsened. Nothing new has been removed from the list; wrist cramping is from last week's update. 

Chronic fatigue from morning to early evening
On/off nausea (it's returned)
Serious brain fog
Back pain
Neck pain
Wrist cramping, L & R
Stomach pain
Chronic constipation
 Bloated / swollen: face, neck, tummy

Eczema: 
- L, R ears
- forehead
- L, R cheeks
- L, R eyelids
- under the chin
- L, R jawbone
- L, R, F, B of neck
- L, R, F of shoulders + along arm pit line
- top of back **March 3: is spreading downward. :-/ 
- chest
- torso
- L, R inner thigh 
- behind R knee 
- L, R arms, including wrist 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

hazelnut lamingtons

So, obviously traditional sweets are out of the question as everything except maple syrup feeds the icky stuff in my system. But raw / vegan dishes are typically built without these sugars, so all systems go! 

While the following little recipe is supposedly for brownies...it does not taste like brownie. You can't just plop chocolate in a squishy square and call it a brownie, folks. If it acts like a duck, walks like a duck, but tastes like ham, then you have not eaten duck. 

I tried explaining them as "energy bite...ish" to skeptics who were led to nibble by my unconquerable enthusiasm. Their facial expressions revealed the depth of betrayal that arises when someone hands you prune and cocoa cake after vowing it was a brownie. A tale as old as time. 

Then I realized: they are lamingtons. Of course! The chocolate and coconut cake that is so quintessentially Australian.  


I was shocked by how easy and delicious these were. Put everything in a high-power blender or food processor and voilĂ ; from pulling out my blender to spreading the mixture into a glass dish, barely 10 minutes elapsed. And did I mention that it wasn't sticky so clean up was a breeze? It fell off the blender blades. 

I followed the recipe below except for a few tweaks...which probably made it a little drier, thus contributing to the overall ease of cleanup. 

1. Instead of dates, I had to use prunes. (I rebuke your raised eyebrow; it was unnoticeable and delicious! Or maybe that is the starvation taking...) 

2. I omitted both the vanilla and the cinnamon, and certainly did not add water. 

Try them! Although, unless you are loopy or need to poopie, use dates. 

Recipe from: http://www.rawmazing.com/raw-hazelnut-chocolate-brownies/

Saturday, March 15, 2014

praise and prayer requests

I am so excited about the progress that has been made in the past few days. Even though I still look like a mess, I feel exponentially better. If you have been praying with us for healing and guidance and good fruit; thank you a thousand times over. To make this kind of progress in just a few days is an encouraging proof of your prayers. 

These are the things that are most important right now. 


1. For sleep

The sleep that I am able to sustain is typically very heavy. However, I cannot sustain it for very long (30-120 minute intervals). Eczema attacks often seem to be the primary cause, but that is not a universal. Prayer for healing sleep (for both of us, honestly, as sometimes my restlessness unintentionally awakens him). 



2. The discovery of a successful coping mechanism

If I am awake and it is a reasonable hour, I knit to keep myself / both of my hands preoccupied during an eczema attack. If I have been awakened from sleep or am trying to sleep, this is obviously not an option (although I have tried...and ended up accidentally staying up until 4am each time). I am at a loss, as the topical ointment that is doing such an incredible job healing the skin and killing the two strains of fungus in the dermas does not deterr burning, pain, or itching during an attack. The previous lotions that we used were actually feeding the fungi (oops), which may very well be the reason they were so soothing. 



3. That Tom would stay healthy and happy

The role of a caregiver is stressful. He doesn't complain (truly) and he has been sacrificially loving and caring through it all. Today he had to telecommute because he was sick. He is often tired. Please be praying for him. 

I love you all and treasure your prayers and encouragement. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

mar10-13

On the 11th we started noticing some really solid topical improvements. That has been sustained! Jojoba oil and melaleuca (as a blend to diffuse the melaleuca at lower intensity) has been successfully killing the fungus in the dermas. Praise the Lord! Feeling relieved and encouraged. Even though it is still itchy / burning / uncomfortable a bulk of the time, the level of improvement that we have seen over the past three days has made everything much more do-able. Although the 11th was a rough day itself, it was for symptoms unrelated to eczema. The eczema has been one of the most frustratingly unsolvable and debilitating symptoms. To see marked improvement is both encouraging and liberating. Thank you all so much for your prayers. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

mar9

Doc is concerned about my progress r/g the restoration of the digestive system and after trying a combination of tons of things... she recommends colon hydrotherapy now. Apparently, many patients see dramatic improvement afterwards, including improvement of skin-based symptoms. I'm actually excited about this and the possibility of improvement. Still looking for someone in the area to make it happen, but hey! Baby steps, baby steps... Finally feeling encouraged.

Additional encouragement came this morning when I woke up to an improvement instead of a regression on my arms! So exciting! Mixing doTerra tea tree oil and a carrier oil (like jojoba or apricot oil) is working. : ) 

Rachel introduced me to food combining and it is fascinating! Currently, I'm working on learning more about it and seeing how I can use it. The idea is this: our stomach acids digest different foods at different rates (i.e., watermelon is digested in 15 minutes, while meat takes 2-3 days from what I've read...although I'll admit I gave that information the eyebrow. Still investigating for veracity). Something like watermelon will be digested and ready to move onward, but if it is on the top, waiting for something like meat to be processed, it will ferment and even putrefy, thus leading to things like bloating, gas, stomach pains, heartburn, et cetera. The principle is that you should eat from lightest to heaviest (so eat fruit first and the heavy starches last, for instance). Things like starch and animal protein work against each other (so meat and potatoes, tearfully, are horrible for your gut when eaten together. RIP the Appeal of Classic American Meals). 

I strongly recommend you also investigate -- it has apparently alleviated a variety of ailments, including acne. 

________________________________________________

All the way my Savior leads me, 
Cheers each winding path I tread; 
Gives me grace for every trial, 
Feeds me with the living Bread. 
Though my weary steps may falter, 
And my soul athirst may be, 
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! A spring of joy I see; 
Gushing from the Rock before me, 
Lo! A spring of joy I see.

Hymn by Fanny Crosby.

symptoms #2

Here is the update on my current symptoms. Bold denotes a symptom that has dissipated. Italics denotes a symptom that has improved / has been alleviated at some level. 

Chronic fatigue from morning to early evening
On/off nausea
Serious brain fog
Back pain
Neck pain
Wrist cramping, L & R
Stomach pain
Chronic constipation
 Bloated / swollen: face, neck, tummy

Eczema: 
- L, R ears
- forehead
- L, R cheeks
- L, R eyelids
- under the chin
- L, R jawbone
- L, R, F, B of neck
- L, R, F of shoulders + along arm pit line
- top of back **March 3: is spreading downward. :-/ 
- chest
- torso
- L, R inner thigh 
- behind R knee 
- L, R arms, including wrist 

Most of the eczema symptoms have worsened as of March 9th. The exception to this is the back of the right knee, which has merely stagnated, but u am hopeful for its improvement by the next symptom review. 

Chloe 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

mar6-8

Things seem to improve and then go back to where they were before... but at least we are starting to see a partial-upwards trend! It is an encouraging change. 

While the major symptoms haven't really changed, I will revisit the list tomorrow. 

Prayers for healing and restorative
sleep would be appreciated beyond belief. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

mar5

Today marked some improvement in my facial symptoms! Everything else continues to worsen but hey, baby steps! 

I started on the colon pills today, whoo. So pill count per day is up to 22. It is like a weird game with myself. 

Aaand, I had visitors today! My fatigue is slowly lessening, and today was definitely a pretty decent day overall, even though I have had bad stomach pain all day. Debbie came over to bring some mail and supplies for my regimens and even picked up lamb meat for us. I loved spending time with her and I am glad that she checked on me. If she hadn't, I would not have realized that I actually did feel well enough for some company. Two of my siblings were in the area and, while I did not anticipate that they would be available, they were able to come visit me as well! It was so lovely. And Mitch and Corrie even randomly started helping me in the kitchen with some tasks I had been so tired to complete once I had started them. How great is that? Needless to say, I am feeling abundantly loved. Another day in my pocket, and that much closer to being well. 

Morning by morning, Thy mercies I see. 

mar3/4

Suffice to say there has been no improvement and we are trying to avoid discouragement. Prayers for relief of my symptoms would be greatly treasured.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

march2

Topically: 
Rosewater and glycerin throughout the day
TML #2
Vitamin E oil
doTerra Melaleuca + Lavender oils
DigestZen in the evening (2 drops total)
doTerra Peppermint -- one drop, rubbed into hands, inhaled, then rubbed across back of neck for pain and migraine.

Internally: 
Water: 64 oz. with lemon oil (3 drops)
3 drops Frankincense 
SmoothMove
All pills except colon cleansers. Total: 19 pills/capsules.

Food: 
Amy's rice / vegan mac & cheese for both breakfast and lunch 
^(I know, I know... one of those days).
Frozen blueberries
Unsulfured / unsweetened dried apples
1 egg

absent from flesh.

taken at the Met, NYC // August 2013.

Absent from flesh! O blissful thought!

What unknown joys this moment brings!
Freed from the mischiefs sin has brought,
From pains, and fears, and all their springs.


Absent from flesh! illustrious day!

Surprising scene! triumphant stroke
That rends the prison of my clay;
And I can feel my fetters broke.


Absent from flesh! then rise, my soul,

Where feet nor wings could never climb,
Beyond the heav’ns, where planets roll,
Measuring the cares and joys of time.


I go where God and glory shine,

His presence makes eternal day:
My all that’s mortal I resign,
For angels wait and point my way.

Hymn by Isaac Watts, c.1707-1709.




[update]: toxins

October 2013, on a hike with Tom.

Things have worsened dramatically. Of course, it takes time; the toxins have to be removed and that is a weird and long process. Obviously something is working if everything is deteriorating, right? That much is encouraging. 

But the excruciating pain and discomfort makes everything else extremely difficult, including school. As loathe as I was to admit that Oma, Debbie, & Tom were probably right, and as much as my pride & desire for control doesn't want them to be right, they are right; the most sagacious choice seems to include a semester off. I do not like this, and yet I am at peace, because it is the right thing. Huge cheers & thanks to those three for being patient with me when I was being stubborn, and for not pushing for one option or another, even while asking wise questions / providing advice that gently forced me to examine things realistically. 

We have been reading about mycotoxins (as you can imagine) and realized that yes, we were right, they do eventually kill you. Good grief! The only way to remove them externally is with ammonia baths. Part of me would love to start that treatment now but considering the fact that my whole body is one big open wound (cue the misunderstood Skillet lyrics, Bozarths)... I have to admit that both my mom and my Tom are right when they say that it would be impetuous and imprudent to just jump into a bleach bath. Oh darn. Hopefully I quickly heal enough so that the bleach baths can begin and the mycotoxins can be removed. :)  

mar1

Topically: 
Rosewater & glycerin throughout the day
TML 
vitamin E oil 
doTerra melaleuca & lavender 
DigestZen on stomach 

Internally: 
Water, 80oz + 12? drops of lemon
Smoothmove tea
2 drops of Frankincense
All pills / capsules except colon cleansing ones. Total: 19

Food:
2 green apples
Cacao chia pudding, unsweetened
Amy's rice / non-dairy mac & "cheese" (STOKED... even though it has a little bit of salt)
2 hotdogs + organic mustard & mayo