Friday, September 3, 2010

The Curious Case of Advil and Motrin

So, ibuprofen. A wonder drug, yes? Treats those aches & pains like no other. No side effects. Beautiful, right?

Until you discover you are allergic to it. Yes, this can ACTUALLY HAPPEN. Maybe not to normal people, but to me, yes. Here's the fascinating part: an ibuprofen allergy pretty much mimics Fibromyalgia.

I've been feeling nasty for weeks. All over body pain, concentrated in my arms, sometimes my legs. Headaches. Nausea. Fatigue. Vertigo. A few months back, the dreaded Fibromyalgia diagnosis came, and since it's a life-long thing, I was just starting to figure out how to cope with it.

Due to the pain, I have to take things to make me functional. I have Tylenol 3 (aka, my friend, Codeine), but didn't want to become dependent on it, so I usually treated myself with OTC meds. Tylenol itself is useless to me (I think I'm resistant after a couple surgeries) and therefore, I turned to my old standby: Advil (and whatever other ibuprofens I found around here.)

Over the course of the past 3 months, I've had to take it nearly daily-I would awaken with a headache, or my arms hurt so bad I couldn't move, or I felt generally lousy, or you know, I FRACTURED MAH TOE. The little orange or red pills were a constant in my life-I always carried them, they are at my desk at work, here in the cabinet-you name it, there they were, comforting me with their quiet presence.

Here's the rub: I was feeling more and more peculiar every day. I couldn't get out of bed. I had constant migraines. The pain was worse. I attributed ALL of this, to my bloody valentine: Topamax, and the withdrawl from it.

This past weekend, though, I tipped the scales: I ATE KEY LIME PIE. Why is this an issue? HELLO, WHEAT AND EGGS, HOW I MISSED YOU. OH, LOOK, MY HEAD A'SPLODE FROM PAIN.

Whoops. So I downed 3 Advil (above the normal dose, but less than prescription strength, and for a migraine, the norm.) After about an hour, I was high as a kite. I stupidly DROVE home on this, too. I imagine driving drunk is similar to this. Scary, and not something I'd recommend. Luckily, it was late, there weren't many cars on the road, and I didn't hit anything-but the whole ride I was gripping the steering wheel like it was a life preserver. A pass, this time. Lesson learned.

The next day, I awakened with a bender of a headache. I assumed it was the after effects of the migraine, and popped two advil. Srsly. Within in an hour, I was drugged out, and the PAIN. OH THE ARM PAIN. Who knew?

So I did me some research. You know what they don't tell you? The side effects of ibuprofen. Like, anywhere useful, say, THE BOTTLE. TEH INTERNETS TELL ALL, though. Page after page of side effects-identical to my own. Apparently, ibuprofen is scary stuff, and toxic to some people. AND I AM A LUCKY MEMBER OF THIS GROUP.

I quit my little friends, cold turkey. Within days, no arm and leg pain. Headaches and vertigo, better. AND I SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. Did I mention, it can cause insomnia, too?

So, word to the wise, check your OTC drugs for side effects. I can has allergies to safe medications? YES, I CAN HAS.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Smashing the Watermelons

So, many of you know I can eat, oh, like an ENTIRE watermelon in one sitting. Because, you know, nothing's better for someone with food issues than BINGEING ON ONE FOOD.

Anyhow, I've been careful since I started stepping off the Topes a few days ago. But yo, I need some FROOT. Not in the Loop variety. I'm sick of apples, and bananas take days to get near the grossly, almost-rotten state I love them in.

So what's a lady to consume? WATERMELONS! Yes, and it was even ON SALE at the Whole Foods, all chopped up for my eating pleasure.

For anyone who's bought froot at the Whole Foods, I had the big container, the round one. Not sure exactly how much, but it was a decent amount, because, you know, it's ALL WATER. AND PINK.

About 30 minutes later, OH, THE HUMANITY. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, put me out of my misery.

So I think. What have I eaten today? One bowl of organic Oat-O's with some organic milk, and the watermelon. I THINK WE HAVE THE CULPRIT, as the Oat-O's and milk never caused an issue, and once, about 6 months ago, I had a watermelon slush at work that nearly killed me (I was convinced they put nutra-sweet in it, natch.)

Soooooo. No MELON FOR ME. I need to wait a few days, and re-test, but I suspect that I can have a tiny bit, but more than a couple cubes and I'm done for. JERKS.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Happy Trails....To Me?

So, back in the saddle for the restriction diet, as I'm having to wean myself off of my migraine meds.

For those that didn't know, I was on 125 mg of Topamax daily, 75 AM, 50 PM. I had cut back to 100 mg, 75/25, and was tolerating that, until recently, when I was placed on a heavy dose of antibiotics for two months to treat a skin infection (thanks stinky cat with your GROSS FEETS on MAH FACE!) The combination somehow tipped me over the edge, and triggered a lesser-known side effect of Topamax: severe depression. The reality is that Topamax is a heavy anti-seizure drug that targets the temporal lobes of the brain-it's used off label for a number of things, from compulsive behavior, to depression, and so on. For someone who's not depressive naturally, it can be a dangerous medication if not monitored properly.

Anyhow, this drug does work for many, many people-I'm not saying you shouldn't take it, or that it's inherently evil-but if you do, please monitor yourself-be aware of your moods, changes in behavior, and the like. Have someone who can be your external bellweather-you'll lack the ability to judge yourself after a time, because the drugged you becomes the reality.

So, I'm taking myself off, and as I know I'll be increasing my chances of migraines exponentially, it's back in the saddle for me, in terms of what's making me barf.

I'll also be blogging about titrating off the meds, for those that choose to do it as well-it's not easy, and there isn't that much anecdotal literature out there, so I don't mind adding to it.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day Soy: Soylent Allergy

This morning I was a sloth and couldn't decide what to test. Truly, I wanted chocolate, but it has soy in it, in small amounts, so that made the decision for me. Soy it was.

Oh, weight this AM: 110.4 (what the HELL? I ate a TON yesterday, at least that's what I thought. HOW AM I LOSING WEIGHT?)

Anyhow, on my second half-cup of coffee (I try to drink my coffee in half-cups at home so I can have a little more without over-doing it), I put a ton of soy milk into it.

I also started frying up some tempeh (wild rice variety) in some canola oil, which is derived from soybeans. I did not include soy sauce.

After about 15 minutes, the soy milk started reacting. OH, THE AGONY. Just as I suspected, my digestive tract is not a fan. I had an issue years ago when I switched milk out in my coffee, and had suspected it was an issue-this confirmed it. As that steadily increased, I finished cooking the tempeh and started wolfing some of it down.

GROSS. I forgot how much I don't like tofu and tempeh products. They're a to me. Anyhow, I got through a couple pieces when the woe was overwhelming, and much like day corn, I spent the next 30 minutes running to and fro the toilet. AWESOME.

That's when I noticed my all time favorite effect. MY THROAT AND MOUTH WAS ITCHING. How did I not know I had this allergy? Soy is in EVERYTHING! Turns out that 90% of people who have the allergy don't react to small amounts-so that explains why I didn't know-I might be okay if I limit the quantity of soy lechitin preservative in my diet, but I need to be pretty careful.

I'm currently dizzy, itchy and my abdomen hurts. THE ENTIRE ABDOMINAL CAVITY. I THINK I CAN FEEL MY SPLEEN.

Anyhow, needless to say, SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE! IT'S PEOPLE! or really, it's an allergen.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Day Citrus: Orange You Glad You Asked

Aren't you just loving my ridiculous post titles? Seriously? You must want to punch me by now, hahaha.

Anyhow, after this morning's success with peanuts, and the literally zero reaction, I did something stupid, and decided to do a double introduction today.

I grabbed an orange and a tangerine at the store, deciding that two forms of citrus are better than one, and also decided on consuming them at the same time. Finally, my worries about scurvy can stop for a few days. I've seriously been concerned-my diet has no Vitamin C right now, and holy crap, man, SCURVY. I could lose my teeth! I need some limes, stat!

Citrus is pretty straightforward. Peel, section, snarf. In that order. Push cat out of way (NO KITTEH! NO ORANGES FOR YOU!)

After about 30 minutes, I thought I might have a mild headache, but that could a: be my mind playing tricks on me, or b: the sheer volume of the sugar all at once. I think it's safe to say that yes, it's okay in small amounts. Who eats that much citrus at once? I've never been a juice drinker, so it's not like I have to worry about orange juice or anything. Now I can use foods with citric acid as the only preservative, too, which is awesome. If I find I'm getting headachy, I'll back those out, and see if there's a change.

Tomorrow: SOY OF DOOM. This should be fun. I'm expecting massive gastric woe from the soy milk.

Day Peanuts: You're Driving Me Nuts!

So, weight this morning: 111.0. Suspicion is the dancing caused some water weight loss. Oh well. Holding fairly steady, so I'm not worrying.

I decided to try peanuts after my third pass of the pantry had me drooling over the peanut butter. I swear, a plastic jar of processed food has never looked so damn delicious. Said peanut butter is the all natural sort, the 100% peanut variety, with little peanut chunks, the sort that has to have the oil stirred into it. A brand new jar of delicious, salty, fatty goodness, waiting for me.

I toasted a rice cake, and put the peanut butter on that, as I can't eat bread. I thought about putting it on an apple, but I like melty peanut butter better. IT WAS LIKE CRACK. I have never, ever tasted anything so wonderfully tasty in all my life. Honestly, how was I living without this? I inhaled the cakes in about a minute flat, and nearly choked, which was pretty funny.

After coughing up a lung from aforementioned lack of chewing, I waited. And waited. For.....nothing. Not a single reaction. At all. FINALLY.

Needless to say, Peanut Butter is my new bestest friend. I shall love it and hug and call it George. Or, you know, just re-integrate it into my diet, as I clearly do not have a peanut allergy. WOOT.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Day Corn: I'm All Ears

So, I took a day off from testing yesterday as I awakened with a migraine. Wheeee!

Weight yesterday 111.2

This morning's weight: 111.6. Go, bloat! I ate a bunch of salty chips yesterday, so I can account for that sudden uptick in teh weights. Woot!

Anyhow, I was fine this AM, so I decided to forge ahead with testing, but decided to test something useful, you know, NOT A JUNK FOOD. I first landed on citrus, but my oranges were moldy, so I went to corn. I downed a corn cake (like a rice cake, but corn) and then set off to pop corn, on the stove top, in corn oil. Nothing like overkill.

HOLY CRAP, IT WAS THE MOST EXCITING 5 MINUTES OF MY LIFE. Seriously, I was nearly drooling from the delicious, greasy aroma of popcorn. My apartment reeks of movie theatre, in a good way. I made 1/2 cup of corn, also known as: HOW THE HELL CAN I EAT ALL OF THIS? I forgot that corn takes up an immense amount of space.

After snorfling down a few small bowls of popcorn, the waiting began. 15 minutes in, no headache (woot!), but another, unfortunate issue arose. THE AGONY. OH, THE STOMACH CRAMPING AGONY. For the love of all that is holy, make it stop! The WOE. Seriously, not only have I spent all afternoon shuttling to and fro the bathroom like some little corn taxi, but I can literally feel the popcorn wending its way through my intestines.

So, note to self: yes, you can has corn. IF YOU WANT TO POOP.

Also, seriously, to anyone reading this blog, sorry you have to read about my gastrointestinal issues, hahaha. I wasn't expecting them to be quite so prevalent, but whatever, I'm here to report the truth, and I HAVE NO SHAME. So there's that.