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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day Egg: Egg On My Face

Weight this morning 111.2. Holding steady, though my potato chip bender today might up that number-it will be interesting to see.

I decided to go ahead with eggs since sugar didn't seem to be affecting me, and I wasn't eating it at this point. Wheat was out, and my dairy consumption is minimal-so I'm still in good shape, and I awakened feeling normal (i.e. demanding coffee and hiding from my cat so I could sneak in a few extra minutes of snooze time, which NEVER WORKS.)

Anyhow, at 10, when I was finally hungry, I decided to make brunch, which consisted of two scrambled eggs. I can't cook them any other way, so that's what we had. Nothing fancy. Within a few minutes of eating them, I had the strangest feeling, like my world was tilting to the left. Then to the right. OH HAI, VERTIGO. Then a few minutes later, a headache appeared, slowly draining from the apex of my head, into my brain. Seriously, that's what it felt like.

At this point, I freaked, as eggs? SUPPOSED TO BE MAH FRIENDS. I called my mom and whined. I researched. Apparently, yes, they can be a trigger, but why such a fast response?

By 5, I felt much better, so I made myself another egg. Again, with the vertigo and headache. It lasted an hour or so, and then was gone, but I Not sure if I'll add anything tomorrow.

What I can't figure out is why I react so rapidly to this-the wheat took about 20 minutes, enough time to start digesting, and became worse. This is FAST. Is it because it's easier to break down?

Needless to say, I'm making an appointment with an allergist, stat.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Day Sugar: Shock

So, sugar was....disappointing. It was good, in and of the fact that there wasn't an immediate reaction. However, I felt...weird. ALL DAY. Therefore, I shall re-test sugar again at a later date. I think I might have a tolerance for it, basically small amounts should be fine.

The test consisted of eating a sugar cube every 15 minutes and waiting for a reaction. After the 6th cube (about a tablespoon of sugar) and consuming a banana so I wouldn't barf, I felt remarkably dizzy, but that might have been the lack of any protein today.

Until dinner I ate two bananas and a bunch of sugar. Gross!

Weight this morning 111.2, holding steady, woot!

So, not much to report. I did have some steak and salad for dinner when I got in since all that sugar made me a little loopy.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Day Wheat: Carbapalooza Wrap-Up

Morning weigh in: 111.2

Huh. How is it that I LOST WEIGHT on my dairy binge yesterday?

Anyhow, I trekked to work with a box of Barbara's Shredded Wheat cereal, as it is 100% shredded wheat, literally nothing else to make it palatable. YUM. I also toted with me as fortification a banana, an apple and some potato chips. WORKDAY OF CHAMPIONS.

At about 10:15 I commenced stuffing my face with the hay bales, aka shredded wheat. GROSS. I didn't use any milk. BIG MISTAKE, as I nearly CHOKED TO DEATH (which my mother had predicted might happen). I had to run to the water machine and chug a glass to get one wheel down, and then proceeded with the second one, sipping water the entire time. Total wheatage: 40 grams.

THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO DIE, IT TASTED LIKE SAWDUST. NO JOKE. I DO NOT RECOMMEND. No wonder the diet tells you to eat Triscuits (which I avoided as they have soy as preservative.) Holy hell, shredded wheat tastes bad without all that frosting!

Fifteen minutes later, I started to feel....funny. Like I was underwater. I also had massive heartburn, likely because I DIDN'T CHEW MAH FOOD PROPERLY, but that's another story. Five minutes later, like a freight train hurtling down the tracks, the headache crashed through my skull and landed right between my eyes. I was unable to look to my periphery for most of the morning. I was in and out of nausea, and had some vertigo, which has persisted.

I also noticed another very intriguing side effect from the wheat: it makes me very pissy. I had MASSIVE ROAD RAGE on the way home from work, something I hadn't noticed was missing from my day-to-day life until it came back like an unwanted guest. GOOD TIMES.

Say goodbye to the wheat yet again. I might re-test this on the egg day if there's no reaction to eggs, but for now, I'm chalking this up to a fail, as in yes, virginia, there is an intolerance.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Day Dairy: Cheese Coma Wrap-Up

So I finished the day with a baked potato with butter and sour cream (dinner also consisted of some filet mignon and a salad, and water to drink, if you're tracking my diet for the day.)

No migraines from the dairy at all. Pleasing, but I clearly have an allergy to dairy-after eating any, I was left with congestion, runny nose, watery eyes. I can't believe I never knew I had this. Interestingly, when I was describing this to my parents over dinner, my father pointed out that I couldn't handle milk as a baby, and was on soy formula. So I should have known earlier.

I plan on limiting dairy in my diet from here on out, but not worrying too much if it's been used in something for baking, etc. I'm also planning on trying hard cheese again on the day I introduce eggs, since I've heard some people can handle cheeses without much issue, and I don't think I have any issue with eggs. Otherwise, I really have to limit the dairy, which I'm not happy about. Luckily for me, the reaction isn't that severe. Otherwise I think I'd cry, for, lo, I LOVE ME THE CHEESE.

Day Dairy: Post String Cheese and Ricotta

Oh snap! Turns out we have a dairy allergy on our hands. Milk & yogurt caused congestion, runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes-this took some time, but I noticed a lot of snot happening as the morning progessed. Awesome, no? By midday, my track jacket pockets were stuffed with kleexex, like some old lady's pocketbook. OH, THE HORROR.

I decided to plunge ahead anyhow, as I need to figure out if I'm going to get reactions from all things dairy or from just milk? I ingested delicious string cheese, which didn't seem to react as strongly. And some ricotta. SNOT CITY.

Interestingly: no headache increase. Dairy is not the migraine cause. My stomach is starting to hurt from all of this, but I am known to have a mild lactose intolerance, so I was suspecting I might not have quite as much fun with this day as I was hoping.

I'm about to put some cottage cheese away, so we'll see what that does. Gah. I feel ill. I think I've OD'd. Yes, over dairied.

This evening will conclude with butter and sour cream, on a baked potato.

Oh, my weight this morning: 111.8.

Day Dairy: Post Milk & Yogurt

So far this morning I've ingested milk with my coffee. Skim milk. I put a decent amount in my coffee, but I only had half a cup. Starting the 2nd cup.

Also had some 2% Fage plain yogurt about 5 minutes ago, and am waiting for a reaction.

So far today, I feel like I might be slightly more congested, but can't tell if that's just my normal allergies. I can't tell if I have more of a headache-I awakened with a slight headache this morning. Not a migraine, not vertigo, but was not feeling 100% to start with, which is making the testing slightly more challenging than it should be. OF COURSE. My body simply cannot make ANYTHING easy.

If I am reacting, the more I eat today, the worse things should get as the day goes on. I have to admit, I'm relieved thus far that there's no noticeable, immediate reaction. I might be able to keep CHEESE in the diet. This at least means I can tolerate it in small amounts, so there's that.

Speaking of cheese, that's the next blog post this afternoon. My friends gave me some delicious string cheese to consume as part of my test. WOOT. Am looking forward to it. HOORAY FOR CHEESE.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Week 1: Detox

I started the diet on Sunday January 17, 2010. The first day, I made the fatal error of cutting out caffeine as well as sugar, corn, artificial food colors/preservatives, citrus, nuts, dairy. I already had stopped eating wheat months ago, so that wasn't an issue.

I started the week weighing 116.8 lbs. I'm 5'5" (I have a smaller frame, this is within normal tolerance for me.)

My body went into total shock. All I could think about was sugar. And coffee. By midday, I was ready to cry from the pain. And I was starving. I ate and ate, but nothing filled me up, perhaps because nothing I consumed had ANY CALORIES. I ate carrots, celery, an apple, a banana. That's it. By dinner, I could barely think. I drove to my parents' house, where my mom was making rice and a roast for me (beef, seasoned with a little sea salt and pepper) and some homemade potato coins in the oven. I was DYING. Seriously, I'm a wuss.

On the way home, coming around a bend in the road, I plowed my car into a snowbank that had fallen into the road somewhat. It was scary. That was it for me, I realized I needed to change things up, so the next day I had a morning cup of coffee, with ricemilk in it, and a banana for breakfast. I had some potato chips (all natural!) as a snack and some iced tea when I was out, and then had leftover beef and rice and some carrots and celery at dinner. Again, NOT ENOUGH FOOD.

Also, anyone noticing a pattern? What am I not doing? Drinking water. I used to drink 6-10 cups of coffee. I cut that out, and didn't start drinking anything else. Let's see what happens as the week goes on.

On Tuesday I was in the office, and only brought an apple and a banana to eat. Mistake! Was starving by the time I got home. Stopped at whole foods. Got sweet potato chips, had those with more roast beast, rice and some fruit.

Wed was more of the same food. Banana. Apple. Rice. Sweet Potato chips. Meat. Rice. Roasted sweet potato. Oatmeal, made from whole oats, with a little maple syrup. About to die of starvation. More carrots. Celery.

Thursday again, only brought apple, banana and some potato chips. Haven't gotten used to making lunch for myself. By midday, not doing so well. At 3 PM, realize I haven't peed ALL DAY. Feeling lightheaded. Finally make myself pee. PEE IS ORANGE. Holy crap, dangerously dehydrated. Drink water, slowly. Stop by whole foods after work, find pineapple juice to mix into my water as well.

Yesterday I actually baked chicken for the FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE (oh, did I mention? I can't cook. I'm like a hunter-gatherer. I forage for food, not make food.) Turns out highly edible, and I save the rest for the weekend. Ate a ton of fruit and vegetables. Would kill for some Frosted Flakes.

Weighed myself this morning, and I weigh 111.6. Whoops.

Here's the thing. I have IBS. I was controlling it via some fiber cookie things. I can't eat those right now, so I've been getting pretty violently sick, too. I went out and bought the straight psyillium husk fiber, and have been trying to eat enough of that, but it's hard to do. I'm finally starting to feel a little better, but I've never handled a diet that's high in fruit & vegetable matter well-I tend to eat high protein. This is hard, this week, because I'm so limited as to what I can eat aside from those items.

So that's week one in a nutshell. Today I have a shindig to go to, where I plan on bringing some juice I can consume, and some chips. There will apparently be more fruit and vegetables. Nothing like very few calories at a party.

Here's something interesting: 3 days in, my vertigo lifted. The room stopped spinning. I retriggered a minor headache once, with the day of the maple syrup, wednesday. Not sure if it was the sweet potato or the syrup, so I'm laying low on both, and will try the syrup on the sugar day to help figure out if that's a trigger for me.

I really miss: dairy, certain sweets, and spicy food. But the cravings have really subsided. Overall, I could live on a modified version on this, as I add in a few things.

Readers, care to chime in? Anyone want to take a stab at what we think my triggers might be? I'm thinking sugar might be the winner. Which is the SUCK.

Why Am I Writing?

I'm 32 and suffer from migraines, specifically vestibular migraines-ones that manifest with horrible, terrible, no-good, very bad vertigo. Basically, not only do I suffer from the delight of a mind-numbingly painfully headache and nausea, but the room spins. Similarly to having the spins when you drink too much, or, for those that don't drink, here's a better example: ever ride the Gravitron? You know, that ride where you're spun around so fast that you stick to the sides? Well, ride it about 5 or so times in a row. When you finally decamp, you can hardly walk, and you'll promptly have to stumble over to a trashcan to hurl (trust me, I've done this, hahaha.)

Anyhow, I've been dealing with this, and a host of other health issues for a number of years, including endometriosis, ovarian cysts and IBS. Seriously. In an attempt to deal with the endometriosis, I cut wheat out of my diet about a year ago and discovered that I had far fewer headaches. This made me think about a true restriction diet, but as they're a major pain in the ass, I put it off, for months and months.

Finally, after being on Topamax for two years, I hit rock bottom in December of 2009. I wasn't sleeping, my weight was very low, my emotions were all over the board, I was suffering from terrible depression. As I started weaning myself off of the medication to treat the migraines, the vertigo returned full force. I quickly realized that I had to take action, fast, unless I wanted to become a chemical weapon all over again.

To that end, I researched elimination diets, and figured I had nothing to lose (aside from a few pounds), and decided to put myself on one. Here's the one I'm following, to a point:

elimination diet

What I didn't do was cut coffee out entirely (I tried, and plowed my car into a snowbank), and realized I was better going from my 6-10 cups daily to 1-2, which I've managed sucessfully. I didn't quit my allergy med, zyrtec-D, as that wasn't working well, either, and I'm still weaning off the Topamax, I'm down to 25 mg in the AM and PM, so a minimal dose. Otherwise I've been following the diet closely.

The next post will detail the detox week, and then I will be posting daily, possibly more, about the effects of various foods I'm adding back into my diet and what they do to my brain (and the rest of my body.)