Archive for November, 2013

Being thankful when you are chronically ill

November 24th, 2013 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

“At least you have your health.”

It’s an innocent phrase used as a ‘look on the bright side’ when talking to someone who is down on their luck. What if the person doesn’t have their health… what if their health has them by the proverbial balls?

This time of year everyone around me is focusing on what they are thankful for, it also figures I am in a gastroparesis, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue flare on top of a cold. This means while the kids are bringing home drawings of turkeys, talking of feasts, and everyone is listing the daily things they are thankful for I am living off of broth and crackers, in pain as if I were training for a marathon and lethargic as if I just ran one. The idea of being thankful when you feel terrible seems like effort, but aren’t the things we are thankful for deserving of the effort?

I knew this slump was coming, I know when it starts and try a few things to snap out of it or at least put on a happier face. I made a long overdue hair appointment, which did give me some pep for a bit. I went back to writing my novel, also a step in the right direction as it gave me some focus for a while. I allowed the fatigue to sit with me instead of fighting it; I went to bed early and took naps instead of over caffeinating and resisting it every step of the way. I made plans with girlfriends and had a nice time out of the house. Even with all of this and applying the coping skills that work for me I am right now in my pajamas on day 2 or 3 without a shower, in constant pain even with meds around the clock, all food had the smell of spoiled chicken, and my throat is sore.

All things associated with a chronic illness flare building when you are supposed to be prepping for the season of giving, when all you really can focus on is nausea and pain, it’s a very unfair combination. Now this isn’t to say that because of my health I have a hard time finding the things I am thankful for, what I am saying is that it is hard to live in a way that shows others that I am thankful.

How can my husband know that I am thankful for his constant partnership with me, that I appreciate the way he picks up the extra weight of parenting when I am not at my best? What do I do to show that his commitment of in sickness and in health has been tested above the norm and he meets each challenge with love and concern for me and never seems bitter that he is both partner and caregiver long before time should have put us in this position?

How do you make sure your children know that even though you’re still lying down in the same spot when they get home from school that you are okay and want to hear about their day? How can I support them and ease their worries when I can see they are worried about me?

Being chronically ill can make it a bit harder to find the things you are thankful for through physical challenges like the exhaustion and pain, also through emotions like resentment. Even if, like me, you are lucky enough to have many things you are thankful for it can be especially hard to live in a way that conveys it.

So all of these thoughts of thankfulness while sitting on the couch stinky and hurting had  my wheels turning, how can I make sure the people in my life know I appreciate them when I don’t outwardly seem all that happy? Then I remembered reading The Five Languages of Love, and realized that maybe I needed to focus on making sure I was making the most of my efforts.

The Five Languages of Love:

Words of Affirmation

Acts of Service

Receiving Gifts

Quality Time

Physical Touch

I had my 10 year old take the test for kids on The Five Languages of Love website, my older son feels loved mostly by words of affirmation and acts of service. I do plan on using this as a starting point to make sure I am showing my love and thankfulness in ways that those I love receive it clearest. Now of course each person in my family will be different and they may change over time but especially at this time of year I feel it is very important to show those around me that I am thankful in whatever ways I am able.

I encourage you to look through your personal struggle and find the things you are truly thankful for and find a way to live in a way that shows it. Besides, if I had to choose I personally prefer a life filled with great relationships over good health, health is so overrated… okay, so maybe I wouldn’t mind a little good health too.

Thankful from the couch,

Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Thankful from the couch.

Thankful from the couch.

GP friendly potato soup recipe

November 6th, 2013 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Now I am no foodie. The idea of following specific directions and having a finished product always appeals to me but *Dysautonomia causing me to not being able to stand for very long and never knowing how I will feel makes cooking low on the hobbies list.

The new diagnosis of *gastroparesis explained some of my other food related issues. I love the eating part but every time I ate I had terrible stomach pain and bloating. Now that I am working to find GP (gastroparesis) friendly foods and am getting back to eating well for me I will share things that are working.

*Dysautonomia (or autonomic dysfunction) is any disease or malfunction of the autonomic nervous system (ANS).

*Gastroparesis, also called delayed gastric emptying, is a medical condition consisting of a partial paralysis of the stomach.

So I was watching The Chew and this really fun gal who blogs at The Pioneer Woman was on. She was making a dish that was clearly not going to work for me but I loved her so much I logged on and looked through her cooking section for some time. My family loves potato soup but when I order it I seem to always be a bit let down. It either has something in it that upsets my GP, or the consistency is to thick or thin.  I decided to give it a go but knew I would need to change a few things up.

Now this is GP friendly for me, GP is different for everyone and you may need to switch things around to make it your own.

The Pioneer Woman recipe  calls for:

Ingredients

  • 6 slices Thin Bacon, Cut Into 1-inch Pieces
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Scrubbed Clean And Diced
  • 3 stalks Celery, Diced
  • 6 whole Small Russet Potatoes, Peeled And Diced
  • 8 cups Low Sodium Chicken Or Vegetable Broth
  • 3 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt, More To Taste
  •  Black Pepper To Taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cajun Spice Mix
  • 1 teaspoon Minced Fresh Parsley
  • 1 cup Grated Cheese Of Your Choice

I used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon, celery salt but no celery (big GP no no), and although in my pic below it has All-purpose Flour we did opt for Gluten Free at the last minute. I tolerate white bread but GF is a bit easier for me and I have a son with Celiac Disease who said he’d be willing to try it.

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Following her instructions we starting with the slicing of the bacon. Then threw it in the soup pot.

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While the bacon was cooking I stirred it around a few times and then diced half an onion and two handfuls of baby carrots

(yes, that is a very real measurement)

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When the bacon is done take that out of the soup pot and put the carrots and onion in the pot. Stir occasionally while you peel potatoes and dice them as well.

Add the diced potatoes to the pot with salt and pepper and stir that around a bit.

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After about 5 minutes I added 8 cups of chicken broth (my normal GP staple)

Let that boil and cook for 10 minutes, during that time add 3 tabs of flour and a cup of milk in a bowl and mix until its smooth. Then add that to your pot.

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Stir that so its all blended and you’ll see your soup begin to look like potato soup, but you’re not done yet!

Check the softness of your veggies and if they are soft you can use a blender for this part or just a plastic container and a potato masher. I’m super classy so I did the latter.

Scoop out about half of the soup and blend to a puree or mash it, mash it good.

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This is when I started losing my steam but I promise its almost done and is going to taste so good!

Add your lovely mashed mess back to the pot along with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of heavy cream (this makes all the difference)

Stir your soup all around and add a little somethin somethin, for me it was a bit more salt and pepper, celery salt and the Cajun seasoning that The Pioneer Woman suggests.

Now you are ready to call the family to the pot, or fill a big ole mug and cuddle with a book.  Top it with extras like the bacon and whatever else tickles your fancy. I opted for just some of the turkey bacon but the options are plenty.

This made about 8 to 10 cups and though I ask you not to hold me too accountable I added each ingredient and came up with each cup being about 140 calories and I am currently watching potassium and each cup has about 340 mg.

Now an added note; I had one cup and found it very GP friendly, especially considering how hearty it is. The next time I was a bit over indulgent and went for a second bowl, I had stomach pains, bloating, and a sensation of over ‘fullness’ associated with GP.

Now the photos on The Pioneer Woman’s blog are amazing, mine are bad lighting and some were taken by minors, I do encourage visiting her blog and looking for ways to try and make GP friendly meals. If you have one you want me to use on my family as test subjects just let me know ;)

What to do with extra Halloween candy…

November 3rd, 2013 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Yes, most dentist offices will run a ‘sell your candy back’ plan and I fully support the idea.

I also think making memories while getting rid of the candy is the best plan of all.

Now if you are hanging out here on Just Mildly Medicated through a search on gastroparesis you should know right away that the sad sad truth is this is NOT GP friendly… it’s for the kiddos not the mama.

So let the mom forced family fun begin!!

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You’ll need some chocolate flavored Almond Bark, bananas (apples, pretzel rods or anything else you want to cover in chocolate), some left over Halloween candy bars.

I used bananas so I also needed popsicle sticks. I cut the bananas in half and put wooden popsicle sticks in them and stuck them in the freezer.

(I laid them out on wax paper)

Then we sorted through the candy bars and settled on Milky Way, Kit Kat, candy corn, and 3 Musketeers. I chopped them up while the kids played for a bit. Side note Kit Kat chops well, everything was a bit sticky.

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You really only need a few fun sized bars but the point was to try and move some of this candy onward so I used more.

Now I have 3 messy kids at home right now… okay and I am a bit of a mess too, we cover a large area in wax paper in preparation of the soon to come chocolate extravaganza.

Next you’ll melt the Almond Bark according to package directions. 90 seconds, then 15 second periods stirring after each time.

Then you’ll be covering your goodies in chocolate, yumm.

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After each dipped banana you’ll want to add the candy. The Almond Bark dries quickly and you need it wet for the candy to stick.

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If you have extra chocolate grab some pretzel rods!

Now is this some super healthy option, nah. The beauty is the kids actually get something other than a straight chocolate bar, get a bit more filled up for longer so they aren’t getting into the candy again for awhile, AND I throw away whatever I chopped up and didn’t use… sorry but bye bye candy!