Posts Tagged ‘gastroparesis’

this Dysautonomia gal is a Work in Progress

April 24th, 2015 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

A work in progress, this Dysautonomia gal is working hard towards the progress.

We’ll call this work in progress Eat, Exercise, Love…

Unfortunately eating mostly whole foods, exercising, and loving the heck out of me as well as everyone around me is not going to cure any of my medical issues. I’d be wary of people who claim any differently, and they’re out there. My own cardiologist is convinced cardiac rehab is just going to zap my autonomic system back online. The truth is I am just trying to work WITH my body, and it’s issues, instead of fighting my body or hating it.

After being diagnosed with Dysautonomia (dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system) which impacted pretty much my entire body I started seeing my body as separate from ME, after all it was the uncooperative enemy that began holding me back from doing what I wanted. How are you supposed to embrace the thing weighing you down? How can you treat your body well when you’re mad at it? I don’t really know how yet as we are just starting to get on a good foot in this relationship but I am hoping for positive things.

So the goals:

behappy

EAT

Eat mostly whole foods and avoid processed foods with too many chemicals to name, chill on the snacking, and keep track of what is going in my body. I have been surprised and how much and how quickly my diet changed when I was holding myself accountable for what I was eating. Working within restrictions of a Gastroparesis friendly diet and coming a bit closer to hitting those nutritional needs and losing the empty high calorie junk has eased some nausea, helped with a few pounds, and I will admit to having a bit more energy.

(Gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach which causes poor digestion, malnutrition, nausea, and vomiting. I’ll also add that I am NOT in a “flare” meaning I am not at a point where those symptoms are acute. When they are acute it will greatly impact what I am able to eat and how much.)

EXERCISE

If you’ve been around you’ll know I am in cardiac rehab, and I love it. Yes, I am there because a cardiologist thinks with some conditioning my autonomic nervous system will just decide to function normally. I do believe you can do many things to strengthen your body to help alleviate symptoms but unless you have dysautonomia truly due to deconditiong this theory makes little sense.  Luckily I have other doctors who understand the condition better but I also decided when else could I work out in a controlled environment with nursing staff right there to monitor me… my insurance covers it so I see it as amazing personal trainer time.

As I am exercising more and gaining strength and confidence in my body I am willing to try more. I am doing things like walking on completely flat surfaces for about 10 minutes at a time, that was something that 2 months ago I didn’t trust my body to do. I had passed out too many times from my autonomic system causing my heart rate to sky-rocket and my blood pressure to plummet to trust my body at all. Those abnormal responses are still happening I am just doing better at listening to my body and either going slower, waiting it out, or giving my body the break it needs… but then I am trying again.

I even did a yoga session today! Something I have said for years that I can’t do because of the postural changes. As I am getting stronger I am finding I can do it, it’s just at my pace and not someone else’s. My pace is slow, much slower than I would like, but it is time to accept I am not racing anyone, this is about me.

LOVE

As my body responds to my new ever challenging demands I am finding a better relationship. I can’t say I see my body and ME as a united front yet. We are learning to trust each other, a little dance of give and take. When I ask something new of my body, like yoga today, and it tries I am proud. When my body starts to get dizzy and over worked, like yoga today, I am trying to give it respect instead of frustration and anger. Total work in progress. 

As these changes are happening in me I am also thinking about the love outside of me. I have such an amazing supportive partner who has been a patient caregiver even when at times I know it had to be scary and frustrating. My kids more often than not chose encouragement over frustration at my limitations. For all of my crazy doctor patient dysfunction I do have a team of doctors who understand my condition and are willing to really take the time to be sure I am at the best I can be. My nurses, oh how I love the nurses involved in my care. My friends, both from way back to new ones, I am amazed at the understanding and compassion that comes from them. I am not usually an overly mushy person but I need to be sure these people really know what that means to me.

everyday

 

Are you a work in progress? What are you working on?

Did you miss about my starting Cardiac Rehab? <~ click it

 

Scrambled Egg Muffins – A Gastroparesis Friendly Food!

February 20th, 2015 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Scrambled Eggs Muffins (Yeah for easy Gastroparesis friendly foods!)

I am not reinventing the wheel here, this recipe has been done many times over, Martha Stewart even had it on her show a million years ago. It is however new at the Just Mildly Medicated house and I wanted to share it.

Many people with autonomic issues deal with Gastroparesis, Gastroparesis is a motility disorder where part of your stomach in paralyzed making it harder to digest food properly. Three of the six of us in my crew deal with Gastroparesis and one of them also has Celiac Disease. Needless to say finding easy meals that are also easy to tolerate is always a plus.

Eggs can be a go to food for those with Gastroparesis, but I am no super mom and am not making scrambled eggs for breakfast everyday. So when I saw the idea of making them in a muffin tin, giving us multiple servings to last a few days while only having to make them once, I was excited.

I grabbed the closest kids and said “Let’s try something” and they are willing to do anything in the kitchen (as long as it doesn’t involve any actual cleaning).

This is crazy easy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray

Eggs (we used a dozen)

milk (we used skim and I just eye ball it like I would for scrambled eggs)

cheese, ham, red pepper, literally anything you’d like to add!!

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I had cheese and ham on hand so that what we went with.

crack them eggs and add some milk, I put the mixers to work…

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Then I put some in each muffin tin and allowed the kids to add the extras

We did a row of cheese, a row of ham, and a row of ham and cheese ;)

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Then put them in the oven for about 12 to 15 minutes.

You can eat them right away or put them in a zip lock bag and then each morning I wrap them in a paper towel and pop them in the microwave (mine takes about 45 seconds).

Lesson learned… label this zip lock with what type of egg muffin is inside hahaha

These two kiddos are on their second scrambled egg muffin which means SUCCESS!

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Poop? Well I never!

August 28th, 2014 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

I always said I’d never write a post about poop. I have read a lot of bloggers that have, but no way not me…

Poop you say?

Well yesterday changed my mind.

Many people with chronic illnesses suffer from constipation. Things like chronic dehydration and frequent pain medication can be contributors. There are illnesses that play a part in constipation, gastroparesis is a partial paralysis of the stomach so things don’t quite get a move on the way that they should.

Now I know many people are on the other side of the poop pendulum but this is my story and we will get to all that moves quickly later… bear with me… oh, the poop puns!

In this story you have to understand that we’re talking about constipation in a way that when my nurse comes and asks me weekly when the last time I went poop was I give her vague answers because I honestly have no idea when the last time was. She now knows this about me and laughs when I say, “Oh, I’m sure it was about 3 days ago.”

So imagine my surprise when I had a strange sensation in my stomach that I did not recognize at first, then I paused and said out-loud, because I was home alone and apparently talk to myself…

southern b

Then my entire abdominal area cramped in a way that made me sorry for all the times I mocked the show ‘Pregnant and Didn’t Know It’ as I was sure I could be about to give birth to something, something evil for sure. Then my entire lower gastrointestinal system said,

“You know how you are not supposed to eat all the stuff you’ve been eating lately because you have gastroparesis…  

Here is your pay back lady!”

My lower gastrointestinal system sounds like a old school TV wrestling announcer too, in case you reading it and need to place the voice. So there I was home alone and crying in the bathroom, in the clutches of an evil wrestling announcer who was causing me so much pain. My insides quivered, contracted, and made noises that made me afraid of my own body.

I was promising all kinds of things, “I’ll stay on broth for two days, no solid food, I swear.” My promises were for nothing. My old school TV wrestling announcer gastrointestinal system was set to punish me for my crimes. I even swore I’d go to church, I figured I would need to anyway to book an exorcism.

Thirty minutes, several empty promises, some sweat and tears, about three pounds, and an additional few minutes of resting on the cold bathroom floor and I was able to leave the room of death and made it to the couch and all I could say was

the vapors

Sarah and Alice Eloise; a service dog team

February 6th, 2014 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

I am so happy to have a guest post from Sarah of Sarah Kate’s Silver Linings on her experiences with multiple complicated health issues and how her service dog, Alice, has helped.

I always find it funny when someone will refer to me as brave  because of the things I have faced with health issues, as if there was an option and I chose to be brave, so with that said I will try and refrain from calling Sarah brave but I will say that Sarah handles her health issues with a grace that is well beyond her years. I have learned a lot from this gal and she holds a special place to me.

So heeeeerrrreeeesss Sarah!

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I know a bit about your health issues, can you share with the Just Mildly Medicated readers some of your diagnosis journey?

“My diagnosis journey has been long and complicated, and it remains incomplete!  I am continuing to search for more answers, but currently my primary diagnoses are:

1) Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis (HLH): HLH is a rare, life-threatening hematologic condition that causes my immune system to be highly stimulated, yet ineffective.  During an HLH flare, a type of white blood cell called macrophages consume my other blood cells, causing dangerously low blood counts.  Macrophages also attack vital organs, particularly my liver and spleen.

2) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): RSD is a chronic systemic pain condition.  This causes me to have constant, intense pain covering my entire body.  Additionally it has led to dystonia in my right arm.  For three and a half years now I have been unable to bend my elbow, and the function of my hand, wrist, and shoulder have been highly compromised.  RSD has gained a reputation as being the most painful condition on the McGill Pain Scale.

3) Digestive Tract Paralysis (DTP): Digestive tract paralysis is precisely what it sounds like — paralysis of the digestive tract!  Dysmotility in my stomach and intestines leaves me unable to eat and reliant on total parenteral nutrition (TPN) which is administered intravenously each day over 15 hours.

4) Mitochondrial Disease (mito): Mitochondria are responsible for generating about 90% of the body’s cellular energy, and when they fail, mitochondrial disease develops.  Because of the widespread function of mitochondria, symptoms vary greatly from patient to patient.  It is thought that mito has caused me to have chronic pain, severe gastrointestinal issues, and bone marrow failure, in addition to other symptoms.”

 

How does your health impact your daily life?

“Unfortunately my health conditions are very disabling.  Most days I do not feel well enough to leave the house, making it a rare occurrence for me to go anywhere other than to appointments with my doctors.  And I think it goes without saying that naturally the diminished function of my right arm has greatly influenced my life as well.

Still I am sure to be up and out of bed each day.  I have found ways to keep myself busy and entertained at home.  Gradually I have adapted to one-handed living, and now I can even sew and cook!  And of course I have such fun playing and training with my sweet Double Doodle, Alice Eloise.”

 

What originally made you think you pursue a service dog?

“It is difficult to imagine, but a person with RSD can feel excruciating pain from even the lightest touch.  Something as delicate as a gust of wind can be entirely unbearable.  So anytime I am in a crowded area I have to be very protective of my right arm so that passersby do not unknowingly bump into it.  Then one day it occurred to me that if I had a service dog, she could act as a barricade between the bustle of a crowd and my painful arm.  Since that enlightened idea first came to me, I have envisioned more and more tasks that my service dog could perform to assist me in my day-to-day activities.”

 

How did you find the right organization / training program for you?

“The story of Alice Eloise and me is a bit out of the ordinary in many ways, including the manner in which we became a service dog team.  Most of the time a person receives their service dog from an organization dedicated to training dogs and matching them with a handler in need.

But for my specific requirements, I decided that it would be most suitable for me to self-train my own service dog.  I chose this route for multiple reasons.  Firstly, my big sister is allergic to dogs, so it was essential for my new companion to be of a breed that is considered hypoallergenic so as not to create any problems for my sister.  As a Double Doodle (also called a North American Retriever, which is a Golden Retriever X Labrador X Poodle mix) Alice Eloise fits this criteria.  Secondly, I simply wanted to form the unparalleled bond that grows from training a dog from puppyhood.

I fondly desired to be an integral part of those fun and silly puppy days!  Although the prospect of self-training a service dog was indeed rather daunting, it has proved to be a wise decision in our case.  Since she was a tiny pup, Alice Eloise has been exposed to my IV equipment and all of the little intricacies of my daily life;  although my typical routine is the furthest thing from average, it is all that Alice Eloise knows, making it completely normal in her estimation.”

 

How did Ms. Alice Eloise get her name?

“Alice Eloise is a very special name for a very special pup!  And of course there is a story behind this unique moniker.

Long before Alice Eloise was even born, I fantasized about someday having a Doodle of my own.  I was perpetually dreaming up different names, hoping to stumble upon the perfect one for my future puppy.  A while back an outrageous series of medical complications landed me in Orlando, Florida, for an extended stay.  After a day spent happily at Downtown Disney, I spent a night not-so-happily in the emergency room.  And in case you hadn’t heard, emergency rooms are notoriously slow.  So in order to pass the time, I found myself playing the name game.

With fanciful recollections of a Disney-filled day fresh in my memory, the name “Alice” came to mind, as “Alice in Wonderland” is a favorite book and movie of mine.  But growing up with such a common name as “Sarah” was enough to make me feel the need to be absolutely certain that my one-of-a-kind pup would have her own unique identity.  So voila, I tacked on the name “Eloise” for some added flare!  Whenever we go out and strangers ask about my pretty red dog, they always have a giggle upon learning that she is “Alice Eloise the Double Doodle”.  I guess they don’t meet such an interesting dog everyday.”

 

What was it like when you found Alice Eloise and knew she was for you?

“It was pretty much that magical, sparkly, so fantastic it couldn’t possibly be real, Christmas morning kind of feeling.  I often wish that I could go back in time and revisit that marvelous day when I first met my tiny, enchanting Double Doodle pup!  I had already fallen in love with Alice Eloise in photos, but when I went to visit her and her siblings, I tried to keep my mind open so that I could select the puppy with the temperament best suited for service dog work.

Well, in the end I am not so certain how open my mind truly was.  Even in the midst of seven roly-poly darling Doodle pups, Alice Eloise was the shining star who melted my heart all to pudding!  Oh my goodness, my baby Doodle’s charming personality had me entirely smitten in a snap.  She was very gentle, rather shy, and all kinds of sweet.  As she has grown her character has blossomed;  she somehow manages to be simultaneously quiet and docile, silly and spunky!  I like to claim that this diverse demeanor means that she is “well-adjusted”!  Really, I believe that God matched Alice Eloise and me perfectly.  You know how they say that dogs resemble their humans?  Alice Eloise most certainly has a personality that reflects my own!”

 

What types of things does she do to assist you?

“As I mentioned above, I have trained Alice Eloise to heel closely to my right side so that my painful arm is not jostled when I am out in public.

I also have difficulty removing jackets, sweaters, and gloves on my own, so Alice Eloise has learned to tug them off for me. Alice Eloise also performs retrieval-based tasks.  In the evening when I begin my TPN infusion, I am connected to a very heavy and unwieldy bag of fluids.  I am unable to carry the bag on my own, leaving me rooted to the same spot for most of the night.  So if I need something that is not within my reach, Alice Eloise will fetch the item for me.”

 

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What tips would you give someone interested in looking into getting a service dog?

“It is important to be aware of just exactly what a service dog is.  Oftentimes service dogs are confused with therapy dogs or emotional support animals.  But while therapy dogs and emotional support animals fill very honorable and important roles, they do not perform tasks aimed at mitigating a person’s disability, and are not granted public access.  The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as “dogs that are individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities”.

With this definition in mind, my advice would be to take a step back and really ponder what you are looking for in a service dog.  How could your potential dog best help you?  The nearly endless list of tasks that a service dog can perform to positively impact the life of their handler is simply amazing!

And on the flip side, seriously consider what you will be able to do for your dog.  Will you be capable of providing for all of your dog’s needs?  This selfless animal will be dedicating their life to serving you unconditionally.  In return they deserve proper medical care, balanced nutrition, regular grooming, and plenty of play time and exercise.

And most importantly, a service dog thrives on love.  The special connection between a person and their service dog can be positively beautiful.  I have been so very blessed to have such an amazing best friend as Alice Eloise.  Sure, she helps me with everyday tasks that I am unable to do on my own.  But at the end of the day, when the service dog vest comes off, my little sweetheart, Alice Eloise, curls up in my lap to cuddle…  And if you ask me, that’s the best service any dog could provide!

You can read a special blog post that I wrote about the journey Alice Eloise and I have taken as a service dog team by clicking here.  And if you are considering applying for or training your own service dog, please feel free to leave a comment with any questions you might have!  Alice Eloise has been such a delightful gift in my life;  so I am passionate about helping others attain this same pleasure by finding their own service dog in any way that I possibly can!”

 

What  was the hardest task for you and Alice Eloise to master?

“Task training has never been a source of great difficulty for Alice Eloise.  Of course we always strive for improvement, and we hope to expand our repertoire of individually-trained tasks designated to alleviate my disability;  but Alice Eloise has a sharp mind.  Since we have trained regularly since she was very young, she has “learned to learn”, if you will.  She has grasped the concept that whenever we are in training mode, she is supposed to be learning something.  Once she begins to focus on deciphering just what that “something” might be, she picks up on tasks and tricks relatively quickly.

Rather, with my friendly Doodle, the most challenging aspect of training has been teaching Alice Eloise to maintain her composure when she sees a favorite friend!  And she has a habit of taking a shining to any potential new friends we might meet, too.  Quite simply she has trouble containing the overabundance of love in her heart.  We have made such a lot of progress, though.  The way I view it is that if we are going to have a problem, this is the best problem for us to have.  Just think if Alice Eloise was at the other end of the spectrum;  if she had a history of being resentful to humans, I would be forever nervous that at some point Alice Eloise might respond negatively to a person whom we would happen to meet.  That behavior would be most unbecoming to a service dog, and she would be out of the job in an instant.  I am entirely pleased with Alice Eloise’s behavior when we are on outings.  She exhibits a professional bearing and has come to greet admirers that she encounters while working with a polite tail wag, and then goes about her business.  It’s something equivalent to an amicable handshake in the human world!

Whenever we are on her own turf, though, she continues to welcome guests to our house with, er, enthusiasm!  I try to manage the precarious balance that allows Alice Eloise to be a working dog, but still hold onto that joie de vivre characteristic of wildly happy pups.  I want her to be able to relax at home and to play with gusto!  While service dogs are indeed highly respectable citizens, remember that they are still dogs!  So never judge a service dog who is off duty.  Their devoted work more than earns their right to let loose and play hard!”

 

Have you and Alice Eloise have any embarrassing bumps in the road during early public access days?

 “Regrettably I have no humiliating anecdotes of public access flubs to have you doubled over with uncontrollable belly laughs.  Well, actually to be honest with you, I don’t regret it one bit!  Still, the uncertainties held in our first excursions together were somewhat intimidating to be sure;  how might Alice Eloise react to all of the novel, exhilarating, and maybe even slightly scary discoveries that she was sure to happen upon while on these momentous adventures?  What about the mysterious physics of elevators, the speeding stretchers whizzing by, the strangers wearing funny masks?  A hospital offers any number of opportunities for a rookie service dog to make a shambles of their reputation, landing them smack-dab in that proverbial doghouse!  But the only way to transform these unfamiliarities into commonplace situations for my fledgling service dog was to expose her to the big, wide world out there.

To my delight, all of my initial misgivings have thus far been dismissed, as Alice Eloise has yet to cause a stir on any of our outings.  Granted, the first time she accompanied me to the pediatric hematology/oncology clinic, she did give an uncharacteristic, high-pitched squeal when the technician called my name to escort us to an exam room.  You can bet that I was mildly mortified!  But if that is the most disreputable blot on our résumé, then I consider our career as a service dog team a success!”

 

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 ;)

Gastroparesis, seriously…

October 18th, 2013 by Carrie, the Just Mildly Medicated gal

Being in the chronic illness community I have connected with a lot of people with Dysautonomia as well as other chronic illnesses. The term gastroparesis wasn’t new to me, although spelling it was a bit of a challenge for both myself and autocorrect.

(gastroparesis is a medical condition consisting of a paresis (partial paralysis) of the stomach, resulting in food remaining in the stomach for a longer time than normal)

I felt bad for those that had gastroparesis, even those on the mild side. I love food and my family’s days revolve around food. We start the day talking about what we will have for dinner. Now that isn’t to say we are elaborate foodies, we have 4 kids and among them a pesco-pollo vegetarian and another with celiac disease. We have to make sure there are appropriate options available at breakfast, lunch and diner, not to mention snacks to accommodate kids who will eat anything to those with specific dietary needs and desires.

While I live days thinking about food replacements and equivalents, having gluten-free foods and meatless protein options,  I couldn’t imagine a day revolving around avoiding food, well not until I was laying under a scanner with scrabbled egg in my sinus passage.

Okay let me back up…

To be honest it didn’t dawn on me that my constant need for Prilosec to try and treat the nonstop heart burn was part of a bigger picture. Being full had nothing to do with my eating, I ate because food is good. Feeling full before I even started a meal didn’t stop me from eating. Sadly even the few times I threw up didn’t raise any red flags that I was willing to address. I was dizzy before hand so I chalked it up to that darn Dysautonomia. Now when I got on the scale at a doctors appointment and had lost 10 pounds I was pretty excited, until further thought that I hadn’t really done anything to lose those 10 pounds.

If you’ve hung around here a while you know I have a port and have daily infusions to help prevent me from passing out. My RN who comes to access me at the beginning of the week didn’t leave me the luxury of denial. Every week she asked how I was feeling with the run of specific questions. My nausea became a weekly admittance followed by the encouragement to make a doctors appointment and my not making that doctors appointment.

During my yearly trek from Missouri to Pensacola, Florida to visit the rather wonderful Center  for Autonomic Disorders we started talking absorption.  I wasn’t absorbing some vitamins the way I should, my levels for a few had dipped down to deficient even with supplements and most others were at the lowest end of normal. After more talk it was pretty clear that a few of my meds weren’t working as well as they should considering the dosage and my very faithfully taking them on time.

When the talk turned to tummy there was no way out, I was going to have to say to a doctor that food, my long time friend, had in fact turned foe.

TRAITOR!

Nonstop nausea… feeling full pretty much all the time… bloating to the point of painful after eating… yes, I even threw up…

DAMN IT DAMN IT DAMN IT!

After coming home I made the appointment with my primary doctor to schedule a gastric empty study and mentally gave the middle finger to every meal I ate before the actual day of the gastric empty study. I even had my last supper the night before the test, Chinese take out yummm… bourbon chicken, fried rice, and an egg roll with sweet and sour sauce on it. Then I writhed in pain on the couch for two hours praying I didn’t throw up with tears in my eyes asking myself why, why in the hell did you do that?!?!

The next morning came and as I looked at my microwave eggs in the sterile hospital room all I could think was, “I have fried rice in my throat.”

Pepper, pepper will make this better… in comes the packets of pepper from the awesome gastric empty study guy and I ate the eggs while joking about when he was going to being in the bacon.

Then it came time to be horizontal with a scanner over me. I laid there with a remote control in hand prepared for the next 90 minutes of boredom. Those who know me will say “Wait a minute… REMOTE… WHERE WAS YOUR BOOK???” I assure you I had a book, the scanner made it impossible to read as it came up to my shoulders. I even asked the awesome guy if he’d read it to me. He said no, this was his only lapse in awesomeness.

After 30 minutes and some God Awful daytime TV then 30 minutes of coverage of the Government shut-down while hearing and feeling my stomachs rebel against this entire process I was realizing that this was not going in my favor. An hour in I was staring at the ceiling wondering if you could suffocate on food. I was quite sure the scrambled eggs were in my sinus passage. Thinking this was possibly abnormal I thought maybe when gastric empty study guy comes back I should inquire if anyone has in fact suffocated on egg during this, then thought maybe not.

I opted for “So, this egg… wheres it at exactly…?” Quite certain he’d say “Up your nose.” Instead he gave the you’ll have to talk to your doctor yadda yadda. Yes, I agree, I too was questioning his awesomeness. I spent the next 30 minutes focusing on not throwing up, if I burped, sneezed, or coughed it would be over, by over I mean the test and my life because throwing up is the WORST!

That afternoon the nurse from my doctors office called and said, “Hey kiddo, you have gastroparesis.” Yes, this is how comfortable many chronic illness patients and nursing staff become.

So crap, I have gastroparesis, seriously…

stomach