something’s missing here

The DHL Balloon manufactured by Aerophile is t...
The DHL Balloon manufactured by Aerophile is the world’s largest tethered helium balloon with 30 passengers on board (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With full bravado and expectations (on my part), I added pages to my blog with the intent on focusing in to three subjects (besides my asides, participation in challenges, etc.

Well, here it is almost April (in about 45 minutes), and I’ve yet to fulfill those expectations, let alone blog with inspiration, confidence, and curiosity on diets — the blog on the antihistamine diet often gets the most hits — depression (still a dragon/demon needed to be contained) — and dementia as I seem, on many days, to be descending into it.

New game plan? Don’t know. Feel, as often do, ungrounded — my head swollen big like sinus pressure aid of a few years ago, or a helium balloon about to burst. (And that’s only talking about a swollen head, lol) Depression continues to hang around — where else would it go after all these years? To a bar at the end of the universe, lol. Dementia, I forget to write about it or note the lapses — I’m lapsing on the lapses. Maybe it’s just like hubby says, I see dementia in the my dyslexic world due to my mother, not as a part of reality — does that make any sense?

Point is that I’m at that point again. Put myself down for the HAWMC 2013. It’s my version of the New York marathon — I need the training 30 days of insistent blogging should give. Bring it on, one topic at a time please, and hope I remember make a post-it note about making a post-it-note about making . . .

PS: And sending a wish for Easter and Passover of peace, calm, family, friends, rebirth, reinvention, relief.

my veggie compartment is full: a compartment(aliz)ed life

As a child, after the veggies on my plate and I had spent several minutes starting at each other, I would announce that the veggie compartment in my stomach was full, but the compartment for ice cream was completely empty.

So, I’ve been compartmentalizing my life for a long time. There was always the hope that if I shoved something off into a compartment, I was removing some of the power it had over me. To make a complex, interconnected, painful life seem simpler; that I still had some measure of control; to muffle the voices of regret, remorse and recrimination; to stop the mobius loop replaying in IMAX 3-d all the “coulda, shoulda, wantedtodoa, neverdoa, doovera” thoughts that are more attached to me than my shadow.


Tissue Paper Flower Topiary
Tissue Paper Flower Topiary (Photo credit: Wendy Piersall)

But, life is never that easy or simple for me; I can’t make neat, tiny boxes wrapped in glitzy paper and tied with a fancy French bow. The issues are too big to nestle into the tissue-paper that lines each box. Nor, can I navigate the labyrinths, the “corn field” mazes, the shifting patterns of my life without touching more than one box/compartment creating an arc between them.

But, since everything, even the most simplest of tasks, seems overwhelming and daunting, I’m following a suggestion to put the issues of diet, depression/bipolar 2, and dementia as pages on my blog. This might give me the focus I crave/need; keeps me at least partly “on task;” and might electrify the inertia that keeps me from moving forward, back or sideways.

Just a thought – I wonder which compartment that fits into?

A 3d life

Flatland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New release movies come in two flavors: plain and 3-D. Older films have been 3-d-ified. Although the hype has lessened, there are permanently 3-d televisions with what could be called “geeky” glasses with heavy, black plastic frames. Films, seemingly not suited for the 3d experience, are released as 3d just because they can (and theatres can charge an extra $3.00= for the necessary glasses.)

Edward Abbott Abbot’s 1884 novella, Flatland, meant, at least partly, as a social satire on the strict divisions within Victorian society didn’t receive too much critical acclaim at the time of its publication. But, with the introduction of the concept of a fourth dimension by Einstein’s theory of relativity, interest in a one-dimensional world increased. In a classic Simpsons “Tree house of Horror” Halloween episode, one dimensional Homer finds himself in a 3-dimenionsal world where he inadvertently creates a black hole into which the 3rd dimensional world, including Homer falls through. (Homer lands on a “real” street in LA, walking along the sidewalk as people stare at him).

Me, I’m living a 3d life right now: diet; depression; and (possibly early onset) dementia. Not exactly the trio you’d invite to your Super Bowl party (or for any occasion, actually). Each by itself is a trial; make it a triple threat, and Flatland sounds inviting.

anti-histamine = no more NSAIDS, tomatoes, alcohol, chocolate

FishI’ve been exploring histamine intolerance (a mainly European issue; little seems to have done on the topic in North America), and did a short experiment with it last week. The premise is that histamine – what you take an antihistamine for if you have allergies to pollen, for example – is released/increased/natural dampers weakened by certain foods and medications. From the purely dietary side of the equation, many of the foods that are high in histamines or release histamines into the system are foods I already try to avoid due to food ALLERGIES, or acid reflux/acidic stomach issues.

FruitFoods to avoid include: citrus, yogurt and tomato (bad for  my acid issues), fermented soya products, and certain spices (e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, curry) to which I am allergic. While tea and chocolate (chocolate, especially in combo with other triggers can cause one type of migraine for me) are mentioned specifically, caffeine and coffee are not – YEAH! And, since alcohol a) can be a migraine trigger, even if I stick to “safe” white wines, or alright hard ciders and b) is not awine good mix with my meds, often putting me to sleep after one glass of wine, leaving it off the menu for awhile isn’t always a bad idea. (Alcohol, spending money, and food binging – all issues of control/versus out of control will be the topic of a future blog)

There is some debate as to how long the list of foods to avoid should be. Some ban bananas, and nix nuts, while others suggest these are okay in moderation. Some proponents stress avoiding medications; others focus on food only. The medication side of thing is what makes it more difficult and also very interesting. Most of my medications AREN’T on the avoidance list (and one that is on the list I stopped taking because it didn’t seem to be helping with my digestive issues), but 3 which I do rely on, especially for my facial, dental, and neck pains are: NSAIDs, morphine (I use a very low dose) and the key active ingredient in Voltragen gel. image

While Lyrica helps with my atypical chronic facial pain, it doesn’t work as well on my constant dental pains. For that, I take prescription strength naproxen, and some times a  generic pain medication which contains ASA, caffeine, and a muscle relaxant. My morning, afternoon and evening routines are marked by my application of Voltragen gel (a prescription only product in the US) to my neck, and often to areas of facial pain (including the relatively new jaw/dental computer usage pain). I rub it on my forehead for headaches.  For body aches and pains, I use lidoderm patches.

button-productsI will go back to using Neuragen as I had some luck with it before. One of the main reasons I stopped was my husband’s sensitivity to certain smells, and Neuragen has a strong herbal aroma. A friend would remark that I smelled like a master chef’s home kitchen might.

My rosacea has been  more troublesome lately, partly due to flushing caused by one of my medications. Flushing is also a symptom of histamine intolerance. Quite a few of my health issues appear on histamine intolerance list of symptoms including headaches, rhinitis, abdominal pain and nausea. One site suggested that depression, anxiety and panic attacks could be linked to a histamine intolerance.

meatThe other interesting feature of histamine intolerance is that each individual has a unique  histamine level. In other words, I could eat a histamine rich food like fish, and have no immediate reaction. However, if I later consumed yogurt and an orange, I might react. Again, this is an intolerance, not an Ige related allergic reaction. That I am also allergic to many of the histamine rich or histamine releasing foods adds to the case for me to try, one more time, an elimination diet.

There is also debate as to whether supplements can help deal with histamine intolerance.  For example, some tout taking  Diamine Oxidase (DAO) as this digestive enzyme is key in dealing with histamine rich foods. I also read of increasing your intake of B6. Most sites do advocate for elimination diet, with some also suggesting the use of an antihistamine such as Benadryl if symptoms appear.

Today is day 2 of my elimination diet. This time around I am just focusing on the histamine intolerant trigger foods. Genny Mastermen, in her book, What Hit Me? Living with Histamine Intolerance: A guide to diagnosis and management of HIT – A Patient’s point of viewsuggests that if you are histamine intolerant, you probably have at least one other intolerance. In her case, the second intolerance was fructose. For more on Genny, see her home page.

So, for the next 2 to 4 weeks, I will be avoiding some of my favourite  foods such as yeasted bread, cheese, berries of all sorts, ham and other processed meat, eggs, and vinegar. I have my Benadryl handy, a food log printed off, and my fingers crossed that this time around the deprivation leads to a breakthrough. I will keep an eye on the fructose level (I still suspect that the “oses” aren’t the best for my system), and the other common intolerance foods. Wish me luck!