Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gluten Free Brioche

I've decided recently that I want to be cooking more.  I'm trying to use it as a productive creative outlet.  It's also a great way to take care of myself and save a little money.

The other day I ventured into the realm of making my own bread.  I finally got sick of paying $5-6 a gluten free loaf at the store and was convinced that I could make it myself.  I was right!

Thanks to the incredible cookbook 1,000 Gluten Free Recipes by Carol Fenster I was successful with my first attempt.  Thank you Roberta for gifting me this great book, I use it all the time!

Brioche is a french bread typically made of flour, eggs, and yeast.  It's started in a cool oven and still bakes quickly.
This recipe makes 2 medium sized loaves.  Enjoy and let me know how it turns out for you.


2 T active dry yeast
1 C warm milk (I used rice)
2 C Carol's Sorghum Blend (See directions below)
1 C Potato starch
2 T sugar
2 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp guar gum
3 eggs, room temperature
1 tsp salt (I used redland's real salt)
1/4 C (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or buttery spread (I used earth balance)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice or cider vinegar ( I used apple cider vinegar)
1 large egg, beaten for egg wash (optional, but I did it)

**  Notes: 

 I had to go to several stores to find all of the ingredients.  I ended up with several bags of Bob's Red Mill products and some baggies from the bulk section.

The recipe calls for using a french bread pan.  I spent two days looking at every lace in town trying to find one.  When I finally found the one and only, it was $22!  I decided to bake the bread on a cookie sheet instead and it seemed to work just fine.  If you want a more authentic shape and better cooking try Target for a good priced french bread pan.

Last note, it's important to have all of your ingredients be room temp so place them all on the counter, take a shower, and then come back to start your baking.


1. Make a batch of Carol's Sorghum Blend.  This can be used in place of all purpose flour in many recipes.  It is used a lot in this cook book so I often make double batches.

1 1/2 C sorghum flour
1 1/2 C potato/corn starch
1 C tapioca flour

Sift together and store in a tightly sealed container.  Can be chilled or frozen, but bring to room temp before using.

2. In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm milk.  Set aside to foam for 5 minutes.

3. Generously grease a French bread pan or line with parchment paper.  I used earth balance on a cookie sheet.

4. Sift together sorghum blend, potato starch, sugar, xanthan gum, and guar gum and set aside.  My wrists don't like me to sift that much flower so I put them in a bowl and whited them with a small fine whisk to break up the lumps.

5. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat eggs on high for 1 minute.  Add salt, butter, lemon juice, and yeast-milk mixture.  Beat on low speed to blend.

6.  Add flour mixture and beat on high speed to blend until dough thickens slightly, stirring down sides with spatula.  Dough will be soft and sticky.

7.  Divide dough into two parts and transfer to baking pans.  Use wet silicone spatula to gently shape the loaves being careful to create even width and height.

8.  Brush with egg wash and make 3 diagonal slashes into each loaf.  I food the egg wash wanted to run off onto the pan so I poured the excess off before putting it into the over.

9.  Place on middle rack in cold over.  Set over to 450 degrees and bake 30-35 minutes or until nicely browned.

10.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.


This bread looks like artisan bread, has a bit of a crust, and nice fluffy texture inside.  It is a little bland for my preference, but it sure is nice to have hot out of the oven bread that I can eat without feeling bad later.  I may play around with using some more whole grain flours like teff, brown rice, almond, or oatmeal to try to create a more rustic hearty bread.  I tend to be a fan of the multigrain seeded breads so this was a bit simple for me, but it was a great place to start.  I think it will make great toast, croutons, and french toast.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

24 Hours with Lyme and Dystonia

A 24 hour log of day in my life with Dystonia and Lyme Disease.

I know people don't always want to hear what is going on for me halth wise. The truth is I don't always want to talk about it either. I get sick of hearig myself talk about it and tired of telling the same stories over and over. It's treing. Even so I feel that it's important for me to share unedited what goes on with my body and in my mind. If I don't tell it exactly like it is how can I ever expect people to understand or believe me.

And I do feel like some people don't believe me. I think some people think I'm exaggerating, that maybe I'm lazy, unmotivated, or trying to use my husband for some reason, or that I simply just don't want to go to work. These things are upsetting. Why on Earth would I choose to go from being super fit , active, outdoorsy, adventerous, outgoing, and having my first teaching job to faking an illness for years, sitting around the house alone doing almost nothing compared to before. It blows my mind when I get the feeling that people think it's not really that big of deal. Believe me I did not want to be this way. I would trade it in for a full time job, a social life, and the ability to ride my bike again, and have babies any day.

Part of the reason I think that people get this perspective is because I don't share everything that goes on in my body or mind with everyone. I have made what I think is an accurate assumption that people don't want to hear it all. So I wait for moments when people seem truely interested to give full disclosuer.

Another reason I think people don't "get it" is because people usually only see me when I'm having a good or at least better day. Every day , every week, is different for me. I often don't know how I'm going to feel from one day to the next and I stay home unless I'm felling pretty good for me. Or I visit with people who understand and don't expect me to feel and look good.

So if you only see me on days when I don't look sick, that's because I don't go out when I don't feel well. I sometimes don't have it in me to be social, or even get in the car to go somewhere. Other times I don't go when I'm feeling funky because it's ovbious when I don't feel good and I don't want to divert the fun getting together energy to talking about me being sick, again. I try to think of how my presence will effect the group and sometimes I just don't go so everyoe else can have more fun without the sick girl.

Anyway, this has been on my mind a lot lately as I'm feeling a bit misunderstood. I can see how and why that happens, but I also wish it didn't happen with so many people. So...I decided to write a log of what a random day is like for me. I've included as much as I could about what happens with my body and my mind. Maybe this will help people to "see" me.

Part of what can't be seen is the neurological issues I'm having. I deceide to leave this unedited so you can see how my brain is causing me to ytpe. I just can't seem to get my fingers to dowhat I want them to.

This is a 24 hour log of May 11, 2011


  • woke up in pain, used bathroom knowing that once I got up I wasn't going to be able to go back to sleep
  • took meds
  • tried to start dishes, but only got as far as soaking some in a dishpan of water before I needed to sit down
  • checked email for messgaes from Dr. and to see if anyone signed up for helping me - nothing and sad about it - I had to cancel a dr apt because I can't get myself there and don't have a large enough community of supprt to be able to find a ride everytime I need one
  • sat in office chair in pain and frustrated that the computer is slow and not working right
  • Dr. called to reschedule apt that I canceled today because I couldn't find a ride, but I didn't answer the phone because I'm too tired to talk and I don't know when to reschedule because I don't have a way to get there
  • mated the socks in the sock basket that have been sitting around for a week+ then had to rest
  • sat on floor to sort laundry because standing and bending caused too much pain in my back
  • had to pull myself up off the floor using the dresser, act of lifting basket of laundry exhausting
  • while putting laundry into washer my head started shaking and moving uncontrollably

  • hungry and ready for breakfast, but still recovering from the laundry, lay down on couch for a bit feeling overwhelmed and lonely, wondering why some people still don't believe that this is really happening to me
  • even though I'm resting I feel like the insides of my body are shaking and moving and then my hea d doe sstart moving
  • knees burning and feel swollen
  • feeling naseaus so force eat breakfast of banana and GF toaster waffels baceuse I'm ttoo tired to make anything else remember 3 times that I need to take pills before I am able to remember long enough to go get them
  • talk on phone with Dr about paperwork I need from him
  • muscles across chest and shouldershurt and are tight from twitching
  • put on more clothes because I'm having a hard time staying warm- wearing gloves in the house

  • spent 20 minutes on the computer checking facebook and such before my brain got too tired to focus
  • walked into living room and noticed I was short of breath and my heart was pounding checked my heart rrate apx. 100BPM no wonder I'm tired!

  • went back to bed and read book for about 15 minutes then fell asleep in the pajamas I wore last night + socks, slippers, a robe and gloves and was just warm enough

  • woken by sound of mail being delivered
  • groggy, light headed, wobbly walking, and lower back pain in my spine
  • replied to emails - forgot password and clicked wrong buttons several times
  • made phone calls to Dr. offices
  • made a sandwich for lunch - it took me 15 minutes to make a turey sandwich
  • Jaw popping and face hurting from contorting in to weird shapes
  • feeling light headed and slow
  • finally got in the shower dor the day
  • was standing in shower for at least 5 minutes before I realized I hadn't washed anything
  • opened new bar of soap and smell was upsetting so I didn't use it
  • shower made me so tired and worn out I went straigt to the couch and laid down in a towel for at least 40 miuntes with my eyes closed
  • tried to hold a cup of water, but it was too heavy
  • got up to get dressed and didn't have the strength to stand up had to get dressed laying down
  • open window made me cold and I started twitching again
  • mini melt down - worried that this twitching might never stop, feeling lonely, and like a burden on my community, especially my husband - wondering how long he's going to be able to handle this situation
  • got up to pee and get snack, having hard time standing up straight, walking, and talking (I can think, but the words just don't want to come out)
  • took about 5 minutes to get a snack from the kitchen
  • contacted possible new Dr. who is local
  • updated lotsa helping hands website with new dr apts.
  • saton couch reclining and eating snacks
  • finally put clothes into dryer
  • made paking list for my stay over at my in-laws ( I need to get out of our house long enough to see if i feel better when I'm not in a moldy house and give my husband a break from taking care of me, he's tired) Had to make list or I will for sure foget something
  • random paper work and computer stuff
  • Make dinner - frozen trkey burgers and fresh veggies, had to sit sown and have my husband finish the last part
  • Having a hard time getting words to come out my mouth and hsaking a lot
  • Start packing the million things I'll need for staying away from home for a few days, it takes almost an hour with help to do this - leaving thie house is not something I can don on a whim, I ave to thinkabout food, water, meds, and my clothing everyth time I leave
  • While trying to walk across the street, I'm simply to fatigued and my knees too weak so I just sit down in the road and wait till I get some stregth back and try again, but have a really ahrd tome with it and sit down again until my husbadn can hlep me get across the street - I feel ike an old lady
  • At my in-laws wondeful home and really tired from unpacking the car and setteling in
  • having a snack and then get ready for bed, but will probably read until my hands hurt too much
  • ended up checking email, blogger, etsy, and facebook and seeing comments which lead me to watch James Durbin videos on you tube
  • finally got ready for bed and did read for about 15 minutes until my arm hurt from holding the book

  • woke up with my arms, shoulders, and chest in pain
  • tried desperatly for an hour to get comfortable and go back to sleep, but i couldn't get all my limbs supported properly to be comfortable enough
  • finally just decided to get out of bed
  • take meds
  • sit on front porch in sunshine talking with father-in law, twitching and watching tiny yellow finches fly around
  • will likely take a nap as I don't feel like I'm completly done sleeping

Even though yesterday was both hard physically and emotionally, I'm doing alright. I try to find humore and joy in what I'm doing and make the best of the situation. I'll be resting out at the ranch house for a few days sitting in the sun, watching the garden grow and playing with the kitties. Oh yeah and they have cable!

As always I welcome your questions and comments. Hope you are well.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

She was shakin'!

I've developed a new symptom: twitching and shaking. It's called Dystonia. This blog post is the full story of what happened. Warning, this is a long blog post, but I really wanted to share this experience with all of you.

On April 19th I was tagging along with two of my girlfriends who had appointments with their Dr. in Los Altos. I was riding in the back of the car and I wasn't feeling so well. I went inside to sit in the waiting room with them and people kept asking me if I was feeling alright. I finally realized that I wasn't. Their Dr. looked at me with concerned eyes and offered me a place to lay down and some oxygen which I gladly accepted. When I got up to walk I was weak and a bit wobbly. After a few minutes on the oxygen I started twitching. Really it was more like full body writhing and convulsing.

My friends were concerned and they got their Dr to take a look at me. I knew something wasn't right. In fact I knew something was really wrong and I've only felt that way once before. I knew I wasn't okay. He let me lay there for about 30 minutes and I wasn't getting any better. My friends called my Dr. and let him know what was happening. Meanwhile their Dr did a basic exam, gave me an adjustment of one of my ribs that was hurting, and sent me to go see my Dr. in Redwood city. Every time I sat up the writhing got worse. I didn't have full control over my speech, my heart was pounding, I was hot and cold, and I felt like I was going to pass out.

My friend pulled the car up to the front of the building, but I couldn't stand to walk. I could barely keep my eyes open. Their Dr. had to pick me up and carry me out to the car. My wonderful friend zoomed up the freeway to my Dr. in Redwood City. He came out to the car where I was twitching and shaking. I tried to walk with one of them on each side of me, but my legs wouldn't support me. So, my Dr picked me up and carried me until someone else met us with a chair.

My Dr. ( Dr. G) hooked me up to an IV of sodium chloride and let me rest in a reclining chair for a long time. I started realizing that the more I stayed flat on my back the better I felt and that when I sat or stood up I'd start shaking again and my speech would get weak. After a while the shaking calmed down, but I was still really weak and tired so he switched me to a dextrose IV to try to perk me up. After almost 4 hours of IV I started feeling a little better then when I arrived and I knew my friends needed to get out of there so we headed back home.

I sat reclined in the car on the way home and was able to be still for a while. Then when we arrived home I walked from the car to the house and I started twitching again. I was so fatigued that I just laid on the floor for a bit to rest.

The next day my husband took me to the urgent care. Let me tell you if you ever want to be seen immediately and get 6 nurses in your room at once just tell them you're convulsing or having something that looks like seizures and they'll rush to help you. It was all a bit overwhelming. I got another IV, some med to try to stop the shaking, basic lab work, and a CT of my brain. Once they determined that I wasn't dying, they sent me home saying it should pass. WHAT!?

After waking up again to awful shaking and barely being able to get around our tiny house my husband decided to take me to the ER at Dominican. I saw several nurses, a Dr, and a neurologist. He did a basic exam and even though I could barely walk and was convulsing, he said I had a "normal neurological exam" that he'd "seen this before" and that "it should pass on it's own." WTF! I wanted to punch him in the face. This is not normal by any means! They didn't even try to figure out what was happening to me. One day I'm feeling great and the next I can barely walk or talk and that's considered normal?

Meanwhile, my wonderful Dr. was calling and checking in with us and brainstorming ideas about what to do now. We started calling for info. on getting seen at Stanford, UCSF, and with any other Lyme literate professional we could think of. Finally the DR. who's office this started in called us to check in and suggested I see a DR. A, a Lyme literate neurologist/chiropractor in SF.

We made an apt with him and I'm so glad we did. After a very through 3.5 hour evaluation we discovered that my brain isn't working correctly. I couldn't smell out of one side of my nose, my muscles are weak, some are barely even working, I can't feel movement in all of my toes and fingers, etc. He said that I have a condition called Dystonia. It means that the part of my brain that controls movement isn't telling my body to stop moving so I'm moving involuntarily. The right side of my brain is especially effected which is causing the left side to be weak and malfunction, and the two sides of my brain aren't communicating well.

This condition can be caused by a number of things. In my case we're thinking that something caused a hole in the blood brain barrier and things are getting into my brain and causing it to misfire. I'm told that it could leave as quickly as it came on or it could stay for a long while. There is no "cure" for it, but there is a lot that can be done to protect the body, support it, and encourage the right parts to start working properly again.

In addition to all of this he showed me on my X-rays where my spine has pulled to the right, my neck doesn't curve, a disc is wearing, and I have spina bifida. WHO KNEW!?! I didn't. But it turns out one of my vertebra isn't fused together properly.

In essence I'm a hot mess right now. I'm trying to stay positive and do as much as I can. I visit with friends, sit outside and have even gone out for dinner. Some days are good and some are super funky. Some days I can do a lot and some I can't. What I have figure out is that I need to rest a lot, talking (esp on the phone) makes it worse as do too much stimulation, loud noises, or lots of moving around.

I've been having to ask for help a lot lately. Help with errands, driving, shopping, cleaning, etc. I just can't do what I was able to do just a few weeks ago. Lots of people have offered their help and many have been super helpful and supportive. Thank you!!

To make things easier for me I've created a website via Lotsa Helping Hands. I can enter in requests for help and those who want to can sign up to help out when it works for them. If you're interested in being on my support team please check out my website and sign up to be part of my team Keri's Helping Hands. <-- Just click those words to visit my site.

Thanks to everyone who has stepped up to make sure I'm okay, especially my husband who has really risen to this new challenge. I couldn't do this without all of you. Thanks so much!

I'm really tired now. I think I'll go lay down.

Visiting with the Naturopath - Part 2

More on my experiences with naturopaths and biofeedback.

Since my first visit with the naturopath in nor-cal I have recommended her to several friends. When you know there's something not right happening with your body and your regular doctors can't or won't figure it out or you need a lot of answers at an affordable price, biofeedback is a handy tool. One of my good friends had many familiar symptoms, her husband had been ill off and on for years and they'd both seen tons of drs. They had biofeedback and found out that they also had Lyme Disease, co-infections, parasites, food sensitivities and the assortment of fun goodies that come with being world travelers and having Lyme. They're both on a path towards recovery.

More recently I went with a friend to visit this naturopath. My friend had mysterious digestive issues, fatigue, memory loss and a few other symptoms. It turned out that she has parasites from a sandy beach in Costa-Rica along with "total adrenal melt down", and a bunch of major food allergies. She was given a list of foods to avoid that was longer then mine, and was advised to do some further lab work and take many supplements to help kill the parasites and support digestion and adrenals. She had dramatic improvements in the first week of changing her diet and taking the herbs and such. It's so nice to see your friends start to feel better.

After that visit we both went home and told out husbands about it. They both agreed to see her and I made an apt for myself as well. The three of us went and got a bunch more valuable information. Her husband found out that he keeps getting pneumonia because some of the bacteria is hanging out in his gut. My husband found out that he has Lyme and co-infections. DANG IT! Dang it. DANG IT!!!!

I however, got really good news!!! My levels of infection for Lyme and friends are very low, lower then they've ever been. She said that what ever I'm doing is working and to keep up the good work because I'm almost there. Hooray!!!!!!!!! I so needed some good news. It was nice to know that the infection was getting better. But I was curious as to why I'm still so tired and worn down. She said that detoxing takes a lot of energy, my immune system hasn't rebounded yet, and I'm still dealing with adrenal fatigue, and parasites. Okay, so I've still got some work to do, but it isn't all Lyme and that's great!

I was really bummed about my husband though. I'm bummed that he has it, that I probably gave it to him, that he has to go through the hell of treatment, and that we have to delay trying to have a baby until we're both free of Lyme. Not that I want to have a baby with the way I'm feeling and how weak I still am, but the thought that it could be happening some day soonish was really nice. He's going to start rotating through some of the leftover herbs and anti-microbials that I have left over. I'm hoping that his immune system is much stronger then mine and that he'll stay mostly symptom free and will get better really quickly once he starts attacking it.

So, if you want details on who this wonderful naturopath is, just contact me. I'd be happy to share. I really believe that she can help people with a wide variety of health issues. Remember the first time I saw her I was simply complaining about feeling a little tired and some pain.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Lyme Disease, Naturopaths, and Biofeedback Part 1

I found out that I had Lyme Disease by visiting a Naturopath who does biofeedback.

In March of 2008, whoah it's been three years, I went to see a Naturopath on the recommendation of a friend who said she could piece together all of my vague symptoms. This naturopath uses a type of biofeedback to assess and fit the pieces together. One her website she explains biofeedback:

"Biofeedback screening and therapy:
Enables you to prevent or reduce the impact of many genetic tendencies, including heart disease, diabetes and cancer, from affecting your life. Receive a detailed list of information about allergic sensitivities, and the degree of sensitivity to which you are affected.

The technology I use was developed in the 1930's by Dr. Reinhold Voll, a German physicist who wanted to know why acupuncture was effective. His research led to the development of the biofeedback screening process which integrates Western and Eastern principles of medicine.

Your central nervous system runs on electromagnetic energy.
Bio-feedback equipment uses technology similar to the EKG equipment used to measure the heart's electrical impulses.

The screening is a completely painless process using a computer based instrument which measures the condition of your electro-magnetic system through the same meridians used in Chinese medicine to determine the status of the energetic relationships within your body.
Biofeedback therapy incorporates a unique balance between Holistic and Western medicine."

I went to her and said you know something just doesn't seem right. I have pain in my shoulder, I'm tired a lot, moody, having issues with digestion, and I just generally feel like everyone else can handle life better then I can, like somehow my body is holding me back from being as awesome as I am.

During my first scan in 2008 she was able to tell me that my amino acids were low, I had bacterial infections (she even identified the exact species), said I had problem with chemicals, my digestive enzymes were low, I had food allergies and sensitivities (she identified about 30 of them), was dealing with heavy metals, hormonal imbalances, my neurotransmitters were off, I was sensitive to molds and fungi, allergic to grasses and tree pollen, have sinus issues, and viruses, and on top of it all I had what she referred to as co-factors for Lyme Disease.

At that point she wasn't willing to say definitively that I for sure had Lyme, but I most certainly had tick born infections that fell under the umbrella of Lyme Disease and Co-infections. She said we should treat what we could and keep a close eye on it to see if it was going to develop into Lyme. I left the office with a long list of additional tests, an even bigger list of supplements and herbs to take, and a HUGE list of food I had to stop eating. I left feeling totally overwhelmed, shocked, amazed, validated, totally confused, and also happy to have a plan for feeling better.

Since then I have seen over 20 western doctors and had an endless number of tests, labs, x-rays, MRI's, stool samples, blood work, heart monitors, allergy screening, you name it I've done it. A huge percentage of what she told me was validated over and over through other methods. She's been spot on!

Soon after I started following the plan she gave me I began to feel a lot better. Avoiding the foods made a big difference in my energy, digestion, weight, skin, moods, etc. The herbs and supplements helped with the rest. For a while I felt great. Slowly I began to slide back down hill. I assumed that the stress of finishing my teaching credential, student teaching, working part time, and planning a wedding on a tight budget was just too much. I couldn't help but notice though that other people were commenting on my energy level, my constant sense of being overwhelmed, my mood swings, etc. All the while the pain in my shoulders and arms was getting worse and no amount of acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, or rest was helping.

Finally in the early Spring of 2009 I landed my first teaching job in the classroom. It was only part time and it was much easier then the long hours of working an outdoor school schedule that I had grown accustomed to. But, no matter what I did the job got harder and harder while I became more and more exhausted, overwhelmed and sick. I was picking up every single cold and flu that went around school but I was getting them worse and for longer then all the students. On top of all of that I was getting more and more symptoms. I was beginning to forget things like how to spell the words on spelling tests, the names of my students, what I had planned to teach that day, to make photo copies, to brush my teeth. I was running myself into the ground and only working 2 or 3 days a week.

Eventually I got really sick and had to call in to work over and over again for days at a time. It turned out I had pneumonia! Well no wonder I felt so crappy! That explained it. I was sick the whole time. I got on some antibiotics and hoped for the best. The best never came. My cough got so bad that I would end up vomiting. I could barely breathe, I was getting asthma attacks, choking on my own spit, and I was having a hard time moving around. I couldn't move with out coughing, I was completely exhausted, short of breath, and I was in pain and it was getting worse. After 3 rounds of antibiotics, steroids, an inhaler, asthma treatments, pain killers, and two bottles of cough syrup with codine, I ended up worse than I had started.

The pain was intense in most of my major joints and I was so week that I could barely stand up to go to the bathroom. My husband made a bed for me in the the living room so I would be able to watch movies and be closer to the kitchen and bathroom. This continued for weeks until finally the pain got so bad I was on the floor sobbing in the fetal position.

I told him that something was really wrong and I had no idea what it was and that I could no longer to take care of myself. I said I need you to do something and I need it to happen now. Please help me I feel like I'm dyeing. I suspected I wasn't, but it was the worst thing I have ever been through and it was scary.

Three months later, after seeing over 20 western drs, having tons of tests, and getting no answers I went back to see the Naturopath. I had a feeling that maybe what was going on was Lyme Disease. I am a bit of a research geek and had googled the heck out of "reaction to antibiotics". I discovered that it was most likely one of two things. Either it was an allergic reaction or a jarish-herximer reaction. I didn't have the right symptoms for it to be an allergy. It had to be bacterial die off causing my body to become incredibly toxic. So what was this bacteria? I didn't have to look too far to see that Lyme Disease was the main suspect. That was when I remembered she had said I might develop it at some point. Well guess what, steroids are the worst thing you can do if you have Lyme. It creates the perfect environment for the bacteria to grow. I had made it worse by trying to get better from the pnuemonia.

So, I drove back to Sonoma County to see the naturopath. She listened to my story, got the biofeedback equipment set up and within 5 minutes she announced, yep, you've got a raging case of Lyme.

Stay tuned for more of my experience with the naturopath.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

New Treatment Plan

I visited with my Lyme Literate Dr. on the 16th of this month and came up with a new treatment plan. It was a really good visit and we got a lot accomplished. I'm so glad I have a great Dr. If you're near by and want a referral just contact me. I was enjoying only taking a few pills for a while there, but alas I am back on the 7 times a day schedule. At least it's more drops and not so many pills.

summary of visit:
  • adrenal fatigue is causing me to be tired all the time
  • we adjusted things to help me fall asleep faster and earlier - it's working!
  • to help my skin clear up - minocycline lotion - bonus it's bacteria killing 1-2 punch!
  • he suggested I try Alka Seltzer Gold when PMS gets really bad - hormone changes cause us to be acidic and the AS Gold will neutralize it - interesting idea - also good for detox during a herx reaction
  • suggested CoQ10, D. ribos, L-carnitine, and/or L-taurine to decrease post exertion fatigue so that maybe I can start working out a little bit as in 10 minutes of muscle building a week
  • we formed a comprehensive treatment plan - see below
  • The best part was that he signed a form for my application to forgive my student loans due to disability. I sent them in right away and am waiting to hear if it is approved.
Before Breakfast:
2- Iso Court -Adrenal fatigue
Healthy Options Bar-1 - for Bartonella- I'm up to 7 drops and herxing (interesting side note - this is made in Rhonert Park, Ca only a few minutes from my home town!)
Healthy Options Bab -1 - for Babesia - I'm up to 4 drops and think it might be too much
30 drops each - Heel Brand Detox Kit - for detox of course!
2- PCI Freedom - for parasites
Minocycline ointment - for both bacteria and acne, in a lotion to bypass my sensitive tummy

2- BSP 201 - shea nut oil for inflammation
1- Fish oil - for detox? I can't remember why.
1- CoQ10 - to help with post exertion fatigue
1- Vit. D - because I tested low recently

After Breakfast:
2- Quercetin/Nettle - for allergies and detox
2- PCI Restore - for parasites
1- Andro Plus - for adrenal fatigue - haven't started this yet

After Lunch:
6- Intestinal Drawing Formula - for Detox and upset tummy issues

2- BSP 201 - shea nut oil for inflammation
1- Fish oil - for detox? I can't remember why.
1- CoQ10 - to help with post exertion fatigue
1- Vit. D - because I tested low recently
2- Nutrivene Curcumin - for inflammation

After Dinner:
2 - PCI Cleanse
Healthy Options Bar-1 - for Bartonella- I'm up to 7 drops and herxing
Healthy Options Bab -1 - for Babesia - I'm up to 4 drops and think it might be too much

4- melatonin 3mg - to help fall asleep
1- Ther-biotic Complete - probiotics for my gut
1- Naltroxone 4.5 mg - to regulate sleep cycles and help with inflammation
1/2 pump of progesterone cream - to aid in sleep and balance hormone levels

After starting this new schedule I had several days of feeling really good. I think I really needed help with adrenals and energy. I haven't been using the minocycline cream because it is the color of turmeric and made my leg bright yellow for the entire day! I'm concerned about it ruining my clothing and it looks really weird. Going to ask for a different option.

I've been slowly upping my dose of the healthy options drops for the co-infections and every time I do can tell when they hit my system. I'm achy, tired, herxy, and once I even woke up nauseous form it. This stuff is strong and works fast! I think I'm going to have to take it pretty slow. Eventually I'll add in the bB-1 for the Lyme bacteria. He's having me add them in the order of least herxing so it won't be too much. I'm guessing that last one is going to kick my butt!

These last few days I haven't been feeling as good. I'm tired again, and am having some symptom increases. My arms are aching, I've had some light headaches, my tummy is bloated (i think I need to get my food sensitivities rechecked), and my left leg is puffy and swollen. The swollen leg thing is new for me. I've heard it could be fluid retention caused by the bart-1, but I don't know for sure. I'm going to be contacting my Dr. tomorrow to ask because it's uncomfortable and I'm limping because my knees hurt. I hope there is something I can do about it. Big picture, I'm doing pretty good and I think I'm on the right path with my treatment. The herxing tells me my meds are working and in general I have more good days then I used to. I feel like I'm almost approaching the home stretch and should be making some good progress over the next few months.

I've linked to many resources for the supplements I'm taking and to information I've shared. Please check out the links if you'd like to know more and I'm always happy to have comments and questions.

Additional info on adrenal fatigue:

Thanks for reading and taking an interest. It's nice knowing you're there on the other end.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New Tests

So I'm slowly getting back test results from my Dr. It's intersting for my scientific brain to analyze all this data about my body. I find it fasinating and so confusing.

What I understand at this point is that the tests for Lyme and co-infections are detecting less which either means the level of infection is down or my immune system is thrashed and not producing antibodies. I'm leaning toward both. Both because I think my Lyme symptoms have generally improved over time, but I'm left with some lingering damage and side effects which need to be cleaned up. But I also know that my immune system is weak because my CD-57 test results came back at 38 which isn't much of an improvement over my last one of 22 many months ago. My Dr. says it's like my immune system doesn't care and has given up.

I also tested positive for two parasites one is an unknown parasite(possibly from exposure to pets?), and the other is enterobius vermicularis which is a very common pinworm. See this site for more info:
I'm going to need to go on an anti-parasite protocol soon, just waiting for the call on which one. He says this unknown one may be what's wrecking my digestive system. So, hopefully getting rid of these will help my gut ballance out and then my immune system can rebuild and repair. That would be really nice.

My rsults for candida came back negative. I find this part confusing becaues I've currently got a nasty case of oral thrush in my mouth which is candida. I'd like to talk more about this with him.

I had some other tests that weren't so hot, but I can't remember what they were and I'm waiting for my copies of them. I'll let you all know how it goes and what additional info I recieve.

I've also gotten the okay to reduce the number of meds I take down to the truly essential. I've been doing this for about a week now and already I feel a little bit better. I think I was taking too much and I suspect many of the things I was on were causing the digestive upset. I won't get any more specific then that. Not everyone wants to hear potty talk and I can respect that. :-)

And, finally the last change is that I'm borrowing an Earthing Band from my freind Ashley. It plugs into the gound socket of the outlet and helps to ground the electrical current of our bodies. I'm on day 4 now and I think it's helping me to sleep deeper and I think my brain fog is a bit better. I've heard lots of other Lyme patients say it's been a great tool for them so i figured I might as well try it. The science behind it makes since to me and someof my friends have done lots of research on it so hey, no harm done, why not?

For more infor on Earthing check out:

One more step in the right direction. YES!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Are you better yet?

People are starting to ask me this question. It seems that I've crossed some sort of imaginary line where I'm just supposed to be better now. Well guess what, I am better then I was in the Spring of 2009 when I had pneumonia, could barely walk, and was in so much pain I wanted to scream. I'm also better then I was a year ago. My energy has improved, I have more good days, I'm barely ever in pain I can't tolerate, and I can walk through the entire grocery store without my knees hurting at all.

But I'm not all the way better yet. I still require 10-12 hours of sleep a night, have issues falling asleep, my memory comes and goes, I have neurological issues like not being able to spell or type correctly (thank goodness for sell check), my digestion is way out of whack, and when I push myself too hard I pay for it with extreme fatigue, and long recovery times. But I am slowly, repeat slowly, getting better and figuring out the big picture of what is going on with my entire health, not just Lyme.

See one of the things that I think people aren't really aware of is that Lyme Disease is really just a nice tidy way to say my whole body is super messed up because I have an infection(s) that cause damage to all parts of my body, especially major organs and tissues. When I say I have Lyme I really mean that I have tick born illnesses plus other health problems that may or may not be related. The doctors who treat Lyme understand that it can affect the entire body and so they take a holistic approach to investigation, diagnosis and treatment. As symptoms come and go and treatments succeed or fail my doctors get more information about what is happening in my body. So right now I know that I have Lyme, possibly Bartonella (we know I had it at some point), candida, and adrenal fatigue. I won't be "better" until I've addressed all of those issues and it's going to take some time.

Please know that I'm planning on having a big party when I'm all better along with getting back to my previous life. I'll be sure to announce it to everyone when that day arrives. Until then, please don't ask me if I'm better yet. I promise, I'll tell you when I am. However, I do appreciate it when you ask how I'm doing today or lately. It's nice to know that you care or are concerned. Please ask me how you can support me in my journey to wellness, or when you can next spend time with me. Please tell me about what's going on in your life and please keep inviting me to things even though I sometimes can't attend, it's nice to be included. Please celebrate the small things with me and know that I'm doing everything I can to find the best doctors and the best treatments possible. I'm trying everything I think might help in hopes of finding that one thing that works for my body with my allergies, and sensitivities, and current state of health. I'm not just sitting around doing nothing. I'm fighting for my life, for my health. I may not be entirely better quite yet, but I am better then I was before and that's already a huge success.

If you are interested in another Lyme patient's perspective on this topic please check out this link: She has done a great job of explaining why some people with Lyme need a long time to get "better".

And here's the link to the blog of a well known Lyme Literate Dr who has another way of explaining why some of us just don't feel better even after trying lots of things.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Magnesium Giveaway #2

So, the guys at Remarkable Redwood Remedies were so pleased with your interest during the first giveaway they've offered up 4 more samples for you to try. They're so generous! If you missed out on the first giveaway, here's your chance to soak in some incredible magnesium chloride bath crystals.

Magnesium is so important for our bodies I can't believe I didn't know more about it before. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, kidney stones, heart attacks, it calms the nerves, prevents blood clots, helps with nearly all digestive and eating related issues, relaxes muscles, dilates blood vessels, keeps toxins out of the brain, relieves muscle cramps and menopause symptoms. What amazing stuff this is!

Magnesium comes in many different forms. These bath crystals are magnesium chloride. This is different from Epsom salts. It's easily assimilated and metabolized by the body, does not create an unwanted laxative effect like oral magnesium and Epsom salt can, less is required to get the desired effects, it's affordable compared to other effective types of magnesium, and trans dermal(through the skin) absorption is the most effective way to use it.


As a tub soak: To create a soothing, relaxing, and sensual sensation Add 2-3 handfuls to a hot bath and soak for up to 30 minutes. Initially you may experience extreme relaxation and even feel tired. This product can also be used as a foot soak.

HERE'S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for the Remarkable Redwood Remedies Magnesium Bath Crystals:

*** Be sure to leave a separate comment for each entry and your email so I can let you know you've won ***

1. share the link to this blog post on facebook, twitter, or your blog then leave a comment for each share

2. share the link to the Remarkable Redwood Remedies website on facebook, twitter, or your blog and leave a separate comment for each share

3. leave a separate comment with a fact about magnesium chloride that I haven't mentioned

4. share your personal experiences with using magnesium chloride products

For each entry leave a separate comment. Four lucky winners will be randomly chosen on February 13th.

For more information on this product or to order some for your bath check out

To see the first blog posting and learn lots about magnesium read the original blog post:

For more information and a fellow lymies take on magnesium check out the Lymenaide blog at

Good Luck and happy health to all of you.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What to Eat: Asian Cucumber Cups

I've never made these until tonight. I've only eaten them once. It was at a craft show that had catered hors d'vours. I though tonight I'd try to recreate them. It was really easy and very tasty.


English cucumber
rice vinegar
gluten free tamari or soy sauce
toasted sesame oil
sesame seeds


1. cut 1 medium or 2 small tomatoes into the smallest and most uniform pieces you possibly can. A firm tomato and a good knife help with this. Try to make little cubes if you can. VERY LITTLE.

2. Put toms. in a small bowl and add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon each of gluten free soy sauce or tamari, toasted sesame oil, and rice vinegar then stir till evenly coated. If you don't have all of these you can get by with just the rice vinegar.

3. Peel stripes into an English cucumber. These are the type that come wrapped in plastic. WHY? Does anyone know?

4. Cut the cucumber into thick slices about 1/2 - 3/4 of an inch. You should be able to eat it in one bit like sushi.

5. Take a small spoon a scoop out a bit of the cucumber leaving a little cup inside it. Be careful not to scoop to deep.

6. Using a spoon fill the cucumber cups with the toms and then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

7. Enjoy!

Results are light, crisp, and delicious. We enjoyed them along side a citrus stir fry. My husband liked them and asked if they were faux sushi which gave me the idea to try and add flakes of seaweed to the tomatoes for an extra bit of salty Asian flavor. Also try it with black sesame seeds for a little more fun.

I love getting comments, questions and feedback so please try it and let me know what you think.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Crustless Quiche

Here is one of the items that regularly shows up on my weekly menu at home. To most it's quiche without the crust for us it's disappearing leftovers quiche. We call it that because it's a great way to get rid of all sorts of leftovers and random nubs of things hanging around.

In this particular one I used sun dried tomato chicken sausages, potatoes, chard, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, veggie cheeses, zucchini, garlic, onion, and seasonings. It was one of the best versions I have ever made. It's so yummy and so easy to make. My husband likes it, it's filling, and makes great leftovers. You can even eat it for breakfast the next morning.

Some other ingredients that go well in this dish are:

rice of any kind or flavor
any leftover meat
hash browns even frozen ones
yellow squash
or anything else you can think of


1. preheat over to around 375

2. pull out all leftovers and assorted veggies from fridge

3. cut all veggies into small pieces trying to keep sizes uniform

4. put all your veggies into a glass pie pan, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt pepper, other seasonings ex. turmeric, Italian seasonings, garlic or garlic powder, etc. and stir until evenly coated

5. add meats and cheeses and stir again

6. fill pie pan close to full with yummy nibbles

7. Crack lots of fresh eggs, add a splash of milk (I use rice milk) and whisk. Usually requires 8-12 eggs

8. pour eggs into pie pan until all veggies and meat are covered with egg. You may need to crack more eggs if you have a lot of goodies in your pan.

9. cover with foil and carefully transfer to oven.

10. bake until mostly solid, then remove foil and bake until a knife comes out clean or the eggs in the center look fully cooked.

11. Bon appetite! (did I spell that right?)

Please try this recipe and leave a comment with your opinions, variations, suggestions, etc. I love getting ideas from others.

PS. Sorry about the quality of the photos. I've got the jewelry photography down, but I'm still working on how to photograph food. Also the lighting in the kitchen is weird. I'll figure it out someday.

upcycled by ash: Lymetastic Giveaway

Please check out this incredible giveaway from my friend Ashley. She's giving away the handmade clutch she took with her to the Turn the Corner Gala this past fall. What an awesome gift.

upcycled by ash: Lymetastic Giveaway: "YAY a giveaway. I feel like it has been forever since I did a giveaway. This month's giveaway item is the fantastic clutch I made for the ..."

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Do Not Eat List

I, like most Lymies, have quite a long list of foods I can not/should not eat. I created this list after several visits with a naturopath, allergy testing, and listening closely to my body. Here is what is on my do not eat list which I have hanging on my fridge just in case I can't remember.

Cow Milk
Anise Seed
Maple Sugar
Casein, Cowmilk
Chili Powder
Whole Wheat
Wheat Bran
Pinto Beans
Cane Sugar
Corn Sugar
Cheddar Cheese
Barley Malt
Beet Sugar
Date Sugar
Superheated Vegetable Fat
Sweet and Low
Whole Wheat
Navy Beans
American Cheese
Kidney Beans

Lucky for me many of these foods weren't in my diet to begin with. Many of these foods I can handle in small quantities infrequently, but others make me sick almost instantly. What do I mean when I say they make me sick? Well it depends on the food. For example, significant ammounts of sugar makes me itchy and not able to sleep especially in chocolate. Chocolate also makes me break out. I was so in denial of this for forever, but when I quit my skin clears up a lot. Milk makes me flemy right away. Wheat makes me bloated, tired, stuffy headed and in pain. I also think it makes me sneeze. MSG causes such bad migraines I nearly always throw up. Lovely isn't it? Mango causes sores in my mouth that scab over. Almonds cause canker sores. Most beans cause major stomach upset and digestive issues. I could go on and on.

I've learned over the last 3 years what bothers me and what doesn't. How much of each thing I can handle with out major side effects. However, the most important things I have learned have come from really being strict about this diet.

At first I was freaking out and wondering what the hell I was going to be eating. I used to be vegetarian and survived somehow on mostly sugar, carbs, dairy, and soy. I also felt like crap. What was I going to eat? It took me a while and but I figured it out. I had to stop thinking about what I couldn't eat and start focusing on WHAT I COULD EAT. Along the way I tried a lot of foods that I used to think I didn't like and found out that if made properly they're not so bad. Some are even good, like asparagus and quinoia. Yum.

Most importantly I learned that nothing tastes as good as feeling great. Once I stopped eating all these foods I started feeling a lot better and most of my sinus issues went away along with a lot of other symptoms including pain, insomnia, itching, extreme fatigue, and digestion issues. What I had thought was seasonal allergies was really food allergies. Crazy! Stop eating wheat and dairy and BAM I can breathe again. Awesome!

I can't even begin to tell you how much better I feel when I really stick to this diet. It makes a big difference. I had no idea just how much of an impact what we feed ourselves has on our daily lives. I get it now.

I still eat some of these things in moderation or on special occasions or if there really is nothing free of these ingredients, like at a party for example. But in general I try pretty hard to stay away from them and the payoff is worth it.

It's not always easy, but the longer I've been doing it the easier it has become. At first I would have the hardest time passing up the tempting warm fresh baked cookies from the Pacific Cookie Co. downtown or frozen yogurt with my husband, or the box of See's candy at Christmas. Okay, I did eat a piece at Christmas this year, but I refrained from eating all of my most favorite ones like I would have years ago. I of course suffered a few days later when I woke up with red splotches on my face. Damn acne, damn See's candy tasting so good. However, now when I see things like a loaf of bread, pizza, muffins, and creamy cheese I don't see yummy foods that I want and can't have. Instead I see tonixs, pain, ruin and an invitation to the feeling like crap party. I don't even want to eat those things any more. Al least most of the time I don't. Occasionally I'll crave something that I'm not supposed to have and now I am able to see that it's either a component of that food that my body wants like the calcium in the cheese or the carbs in the pasta or it's one of the many infections living in my body trying to get what it wants to eat. I am now better able to see that it's not me who wants the sugar it's the candida and bacteria in me that do and I'm not about to feed them!

What I have learned is that life is much better when I avoid these foods and stick to a diet of lean meats and lots of veggies. I have gotten in the habit of taking food with me nearly every time I leave the house, especially if I'm traveling. If I don't I'll end up eating whatever is easiest and paying for it in the long run.

Sometimes I'll hear other Lymies complaining that they don't feel good. I'll ask about their diet and most of the time they say they know they should stop eating things but haven't done it yet. I don't understand that. We don't have control over many things in our lives, but we do have total and complete control over what we put into our bodies. How could you consciously choose to continue feeling really crappy? I don't get it.

I think part of the reason for a lot of lymies or people on specific diet in general is that they're stuck in the phase of not knowing what to eat if they take all of these things out. People tend to focus n what they can't eat instead of what they CAN enjoy eating. Over the last 2 and a half years of being on this diet I've figured out some really great things to eat. In fact I'd say that my diet is the healthiest and most diverse it's ever been, even compared to when I thought I was being healthy as a vegetarian.

I've made it my intention to help out my fellow Lymies and friends in general by sharing some of my kitchen tips, tricks and recipes for eating well when you have a long DO NOT EAT list like me.

Please stay tuned for more blog posts about what you can eat and be prepared for some yummy treats. I hope you find out that nothing tastes as great as feeling good!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Remarkable Redwood Remedies Magnesium Bath Crystals Giveaway

While down at the farmer's market I spoke with a very nice and knowledgeable man, Richard Goldberg is his name, about his magnesium bath crystals. I explained that I have Lyme Disease and understood that his product could be really helpful for some of my symptoms. I also told him that I know a lot of lymies who would love to try his product and he offered me some samples so we could try it out. Super cool! Keep Reading and you'll find out how you can get some for yourself for free!

I took mine home and poured them in the tub and relaxed while reading the informational material he gave me. I had no idea how amazing magnesium is, it's remarkable! Did you know that magnesium is on the crash cart in ERs to help people having heart attacks? I didn't.

Buy the time I got out of the tub I was calm, relaxed, happy, educated and totally convinced that I'm magnesium deficient and in love with this product. I have used the Remarkable Redwood Remedies magnesium bath crystals several times they always make me feel so much better then before I got into the tub. I can't believe the difference in my level of relaxation, pain reduction, and mood. LOVE LOVE LOVE these bath crystals and I think you will too!

I did some research on magnesium chloride and here is what I've learned.

Most Americans are deficient in magnesium. This is because our soils are depleted and cooking and processing foods further deplete this vital mineral. Another reason is because our awful American diets don't contain many magnesium rich foods such as dark leafy veggies, sea veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds. I know I didn't used to eat many of these foods. I still don't eat as many as I probably should, but I'm trying.

When I saw the list of symptoms that can occur with magnesium deficiency I was surprised at how many roles it plays and how many of the symptoms I experience in a regular basis. You might be magnesium deficient if you have any of these symptoms: depression, muscle cramps,contractions or twitches, depression, insomnia, irritability, sensitivity to noise, anxiety, autism, ADD, palpitations, angina, constipation, headaches, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, asthma, kidney stones, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, allergies, chemical sensitivities, anxiety and psychiatric disorders, hearing loss, menstrual cramps, premature birth, scar formation, seizures, TMJ, and many many more. I also found out that chocolate is high in magnesium and craving chocolate can be a sign of deficiency. Guess what!? When I use the bath salts regularly I don't crave chocolate and when I stop the cravings come back, cravings I've had for years and years and are very intense simply go away.

Magnesium is so important for our bodies I can't believe I didn't know more about it before. It helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, kidney stones, heart attacks, it calms the nerves, prevents blood clots, helps with nearly all digestive and eating related issues, relaxes muscles, dilates blood vessels, keeps toxins out of the brain, relieves muscle cramps and menopause symptoms. What amazing stuff this is!

Magnesium comes in many different forms. These bath crystals are magnesium chloride. This is different from Epsom salts. It's easily assimilated and metabolized by the body, does not create an unwanted laxative effect like oral magnesium and Epsom salt can, less is required to get the desired effects, it's affordable compared to other effective types of magnesium, and trans dermal(through the skin) absorption is the most effective way to use it.

I bet you're super excited to find out how you can get your hands on some of this amazing stuff. So, HERE'S HOW TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY for the Remarkable Redwood Remedies Magnesium Bath Crystals:

***be sure to leave your email so I can let you know you've won******

1. share the link to this blog post on facebook or twitter then leave a comment for each share

2. share the link to the Remarkable Redwood Remedies website on facebook or twitter and leave a separate comment for each share

3. leave a separate comment with a fact about magnesium that I haven't mentioned

4. share your personal experiences with using magnesium chloride products

For each entry leave a separate comment. Three winners will be randomly chosen on January 13th. One grand prize winner will get a big sample baggie and two addition winners will get one of the smaller sized sample baggies.

For more information on this product or to order some for your bath check out

For more information and a fellow lymies take on magnesium check out the Lymenaide blog at

Good Luck and happy health to all of you.


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