Monday, September 22, 2014

LOVE my ongoing improvement AND the BIG move!!!

Today marks 2 weeks that I started the ketogenic diet.  I thought I was on it a few days longer, but I looked back at the calendar and my blog and realized that I started this on a Monday exactly 2 weeks ago.  Anyway...big improvements!  I have to say I was not expecting to see or feel any improvements for at least a month.  But here is a run-down:

1.  Weight loss (6 lbs in 2 weeks).  I started gaining weight 8 months into TSW...when my skin got better and I returned to work.  A few reasons for this was not eating well and my liver getting worse.  When my liver was bad years ago, I had gained a lot of weight.  This year I gained about 30 lbs.  Craziness!  So I was hoping this diet would help heal my liver and help me lose weight.  Not going to get my liver enzymes checked for another few months, but the weight loss is a positive sign!

2.  Skin texture has drastically improved!  I am still dealing with dry skin on my face, neck, and chest, and my fingers are still slowly healing, but the rest of my skin texture is way super soft!  Could be from all the extra water I'm drinking!  I posted a camera picture on FB the other day of my super smooth elbow!  In my entire life, I have never had smooth elbows...they've always had dry skin!  I have only had one small TSW flare on one elbow this year (lasted 2 or 3 days) but they continued to have that dry white skin.  Not anymore!  I can run my hands up and down my elbows and it's all baby soft skin!  So weird!

3.  ENERGY!!!  Yes the one thing I was hoping to improve on this diet is definitely improving and much more than I had hoped for only 2 weeks in!  I no longer take naps during the day and even when I feel tired, I am still able to get things done.  And to top it off, that time of the month arrived the other day and it did not stop me in my tracks like it has every month for years!  Am I bouncing all over the place?  No...I have a LONG ways to go to heal my gut and adrenals.  But this level of energy is what I had when my skin started to clear and I went back to work a year ago.  I know I went back to work too soon, but at the time I didn't have a choice due to hubby's accident.

4.  Better sleep patterns!  I have had no problem getting enough sleep throughout TSW.  I medicated myself with benadryl, motrin, and tylenol as needed during the brutal months and then only benadryl this past year.  I want to come off the benadryl but I was not even getting tired before 3 am (even if I forced myself to not nap).  This was a sign of severe adrenal stress in the book I read.  I now get tired by midnight....and if it wasn't for the surface dry skin causing itching at night, I wouldn't need the benadryl to fall asleep as I am REALLY tired now before going to bed.  I also stopped getting tired at 3 pm every day....another sign of unbalanced adrenals.  I used to literally plan my errands around the 3-5 pm window during which I would almost always pass out on the couch completely exhausted.  I may feel run down at that time this past week, but I no longer feel tired enough to fall asleep or even have to rest.

5.  Better moods...this has more to do with my PMS than anything.  I was shocked when I got my period the other day because I had no PMS mood swings.  That is amazing in and of itself!  :)

All good in the skin department - no major flares - still dealing with super dry skin on my face and it is more reddish in color.  But no significant itching, no oozing, no burning.  My neck and chest the same except no redness at all.  Fingers get itchy about every 2 days and then any scratching will cause them to swell a bit - but nothing that inhibits bending at the joints like during a flare.  The skin on 8 of my fingers is super dry like my face.  Plus the open areas from my flare are still healing.  I will scratch a few scabs open from time to time and that just makes them take longer to heal.  Oh well.  I'm just glad they don't ooze nor cause any pain.  Still cooking and getting things done without having to stop because of nerve pain in my fingers.  The rest of my skin is clear...legs, feet, back, arms.

As for the big move....we don't have a closing date yet, but we should have one soon!  Looking to be in Kentucky in about a month!  So very excited!!  This will begin a whole new chapter for us and I can't wait!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The adrenals, Ketogenic diet and almost 19 months!

So much to talk about today!!  In 3 days I will be 19 months into TSW.  WOW!  I am so thankful for the worst behind me!  I would post pictures but have no idea where my camera is - when we went to KY a month ago to buy our house, I couldn't find it then either and had to use my phone camera.  When we got home I found it.  Now it's lost again.  Life is a bit chaotic with buying a house out of state and attempting to clean house and pack!  I do have pictures in the FB groups though.  Mostly of my hands as that is where my current flare persists.

At this moment my fingers continue to slowly heal from the flare.  They started to improve last week and then healing seemed to stop - nothing got worse but they just kind of stayed the same.  The good news is that while they don't look better, they feel better - I am back to cooking and even doing the dishes here and there.  I can pet the dogs again and even open up my water bottles.  During the this week when my hands stopped in their healing tracks, I started a new flare on my face and neck - this was worse than any flare I've had in the last 10 months.  Nothing horrible - no oozing, moderate itching, and slight to moderate burning.  No swelling and the only redness is where I scratched.  But my mini-flares have been much more isolated and smaller in nature than this flare.  So far I am in day 3 of this flare and already it is improving.

I have a theory (yes I often have them) - you see 3 days ago I read an AMAZING book (we'll get to that in a bit).  I plunged head first into a ketogenic diet (not following paleo or any other specific diet - just a diet with high fat, moderate protein, and low carb).  And lo and behold within 8 hours I started this flare.  Now I have had multiple mini flares on either my face or neck on and off over the last month or so - but this was very different.  My face turned into sandpaper it was so dry - and yes I was drinking tons of water - over 2 liters per day.  But the facial dryness was nothing I had experienced during TSW to this extent.  It wasn't causing dry cracks like on the side of the mouth or eyelid which is what I would have expected.  It was weird is all I can say.  The dryness seemed to peak today and then this evening it is seemingly going away.  I'll be able to tell more tomorrow.  But my theory is that the ketogenic diet put me into a die-off state (of candida) and a detox of toxins, which caused a bad skin reaction.  This seems to happen to me every time I get strict with my diet.  But I've never attempted a ketogenic diet before.

Anyway - why did I do this?  Isn't this supposed to be unhealthy?  Well you see I have been battling this fatigue on and off for years - became worse during TSW, improved late last year enough for me to return to work, and then became much worse again a few months ago.  I also had blood work done and it was discovered my liver enzymes were high again.  I was perplexed and very frustrated.  But didn't have time to look into it much.  I figured it was my adrenals taking their sweet old time healing.  Then 4 days ago I was going through my blog feed and one of my favorite blogs had information on a new book called "Rethinking Fatigue" by Nora Gedgaudas.  And can we say light bulb moment!!  Wow!!  I never read something so fast and processed so much information all in one day!  Within the first hour of reading it I had already started the ketogenic diet based on the information in her book.  But since it was afternoon and all, I didn't count that day as day 1.  Anyway the information was enough for me to realize I need to seriously overhaul my gut which in turn will correct my adrenals and liver.  And on day 3 today I am feeling so much better (those first 2 days were not so pleasant yucky feeling).  Let's just say I see the bigger picture in ALL of this!

OK, last but definitely not least - I want to give a big shout out to an amazing blogger and holistic nutritionist, Abby!  Her website, Prime Physique Nutrition is dedicated to healing eczema from a nutritional standpoint.  She is truly amazing and her blog is full of great information beneficial to all of us even in TSW.  Eventually down the road many of us will still need to address the underlying cause of the eczema in the first place.  And her blog is the place to be!  She was very kind and asked me to be a guest blogger and write about TSW.  I was happy to do so in hopes of reaching more and more people with this condition.

That's it for now.  Pictures to come as soon as I find my camera.  I need to get these boxes more organized I think! :)