Sep 20 2013

Gluten Free Friday

Gluten Free Friday
All gluten free

All gluten free

More gluten free awesomeness

More gluten free awesomeness

Enough said.

Sep 14 2013

Feeling much better

Feeling much better

Thanks for all of the prayers. We are feeling much better and looks like the boys and the mister have been spared. Yay!

Hope to get back on the blogging bandwagon this coming week!

Sep 10 2013

Prayers please!

Prayers please!

I haven’t forgotten about you my bloggy friends…Abilene and I have come down with an illness (hers is worse) and it makes for a not so fun time right now. I am just trying to keep going as I don’t feel the greatest.

So prayers for quick recovery for both myself and little Abilene are most appreciated!

Sep 4 2013

Weakness Wednesday

Weakness Wednesday

This seemed as good a day as any to start something new like a series…well maybe…let’s just start with today.

I have social anxiety. There I said it. Yep. Me, Anna, the lady who would talk to ANYONE has major social anxiety issues. I have had this problem since I was a young child. I would be involved in our school plays or musicals and I would get so nervous that 9 times out of 10 I would come down with a fever and be too ill to attend the event! It was devastating. I became so predictable to miss the big event that whenever I was cast in a role, they always cast a back up for me! This weakness has plagued me for my entire life. It still pains me today.

Our son just celebrated his 5th birthday and my husband has been wanting to take our family to Splash Island in Plainfield. It is a really neat place but a swimming pool????? PUBLIC???? Talk about major meltdown for this mama. I have enough issues just dressing to go to the grocery store let alone a POOL! The sheer thought of donning a swimsuit made my blood pressure jump about 50 points! But once I am there and finally able to submerse myself in the NOW and the FUN, I always end up having a great time.

I have talked with the Lord many, many, many times about my social awkwardness. I have prayed and prayed for relief of my issues. I have held on to one verse to help me through most of my attacks – Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I will repeat this verse over and over and over and really try to claim the truth that it holds. It has worked for me and I can get through it. But I have come to realize that I have larger issues…I won’t even ask for help from someone out of fear of being judged…this even includes my dearest most best friend, my husband.

I have been feeling a tug at my heart that I need to join a Lifegroup at our church. This is a HUGE step for me. I am good at the surface social environment – chit chat and small talk – but I have built such strong and sturdy walls around the real Anna that it is very difficult to reach her. But I have taken the plunge with God’s tugging and signed us up for a Lifegroup! Funny thing though…I put in my info almost 3 weeks ago…and still haven’t heard back from my church! Ha! How is that for irony? That’s okay. I think God may want me to REALLY want this and make sure I assert myself by following up. I am praying for the courage to do so:)

Today I had to really ask Jesus to direct my words and my steps…I didn’t know what to do. We were leaving a park. There was a young woman who was very pregnant getting out of her car SMOKING. She proceeded to let 2 other small children out of her car. I wanted to storm up in her face and scream “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??? DO YOU NOT KNOW YOU ARE KILLING THAT PRECIOUS LIFE INSIDE YOU???? DO YOU KNOW WHAT SECOND HAND SMOKE DOES TO LITTLE LUNGS????” But that was my flesh…I am thankful I had Abilene in my arms who was cranky to diffuse me. I continued to pack us up and realized I couldn’t just stand by. I prayed right then and there for Jesus to guide me; give me the words and the means to approach this young woman. Jesus never fails. Aaron had the boys and they were heading back from a bathroom visit and decided to stop by the splash pad that this young woman and her kids were heading too. It was perfect. I grabbed Abilene back out of her car seat and headed over. I didn’t just march up to her. I watched her. I watched her interact with her other kids. She seemed to genuinely care about them and wanted them to have fun. I was able to find a way to talk to her and asked her how much longer she had. She answered very kindly with stating her induction would be Monday. This would be her 2nd child. She had 1 daughter and she was about to have a son and she would be done. The other little boy with her was her nephew who had come to live with her for awhile – no more details on that. We chatted about babies and whatnot and then I brazenly asked if I could pray for her and her unborn child. I was surprised by her response. She said she would greatly appreciate that! So I prayed. I also told her I would be praying for her through delivery. So if you are reading this, please add this young woman to your prayer list. She needs it and wants it! I was so thankful that God calmed me enough to approach her with love not anger. She must know smoking is wrong (seriously, who doesn’t). Maybe smoking is better than something far worse (drugs). Either way, I needn’t say a thing. I just simply asked if I could pray for her and her baby and she welcomed it. Thank you Jesus for the courage and guidance!!!

Anyway, that is this week’s Weakness Wednesday…anyone else care to share?

Jul 18 2013

Still not right…


Well, we are back to the drawing board. I am sill not right. I am having terrible migraines (sneaky gluten) and have extreme fatigue with other days of bounding energy. I want to rip my skin off at times because it itches so much. I have bouts of “brain fog” and cannot believe this is STILL going on.

I have spent the last 6 weeks on an aggressive diet change…it helped some at first. Getting gluten and any possible link to gluten out has been the most helpful. Dairy is probably next because what do cows eat? Yep. You got it…wheat. I increased exercise and guess what no real budge on weight – a couple pounds but I still have inflammation running through my body.

My insulin test came back just barely lower than before. I have been told I need hand surgery to correct my left wrist. I just stubbed my toe SO badly that I thought I broke it – thankfully, I did not. I just jammed the nail from the nail matrix into my toe and caused a HUGE hematoma and I get to wear a cool postop shoe!

Anywho – I just don’t care anymore. I will get my hand fixed but other than that – whatever. I am riding every morning now. If feels great. I am napping when I can and taking something to help me sleep at night. Benedryl cream is doing the trick for my shoulders and life will just go on! If God sees fit to heal me, GREAT! If not, ok.

Sorry for my whining…it gets frustrating. But I will lean on Him.

Phil 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.


May 28 2013

Final diagnosis


So it has been eons since I have really posted anything…there is a good reason…many actually but I come to you now explaining just a bit about what has been going on.

I have been sick. Not throwing up in the toilet or running a fever…I mean chronically like someone threw the REAL Anna into this weird body that doesn’t want to function properly. I have had troubles pretty much since I got pregnant with Abilene and have been suffering ever since. Let me take you through what I have been dealing with:

September 2011 – pregnant with Abilene – had progesterone issues

Pretty much felt terrible through the whole pregnancy.

March 2012 – changed to a vegetarian diet (we were already on the track for that but finally went full tilt).

June 2012 – gave birth to sweet baby girl

10 days postpartum land in ER with worst hives EVER (the docs were even scared) – they chalked it up to “hormones”

July 2012 – spent a week in Riley with Abilene

Aug 2012 – moved to OKC (more on that at a later time)

OKC did not work out – we moved back.

November 2012 – saw my OB for massive menstrual pain, reduction in milk supply (with a baby who REFUSED bottles or formula) and weight gain – diagnosis was to take fenugreek to help with milk, deal with the pain “it will get better” and weight gain was probably due to move and stress (otherwise I was to stop eating so much)

January 2013 – feeling sluggish, depressed, gained significantly more weight, losing my mind. Saw my OB again – this time he suggested antidepressants and birth control.

March 2013 – I had gained 40 pounds since Sept/Oct 2012. My joints were KILLING me. I had swelling in my fingers every morning. I couldn’t wear my wedding ring. My clothes didn’t fit. During ovulation I looked 5 to 6 months pregnant. I was grumpy, miserable and had absolutely NO ENERGY. I was losing my mind. I finally went to see my family practitioner because I had read a book about my symptoms. It described me to a “T” and it was all about estrogen-dominant syndrome. I begged for her to do blood tests and find out what was wrong with me. Thankfully, she did order the blood tests.

And just for the record, the antidepressants were terrible. I took them for about 4 days total (2 different kinds) and they made me worse than before! Also, I held off on the birth control recommendation because I never needed it before – why should I take it now???

April 2013 – blood tests reveal low vit D and a positive ANA (which means auto-immune disorder). Ok now I felt like we were getting somewhere. I asked for a copy of my results and she gave them to me. I knew enough from reading info on my estrogen-dominant syndrome that my progesterone level was in fact low!  I went about trying to fix this on my own but felt uncomfortable doing so but didn’t know where to turn. My family doc didn’t feel like it was an issue. I decided to see what my first OB might say about this. I also went to find a rheumatologist to see but couldn’t get in until May 16. Yippee.

I go see my first OB (who delivered Abraham and has been around for nearly forever – ok not really, but he is “experienced”). He said birth control is the answer to fix my hormone levels (which mind you was warned against in my book) and also that my prolactin levels were probably still high since I just weaned Abilene and my body had been “confused” during nursing and having cycles. Since it was confused, my body decided to store fat “just in case it needed to support a pregnancy and a nursing child.” That seemed feasible but I just felt like it was wrong since we are talking 40+ pounds. I took his advice and started using birth control but when I put on another 6 pounds in about 3 days – my search was back on.

At this point, let me just explain to you that I was broken. I hurt so much. I barely had enough energy to get out of bed and feed my sweet lovable babies. I was an emotional wreck as well. My kids have never seen mommy cry so much as during this ordeal. I felt trapped. I have watched my calories – scrutinized really. I made sure to eat as healthily as possible – fruits, veggies, pasta, breakfast foods, no meat, no trans fats, no desserts really, no potato chips, no “junk food”, only diet soda occasionally, drink lots of water – you get it. I would exercise when my energy level allowed which was a couple times a week. But the migraines were becoming extremely harsh, more frequent and my Imitrex wasn’t helping. My cycles were EXTREMELY painful during ovulation most of the time requiring the use of narcotics just to walk upright. My joints would swell and the pain was seriously unbearable. Plus I had been fretting about what possible auto-immune disease did I have!

I went to MOPS for our final day and I begged for prayers. I didn’t go into details but just wanted prayers to ensure that I would be around for my kids. At the rate things were progressing I was honestly fearing death.

One of the mentor moms approached me and asked if I had consulted a holistic doctor. It hadn’t crossed my mind. I didn’t even know where to start. She gave me the number to a great holistic doctor and she is even a Christian! Double bonus!! I went home and called right away. She wasn’t taking new patients until SEPTEMBER. I most certainly couldn’t wait. I was crushed. In all honesty, I had fallen away from God because I felt abandoned by Him. I questioned my suffering. I was begging for it to go away for the sake of my children and nothing but silence. I was angry. I felt forsaken. I was losing hope. But thankfully I didn’t give up. I did some internet searching and found a couple holistic clinics. I also learned that holistic does include modern western medicine but they also believe in the body’s healing power. There are natural ways to heal the body instead of shoving harmful pharmaceuticals down our throats. A couple of the places seemed really nice but didn’t accept insurance and were REALLY expensive. Very discouraging. Then I came across Holistic Medical and Wellness Center on W 86th street. They seemed pretty good and I called to get an appointment. Had to leave a message. I hung up figuring I would probably never hear back. But God did answer my prayer and they called back within an hour! I had an appointment on May 9th! I was overwhelmed with HOPE! Maybe just maybe they will figure this out!

May 9th – I spend nearly 70 minutes with the NP, Jen, who is wonderful. She is caring, understanding, likeable, real, genuine, and truly wanted to help me. I gave her my test results from March and completely agreed that I was definitely suffering from estrogen dominant syndrome that I needed to IMMEDIATELY cease birth control and go on a regimen of progesterone to start getting back to normal. She also wanted me to take an additional vitamin D and have my fasting insulin checked. Since my thyroid and glucose were fine she was just covering the bases. She reassured me that I would in fact be okay. That we would get to the bottom of my symptoms and get “me” back. It may take some time but it would happen. She squelched my fears about my “positive ANA” as well. She recommended that I don’t go see the rheumatologist because they are just going to put me through a bunch of tests that will most likely NOT produce any results. Any inflammation in my body could produce that positive marker on my blood test…well, I have had NOTHING BUT inflammation! She did say that if I chose to go down that road she could recommend a rheumatologist that believed in natural medicine. I left her office feeling hopeful for the first time in a really long time. I had a followup with her in 2 weeks! I was actually going to be monitored and watched for changes in my symptoms.

Mother’s Day 2013 – We had breakfast with my in-law’s at Blueberry Hill Pancake House. I had waffles and a couple bites of pancakes. I ended up with a terrible migraine by the end of breakfast. This same thing happened to me in March at the same restaurant when I ate the same food – waffles. My Imitrex didn’t help at all. I was a slug the rest of the day and that was no fun.

Monday after Mother’s Day – I felt better. I ate some waffles for breakfast and went out for a bike ride. I had another terrible migraine by the time I got home from my ride. I finally got smart and did some internet research and found out that gluten (which is a wheat protein) can in fact give you migraines. It can cause LOTS of problems – swelling, weight gain, insulin spikes, estrogen spikes, and the list goes on. Gluten has been attributed to over 200 different symptoms and no 2 people have the same reaction to it. I immediately ceased all gluten in my diet and from that point forward I have been migraine free!

May 23rd – I went back to see Jen to find out my test results. My fasting insulin was high! She showed me the results and gave me a copy. This is preventive medicine at its best. “Normal” western medicine gives an allowance of 0-17 for your score on the fasting insulin test. Jen and her office says no higher than 5. I scored a 14. I was immediately placed on a new diet. No CARBOHYDRATES. Really I am to avoid them like the plague because they are killing me. I need to eat a high protein diet with very few to no carbs. Now I am welcome to eat most vegetables and fruits as long as the fruit retains the skin when I eat it – apples, berries, apricots, etc…if it gets peeled (oranges and bananas) I am not supposed to eat it because the fiber is typically in the peel. Well, this came as a huge shock. I have honored my husband by adhering to a vegetarian diet. How could go home and  tell him I had to start adding meat back into my diet? There was no other super easy way to get a high protein diet than to basically be a paleo diet follower – which is the antithesis of Aaron. I was fearful to share the news. I didn’t know what this was going to do to our family. Had I given up all processed carbohydrates (cereal, waffles, pancakes, pastas) things would have different. But I was so new to the vegetarian diet, I had no clue what to make! I just did what I could. That nearly cost me to become a diabetic.

So now I am currently eating no grains. I am eating as much protein-rich foods as possible which limiting my carbohydrates. I have also added a soy protein powder to a peanut butter and unsweetened almond milk milkshake at night (which my boys LOVE) and I have already noticed a HUGE difference! I am not swelling nearly like I used to. I have dropped 3 pounds. I have energy! I don’t feel like crashing for a nap right after breakfast! I actually WANT to go exercise or work outside. I feel like doing anything! It has truly been amazing! I would never had said any of these things were possible with a simple switch in my diet. I am beyond ecstatic and relieved. And Aaron has been nothing but supportive. He doesn’t like the meat aspect but we have chosen to purchase meat from ethically treated animals that are fed organic food and are hormone free. Even my eggs are organic, free-range, vegetarian-fed. The change has been so dramatic that even Aaron has noticed. We just hope this change (betterment in my health) is here to stay!

I will be following up with Jen in 3 months – September – to have my hormone levels checked and my insulin re-checked. If I have made significant progress I get to expand my diet a bit and just be on maintenance. Woohoo!

I know this was a lengthy, windy post but I wanted to get it all out there. I was in such a dark place for such a long time and I felt helpless. I even TRIED to get help but was given all the wrong answers. Our world is so fallen. It is full of drug pushers and poisoned food supply. We can’t hardly eat ANYTHING unless we grow it ourselves or kill it ourselves. And just a side note: I went to Red Robin to celebrate Abel’s 3rd birthday and I enjoyed a veggie burger with a gluten-free bun and gluten-free fries (unseasoned, since their seasoning has MSG). I still had a minor headache later that day. Turns out the veggie burger has wheat gluten added!!! I have to be SUPER careful! YIKES. Good news – we won’t be eating out hardly at all anymore which means more money for other things…bad news…I will be making 5 separate meals 3 times a day:( Well, truth be told Aaron makes most of his own food. He usually only eats what the rest of us eat at lunch (our big meal). But you know what that is okay! And you know something else – vegans and paleo-ish people can live together in harmony! We are living proof!

Goodnight ya’ll and I hope to return soon with new posts that capture the last year or so…until then, I bid you ado.

Jan 25 2013



Please pray for us. All 3 kiddos are sick. Monday the diagnosis came back positive for RSV. It is a nasty virus that you can get over and over again. It causes respiratory issues; wheezing, coughing, labored breathing, retractions, and in some cases, tachypnea. Well you all know about Abilene’s past. Please pray that she fights this off without a visit to Riley. So far she has responded well to breathing treatments here at home. But at any moment that could change. I am also sick with this virus and I would appreciate prayers for strength to tend to my family.


Jan 19 2013

The Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt

In November 2010, I was adding 5 yards of topsoil to my garden with my at the time 2yo Abraham. I had removed my wedding band and placed it in my pocket to avoid the ring getting damaged by the shovel/rake and also to avoid the inevitable pinching that the ring incurs when using garden tools. Sometime that day in my haste I pulled out my handkerchief and apparently with it flung my 14K gold wedding band into oblivion, never to be seen again. Later that day when I realized what had happened I searched my tracks and was totally unsuccessful. I was upset at myself and for two months went without a ring thinking I’d find it. Nope. I should point out that this ring has been through hell and back and never been lost. I’ve jumped many, many times out of airplanes with it; SCUBA dove with it; etc, etc. It always goes with me, and always comes back!

I eventually broke down and bought a replacement band, this time in Silver since a) it’s my favorite metal b) it was $20 and c) I paid $50 for my original 14K gold band which at the time I went to replace it was $260!! Talk about putting salt on a wound!

I talked to my dad, a geologist, and asked if he had a metal detector anymore. He did, and he let me borrow it. Upon reading the instructions, I tried to use this thing and it was giving me false hits all over the place. As it turns out, this type of detector is for large ore bodies 10′ or more below the surface. Furthermore it gives false readings the more moisture there is in the ground. He had warned me of this when I borrowed it but said it was worth a shot. At this point I went online looking for high quality metal detectors that are designed for beach combers in search of jewelry and loot. They all cost more than the ring, so that would sort of be a lost cause there; sentimental value is only worth so much above sticker price! So I was left with either deal with the loss, or perhaps place an ad on craigslist for someone willing to come over and find it with the proper gear and possibly offer a reward. I wasn’t ever comfortable with inviting a stranger from the internet over to my house to find gold, so I opted to deal with the loss.

Fast forward 2+ years to this past Weds when my parents were over celebrating my wife’s birthday. My dad mentioned how my brother and his buddy Matt both have recently purchased very nice metal detectors and have found 90% silver half dollars and a few other small items worth some money. I told dad to pass the word along that I’d pay a $50 reward if they’d stop by and find it.

This afternoon, after having forgot about the conversation, my brother calls out of the blue and wondered if it was alright for him and his buddy to come down and give it a shot. I was glad and said sure, reminding him of the $50 bounty. They arrived a few minutes before 4pm and I got to business showing them my steps from that 11/2010 day (which were many since I’d made trips all over my 1/2 acre lot with a wheelbarrow. Worst case it was buried under about 8″ of topsoil in the garden, or had been flung even further by a lawnmower the last couple years. I followed around with some hand trowels, a garden shovel, etc and we dug perhaps half a dozen holes along the path that had some good hits but the only “loot” we found was a Pepsi can, a shredded Budweiser can, and a Red Bull can. All were 6″ or more below the surface, definitely not where a ring could have settled in such a short time.

Darkness was approaching, and I borrowed my wife’s 18K gold and platinum diamond wedding ring so we could get a sample of a hit on it to know what to listen for. They had 2 different styles of metal detectors which helped a ton having different methods to screen out junk. The machines make different sounds depending on the metal type. Gold sort of sounded like a fart which was different than any other sound on the spectrum. I could tell the guys were getting tired and wanted to pack it up and sunset was maybe 45min away at this point. They began retracing the path beginning at the garden and working their way around the side of the house to the driveway. I was busy patching the holes we’d dug and playing catch up.

At this point my brother and Matt are stopped and talking along the side of the house, and I walk up and they have a hit and it sounded like a strong gold hit. They ask if it’s possible this could be the spot. I thought it unlikely because I’d spent probably 99% of my day that day around the garden not at this place but nothing was impossible since I had walked through this spot a few times with the wheelbarrow that day. They wanted me to start digging, probably because this was about the last spot they were willing to re-search today and wanted to pack up and leave and I didn’t blame them as the wind was brutal. I had them rescan for the exact spot and I went to work with a hand trowel. We sort of take a chunk of earth/sod out, scan it, if it still hits then you tear it apart into small bits. Much of the time the chunk scans clean and you have to dig another chunk up. Many times a chunk that hits would have nothing in it at all, but by this time in the day they had adjusted the squelch/filters up to hopefully prevent any false hits. So, anyway, I have them scan the first chunk and it still made the gold sound. So I removed my gloves and started obliterating this sod chunk and I’ll be darned if right there about an inch below the surface, intertwined in the roots of the grass was my 14K gold ring from 1997!!! We couldn’t believe it. It was maybe 6′ from my electric meter near some shrubs. For the most part the ring was in great condition. It was bent into sort of an oblong egg shape, but nothing a jeweler can’t repair for probably $30 or so. No scratches or gouges at all!

So the reward was paid, the guys were pleased in their skill and equipment, and I was pleased to have my buried treasure back! A good day indeed.

Jan 16 2013

A new demographic category

A new demographic category

Yep. Today I entered into the world of 35-44. I am in a whole new demographic. I have filled out surveys off and on for years. I find them fun and enjoy the incentives but mostly I like knowing that I am helping to shape the future – one opinion at a time. Of course with 3 little ones, survey taking is on the super duper back burner but I do recognize that today marks a new category for me.

I actually think 35 sounds kinda old. I remember my mom’s 30th birthday party and we went all out giving her a huge “over the hill” party. Of course 99% of it was my dad’s idea (that is probably one of the reasons why they are no longer married). Anyway, it was black this, black that and just tonight I chatted with my in-laws and they did a similar party for my FIL but for his 40th. Well, my 40th is just 5 years away. That is relatively close. I don’t feel CLOSE to being over the hill or even half way done with this life! I just got started! I have forewarned the hubby that NO over the hill stuff will be allowed until at LEAST my 50th (and the scary thing…that is only 15 years away!)

I celebrated my birthday today with my family. It was nice. They got me a sweet bunch of balloons, a lucky bamboo (with 3 shoots), a gorgeous hydrangea, candy (love me some candy!) and loving cards. My Dad stopped by in the morning and then he left to enjoy his retirement:) We planned to go out for lunch as a family but Mr. T (aka Abel) was not feeling the greatest. We stayed home for the morning and tried to salvage the afternoon by letting me run a couple errands (Kohls, Old Navy and Helzberg) with the whole crew in tow. We wrapped up the day by having a really nice visit with my in-laws. We enjoyed pizza and cake! How awesome is that?? They brought me a beautiful pink rose and it looks amazing on our table! We concluded our evening with what was to be a quick out for the kids (no naps) and we were planning on a game of UNO – my favorite! But alas, Abel couldn’t stop the cough and it got so bad he vomitted everywhere – twice. And they were not back-to-back barfs – oh no. He had to have clean sheets and blankets for each episode. The laundry fairy felt like I needed a tish more to clean:)

Well, all is clean…Abel is trying to sleep. The baby is out; Ham is out; and my loving husband is shuffling the cards as I type!  We have been keeping score of this UNO game since 12/22/2008 – we had a log from 4 or 5 years previous to 2008 but it got lost somewhere.

I am off to enjoy a quick game of UNO before crashing into bed. Goodnight!

Dec 28 2012

Still here…

Still here...

Sorry for the lack of posts…life has been…well, in a word, CRAZY. I promise there will be updates…especially now that my cast is gone and I have my left hand back!!! Woohoo!!!