Let food be thy medicine

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
Hippocrates

Today I started the so called Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). The goal is to reset your (immune) system and find out what foods you can and cannot tolerate. The first couple of days you start with a very limited choice of foods; basically chicken(broth), eggs and cooked carrots and then, you slowly start adding new foods.

After my colonoscopy I noticed I felt a little better the first two days. Then, it gradually went back to the before situation. More or less by accident I stopped eating yogurt. I love yogurt and I used to eat it every morning, but about two weeks ago I ran out of yogurt and I was too tired to go to the store just to buy some yogurt. So, I decided to do without yogurt until I had to do groceries again. Later that week I had my appointment with my gastroenterologist (GI) and told him about my experience after the colonoscopy. He suggested I try either the SCD or Low FODMAP (the details are slightly different, but it basically comes down to the same). I choose the SCD (because it has a wider variety of allowed fruits) and started reading. Since regular yogurt isn’t allowed on the diet, I didn’t bother to buy yogurt anymore and about a week and a half later I realized I felt a little better and had some more energy. I know it may be a coincidence, but it did occur to me I had not eaten yogurt for over a week.

My GI gave me a referral to a registered dietitian who has experience with the SCD. Since it’s a very restrictive diet, it’s nice to have some help with it. My first appointment is in March, the earliest available moment. I didn’t want to wait that long to start with my diet so I took a week to prepare and started today.
This morning, my breakfast consisted of cooked carrot, an egg, dry curd cottage cheese (this doesn’t contain lactose, I had never heard of it, but luckily they sell it at whole foods) with some honey and cinnamon mixed together and baked for about 20 minutes. In the oven it actually smelled pretty good. I wish it had tasted as good as it smelled, but it was edible and it definitely beats eating meat 🙂 . The first two days will be most challenging, then I can start adding things back in to my diet. For now I will keep experimenting with the carrots.

Mr. M. is very supportive and he even said he will join the diet (for dinner), so I won’t have to cook different kinds of food. Since I still don’t like to cook yet, I really appreciate that and I feel blessed with such a supportive husband. Luckily (unprocessed) meats are allowed so that’ll make it a little bit easier for him.

Definitely to be continued 🙂 …

 

The art of fashion

A couple of weeks ago, I bought some fabric to make fabric panels. Since the prints are fashion related I wanted to hang them in Lisa’s walk in closet to be some day. Our plans shifted a little, so I’m not sure she will have a walk in closet, but I really like the prints and I think the panels will be really nice, so I want to make them anyway. Last week I was so happy to have a good day and I actually went out and bought some cheap blank canvases.

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Next, I cut the fabric, folded it over the edges and stapled it on the back. Pretty simple. I think it took me about 15 minutes. Since I’m slightly OCD I had to check frequently to see if the fabric was in the right place and adjust it. If the fabric allows it and/or you’re not OCD it will probably take 5 minutes. Little time, little effort and great, unique wall art.

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One down, one to go 🙂 . I’m happy with the result and even better, Lisa was happy with the result.

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Ego wise

Maybe you read Ego logic in which I wrote about my challenge in dealing with Ego. One comment told how the advice to ignore Ego really made a difference to that person. It made me think, can I just ignore Ego?

What I found out is that Ego represents my young self (and I’m soooo curious how this is for other people, so if you’d like to share, please do). When I was young, I did not have a lot of coping skills, none actually. Basically it came down to trying really really hard to be perfect, hoping that would give me the love and attention I longed for so much. Anything that questioned that perfection was a threat. Ego tried to protect my young self by defending me against anything that threatened my perfection and therefor my chance on love and attention.

It makes perfect sense. It also made me see Ego in an entirely different perspective. Ego isn’t bad, Ego is just trying to survive in the only way it knows how. Knowing that, I can look at Ego with love and compassion instead of anger and annoyance.
Ego is usually the first to speak up and now, I listen. I listen to what is has to say and I thank it for speaking up and trying to protect me. Then, I tell Ego that I’m a grown up now and that I now know a whole bunch of survival skills and that I can and will handle the situation and it doesn’t have to worry. When I do that, it will slowly back off. Still skeptical, but willing to give it a chance.

For me, this works so much better. I can try to ignore Ego, but that would mean ignoring a part of myself. And if I ignore a part of myself, I’m ignoring myself, the very thing I dread so much. Second, I’m ignoring (part of) the problem and you can’t solve a problem when your ignore it.
Ignoring Ego would just cause it to speak louder and louder until it feels it’s being heard, after all, that is its job.

Dealing with Ego is still a challenge and yet, I’m already starting to notice the difference and the impact of looking at and dealing with Ego in this way.

Everybody’s got talent

Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, there lies your vocation.
Aristotle

Have you ever wondered what your talents are and/or if you have a vocation? I’m really curious if other people know their talents and if they do, whether they found where their talents cross the needs of the world. How do you know your talents and how do you know you found your vocation? Do you just know?

I’m still looking for my talents, let alone my vocation. Due to some limiting beliefs that are not totally gone yet, I still feel as if I don’t have talents. Or at least, I don’t consider it to be talents. Yes, getting those limiting beliefs out of my system is still quite a challenge for me.
Despite that, ever since my NLP practitioner training I have this feeling that I want to help people and to inspire them. Yeahhhh…that narrows it down, doesn’t it? Depending on your interpretation of helping people, there are, I don’t know how many ways to “help” people. For a while I have been thinking about coaching people. Like I said, there are still some limiting beliefs I need to deal with, apart from that, at the moment my health requires my attention more.

So what is talent? The dictionary says: natural aptitude or skill. Limiting belief says: no natural aptitude for anything; skills? The only thing I think I’m really good at is reading; not sure what need of the world that would cross. Ergo, no talents.

And then, there’s good old Ego. Remember Ego? Ego needs to be needed, to be heard. Not to help others, just to feel good about itself, that it’s needed by others. Ego wants to be special and do incredibly awesome stuff. Not like becoming a movie star or something, but like being a really, really smart person who knows what other people need and gives wise advice. Actually, that’s the kind of person Ego needs, it just doesn’t realize it (yet) 🙂 .

Back to my talents. Ego wants me to think big as in: ready to join the Olympics; and I realize I have to think small, everyday life. Like: taking care of my family, reading, writing, crafting, being kind to others and reflecting on myself. And maybe instead of trying to help others, I need to help myself (first). And that’s what writing this blog does for me. It helps me sort out my thoughts and reflect on myself, even though it isn’t always pretty. And, if along the way it may help others as well, that’s a nice side effect.

I don’t know if this feeling of wanting to help others could be a vocation. I realize it could very well just be Ego who needs to be needed. Ego wants to go viral so everyone can enjoy it’s supposedly wise words. Told you it isn’t pretty 🙁 . Ego is very, very persistent and I really need to let go of Ego. Anyone know a good way to have Ego shut it’s big mouth? Would make life so much easier.

I believe everybody has their own talents, even if we don’t always perceive it that way. This world is so focused on money, looks and success that it can be hard to see that smaller things can be talents as well and that those talents are needed by ourselves and the people around us. And maybe my vocation is to help myself so I can be a caring and loving wife, mother and friend. I don’t know, I still haven’t figured out how one knows their vocation. Suggestions are welcome.

 

I have a dream

In the US, January 18th is a federal holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy (this day is his birthday). Yes, I realize I’m a day late 🙂 yesterday I was too tired to write two posts. Of course I could’ve just skipped it, but I feel the present world can use a reminder of the wise words he spoke.

Men often hate each other, because they fear each other; they fear each other, because they don’t know each other, they don’t know each other, because they cannot communicate; they cannot communicate because they are separated.
MLK Jr.

Maybe people are not always literally separated anymore, but often their thinking and believes are. People don’t know each other and that creates fear.
Take the New Year’s eve attacks in Cologne in which several asylum seekers are suspect. I think most people will agree that that the attackers need to be brought to justice, no matter their color, country of origin or religion (and by justice I mean having a fair trial, not people taking matters in their own hands). And of course attacks like this cause fear and offence.

What frightens me though, is how some people (ab)use these attacks to demonize all Muslims (to them asylum seeker equals Muslim). And they make it seem as if the bad in the world comes from Muslims only, conveniently ignoring that a lot of bad things are being done by their “own” people. And apparently there are a lot of people that just believe that, seemingly without giving it any further thought. And the less you know about some else’s religion, believes and culture, the easier it is to think they are the root of all evil.

On Facebook I read the story of a Dutch lawyer. In short, this lawyer for 24 years stated that he couldn’t recollect any Muslim suspects in the rape cases he represented. He didn’t judge or approve or defend anyone or anything. He just told about his experience in his own practice. He tells about the reactions he got on his tweet. The mild ones accuse him of looking the other way, being stupid, being an autist etc. Others are wishing for him (and his family!) to be raped. And apparently there were responses that were just so horrific that they’ve been taken down.

It scares me that people who are protesting loudly against violence and threats (which is a good thing) are using such violent and aggressive language themselves when they think someone disagrees with them. After all, what someone does/says is a reflection of themselves, of their inner world, and honestly, this isn’t a pretty picture.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.
MLK Jr.

Let’s all think intensively and critically for ourselves and teach our children to do the same. And hopefully, one day my dream will come true; a world in which we all can live together in harmony and peace, respecting each other and accepting our differences that give the world it’s color.

We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.
MLK Jr.

 

 

Update

First of all I want to thank all of you for the good wishes. Friday at 2 pm it was time for my colonoscopy. The doctor and the nurses were great.
After the procedure we got the results. So glad Mr. M. was there with me, because honestly, I can barely remember anything (I slept like a baby that night, good stuff 🙂 ). Good news: my colon and small bowel are nice and clean, no inflammation at all. Or, as Mr. M. so eloquently said, I’m beautiful on the inside 🙂 . Remains the question: what is causing my symptoms?

Since the endoscope can’t reach everything, the doctor wants to do a capsule endoscopy. This means I will have to swallow a capsule that contains a tiny camera that will take photos and allow a look into my small intestines. Because you’re not allowed to take iron 5 days before the procedure, I couldn’t schedule for this week anymore, so now I’m scheduled for the 27th. The day after, I need to go in to have an abdominal X-ray taken (to make sure everything went well).

I’m glad to say I feel better than the past week, so that’s good. Still, it needs to get better (a lot). So, for now, the story continues. If you’d like to know how it ends, just stay tuned… 🙂 .

Colonoscopy

Good morning to you from this morning’s favorite spot, the bathroom. I’m having a colonoscopy later this day and thanks to the colonoscopy prep I am spending most of my morning in the bathroom. It could be worse though. Like drinking the prep… by far the worst thing I’ve ever tasted. Oh well, I only had to drink 4 liters (a little over a gallon) of that stuff 🙂 .
Gotta love internet, now I can keep you all posted about what’s going on, real-time 🙂 .

Ok, I won’t gross you out (anymore). As you may know, I haven’t been feeling to well the past weeks. At first my new meds seemed to work and I felt better and got a little bit more energy. Beginning of January it was like the meds stopped working and it started to come back little by little. Wednesday I talked to my doctor and he thought it best to do a colonoscopy and see what’s going on. Luckily he could squeeze me in for a colonoscopy today.

Hopefully the colonoscopy will show what’s going on and can I get the right medication to get this thing under control.

So, to be continued…

Ego logic

How people treat you, is their karma; how you react, is yours.
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Somehow I have the idea I have to be perfect. I know, I know… that’s not possible, still I want to.
So whenever I feel someone mistreats me or criticizes me, my ego goes ballistic. Ego tries to blame anyone but itself and gets angry and upset. Even though Ego doesn’t like everyone, Ego wants to be liked by everyone, if not, Ego feels rejected. Ego has its own logic and basically is a little kid that throws tantrums and refuses to grow up. Dealing with Ego is… quite a challenge.

A while ago I remembered something from my NLP training (apparently I wasn’t ready for it at that time): whatever some says or does, is a reflection of them, not me. However I respond to it, is a reflection of me, not them.

Although Ego is always there first to shout murder, I’m getting better at ignoring Ego and analyzing the situation. What actually happened, what did someone really say or do, how does that make me feel and why? Often it is just Ego whining, feeling sorry itself. And even if I think that what someone did or said wasn’t very nice, I’m getting better at seeing it as something that belongs to them, not me. At the same time, I try to keep in mind that the way I respond to them is my part and a reflection of my inner world.

Like I said, quite a challenge. My own inner world isn’t as peaceful yet as I’d like it to be, especially at moments like this, when my entire body feels like one giant inflammation and I need all of my energy to keep things going at home. Yet, I think I’m doing pretty good, one small step at a time. All that counts is moving on forward.

 

 

Pay it forward

Yesterday a dear friend of mine called, to let me know she thinks I’m a sweet and amazing person and that she totally understands me. She was so sweet, her love and kindness made me cry. She has a dear friend that also has Crohn’s so she knows what affect it can have on one’s life. She told me that one of the things her friend does when she’s not feeling too well, but does want to invite people, is to let them know she can’t make the entire dinner, but that she can make cocktails or dessert. When I heard that, it just seemed so insanely easy, why didn’t I think of that?
Later I realized the reason I’ve never done that, is because I feel that when I invite people over, I should take care of everything. I know it’s difficult for me to ask for help. Maybe it has something to do with how I was raised, the way I saw it, it was important not to owe anyone anything.

But is it really that bad to “owe” someone? And exactly when are you “even”, what if you can’t return the exact same favor? Is it really that important to “even the score” so you don’t owe someone?
Honestly, I don’t think so. As long as the other person does things out of free will and you don’t take advantage of them. And of course it’s great if you can return the favor, and if not, maybe you’ll pay it forward to someone else.

I think it’s impossible to not “owe” anyone anything in this life, so I better accept that. I need the kindness of other people and my challenge will be to graciously accept it. In return, I will be kind to others. Maybe I won’t be able to return the favor to the one who gave it to me, but I will pay it forward in my life.

It will make life a lot easier when I accept help from others instead of trying to do everything myself. I can hear Mr. M. sigh (really loud 🙂 ): finally, that’s what I’ve been telling her for years! My first goal, invite someone over soon and if I’m not up to cooking dinner, ask them to bring something. I can do it, it may be a challenge, but I can do it 🙂 .

Sometimes I think I’m the only one who thinks life’s a challenge even though I know I’m not. So I hope my words will encourage everyone who thinks it’s a bad thing to “owe” anyone. It’s ok to accept help, even if you know you won’t be able to return the favor. Just pay it forward with your own kindness, no matter how small. Even something as little as a smile can make someone else’s day.

X Sandra

 

 

Sleepless in Seattle 2

Welcome back for another episode of “sleepless in Seattle”.
For some reason my during the day so foggy mind starts to come alive at night. Out of the blue all kinds of thoughts and ideas pop up in my head. Great, I’m tired, but apparently my mind isn’t. Guess that was sleeping during the day and woke up when I turned off the light. Lucky me.
So here I am. Rambling around until my mind thinks it is done spitting out great thoughts and I can go to sleep.

Tonight I’m wondering about the mind. I most definitely believe that our minds are capable of so much more than a lot of people think. I remember the book “Mind over medicine” I read a year ago. And that takes me to a conversation I had with my dad about the “placebo effect”. Often people ridicule this, but I think it’s a great example of what our minds are capable of. Apparently there are times that, when your mind is convinced of something, it can actually influence your physique. Isn’t that awesome! And if it works, it works. Does it really matter that someone didn’t get real medicines?

That brings me back to my own mind. Still looking for the switch that will turn on the positive mode in my mind and convince me that I’m good the way I am (and that my Cohn’s is gone and that I have lots of energy 🙂 ).
Ok, seriously, sometimes I wonder why it is such a challenge to feel good about myself. How can I empower myself and really believe and feel I’m worthy. Worthy of self-love and of love from others. Not just because I want it for me, but even more because I want to be a worthy example for Lisa. I think I’m a good mom, I just think that feeling that kind of self-worth would make me an even better mother. Children learn by example, so the more I can show her, the more she will be empowered to be her own beautiful self.

And so I keep on working on myself until I have a steady feeling of self-worth. There may be some challenges along my path and I will make sure I get past that. Whenever I feel overwhelmed I think of the Elephant. How do you eat an elephant? Bit by bit. And that’s what I’m doing, bit by bit I’m getting there. Sometimes I just need a little reminder that it’s ok to take small steps. Every step is a step, no matter how small and that’s what counts. Not just for me, but for all of us. Sometimes it’s just so easy to forget.