Would You Rather…

Happy Monday! Get ready…this is a good one!

Here are the 100 Things I’d rather do than gain my weight back…..

  1. Lick a mile of asphalt
  2. Tape grapefruit halves to my knees and wear them around for a month
  3. Begin each day listening to an hour-long audio of Snooki explaining why Sarah Palin is right on the money
  4. Swallow a 9V battery
  5. Play strip poker with all my aunts and uncles
  6. Flush my credit card down the toilet
  7. Have my portrait taken at Walmart
  8. Get sprayed in the face with Easy-Off oven cleaner
  9. Forever believe that stepping on a crack would actually break my mother’s back
  10. Be either person in this conversation: “Hey, whatcha doing tonight?” “Boozin’.”
  11. Develop an irrational fear of Chapstick
  12. Drive a Duke blue minivan
  13. Go see the world’s most boring opera
  14. Fish
  15. Go see the world’s most exciting opera
  16. Have all my sentences mysteriously start ending with the phrase “Boy, howdy”
  17. Get kicked in the head by a donkey
  18. Be pen pals with a death row inmate
  19. Know only 75 words
  20. Start speaking like James Earl Jones
  21. Always have to answer the phone: “Yello”
  22. Develop a taste for cilantro
  23. Wear a “Home of the Whopper” belt buckle to a job interview
  24. Eat (GF) pancakes with no syrup or silverware
  25. French kiss a buffalo
  26. Constantly forget the words to the “Happy Birthday” song
  27. Have a 4-hour conversation with Keanu Reeves about guacamole
  28. Ski topless
  29. Get a tattoo of Popeye giving Bluto a lap-dance
  30. Eat a slice of real bread – and pay the Celiac-y consequences
  31. Drink cold hot chocolate with no marshmallows
  32. Make out with Rick Flair
  33. Have all my teeth yanked and replaced with gummi teeth   
  34. Listen to Barry Manilow singing Snoop Dogg’s greatest hits
  35. Give myself hourly wedgies for a month
  36. Be the designated driver at an Oktoberfest party
  37. Drink warm milk straight from the cow
  38. Get a tetanus shot in the forehead
  39. Listen to my dad tell a story about losing his virginity
  40. Wear a thong made of steel wool
  41. Clean a men’s public restroom with my toothbrush
  42. Watch a reality TV show about the making of a reality TV show
  43. Be a telemarketer for a year
  44. Pick up every piece of a Costco-sized bag of rice after a spill– one kernel at a time
  45. Take LSD and watch open-heart surgery on the Discovery Channel
  46. Eat a kitty sandwich at a PETA convention
  47. Spend a Saturday afternoon at Wal-Mart
  48. Cough up my own liver
  49. Carry a giant bag of bark wherever I go
  50. Think that I’m speaking Spanish when I’m really speaking gibberish
  51. Watch old people dance
  52. Go back to dial-up internet connection
  53. Wear Victoria’s Secret PINK brand sweatpants
  54. Vacuum my eyeballs with a Shop-Vac
  55. Get a full-body massage from Roseanne Barr
  56. Wear a Speedo to church
  57. Have my colonoscopy broadcast on network TV
  58. Be stuck in an elevator with a troupe of flatulent mimes
  59. Randomly call numbers from the phone book and demand “Who dis?!”
  60. Wax off 85% of my hair
  61. Do a 10,000 piece puzzle of a dozen polar bears break-dancing in a blizzard
  62. Put a sticky note on every object in my house, identifying its purpose
  63. Watch sausage and/or babies get made
  64. Wear Elton John glasses for three months
  65. Ask Tom Cruise about Scientology
  66. Glue my mailbox shut 
  67. Run barefoot across a construction site
  68. Watch nuns knit
  69. Repeatedly bang my knee on coffee table
  70. Create a flag that will represent my own nation
  71. Go to a toy store and try to purchase a Monopoly game using Monopoly money
  72. Go to Vegas and boycott drinking and gambling
  73. Pour boiling water up my nose
  74. Invent a new language consisting only of variations in the tone of armpit farts
  75. Develop an allergy to mittens
  76. Whenever I meet someone, announce that I’m the one who coined the phrase “coin the phrase”
  77. Sleep wearing a fur unitard and ice skates
  78. Tell Paula Deen she’s banned from using butter
  79. Go through a car wash with my windows rolled down
  80. Fit Rush Limbaugh for assless chaps
  81. Drink water out of toilet in Mexico City
  82. Call 4-11 and shout “Oh my God! He’s trying to kill me!”
  83. Pierce my lady parts
  84. Inadvertently be the cause of Coca-Cola going out of business
  85. Be a Pro Bowling Tour groupie
  86. After getting my drink on, wake up in a jail cell in a foreign country wearing a wedding dress that doesn’t belong to me
  87. Lose my CareBear
  88. Eat Coco’s dog food
  89. Drive with my seat scooted all the way up
  90. Go to Dollyworld
  91. Live in one of those houses where everything’s slanted
  92. Have the navigational system in my car start talking in an Aussie accent
  93. Super Glue a gerbil to my forehead
  94. Inherit the national debt
  95. Take a job as a change-maker in a video arcade
  96. Be glow-in-the-dark for six months
  97. Eat a plate of abalone, haggis, chitlins and head cheese
  98. Milk a cat
  99. Eat less and exercise more
  100. Write a list of 100 things I’d rather do than gain the weight

What a week! After a stomach virus (which I would have thought was a strange gluten conspiracy if it weren’t for the fever) – and I didn’t lose that much.

And I’m going to apologize ahead of time…but I need to vent this week.  I’ve managed to find some pretty decent substitutes for gluten-heavy items. Crackers are an easy substitute, broth has been and easy switch – but damn…after over a month I am dying for some good starchy goodness.

Sitting around celebrating Father’s Day yesterday, my amazing soon-to-be brother-in-law (holy hyphen that was a quite a sentence!) and I were talking about food. He’s quite the food connoisseur, which I love. A man that understands the beauty of the pork belly like I do….Mmmm!  (Sidenote: That ‘mmmm’ was in reference to the pork belly, not the man. Not that he isn’t handsome…he’s just already reserved by my little sister.)

Sorry, I digress….Ok, so we were sitting and talking about food…he brought up Price’s Chicken in Charlotte. If you’ve never been there, it is worth a trip around the world. My great grandmother (God rest her soul) had nothing on this fried chicken. It’s the stuff dreams are made of.  And I can’t have it anymore.  Not only can’t I have it anymore, but as a girl tipping the scale at over 200 pounds, I shouldn’t even be considering fried chicken. Nonetheless, I’d kill a man for the opportunity to sink my teeth into that greasy, crunchy piece of poultry euphoria.  So there’s one thing I miss.

Another thing…Nilla Wafers. Why? Duh…I live in NC and what do we eat for dessert in the South? Banana Pudding.  Once again, my culinary whiz aunt made the most delicious looking tray of BP for dessert last night. I was tempted…so freaking tempted to just lick the spoon. Alright, I lie. I wanted to stick my face in the entire tray but it was, as it should be, filled with Nilla Wafers. There was part of my Cool Whip-loving self that almost took the bait last night, but I would have been too sick to function for a few days.  Speaking of being sick…needing some gastric relief last week, what settles your stomach? Saltines. Sesame seed crackers on an upset tummy = FAIL.

I want some Carolina Treet BBQ sauce (stupid wheat flour as an ingredient), some lo mein, an authentic meatball, an everything bagel, gnocchi, a flipping beer!!

Not sure why this seems to be getting harder and not easier. I’m slowly finding some good replacements (Elizabeth’s Pizza has a great crust but I’m unsure of prep caution)…my sister made some great fresh spring rolls (sans cilantro just for me!)…but there is still so far to go with some of these “Celiac Friendly” foods out there. Get with it food industry! No one likes to eat cardboard! At least I hope not…and if they do, I’m sure there’s a rehab for that.

And…deep breath.

Thank you for allowing me to bitch for a minute.

Hope you all have a fabulous (and tantrum-free) rest of your week!

“A diet is the penalty we pay for exceeding the feed limit.”  ~Author Unknown

Advertisements

Diagnosis and the 5 Little Stages

I’m grieving. Yes, I am grieving the loss of bread…pizza crust…everything bagels…beer.  I’m grieving stress-free trips to restaurants…grieving easy family get-togethers and stress free events.

I was diagnosed with celiac disease last week.  So thankful (to the point of tears) that I finally have a firm diagnosis for what has perhaps been plaguing me for over a decade. It’s likely that issues I’ve been fighting since I was a child could be the result of CD.

As this is my first post about it…I’m going to go ahead and nerd it out for a paragraph or two and give you a few ins and outs of the disease (afterall, it’s helpful to be educational every once in a while)…

Celiac disease is a lifelong autoimmune disease affecting mainly the small intestine that affects nearly 1 in 132 individuals in the US. Those suffering from the disease are unable to ingest gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, rye and malt. Eating gluten acts as a poison (always exciting), damaging the hair-like projections called villi that line the small intestine, leading the intestines to stop absorbing nutrients. (See picture below.)

The pictures show the difference between healthy villi (left) and damaged villi (right). The damaged villi gets brittle and flat. The efficiency to abosorb nutrients to our body has reduced tremendously.

If CD goes untreated, it can damage the small bowel and lead to an increased risk of certain long-term conditions and cancers.

The cause of celiac disease is unknown, although according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it may be linked to a group of genes on Chromosome 6. Some experts believe that stressful events such as surgery, severe emotional stress or childbirth may trigger symptoms for the first time.

What are the symptoms?  Well…there are many. Celiacs may experience some, all or none of these:  abdominal cramping, distention and bloating, chronic diarrhea or constipation – or both, fatty stools, anemia, malabsorption, nausea and vomiting, depression, mouth ulcers, bone or joint pain, fatigue, infertility, and osteoporosis.  I experienced most of these (although to preserve any dignity I still have I will not specify which ones)…and there are also additional things my doctor believes may be the result of CD.

Now that you’re edumacated on the what and the why…you may be wondering how you cure it.

Well (frown) – there is not currently a cure for celiac disease. There’s no medicine to fight the effects of gluten should it be ingested. However, (happy face) the relief from the disease is 100% in my control (and some of you know how I am about control).  I am in charge of my “treatment” – no pill to take, no shots, no weird concoctions to drink every morning…100% Hannah E. Hayes regulated.

Eliminating all gluten from the diet is the only way to combat CD. It is the only proven treatment for healing the gut and promoting regrowth of intestinal villi. (Three cheers for happy villi!) The time it takes to fully recover depends on how long the intestinal damage has been occurring.

According to my doctor, my insides look like a war-zone…but after being on a completely gluten free diet for the last few days…I feel like I’ve been reborn.  Distention has been alleviated…stabbing pain in my side is gone. I feel incredible.

However, as a self-proclaimed carbohydrate addict, this has not been an easy last few days…I am currently in the midst of what I would like to call: My Gluten Free Journey through the 5 Stages of Grief

1)      Denial – My doctor had suspected that this is what had been plaguing me…but prior to the results, and even a while after, I was in a serious state of denial – As bad as I was feeling, I was sure there was no way some stupid bread protein was causing all my distress…afterall, how stupid does it sound? “Sorry…that pasta you just ate is making your villi lay down.”  Someone at work was eating pizza in front of  me and all I wanted to do was lick it. Certainly licking it wouldn’t hurt me (although it turns out, it may have), but he probably would have hurt me for licking his lunch. I was convinced that I’d never be able to live or follow this new diet…I of course was wrong.

2)      Anger – The day of the diagnosis – as I was trying to figure out what to pick up for lunch on the way to work, I became extremely upset. I felt like gluten was in EVERYTHING. And in all honesty…it’s in a lot of things: Soy sauce, vegetable broth, bread (obviously), beer, lunch meat, salad dressing, soup…even Communion wafers (how will I explain that at the pearly gates?!).  I was angry that even going to a family function where food would be served would be such an ordeal. I was pissed off about having to stand and wait for the pharmacist today so I could ask her whether or not my Adderall has gluten in it. (Side note : Some pharmacists need to get it together – not you of course, Betsy.  Pharmacist said, “well I don’t really know what gluten is so I don’t know what to tell you.” I can’t be the only one that has a gluten restriction in Greensboro…certainly I’m not the only one who has ever said anything to this Pharmacist about it. As cross-contamination is one of the most detrimental issues with a gluten-free lifestyle, I found myself quite frustrated with the lack of concern.)

3)      Bargaining – Maybe, just maybe, I’ll start to feel better…then a little bread won’t hurt…soup won’t hurt…a sip or two of beer won’t kill me.  Despite my doctor’s warning (that I needed to treat this like I would a severe peanut allergy) – I was contemplating whether or not I’d be ok with a cheat day…or a cheat meal at least.  Well, without really trying to “cheat”, I had a flavored vodka drink the other night. While plain vodka should be free of gluten, most manufactures make no gluten-free claims when it comes to flavored liquors as there is significant cross-contamination normally. Well – that one little drink, fought back. While it wasn’t severe, I could certainly tell that I had made my insides extremely angry…so despite my original theory…there is no cheating or slipping up. I can’t take feeling that poorly anymore…it’s not worth it.

4)      Depression – Am I sad about no more gluten? Hell yes I’m sad. I’ve always wanted to travel to Italy…for the food of course. The pasta, the pizza, the meatballs (why can’t I have meatballs? Breadcrumbs are used as a filler)…wine is ok…so I can enjoy that. But I can spend a lot less money and fly over a lot less ocean and enjoy wine here…I’m sad that I won’t be able to enjoy wedding cake at my sister’s wedding…I feel like such a burden with my family, especially in the event of a get together…I’ve got a cousin with a severe peanut allergy and no one has ever yelled at him for being special, so I don’t know why I feel like it will be different with me…I guess there’s just a lot more involved in determining whether something has gluten vs. whether or not it’s got nuts.  I’m sad that I’ve been diagnosed with a disease that I’ll never be able to get rid of. I’m sad that my future children will have to be tested for CD and may have the same limitations.

5)      Acceptance – While I may be sad at what can no longer be – I feel fantastic. All of my symtoms went away. All of them! I haven’t thrown up in 3.5 days (which is a record lately). I don’t hurt after eating. I have energy again! ENERGY!!!! I haven’t know what that was like for months!  I started researching the heck out of being gluten-free…I’ve read other blogs on the subject…downloaded recipes…even found an amazing Gluten-free bakery that just opened in the area (www.lindysgoodiesbakery.com).  Corn tortillas are my new BFF.  The vast array of gluten-free options coupled with the fact that I have never felt better or healthier in my life is why I have happily reached the point of acceptance with my celiac disease. 

And…the icing on the cake…I lost weight this week!!!

Can’t begin to tell you how grateful I am that I’ve got some direction. It hasn’t been an easy road, and to those of you that have suffered along with me, I apologize for the roller coaster…but get ready.  A new and improved Hannah is emerging…and she is going to let nothing stand in her way! Except maybe a biscuit…

“The most significant change in a person’s life is a change of attitude. Right attitudes produce right actions.” ~Willam J. Johnston

Hospital Gown Couture

I’ve never been a follower of high fashion…but boy did I get the opportunity to sport one of the world’s finest garments over the weekend…got top-of-the-line evening wear called the hospital gown.

As if it isn’t enough that you already don’t feel well when you’re forced to wear one of these things…then you’re required to put on the most ungodly, unflattering piece of fabric ever invented. I am convinced that even Brooklyn Decker would look horrendous in a hospital gown. Surely whoever invented them never had to wear one.

I now know why everyone in the ER looks sick…put that awful spoiled, split-pea soup color on anyone and they’d look queasy. Couldn’t the gown at least be a pleasant color…a happy color? Something that doesn’t remind you of cafeteria vegetables or boogers?

Hospital gowns come in three sizes: short, shorter, and don’t bend over. I got to wear the third one…yes, the don’t bend over version. Who designed these things anyway? A doctor that got some kind of amusement out of seeing patients waddle around in socks and a pseudo-shirt with two strings in the back and their butts exposed?

Okay – I admit it – I’m modest. If I had wanted to be a stripper or taken up some other exotic profession, I would be doing it. However, I’m not – I’m a curvy woman who doesn’t like exposing her body to strange people – even in an emergency. I do not like having my rear end or anything else exposed and spent most of my time trying to make sure all points are secured just in case there is a windstorm in the hospital.

I guess the rear end needs to be easy to access in the event an emergency occurs, or an injection is needed…which it was…twice. Thankfully by a female nurse who subsequently got to hear my excuse for unshaven legs (she kept assuring me she’d seen worse) and dry, pale skin.

In an environment that is so stressful and serious, seeing patients walking around in comfy outfits would be an instant way to improve the mood a little…bedazzle them…cover them in Spongebob Squarepants or Strawberry Shortcake…something to not have everything so dull and depressing!

Side note: Having large arms sucks in a medical setting as well. On more than one occasion I had my left arm in a vice called the blood pressure cuff which was crushing what was left of my bicep. I pointed out to them that I thought I was being strangled by the blood pressure cuff but they assured me this was ‘normal’ (in whose world?)

I realize that medicine is a tough business – it is hard to meet and greet complete strangers and look at personal parts of their bodies – and not throw up sometimes. Or it must be hard on the nerves to work on people and do intimate things to them without acting scared or horrified that you’ve just cut the wrong thing for instance!

It’s probably not fun either to deal with sagging bodies, flatulent old ladies, and people who are terrified of having anyone do ‘things’ to their bodies – but come on. Dignity should start WAY before dying – we are not inanimate objects here. We are feeling, breathing people – we were before we came in to the ER.

The least some hoity, toity medical company could do is come up with something to wear that doesn’t make you feel like less of a human being. I think the fabric has got to be 100% Egyptian cotton…….or Italian linen would be nice….Armani, do you need a charity, honey?  Any type of garment with full coverage would be better. Make it like a comfortable pair of pajamas with conveniently placed access points. Hell, the lingerie industry has figured out the “easy access” concept. Even standard boxers have access. Shouldn’t be that difficult to create for a medical setting….Million dollar idea, perhaps?!

From the result on the scale this morning, there was at least less butt to expose! Finally lost more than an ounce or two!

And when this is all over…I WILL look like Brooklyn Decker in a hospital gown. Now if I could only get Andy Roddick to return my calls….

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.” ~ Dolly Parton