Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Mr. Bagel's Back!

I just had bagels & lox for the first time in 7 months!

Do you know what it takes for a Jewish girl to stick to a gluten free diet?? To me, the bagel is a food of the Gods (okay, I might be slightly overstating this), but thanks to a very special company, I can enjoy them once again!  For this reason, I've devoted an entire post to Udi's Gluten Free products

Several years ago, Udi's Certified Master Baker, Chadwick White was asked by a friend with celiac disease to create good-tasting gluten-free bread. Unimpressed with what was on the market, White was determined to create superior gluten-free bread solely for Udi's. White and his team of skilled bakers used their craft, applied artisan baking techniques and ultimately created the secret recipe for Udi's Gluten Free Foods. 

With freshly baked loaves in hand, they presented the soft and moist gluten-free bread to Udi and business partners. Upon first bite, the team was convinced White had successfully combined the perfect ingredients for what is now known as their signature white sandwich bread. Soon after, the team reached out to a local celiac chapter and invited members to sample the freshly baked gluten-free bread. Words cannot describe the positive reactions achieve that day - people jumped for joy while others were moved to tears.

But today there's so much more than white breads.... Check out all of the products that Udi's currently offers (with more being added all the time). Now that I've tempted you all, I'm sure you want to know where to get them. Click here to find a store near you! Thank you Udi's - you've made my life bright and "bagelful" once again!

I'm heading on a vacation with John until Sunday evening! We haven't gone away together in over a year and I'm so glad he finally has time away from medical school. So please excuse my absence... my posts will be much more regular when I return! Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend, my readers!


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer Fun & A Weekend In The Woods

Summer is finally in full swing and I'm thrilled to report that my body is keeping up with all of my plans! I just got my monthly Orencia infusion last night, so hopefully it will get even better now! The weekend before this past one was spent at John's family's cabin in the Adirondacks - one of my favorite getaways. John's dad built the cabin completely by hand and I'm consistently amazed by its beauty. It's nestled in a serene spot right beside a beautiful river. You can even hear the water running as you're falling asleep. Undoubtedly, this is one of my favorite sounds.

I spent some wonderful and much-needed quality time with John's parents (Margaret and Bob), his sisters (Sara and Laura), his cat George and his sweet pup Belle. We had perfect weather the whole weekend and enjoyed basking in the sunshine together. As always, Margaret was so thoughtful and cooked me delicious gluten-free meals, separate from the rest of the family. Between my vegetarianism, my gluten-free diet and my various stomach issues, I must be the world's most difficult house guest and it means the world that she cares to accommodate me. By night, we roasted marshmallows around a big fire and watched movies, including Uncle Buck (which I could watch a million times).

I also recently travelled to Boston to see my best friends! I stayed with Vicki (one of the best buds a girl could ask for) at her adorable new studio apartment. We enjoyed a very relaxing weekend of girly activities and hanging out with friends. I saw lots of Colby girls and explored Cambridge and Harvard Square. I'm always enthralled - and occasionally terrified - by the street performers in Harvard Square (I'm thinking mainly about a life size marionette). We ate some fantastic food, including a brunch at a vegan/gluten-free restaurant. This is where I discovered that I love scrambled tofu eggs - who knew? 

My posts will become more regular now. In between these summer adventures, I've been helping with various family medical issues. Unfortunately, I'm learning first-hand just how hard it is to watch someone you love in pain (which makes me appreciate my loved ones that much more). I've also officially moved into my new apartment with John and we couldn't be happier! We just got internet hooked up, so I'll be posting about that very soon...


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Loving With Chronic Illness On Facebook!

As some of you may already know, I've started a Facebook page for Loving With Chronic Illness! If you have a Facebook account, please don't hesitate to stop by, take a look around, and "like" my page. As always, thanks to my amazing readers for sticking by me and showing your constant support. Writing for you all has become one of the greatest gifts in my life, and please don't forget this works both ways. Please don't hesitate to comment on this post and let me know how I'm doing. Is there something you want to see more of? Less of? Do you have a specific topic you'd like me to tackle? I love hearing each of you, so please feel free to be in touch.

I also couldn't end this post before announcing how incredibly excited I am for tomorrow! Never again will I have to deal with long distance or being without John for extended periods of time. Tomorrow is MOVING DAY and, by tomorrow evening, I'll finally be sharing a home with the love of my life. Please be patient with me, as I'll probably be disconnected for several days until we're settled and arrange for internet. I can't wait to decorate and share photos with all of you!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spotlight On Robin Shirley: A Motivated Beauty!

I've been lucky to connect with Robin Shirley, a girl who knows what it's like to grow up with pain. Robin was diagnosed with 
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis at 11 years old. She has learned a tremendous amount from her chronic illness and writes a wonderful blog called The Truth About JRA. Her writing shows how strong, passionate, and driven she really is. She discusses her unique treatment approach that focuses mainly on nutrition. 

Enjoy her answers below and stay tuned for a future post about Robin's latest project - an incredible conference she has organized to benefit her fellow patients. You wont want to miss it! 

What is the year you were first diagnosed? How old were you? 

I was diagnosed in 2000 at 11 years old (I think...who wants to remember that year anyways!)

What would you tell someone who has been newly diagnosed with your condition and/or a chronic illness in general?

There would be so much to say! But first I would listen to what they have to say. What children with arthritis need is someone to listen to their fears and concerns. For the sake of answering the question though, I would encourage them to see their disease as a teacher and ask themselves every day what they can learn from this experience.

Please explain a bit how your condition affects you. 

My most noticeable symptom is joint swelling and pain. This is the hardest to cope with because it is the most visible to others…so that brings up all the self doubt and emotional stuff. I have been able to control the swelling mostly through nu
trition design, but stress and negativity really make me flare. I have to make sure I laugh plenty and relax every few 
hours (just gaze out the window or cuddle up in a comfy chair) and avoid those who have a pessimistic outlook on life. The disease hasn’t changed since I was diagnosed except that the swelling of the joints will ebb and flow at different times. I used to have horrible fatigue and aches, but that subsided when I changed my nutrition and lifestyle.

Where do you get your strength?

The best answer that I can give is that I get it from having faith that the future will be better. I know that is hard for some to understand or accept. It is a very personal thing and a lot of people who deal with chronic illness go through periods of faith and periods of depression. I have been lucky to have a good family support system and I know which food and vitamin deficiencies can cause depression, so I make sure that I watch out for that and stay on the optimistic side of things. 
Also, I am so stubborn and I won’t listen to anyone who fears the worst. That is the last thing you want to surround yourself with! I also use daily positive affirmation cards from Louise Hay.

What are you most proud of?

I guess it is the way I have been able to build a business while dealing with chronic illness. It has been rough at times, but I think it is so important to have a vision when you are chronically ill. It keeps your mind in the future.

If you could send one message to medical professionals around the world, what would it be?

Oh wow. I’m glad you asked this question. I would tell them to remember that they are consultants and that they should treat their patients as clients who are seeking their educated opinion. They have no business making decisions for patients or threatening patients to undergo certain treatments. And to patients I would like to say: We all need to see our doctors as educated consultants, listen to what they say and then go do our own homework. “Freedom means responsibility, that is why most men dread it." - George Bernard Shaw

Thank you so much Robin!