October 31, 2011

After 4.5 years....a DIAGNOSIS!

Most of you know that ever since I had my appendix taken out in February of 2007 during my second year at UC Davis, I have been pretty sick off and on. I have developed a lengthy list of life threatening food allergies and been plagued with symptoms that have knocked me off my feet, interrupted relationships, forced me to resign my job, and made me spend countless hours in doctors offices.

I've seen more doctors than I can count, and provided more vials of blood than most people do in a lifetime. I've seen specialists and a holistic healer, tried various medications, and spent countless hours on wikipedia trying to diagnose myself when all my doctors could not figure it out. The diagnosis they all seemed to settle on was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A very real, and debilitating disease. However, I've always felt like a piece was missing. Some of my symptoms could not be explained, and I have still been having these frightening episodes where I feel like I'm going to pass out/start to pass out. Grant has spent more time then he should have to taking care of me, and my family-specifically my mom- has spent countless hours supporting me, listening to me, and going to appointments with me.

Last week, I was on the phone with my doctor at the Vanderbilt Integrative Health Center and she said that POTS was something we should consider. When I called my primary care doctor to discuss it, the receptionist thought I was calling to ask for a marijuana test for myself. As with any new suggestion from the doctor, I had to google it. I didn't even know what POTS stood for. Thanks to wikipedia, I now know that POTS stands for Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. If you want to read about it...click here! Basically, it's a problem with my central nervous system where my body has trouble maintaining homeostasis when changing positions or if I am standing up or sitting up for too long. My blood pressure drops and my heart rate goes up. These effects can cause a whole host of things to happen and according to the wikipedia article can even cause chronic fatigue syndrome.

There are treatments though! First, I have to drink more water than usual, and increase my salt intake. I need to keep swimming, but be careful not to overdo it. And keep taking the medicine I am already on. The mayo clinic says that a neurologist is the specialist that will help treat this syndrome, but I'll learn more about that tomorrow when I meet with my primary care doctor.

Here's a video mom found on youtube that helps explain POTS.

After 4.5 years of searching for an answer...I am so happy to finally have one!

October 30, 2011

Doctors...Halloween...Wicked...and Gordie's Birthday!!!

I've been extremely frustrated with my doctors lately. Mostly with my body, but it's easier to blame the doctors. I feel like we're making some progress with the new medication, and I've been feeling a little bit better, but then I'll have another episode and it feels like we move back to square one of the flare-up. I was feeling like my doctors had given up and just labeled me with CFS. While Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a very real disease, I still felt like my doctors were missing something. Some of my symptoms still were not being explained and it didn't make sense why the treatments we've been trying haven't been helping me make more progress. But after talking with my doctor at the Integrative Health Center, it looks like we may have pinpointed the actual cause of my CFS. I'm seeing some more doctors this week so stay tuned for more details...

Friday mom dropped our wedding invitations in the mail. We could not be more excited for how quickly December is approaching! If your invitation hasn't arrived yet, it should be there by Tuesday at the latest!!!

Friday we went to a Halloween party. Everyone knows that Halloween is my least favorite holiday of the year. It's scary, and creepy, and pretty much just an excuse to have girls dress up with as little clothing as possible.

This year Grant and I went as Phil and Clair Dunphy while our friends Haley and Ryan went as love children...side note: Haley and Ryan our moving to our apartment complex and we are SO EXCITED to have them closer-Nashville is too far away!

Last night, Grant and I went to see Wicked at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Grant had never seen a musical before and has spent the past several months complaining about how he HATES musicals and how he really did not want to go...

But the show was AMAZING. The leads were fantastic and I was once again reminded why I love the Wizard of Oz and why Wicked is my favorite musical. This morning Grant rolled over and said "You were right. It was a great show." I can't think of anything else I would have rather heard.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to GORDIE! He turns 20 today and is celebrating with a week in Italy while studying at the University of Manchester this semester. Can't believe how old you are!!

53 days until the GRIKI wedding!


October 23, 2011

army ball + foot.

This weekend was filled with lots of army activities. I was scared about how my body would handle the schedule of events; but the new dosages seem to be helping a lot, and towards the end of this week, I finally felt an inkling of improvement. Let's hope that this busy weekend hasn't thrown me off this recent recovery course!

Friday night was the Currahee Grand Ball to celebrate the brigade's return home from their most recent deployment to Afghanistan. It was at the Gaylord Opry Hotel in Nashville. What Grant and I discovered is that this hotel is MASSIVE. MASSIVE is actually quite the understatement. Getting lost in this hotel is not uncommon. But we finally made our way to the Delta Ballroom and had lots of fun seeing everyone all dressed up!

At dinner, I asked one of the waiters if he could put my Boost drink on ice (meaning...put it in the freezer for a few minutes) and this is what happened...

Saturday Army was playing Vanderbilt so we had lunch with Ryan, Haley, Steve and Melissa before heading over to tailgate with their fellow West Point grads in the parking garage. We even managed to stay well into the third quarter before deciding to opt out of the cold for dinner at PF Changs. It was a great weekend with great friends; but Grant and I are both exhausted and had a nice lazy Sunday to recuperate.

More pictures to come...Melissa and Haley took most of the pictures on their cameras!


October 20, 2011

Wedding Prep Whirlwind!

I finally got to go home to California for a week! The flight home was horrendous...my layover was in MSP and my flight to SFO was delayed because of fog. Not to mention I was rocking a fever, with chills, to go along with all o fmy other symptoms. Thankfully I made it home and Mom was waiting for me at the airport! After a quick hello to the fam, Mango and I promptly passed out in the B & B.

Mom and I (well, mostly Mom) got lots of wedding things finished this week! The favors were already finished before I landed, along with the table numbers. We made good progress on the programs and those were finished before I landed back in Nashville. I can't wait to share what they look like after December!!

Tuesday I got to go visit at Campolindo and see lots of my favorite coworkers and former students. It was great to be back and was definitely a little bittersweet. I'm so happy to be in TN with Grant, but I really did love my job!

Wednesday I had sushi with two of my absolute favorites! David and Bonnie!! and then almost finished our Christmas shopping (Grant and I are now officially finished shopping!). Allison and Grandma came over to celebrate my birthday, although Allison clearly did not get the brown sweatpant memo...

Mango was there all week to snuggle and give kisses! While Kato mostly snuggled...and sometimes growled...

We had lots of fun relaxing, getting SNOOZIES!, and eating cinnamon crumb cake...

Thursday it was off for my first dress fitting in the city. I still LOVE my dress. It's perfect, but very very hard to keep it a secret. And Thursday night we had the reception tasting. I was a little worried they might not remember all of the ingredients I am allergic to, but everything was great and I think people will leave very full!

Friday was spent relaxing before homemade pizza night and trashy reality television with Caroline and Allison. Thankfully, I am now able to translate what the southern people are saying...I can't decide yet if I'm proud of that or not...

Saturday, Caroline, Allison, and the Hayes ladies hosted by California themed Bridal Shower. I had such a great time seeing everyone!!

There are lots more pictures posted on facebook too!! I can't wait to be home for longer in November so I can spend more time catching up with everyone. I am so lucky to be blessed with some pretty awesome people in my life and thanks to texting, phone calls, skype, facebook, and twitter, I get to talk to them much more than I get to see them while I'm out here in TN.

Afterwards, Grandma and Grandpa stayed for dinner!

By Sunday I was exhausted...but the trip was filled with lots of resting time to balance out the working time. And my flights home on Sunday were much much easier than the flights out to CA.

Can't wait to be back in a month!!

63 days left until the GRIKI wedding!!!

October 7, 2011

sweets, puzzles, and a witch doctor!

Box mixes are my favorite form of desserts for parties. They are SO easy and people never know they are from a box. This company also makes a snickerdoodle mix that is DELICIOUS!

With this batch I just added a drop of the Hershey's perfect chocolate frosting and they were so tasty. We also love the Hershey's chocolate cupcake recipe and the only substitution I have to make is rice milk instead of regular milk.

And I finally finished the Lake Tahoe puzzle Caroline sent Grant for his birthday.

Yesterday I went to a witch doctor...really she was a holistic healer, but I had my doubts. I pretty much didn't sleep at all the night before because I was feeling so awful, so I asked Paige to ride along with me since we had to drive all the way to Franklin. (Plus she's finishing her nursing degree so her medical expertise came in handy). I went to have some bio-energetic testing done. They call it electrodermal screening. Basically, I hold an electrode in my right hand, while she taps my middle finger on my left hand with a smaller electrode that looks like a pen you would sign an electronic credit card machine with. The whole point of this screening is to find out where you body is in-balance and where your body and where your body is out of balance. They go through a series of screenings and continue to follow up in the areas that are red until they find some answers or directions. From there, they create a homeopathic treatment plan to help your body heal. She is not a doctor, so I am going to follow up on all of her results with my own doctors to see if there is potential validity to what she discovered. All of my symptoms fall into place, but they fall into place with a lot of things. Her results indicated that I may have chronic lyme disease (this is different from the acute lyme disease we usually think of). There is not a lot of research on this disease, but I found a great website and organization if you want to read about it!

California on Monday...could not be more excited for rest, relaxation, and wedding things!!!

October 3, 2011


This past week was a long one. Last weekend we had lots of people over to watch football and have dinner. It was lots of fun; but unfortunately my body was completely exhausted afterward and I spent most of this past week in bed. Grant and I both got our flu shots so hopefully we can avoid the flu this season.

It finally feels like fall here. It's been sunny but freezing outside! Time to get out the Uggs and NorthFace! We've been getting lots of use out of our Keurig. I love the peppermint tea and he loves the hot apple cider. If you don't have a Keurig, you are seriously missing out. That is by far the most used kitchen appliance-besides our dishwasher :)

One week until California. SO EXCITED to see family and friends and do lots of wedding things!
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