Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013


 

As we close the door to another year, I look back to see if I have grown this year.  Of course I don’t mean physically, but mentally and spiritually.  Every year I treat New Years Eve like any other day.  I haven’t made a bid deal about it in years.  This year I have changed inside and I now sit here reflecting on the person I have become.

I went into this year in the biggest flare that I have ever had.  I was depressed, in pain and living in the bathroom.  I was alone with my disease and felt like I had no one to turn to.  I now exit this year in remission, running a blog to help others and feel like I am part of the best community out there.  I am part of a group that no matter how they feel, they will still give all they can to help out others.  It is a very unselfish community and one I am proud to be in.

This past weekend I was able to contribute to this unselfish community.  An online friend who runs an ostomy cover company alerted a lot of people about a 9 yr old that was in the hospital.  He had 2 ostomies and was having a hard time with them.  Originally I was just going to donate a little bit to help cover the cost of the covers she was making for him.  When I spoke with this friend she mentioned that he was in a hospital fairly close to me.  I thought she wanted me to bring him the covers but she mentioned that maybe I could visit him.  I don’t have an ostomy so I didn’t know how much of a help I could be but I put out a call online.   2 wonderful people stepped up to the plate.  One, Michael A Weiss, is a seasoned hospital patient and is very big on patient advocacy.  The second, Marisa Troy, is an ostomate and would be able to give any information that she could. 

I was hesitant to go when I heard the kid didn’t necessarily have IBD, but after Michael and Marisa still were going, I knew I had to.  It was the right thing to do.  So Sunday, we all met at the hospital and visited one of the bravest 9 yr olds I have ever met.  It went through so much with blockages, septic shock, seizures, surgery and just the mental anguish that goes with this.  When we got there, he was sitting on a couch with his family.  He was very shy but I could see the life in his eyes.  I knew he was going to get through this ordeal.  I could see the fighter in him.  His mom’s told us his whole story and he has not had an easy life. 

After our 90 minute visit, I knew I did the right thing by going.  It felt so good.  He might not have said much and didn’t interact with us but I think we helped out his mom’s a lot.  I think we eased their minds a little and gave them not only some answers but hope.  They said that he felt so alone and now both him and his mom’s will know that no matter what, he is never alone.  There are tons of us out there willing to help….no matter what.

So I sit here looking back and I see that this year I definitely grew.  My heart and mind are bigger now.  I understand the whole “holiday spirit” thing.  Doing good things unconditionally feels great and makes me want to do more.  I ended 2012 on a great note and I hope to continue going into 2013.  I don’t know what this year will bring but I know that I still have room to grow….and I look forward to it.

 

You only get 2 feel #Humanity when U GIVE of urself.  Visit a kid in a #hospital.  http://bit.ly/UhiWFg   #26Acts

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Such a Loving Community I Live In


Last night I went online to check my email and saw I had a mention in Twitter.  I shot over to Twitter to see @Caringforcrohns nominated me for a Reality Blog Award.  I didn’t know what this was until I read about it, and I have to say that I am honored by it.  It just shows how much love there is in our IBD community.

reality-award1

 

Of course there is a guideline to the award.  You have to answer 5 questions which I am more than happy to do.

1. If you could change one thing what would you change?  If I could change one thing, it would be teaching doctors how to relate to patients.  A lot of doctors don’t actually listen to their patients and treat them based on how they were taught.  Many are unwilling to use non-traditional treatments or won’t use the newest methods because they don’t know about it.  Doctors need to listen to us, the patients, and if we want to try something, they should learn more about it and support us.  Support will ease our minds and this will help the healing process.

2. If you could repeat any age, what would it be? This is hard because I have learned not to dwell in the past.  But if I really have to choose, I would be 18 again.  I would love to be young and redo my college years.  They were care free days where my Crohn’s didn’t bother me that much.  I learned so much about my self that I would love to rediscover it all again.

3. What one thing really scares you?  One thing that scares me is my lack of good reactions to meds.  I don’t react well to almost all the Crohn’s meds out there so there really isn’t much for me to take.  If I fail on my current med, LDN, there is nothing for me to try next.  That means my Crohn’s can get worse and put me in a hospital.  That really scares me.  But I have to stay positive and right now, I am doing well.  There is no reason to believe this won’t last.

4. What is one dream you have not completed, and do you think you’ll be able to complete it?  One of my dreams is to open my own restaurant.  Right now, being gluten-free, I notice it is hard to eat out and I would love to open a completely GF restaurant.  I don’t know if I will ever get to do it.  The one thing that stands in my way is the money.  I need an income and don’t have the money to open my own place.  It is something I would have to work out…but maybe one day.

5. If you could be someone else for one day, who would it be?  Honestly, there is no one I would want to be.  I love being who I am and would not change it for the world.  I think everyone should like who they are and strive to be the best they can be.  Never give up on yourself.

So, enough about me.  Now the real fun is here.  I get to nominate some other people for the award.  Here are my nominations in no particular order:

Alyssa from Love For Mutant Guts – http://loveformutantguts.wordpress.com/  No matter what is going on in her life, she will tell it to you straight.  She doesn’t hold back and will even post the most unflattering pictures just to show you what this disease can do to a person.  To me that takes guts and no matter how much of them she is missing, she has tons of them.

Sara from Inflamed and Untamed –  http://www.inflamed-and-untamed.com/ Sara is probably the most recognized face of IBD.  Everyone knows her and has watched her video.  But most important is that Sara is inspirational.  She has gone through so much and still manages to hold her head high.  She manages to lift the spirits of so many people.

Kelly from http://sickgirldiary.tumblr.com/ – What can I say about Kelly. She is so young and has gone through so much.  She is yet another inspirational woman who despite all the pain she is in, she manages to give out inspiration to so many people.  She maintains her videos and website despite all that she is going through.  Anyone that knows her knows that she has a love for life that she will never give up on and I am honored to call her a friend.

Amanda from http://stopthinkingstartwriting.blogspot.com/ – Amanda is one of those people who has been sick for years yet can’t seem to get a diagnosis.  She has been in a ball in the corner of the room on the floor with no hope.  But a light went on in her and she now has nothing but inspiration for people.  Even without a diagnosis, she keeps moving through life and doesn’t let her pain stop her.

Julie from http://www.semicolongirl.com/ – Julie is such an inspiration.  Despite have a disease and despite having half a colon, she is still out there being active.  She runs a lot and just got involved with the CCFA Team Challenge run in Vegas.  She shows everyone that an illness shouldn’t slow you down no matter what.

For the nominees – here are the guidelines in accepting the award.

  1. Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Acknowledge that blogger on your blog and link back to them.
  3. Answer the 5 questions presented.
  4. Nominate up to 20 blogs for the award and notify them on their blogs.
  5. Copy and paste the award on your blog somewhere.

So, finally, I want to thank Caring for Crohns again for the lovely nomination.  I am loving the love I have found in our community this year and I hope that this next year brings out even more from us.

Gluten Free Restaurant Review – New York City


This past week I had the chance to visit 2 restaurants in New York City that are known for being Gluten Free friendly.  One I was so so on, the other I can’t wait to go back to.

S’MAC 

The first restaurant I went to was S’Mac which is short for Sarita’s Macaroni & Cheese.  As you can guess, they specialize in Mac & Cheese.  They have both gluten-free and regular pasta.  The bread crumbs and flour used are gluten-free and if your lactose intolerant, they can use a coconut milk.

First I want to start off saying that I knew this wasn’t a gourmet restaurant.  It is a quick service restaurant.  The food however is made to order since it is custom-made to how you want it.

I am not a big Mac & Cheese eater, but my wife is.  This was for her birthday so I didn’t mind trying it.  Overall, I wasn’t that impressed.  I thought all the pasta and sauces would be made already so all they had to do was mix everything together and heat it up.  However, it took quite a long time from placing our order to getting it.  Once we did get our meal, they were both ice cold to the point that I got the impression they were being cooked from a frozen state.  They were more than happy to heat it some more.  Again, I had to send it back a second time due to heat issues.  Once it was finally hot enough to eat, it wasn’t bad.

My other issues, and this is probably what caused our heat issues, was that it seems like there was recently a shift change and a lot of the off duty employees were hanging out and talking with the employees that were working.  The current employees seemed to be preoccupied which is why our meal was probably cold.

One bright side is when I posted all this onto their Facebook page, Sarita answered back pretty quickly and said she would talk with the manager.  I would give her the benefit of the doubt and try it again one day.  Overall, I would give this place 3 out of 5 stars.

Risotteria

This place I have wanted to go to since I went Gluten Free.  It has really great reviews and almost everything here is gluten-free.  Their main specialty is risotto and most of the risotto dishes are GF.  They also have some salads, pizza’s both GF and regular, and panini’s, also GF and regular.  The meal starts with some homemade GF bread sticks which I thought were excellent.  I wanted to try the risotto but since I was there for brunch, I went with a panini.

Besides the main meals, they have a complete GF dessert menu.  For drinks they also have a selection of gluten-free beers.  Everything here that we had was excellent.  The place is small and can only accommodate 20 people, but that was fine with me.  We got there when it opened so we didn’t have to wait.

Overall, I loved everything here and can’t wait to go back again.  It definitely lived up to all the reviews I read.  On top of everything, they also sell their mixes, breads and desserts.  I was tempted to buy some but I decided to wait until next time.  I would give this place 5 stars out of 5.

Since going Gluten Free, my biggest concern has been eating out.  I find most restaurants are not GF friendly.  This was the first time I went out and didn’t worry about the food at all.  It was nice not to have to worry if I will feel sick after eating.  So, if you are ever in New York City and you need a gluten-free meal, check these places out.

Chicken Soup – Not Just Good For The Soul


Yesterday started Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week and what happens…I get sick.  Ok, it is just a cold, but still feel like crap.  The weather has cooled down a lot and I am constantly feeling cold now.  So what better thing to do then to make some nice hot chicken soup.  Recently someone asked me how to make it.  I sent them my recipe and now that I am making it I figured, let me take some pictures and share the recipe with you.

I know a lot of Crohnies like soup for when they aren’t feeling well and it helps to settle a stomach and rehydrate you.  Also, I grew up hearing it called Jewish Penicillin so how bad can it be for you.  The great thing about this soup is that it is naturally Gluten Free so I don’t have to worry about that.

So, without further delay, here is my chicken soup:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Whole Chicken
  • 3 Carrots
  • 3 Stalks of Celery
  • 1 Turnip
  • 1 Parsnip
  • 1 Onion
  • Fresh Herbs
  1. Take chicken and wash it off.  But into 1/4 ers and place in large soup pot.
  2. Peel carrots and parsnip.  Place into pot.  Trim celery and turnip and add to pot.  Peel onion and slice into 1/4ers.  Add to pot.
  3. Add any fresh herbs that you like.  Some ideas are thyme, marjoram, oregano, parsley, basil and rosemary.
  4. Fill pot with water and cover.
  5. Place onto medium heat until water boils.
  6. When water boils, add 2 tsp of chicken bouillon (I use the loose instead of cubes).
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for an hour.
  8. When done, turn off heat.  Remove chicken to a plate. Remove any vegetables you don’t want to serve with the soup to a bowl.  Drain any soup in the bowl with the vegetable and discard the veggies.  Drain any soup from chicken.
  9. Serve.

Now how you serve it is all up to you.  I take my chicken and back it off with some spices.  As for the soup, I make some gluten free pasta and serve the soup with that.  I keep the carrots only.  Some ideas are to add rice to the soup, chop up the chicken and add that back, or even make some matzoh balls for a traditional jewish soup.

Use a fresh clean chicken

Use a fresh clean chicken

1/4ered chicken

1/4ered chicken

Veggies...yum

Veggies…yum

Cut up veggies and chicken in pot

Cut up veggies and chicken in pot

Add Water

Add Water

Finished Soup

Finished Soup

Soup without all the veggies

Soup without all the veggies

Soup without all the veggies

Soup without all the veggies

 

Finished product with Gluten Free pasta noodles.

Finished product with Gluten Free pasta noodles.