Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What do you mean I can't have milkshakes?!

So, I think it's  official... I have developed a lactose intolerance. No doctor has told me this, but they've pretty much ruled everything else out. I had several tests done to rule out any bacterial infections. They checked me for gluten allergies... negative. They even checked me for hepatitis, which I thought was kind of weird. But all the tests showed nothing.

I was finally sent to a "specialist" to see if he could figure out what was causing all my stomach issues. On the day of my gastroenterologist visit, I told him I thought I had developed a lactose intolerance and would like to be tested for that. He then informed me that not many doctors administer those tests, and the best way to check for lactose intolerance was to refrain from ingesting lactose... Really, Doc!? How much did that cost me??

He checked over some of the results from all the testing my primary doctor performed, and something he found made him suggest I get a colonoscopy... So I did. Not fun at all. : (   The actual procedure was fine, besides the waiting 4 hours for it to begin. I had to be sedated, but I wasn't leery about that or anything. The part that super-sucked was the 48-hour liquid diet beforehand. My appointment was set for Thursday morning, so my instructions were as follows:

- Monday night: Have vegetable soup for dinner.

- Tuesday: Only clear liquids all day, which can include chicken broth, 7-Up, Citrus Gatorade, ginger ale, and water.

My chicken broth lunch

- Wednesday: Only clear liquids all day, but no broth. No eating/drinking after midnight.

I looked online for other "clear liquid" options and was happy to see green jello listed : )

- Thursday: Check in at 6 am. Sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes. Then lay on a stretcher for 4 hours waiting to be taken back.

Matt tucked me in like a burrito

Oh, I forgot to mention the best part... Wednesday at 3 pm and 10 pm, I had to drink the nastiest stuff I've ever had in my life. It tasted like Robitussin times 10, and it's sole purpose was to have me spend the rest of the night on the toilet. That was seriously the worst part... I'd take on a whole week of a clear liquid diet before having to drink one bottle of that stuff again. : (  Bleh!

So, the procedure itself lasted around 30 minutes. Then they rolled me out, woke me up, and told me that everything looked fine. So I asked the Dr. what he thought the issue was, and he told me to start taking Pepcid AC twice a day and come back in 2 weeks if I still had issues. I asked him why I should take Pepcid AC if I had neither heartburn nor ulcers, and he didn't really have an answer for me. Needless to say, I wasn't very impressed with my gastroenterologist.

Afterwards, Matt took me to Chick-fil-A so I could finally eat something, and I was back to square one. I did online research, and I called all around trying to find someone who administered lactose intolerance tests. And then I figured, what the heck... I'm pretty sure that's what it is, so I'll just be 100% diligent in not taking in lactose and see where that takes me.

The only problem with that is that DAIRY IS IN EVERYTHING!!! Cheese, chocolate, MILKSHAKES!!! But they do make a lot of lactose-free options nowadays. I was able to find lactose-free ice cream and some cheeses, so it wasn't totally unbearable. But then I found something that turned my milkshake-mustache-less frown upside down...

They make a lactase enzyme pill for people with lactose intolerance to take so they can eat normal foods without the nasty consequences!!! As you can see, I tried it out with my favorite meal... crab linguine alfredo from Red Lobster. I figured if it didn't work, the meal should at least be worth it! ; )  But IT DID WORK!!! Hooray! A few days later I decided to give it the ultimate test:

I was totally bummed that I wasn't going to get to enjoy the peach milkshake this year because of my new "issue," but I took a lactase enzyme pill and drank half the shake... and nothing! No stomach pains, no gas, no... okay, I'll leave it at that. ; )  I was ecstatic! And still am... I keep these lovely, individually-wrapped pills with me everywhere I go. : )

I'm still trying to get an actual lactose intolerance test performed, but I think it's safe to say that's what it is. I still try to refrain from dairy products, although I love having the option of indulging with the help of my magic pills, as I like to call them. But I think the fact that I haven't had any more stomach problems since I started using the lactase enzyme pills backs up my theory...

Here's hoping my magic pills don't fail me anytime soon. And I hope you have a great week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Another Lovely Mail Day

Time for my latest installment of mail goodies! I am still really behind on my pen pal replies, but I'm hoping to get caught up this month... Please bear with me if I owe you a letter!!!

Here are the things I have sent out lately:

Owl-themed Swap on swap-bot

Homemade envie swap

Private swap on Postcrossing.com

Oversized PC swap

Another oversized PC swap

For my 3rd oversized PC swap partner

Another private Postcrossing swap

She couldn't choose between these two cards, so I sent them both to her : )

And here are some of the wonderful missives I've received in the past several weeks:

Owl-themed swap

I believe this was a new pen pal letter swap

I love seeing different countries' stamps : )

AIRMAIL! ; )  Great stamps on this package too

An Australian PC I got in a swap

Pretty PC I received

The great stamps included

Love air mail envies! And those fashion stamps are fabulous!!

Oversized PC swap

Beautiful artwork PC
 Isn't mail the greatest!? It always brightens my day. : ) Hopefully sharing all of my mail helped brighten your day as well!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August Foodie Penpals

The Lean Green Bean
Hi Everybody! I'm posting this a little late (imagine that), but last month I participated in my first Foodie Penpals Swap hosted by the lovely Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean.

This month I got a wonderful package from Amanda at Kitchen Kanvas. Everything in the box was wrapped in pretty yellow tissue paper, but my hubby surprised me by cleaning the kitchen and threw all the paper away before I could take a pic... But here's a shot of everything I received:

As you can see, Amanda put cute little notes on everything to let me know why she picked each item.

She lives in Idaho, so you know she had to send something with potatoes! : ) I haven't baked this yet, but I'll be sure and let you know how it turns out when I do.

According to Amanda, these are the cookies served on Delta flights. They are super yummy, and they're dairy free, which is awesome since I still think I've developed a lactose intolerance...

I'm not familiar with Huckleberries of the non-Finn variety, but they apparently grow all over the place where Amanda lives. I tried this spread out on a good ole PB&J, and it was quite tasty. It reminded me of a blackberry jam but a little more tart.

Another potato item... These are candy bars that she put in for Matt. They have milk in them from the chocolate, so I unfortunately can't try them. : (  But Matt said they were good. : )

 She included these Crystal Light packs since she saw on here that I made a goal to drink more water. Wasn't that sweet!? : )

The final item was some Mediterranean sea salt. She said she fell in love with it when she lived in France... Jealous!! I can't wait to cook with it. : )

Wasn't that an awesome foodie package!? I think I'm going to really enjoy being a part of this swap each month. Unfortunately, since I waited so late to post this you've already missed the deadline to be a part of September's swap. : ( Sorry... But you can join next month!  Click on the pic at the top of this post for more info. And I'll put a link to sign up when I post about my September goodies. : )