Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Being an Accidental Health Freak

Over this past year, I have joked with friends and family that I have become an accidental heath freak. "How does one become an accidental health freak", you ask?
Well, story time!!
Soon after moving to Omaha last summer to start my new job at a nursing home, I started being sick. Not like "stay home from work/ school" sick, but instead "all I want to do is go to bed and curl up in a ball I feel so horrible" sick. At first I deduced that I became lactose intolerant, and my breakfasts of cereal and milk with a side of milk would have to go. That worked for a little bit, maybe a month or two.
Then school started, and the symptoms came back. But this time I wasn't eating any dairy.
Found here

My mornings would go like this:
Wake up
Roll over
Roll back over because my stomach hurt too much to lay on my back
Lay in bed for another 15 minutes
Give myself a pep talk to get up so I wouldn't be late for class
Peel myself out of bed
Take a few bites of breakfast, but then decide that it wasn't worth the stomach cramps
Hurry out the door so I wouldn't be late for class

That is how most of my mornings went for several months. That is until Fall Break in mid-October when I finally decided that this was bad enough to go to the doctor about.

Long story short, I was loosely diagnosed with IBS, aka Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Fun fact, older adults are not the only ones that can have IBS. Women in their late teens / early 20s are the next common age group.

SO, due to that *lovely* diagnosis, I started investigating what in the world would help me feel better. I learned that going gluten and lactose free was going to be one of the only ways that I could feel great again. From what I have learned, it is very common to become lactose and gluten intolerant when you have IBS.

Starting the Gluten-Free Lifestyle... check it out here: https://blogs.hope.edu/students/uncategorized/gluten-free-because-its-good-for-me/:
Me saying goodbye to all the wheat

Now you may be asking yourself, "Why is she telling me all this stuff??"
Well, since being lactose free for a year and being completely gluten free since April 1, I have heard some, let's call them, "interesting" comments and questions about my diet.

Let me pause here and tell you that none of these comments are directed at any one person. If I have heard it once, I have heard it 20 times. I'm writing this because I feel like sometimes people forget that there are people who do not eat gluten or dairy, not because they are trying to lose weight or think it is healthier, but because they know how their body will react adversely if they do.

Let's start with the most commonly asked question: "What in the world do you eat if you can't have gluten or lactose???" (This one is always asked in some sort of panicked way!)

phenergan photos - INK361:
Just kidding!
Now, lets have a look at the good old-fashioned food pyramid:
 You will notice that I have marked in red what I do not eat and circled in blue what I do!
Grains is an obvious one. I do not eat anything in that category except rice. I love rice. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables along with protein. With dairy, not all dairy has lactose in it. So, I can eat certain yogurts and cheeses (absolutely no mozzarella, though), small amounts of butter, along with sour cream. For the last category, I've mostly crossed out because, except for dark, I cannot eat chocolate. Also, 99.9% of baked goods contain wheat flour so those are an automatic no for me!
So do not worry, I am not starving. I have lots I can eat!
For example, on of my favorite go-to meals right now is my own concoction of sorts. Its scrambled eggs with chopped green onions on buttered gluten free toast, with lots of sour cream on top! Yum!!
Other meals include gluten free (corn) pasta with sauce, chicken fajita mix with rice, and PB&J sandwiches on gluten free bread!
I also get pretty creative when I'm craving dessert:

These would be lemon bars that I scraped the filling out of oh so carefully

Next question: "Is this just a fad that you've started?"
Technically this is a valid question. However, it comes across extremely rude. Whether or not it is a "fad" does not change the importance of it. If you need to know, ask it how I've been asked by waiters, "Is it for medical or personal reasons?" It's a little less demeaning that way.

And the question that normally follows the last one, "Why can't you just eat a little bit?"
Let me reiterate, my choosing to be gluten and lactose free is not a fad. I eat this way because I  know what will happen when I don't. Here are a few examples:
The last time I ate pizza, I could barely walk due to how much my stomach hurt.
The last time I ate a hamburger (with the bun) I nearly ended up in the hospital with dehydration and a heart rate of 120, spiking at 150 at rest. (For non-medically inclined people, a resting heart rate should be between 60 and 90 or so.)
Granted, these are my extreme reactions, but I'll let you answer this question, "why would I want to risk it?" When I had that hamburger, I knew I was risking it, but I thought to myself, 'it's only a bun. There's other stuff on it! Its not like it's cake or anything......' 5 1/5 hours later I was eating my words.

Trigger foods / Crohns. Spoonie:
Found here

This is not a question, but a comment that normally squeezes itself into the conversation. "Well that sounds like it sucks....."
I know.
But really, it sucks a lot, and you telling me that it stinks while eating or talking about  something that I can't have makes it stink even worse. I cannot tell you the last time I had a slice of real cake. I'm going to guess my High School grad party, May, 25 2015.  I can tell you the last time I had a donut- March 20, 2016 around 10:30 am. That didn't really go over very well, but it was delicious!! I know you don't mean to be mean, but reminding me how long its been since I have had those delicious things, kinda rubs me the wrong way. I am still trying to get used to my new normal and it reminds me of what I'm missing out on.

And finally, one of my favorite questions, "So all this stuff just happened over night??"
I have a simple answer to that -- Yes. I remember the mornings I started having problems with dairy. It was literally an over night occurrence. I also remember the mornings soon after school started, waking up feeling sooooo crappy and wreaking my brain trying to think of what I could have eaten that might have had dairy in it; when in reality it wasn't diary, that was from the wheat.

As I come to an end, I want to give you some quick advice and reminders when it comes to meeting people like me who have some pretty outlandish diets:
- People do not normally have crazy diets just to make things difficult for friends and family.
- Please do not take offense if I, or anyone else, tell you "I can't eat that....." It is so hard to have to tell people that, especially if it looks delicious, but it's necessary.
- If you are having a meal, plan it in advance and let the other person know. This way, lets say, if you want to have spaghetti and meat sauce, they can volunteer to bring their pasta for everyone (it's delicious, just so you know!).

Well folks, we have reached the end of the post. Thank you so much for bearing with me and reading all the way to the end! If anyone has any questions about anything, ask away! I'm a nursing student, nothing is TMI!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

An email quiz... 7 years later

While shuffling through emails, I found one from November 2009. I was 15 and in 8th grade. This one contained on of those quizzes where you answered one word for every question and I thought I'd go back and revisit my answers... Enjoy this brief glimpse at awkward 8th grade Kara. :) (With present-day Kara commentary in purple)
Fun fact: In order to give myself some practice (and because I sometimes have strange ideas of what is "fun"), this blog post was written entirely in code. HTML to be exact. Which means it looked like this before you saw it:

The "Quiz"
Where is your cell phone? whatcellphone (Mine goes *swoosh swoosh* (slides phone open and closed.))
Significant other? uhhh... (Don't worry, 8th Grade Kara. You've got Joey now!)
Your hair? brown (Yes. This is still true.)
Your mother? kind (This is also still true.)
Your father? tall (That's all the better you could do, 8th Grade Kara?! Come on!)
Your favorite thing? fruit (I mean, sure, fruit is great! But what about, like, other stuff that's not as lame?)
Your dream last night? whatdream (Actually had a dream last night about getting ready this morning and there was a giant praying mantis that came crawling out of my bookshelf. Eegad!)
Your favorite drink? tea (What about milk, 8th grade Kara?! Huh!?)
What room are you in? dining (Bedroom)
Your hobby? piano (100% still true. Good work, 8th grade Kara.)
Your fear? puking!!! (Also 100% still true. Also bats in my basement. That's a new one.)
Where do you want to be in 6 years? UNI (Well, you're at Northwest, 8th grade Kara, and you're loving it, so don't worry!)
Where were you last night? aplay (Ah! The sneaky make-two-words-one-word because it's a one word quiz. Classic. I was not at aplay last night. I was at myhouse.)
Something that you aren't? dumb (Well played, 8th Grade Kara. You are not dumb. Good one.)
Muffins? yum! (Agreed.)
Wish list item? bedroom (Well, it took 7 more years, 8th Grade Kara, but you do now have a bedroom to yourself. For one year. Savor it. Also, your wishlist is quite different now.)

Last thing you did? homework (Well, I've literally been doing homework for the past 2 weeks, but I did just make a cup of coffee...)
What are you wearing? pants (Again, well played, 8th Grade Kara. You are indeed wearing pants. Now I am wearing a fancy office-worker outfit, complete with cool earrings. (Yeah, 8th Grade Kara, you may swear off of it now, but give yourself 5 years and you'll get your ears pierced!)
TV? no (Netflix!)
Your pets? none (I have some plants I spend an inordinate amount of time staring at to analyze how much they are growing. One's named Bartlebee the Green Plantern.)
Friends? some (It's ok, 8th grade Kara. Now you realize you have THE BEST FRIENDS, no matter their proximity!)
Your life? crazy (True, but right now I'd also add pretty happy.)
Your mood? ok (Cheery!)
Missing someone? Kelsey (This is still true, but I also miss my family and Eliza and Meghan and a lot of people I haven't seen for a while.)
Drinking? no (I mean I've been known to get pretty wild making fruit smoothies... Mango AND raspberries...Wooooo!)
Your car? Iwish (Same, 8th Grade Kara. But your little red scooter is lots of fun! And you can channel Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday!)
Something you're not wearing? tricornerhat (So true, 8th Grade Kara. You are indeed NOT wearing a tri-corner hat. Present-you is also not wearing a tri-corner hat. Or any hat for that matter.)
Your favorite store? theloft (I don't know... The Loft is pretty great, but what about Kohls or Target or Hobby Lobby, 8th Grade Kara? Huh?)
Your favorite color? blue (Blue is nice, 8th Grade Kara, but so mainstream. How bout grey?)
When is the last time you cried? lastweekmaybe (It's been a while, and this is a testament to how well things are currently going.)
Who will resend this? thoseaformentioned (Ooooo! "aforemention!" Good word, 8th Grade Kara!)
Where do you go to over and over? school (This has not changed. Not one iota.)
Five people who email me regularly? eliza-kelsey-kristen-wendy-gabe (I mean, I get a lot of FB messages from Kelli, Joey, Eliza, and Kristen, along with my small group people.... (That's right 8th Grade Kara! One day, you too will have a Facebook page!)
My favorite place to eat? hickorypark (What!! Nonono, 8th Grade Kara! What are you doing?! What about HuHot?! What about HyChi! You've even discovered the beauty of Happy Garden in Maryville! Not Hickory Park!)
Favorite place I'd like to be at right now? nebraska (Iowa would be nice.)
Hope you've enjoyed this little look at past and present me & maybe gotten an update somewhere along the way! :)

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Missions, Math, and a Musical

Since last posting, I was in the musical Godspell here at college, and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.  Then I started the most time-intensive course I've ever taken, a four credit math class packed into one quarter.  All this happened while taking the most important course of my undergrad time, Maternity Nursing.  I assume that not getting some form of A in that class would jeopardize my chances of ever getting accepted into a midwifery program.

There's been some uncomfortably cold but much needed rain.  I've continued to organize weekly movie nights for my dorm's wing.  I read half of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them today.  I got plane tickets to visit Portland, Oregon, right after finals.  I'm preparing to lead another Teen Missions International summer team, this time to Australia.

Godspell.  Feeling incredibly privileged.

Congrats to Kara for finishing up her school year.  My thoughts are with Kelli as she says goodbye to Nebraska.
Peace out, Girl Scouts! :)

Monday, March 21, 2016

See You Later, Not Goodbye

Sometimes in life, things do not happen as you think that they are going to. Sometimes in a really awesome way, and sometimes in a not so fun way. Currently, I am stuck in between the two.
This semester has been a roller coaster of emotions for me.
I started my nursing classes this semester, and I am loving them! I am taking two nursing classes, and one clinical. I love that part of my class is going out into the community to hospitals and senior centers. It beats classrooms any day for me!! That has been the "up" on "Kelli's Roller Coaster of Emotions". Along with my nursing classes, Community Based Nursing and Health Assessment, I am taking two more classes. Those are Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology II, both with labs.
You know what? Sometimes things do not always go as planned.
When I graduated High School last year, I knew exactly what I was going to be doing for the next four years. I was moving to Omaha, Nebraska to go to Nebraska Methodist College to get my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I was going to live by myself in an apartment in the middle of the city. I was going to be working as a nurse in a hospital by summer 2019. I was going to do it all by myself.
I hope you noticed I used past-tense. That is because those plans are no longer current in any way. Like I said earlier, sometimes things do not always go as planned.
Do not worry, I did not fail out of Methodist. I am actually doing quite well there! However, my eyes were bigger than my wallet. After this past semester, I started doing math. I calculated the amount of money that I would be in debt for when I graduated. I did not like that number. I did not like it at all. I knew that I could not continue at Methodist
This is my new current plan:
At the end of the semester I will move home like every other college student. Except when fall rolls around, I will stay home.
I will be going to DMACC to take as many classes as possible to knock out my gen. eds.
When I finish all my classes at DMACC, I will transfer to a nursing school that I will get accepted to.
I will earn my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, just not in 2019.
The past several weeks have been so emotional and stressful trying to figure out where I would go after this summer. After much contempating, I have decided that by going to school close to home while living at home and working will be the best combination for me.
It will be sooooo extremely hard to leave all my amazing friends that I have made while here in Omaha, along with the amazing church that I have become involved with.
But as the title says, "See you later, Not Goodbye". Omaha will always be a short trip away from seeing everyone again!

Friday, September 18, 2015

My Homely Abode

** Long Post Warning!**

School will be in session for 6 weeks coming up and I realize that it has been pretty quiet from the Omaha area.
Since everyone else has posted about their living conditions, I decided that it'd be best to show off my apartment!

First, I live on campus at Josie's Village. It is an apartment complex that the college bought to use for "Student Housing". I would not call it dorms, in the slightest.


This is the outside of one of the apartment buildings. It's not mine, but they are all identical, so you get the point.... 
Fun Fact: There are balcony railings, but no balconies. I have no idea, something about insurance..... I don't have worry about all that, because my apartment is underground! 

As soon as you step into my apartment, you run straight into the closet. The thing is, there is literally nothing in it except a vacuum and empty boxes..... not very exciting.

Carrying on!

Take a hard right, and you are in the living room!
Much like the "closet" there is nothing in here either. It has been used 4 time during the almost two months I've lived here. Two of those times were a friend sleeping on the couch.

To the left of the living room, we have the dining room!
Now this room I use much more than the living room!
There's nothing much to it other than the four chairs and a table, but they do the job!
To the left of the dining room, there is the "one-butt kitchen"!

Although it is small, it has lots of importance all shoved into it! I have a full sized range, fridge, and dishwasher, microwave, along with decent cabinet space! 
This has been extremely nice because I am responsible for all my meals. I made a goal with myself at the beginning of the year that I did not want to eat microwave meals for every meal. I have a full sized kitchen, so why not use it? And use it, I have! To stay away from the oh-so-easy grab and nuke meals, I try to make one big meal every weekend and divide it into containers for throughout the week. To microwave them takes just as "long" as a microwave meal, but it is SOO much better!
So far I have made myself spaghetti and meat sauce, lemon chicken and rice, chicken and broccoli "hot pockets", components for breakfast sandwiches, and guacamole! Don't worry though, I've still got a bag of chicken nuggets in the freezer, because who doesn't like chicken nuggets?

Ok, back on the tour we go......

Going down the hall, you will see our bathroom. Its a bathroom. Nothing special, like Kara's window, but the AC does blow right into the shower, so that's interesting....

Continuing down the hall, you'll run right into my bedroom.

Its a tiny bit cluttered, but I'm cool!

One might ask, "What's in that black box?" 
Snacks. Snacks are in the black box. They are a necessity.

My room is very big compared to basically anything. I'd say it is bigger than a dorm room that would be shared at any other college.
I spend many many hours in my room everyday, mostly studying. I do this mostly at my desk.
Like I said, its a bit cluttered..... but it works great!

What IS cluttered in a good way is my calendar!
I have everything color-coded along with my daily to-do lists and coupons!
I was given this as a graduation present, and holy cow has it been helpful! All of High School, I never used a planner. I relied on my memory. Obviously you can't rely on your memory in college, and being able to see everything laid out everyday has been sooooooo helpful in keeping afloat in my first couple months of college!!

So that is my apartment! If you would like to see it in person (and me!), come to Omaha! I'd love to see you!
Also, as you probably noticed in many of the pictures, my walls are pretty bare..... Letters and drawings are very appreciated to fill up the empty spaces!

Sunday, September 6, 2015


After a wonderful two months of leading a Teen Missions team to Zimbabwe, I'm back in cute little Orange City, Iowa.  I have less college left than college already under my belt, and our dorm wing truly feels like home more than ever.  We have a new crop of freshman and transfers who (whom?) I adore... such "wonderfuls" as Peace (who dreams of helping deliver babies in Uganda) and Annika (likes dehydrated peanut butter & documentaries).

Some of my wing friends by one of Orange City's tulip murals.  Annika is in the cute print dress and leather jacket, whilst Peace is doing the splits.  I am "eating" the foot of dear Ashley, a freshman, and Ellen (a fun new Spanish major) poses in the middle.  

It's a Midwest heat wave apparently, which is just fine with me.  LifeLight, a Christian music festival in South Dakota, was a barrel of fun.  I saw Rend Collective, Tenth Avenue North (for the third time), and Switchfoot.  Mother came this weekend, and we bawled over Inside Out (miraculously still in the town's theater).  Been binging on the U.S. Tennis Open and enjoying my new classes (sociology, psychopathology).  Glad to have Kelli on the blog and to have a more flattering photo of myself up on the blogger profiles!

I did have this thought.

I would end this post with a "#Blessed", but that's just too much cheese for this chica.  Still, I'm feeling cozy, loved, and happy... and what could be better than that?

Saturday, September 5, 2015

4 Housemates, 3 Bedrooms, 2 Couches, 1 House

I have some different living accommodations this school year, and I'm pretty happy about it. I am definitely a homebody, so having an actual house is perfect for me! Now don't get me wrong, as far as living on campus goes, I had it pretty nice for the 2 years I was there. I enjoyed my res. hall and I had great roommates both years.
I've been here almost 3 weeks and let me tell you, it's been SO great! I share the house with 3 other girls, and I share a room with one of them. There is lots of space to spread out because it used to be a full sized house, and to make it into 2 separate places. So basically we get the whole first floor. I've taken pictures of it before, but they don't really show how BIG it is, considering I pay less than $200 a month! (Sharing = lower rent!). I decided to just take a video of it so I could pan around explain things. You get to hear my lovely narrations. They're better than usual.
(And yes, I understand the irony of my vlog within a blog.)