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!