Sunday, December 14, 2014

I think my gums are infected

Day 80:
Staying up too late again this week. Sleeping super late post-surgery threw off schedule.
Got up, taught a couple lessons then went to a music party where I was regaled with a new and improved version of my parody of "little brown jug"-hilarious! Several new verses.

Then halfway through the party my mouth really started hurting. Tried 1/2 Percocet- not enough. So had the other half. And weirdly I got sleepy. Usually Percocet revs me up.

Put a call in to the dentist. Will see what he wants to do and when... Meanwhile I'm literally sucking on an onion hoping it'll kill some cooties.

So for all you kids in elementary school yes my face hurts and I'm already sucking an onion. No room for a rotten egg.

Going to bed! This too shall get resolved. I've survived much worse.

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Friday, December 12, 2014

Still as twisted as I was in 8th grade

Day 79:
I think I can sum up my day (today) on the plan in one sentence:
When it hurts to chew, it's easy to not overeat.

At least I have superfood shakes and high-quality vitamins. Wouldn't it be ironic if I got my teeth fixed only to have them fall out from malnutrition? Don't worry- ain't gonna happen. My twisted sense of will remain twisted, twisted though. After all the challenges over the years, I'm still as twisted as I was in 8th grade.

Meanwhile I actually look forward to being able to sneeze and spit. Neither are allowed, lest I blow out my stitches. So... That'll be my celebration when the dentist gives me the go-ahead: slurping, spitting, sneezing! Where's a nice restaurant Joe and I can go to for this?

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day 78: 3 pounds slimmer!

Day 78:

Yeehaw!
3 pounds slimmer!
Total so far: 9.5 slimmer.
6 lbs to goal weight!
Of course the real goal is HEALTH!

I've been skinny, I've been fat, and I've been healthy and skinny, sick and skinny, sick and fat, getting by and fat (my definition of fat = 25 pounds over my ideal weight. Which I think does put me in the "mildly obese" category. but let's forget numbers for now...).

My purpose, which must not be forgotten (most especially by me), in starting this new phase of my Health Quest, was to get truly healthy. To be free of chronic pain, to have energy and to be able to focus mentally on work and go do fun things socially.

My mouth is healing (it was really itchy last night), It's still kinda of unpleasant to eat. But eat I must. I have a light teaching/ gigging schedule this week, which allows me to pace myself so I can heal properly this time. I really don't want to have anyone cut these gums open a 3rd time.
Slept in the bed in a "pile" with Joe and Easy last night (and my blackout curtains and white noise machine). LUXURY!

Following up with dentist on Tuesday. Hoping for a good report. Then I guess we'll talk about when we're going to work on the right side of my mouth. Oy... I CAN DO THIS!

(But first, a breather...)
Cheers my lovelies-

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bored therefore braver!

Day 77:

My face hurts. (I know, it hurts you to look at it. Yuk yuk). Since eating is an unpleasant task, I decided to make this a cleanse day (a day involving very little food).

I aimed low today and missed (still didn't finish my to-do list for the day). But I'm up and around.
Even took the dog for a walk. Well, She saw the snow and decided we weren't going for a walk, but still- it counts. I got her and myself dressed and out the door.

She's only 6-7 pounds and this is our first snow this season. As winter persists, she'll get bored and therefore braver. That's my MO: bored therefore braver! Well one of my MOs.

Stuck to the plan. Might graduate to the bed tonight. Was awfully noisy down here this morning- leafblowers (during snow flurries- odd), doorbell numerous times. And I miss my blackout curtains and white noise machine. Think I'm past danger of hemmorhage.

Have song idea. Need to finish and make vlog!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 76: My quest to get well

Day 76: day 75 post is up- I just didn't type "day 75" at the beginning.

Day 76 of what? Well 2 things. My quest to get well- really well. Time for the next phase in my 21-year journey in reclaiming every last shred of my health and leaving no stone unturned. And day 76 of the nutritional cleanse program I started on sept. 24.

Sept 23, my rhuematologist (after 21 years I'm still not sure how to spell that!) got my labs back and wrote me a prescription for oral chemo. I've been on it before. It's expensive, it gives me diarrhea and body odor, and increases risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and a fatal brain infection.
What's not to love?


And this is a "maintenance" drug- meaning the plan is usually to get and stay on it. (My eulogy: "how sad she died of a brain infection. We will all remember her for her songs, her humor, but most of all her BO and frequent bathroom trips").

All along I've believed that my illness was caused by something. Not sin, or genetics or bad luck (but thanks for those theories, well-meaning friends!), but plain old cause and effect. And so I think back to when things changed.

Certainly the year before I got sick was very stressful. But in my heart I know things changed several years before that, after my wisdom tooth extraction. I've always known that. I just finally found someone who could fix it!

I'm only halfway through the process (opened up then filled the 2 left cavitations), and it was no walk in the park. And yes my mouth hurts right now. But I've had much worse.

I look forward to filling the other 2 craters in my jaw, making it whole again. And having that be a big part of making me whole again.

I don't think I would be dealing with the aftermath as well if I hadn't spent the last 73 days eating super clean food. It's all a big puzzle. Hoping these are the last couple pieces.

I slept on the sofa last night and will again tonight, propped up to prevent hemorrhaging. Geez medical words are hard to spell! Enema! Ok not that one. Anyway I slept 12 hours (barely slept night before surgery - much anxiety) and today I got to eat.

And now for some mindless tv.

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Monday, December 8, 2014

Dental surgery results

I have stitches in my gums after more than 2 hours in the dentist's chair. Rooting around where my wisdom teeth were extracted long ago.

I have long felt that was the day, at age 19, when my health started going downhill. I was in bed for a month.

I had previously gone on long bike rides, marched with a tuba and done back-to-back aerobics records. Sometimes all in 1day. After the wisdom tooth extraction (all 4), When I exerted myself too much, I felt "green," like I was hungover (I wasn't) and needed to barf.


Dr cut open 2 of the sites today and found sclerotic bone (essentially dead bone) and big holes in my jawbone where it didn't heal post-surgery. When he saw those holes, and how huge they were, he said "see? You're not crazy!" I've never had a health professional say that to me before...

I've essentially had a slow-drip bacteria feed from the inside of my gums into my sinuses and beyond all this time.

As I lay there trying not to be fully present, I thought back on the time after the original surgery and connected the dots. Why I now think my body didn't heal from the 1st surgery: the dentist told me with great emphasis that I absolutely must finish my course of antibiotics so I wouldn't get infections. I had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics (head-to-toe burning rash), but I kept taking them, for fear of infection. So I stayed in state of severe allergic reaction for 2 weeks. Pretty sure that left my body no resources with which to heal my jawbone.

How ironic. By suffering through severe allergy in order to avoid infection I ended up with... A long-term infection.

I still have to get the 2 sites on my right side done. And I will. But I'm not scheduling it right this second... I barely slept at all last night, dreading this day. That's how convinced I an that the wisdom tooth extraction was the beginning of my serious health problems.

So convinced I will subject myself to something I fear dread and loathe (dental surgery!), and pay for it out of pocket! (Procedure is neither mainstream nor covered by insurance).

Had breakfast and a snack before surgery, but No more food til tomorrow. Can't risk opening up surgery sites. I'm not screwing this up twice!!!

When I got home our dog came up to me on the sofa and sniffed my mouth - no kisses, just sniffing. Then curled up on my feet to comfort me. She's so smart. She and joe watching over me in the "recovery room" (our living room).

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

She-hulk!

Days 73, 74: ran out of stevia-sweetened dark chocolate. Oh, the cravings!

Visited friends in the Bronx Saturday. Got delicious takeout gluten-free (no cheese) pizza. Our friend suggested twice that we all go out for frozen yogurt. I changed the topic... And dodged the social dessert trap!

And we ended up having a great time playing with the kids (5-yr old twin boys- they did my hair!), then (after bedtime), the 2 guys doing Kung fu and 2 gals talking about teaching.

Sunday was a day at home so no major challenges, except my lack of chocolate on hand and my rising anxiety about my oral surgery Monday afternoon... It'll all be over in 14-15 hours.
Oh and started exercise Saturday. Just strength training. That usually goes well with me- I put on muscle pretty easily. She-hulk! Paint me green.

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Emotional eating

Day 72: got upset about something. Didn't have anyone to talk to, too gross out for a walk... So I overate.

Emotional eating. Haven't done that in a long time.

Small consolation- everything I indulged in was healthy. Plant-based protein shakes, clean protein bars (non gmo, no soy etc). I just had more than I should've. I wanted a big bag of chocolate!!!

In the future I need to have some strategies lined up- a list of friends to call (no one person is always available), and some kind of indoor way to blow off steam since it's gonna be gross outside the majority of the time for the next 4-5 months.

I'm not toxic- I didn't eat sugar or foods I'm allergic to. So... There's that anyway. And today, after my double portions of high-fiber plant protein, I almost clogged the toilet!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Refreshed and focused

Day 71: up early- yet feeling refreshed! A productive day, feeling focused.

Got a massage. Awkwardly, ran into the guy I used to make appointments with. I think I will switch back to him. New guy talks too much. Of course the other guy has such a thick accent that I can barely understand him.

Didn't weigh myself. Fought major chocolate cravings late in the evening. Probably due to end-of-long-day fatigue. But I won!

Having weird tmj symptoms for no discernible reason. Just my jaw making noises. No pain, no headaches. Odd.

Pretty sure I will be crashing at a reasonable hour tonight- who is this person?

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Perfect day on the plan

Day 70: as inexplicably as I gained 3 pounds, I dropped 2.5. O scale, thou art a mystery wrapped in a conundrum.

Think I wore myself out yesterday. Got close to nothing done today.
However I had a nice lunch with my visiting pal and fellow musician Amy Engelhardt and she is on my couch as I type and we all get ready for "sleepy sleep" (as we explain it to our dog).

Perfect day on the plan.
Tomorrow I get a massage
Yesterday and today I needed no pain meds.

I have a song idea for the vlog but just no get up and go today to work on it. I do believe I borrowed today's energy yesterday.

Was totally worth it. Taped an interesting songwriter internet show (comes out next week) and did a live streaming concert with the fun and funny Todd Chappelle, both in Pennsylvania, involving lots of driving in gross weather in the dark. So I doubled up on caffeine - and today I pay.

That's ok. As I heal, I have days where I feel normal - as in, like a normal person! Waking up rested, not needing caffeine, feeling focused. Not lots of them, but enough to know I'm on a good path.
And so, I keep going!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Day 69: stepped on the scale

Day 69: stepped on the scale. 3 times. It has gone in the wrong direction. That's annoying.

Long day of driving in icky weather and doing 2 internet music shows. Those were fun. Woke up tired (went to bed too late) and struggled to reach my desired level of perkiness.

Home late. Ate fine. Will wait a day or 2 before stepping on dreaded contraption again. Perhaps the Percocet from a few days ago is backing up the works...

Another early morning coming up. Universe helping me fix sleep schedule...

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Yay for moral support!

Day 68: This is the week that Joe is joining me on the plan. Yay for moral support! I'm happy and relieved that he actually finds the food delicious and filling! Whew- a relief.

Had a couple guitar students, dr appointment, pushed through some email and phone calls, then realized no amount of caffeine was going to perk me up, so I took a 3-hour nap. Ahhhh. I was dragging over the weekend, but had to get up Sat and Sun for early guitar students. It's like the universe is conspiring to help me fix my sleep schedule. Thank heavens I'm able to nap! For years I've never been able to wind down and nap.

Stuck to the plan yesterday and today, and wouldn't you know it, my pain is gone. Please, remind me as the holidays approach: refined sugar is not worth my being in excruciating pain!! Yes I need reminding. It's all over the flipping place during the holidays. Sugar sugar sugarrrrrr!

Point is, I feel better.

Have a long day of driving/ internet broadcasts tomorrow (today at this point), so I'm just posting a written update rather than a vlog. Youtube crashes on me repeatedly, then I catch myself swearing, and it's still recording, so I have to start over... Ends up taking 30-45 minutes to record a 5 minute vlog. One of these days I'll just leave the swearing in for your amusement. I did own a sunfish when I was in high school so technically I'm a sailor.

See you in the next update! Onward and upward!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A little short on sleep

Day 66: a little short on sleep (had to get up for early guitar student), so I had some caffeine. That kicked my butt into gear - plowed through a bunch of tidying, paperwork, etc.

Shoulder pain persists, as do leftover cupcakes. With the last one gone (whew!), I go back to completely proper eating in the morning. I've been eating just fine all day except for the cupcake!
Hopefully the pain will subside as the sugar leaves my system. If not... Well I'll deal with that when and if it happens.

Have a new song for the vlog. I finished it yesterday but too pooped to make a video (another early guitar student coming- it's like the universe is pushing me along in fixing my sleep schedule!). MaƱana!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Day 65: a setback

Day 65: a setback. Persistent shoulder pain. I haven't missed you, O unwelcome companion. Took Advil - not enough. Took another, plus shoulder rubs. Not enough. So I broke out the big guns and had half a Percocet. That did it.
Weird thing is Percocet does not get me drowsy or high. It reduces/ eliminates pain and suddenly I feel like tackling chores. I put the "perk" in Percocet! So I plowed through a stack of mail, cleaned some clutter and put stuff away.
I ate fine, except I had a leftover cupcake...
Tomorrow is another day - and I hope the pain disappears as inexplicably as it returned.

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Friday, November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving!

Day 64: thanksgiving.
A lovely day of feasting with extended family.

My plan was to have just one (gluten free dairy free) cupcake. Joe was a prince- went down to tulu's bakery in the village when he was in NYC tues and got a dozen cupcakes. This is where he gets my birthday cake every year.

Sugar is not on the plan but I figured one cupcake on thanksgiving would be ok.
I had lots of veggies: broccoli, sweet potatoes, marinated artichokes and cauliflower. Some cornbread, a little mashed potato, bit of turkey. A reasonable meal, ESP. Considering the huge amount of tasty food before us. And just water- had no soda.

A bit later I had my delicious cupcake, as a game of Italian/English scrabble started up at the other end of the table. We sat and talked with joes brother and our nephew and niece. And I sat there so long in front of those cupcakes I caved and had a 2nd one. Tsk tsk!

So... This means... No big deal, that's what. I'm back on the plan tomorrow, that's what it means.
One dietary indiscretion does not mean utter failure, unless I repeat that indiscretion and give up. So- back in the saddle. And I won't sit at the dessert table so long I'm the future. Or at least move the tempting desserts out from directly under my nose. Onward!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Well rested?

Day 63: woke up feeling rested! Woah! So this is what it's like to not be pulled in a hundred directions for a couple days. Nice!
Icky out. Never left the house. Some songwriting and too much facebooking, but did very well on the plan today. Let's see how I handle the thanksgiving dessert table!

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Definition of Health, and my quest to settle for nothing less

I think of health as a spectrum.On one end, you're dead. On the other, you're flourishing.


Anyone who's everhad a houseplant or a garden knows the difference between a dead plant and a live one, and also the difference between a plant that is doing OK and one that is flourishing.

The World Health Organization defines "health" as:
"a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

Let that soak in.
Not merely the absence of disease.
Complete well-being.

When we are diagnosed with a chronic illness, we are told to "accept" our illness and to settle for something far less than the WHO's definition of health. We are told by our doctors that such a dream is now unattainable for us. I have refused to believe this from Day 1. I do not and will not accept it.

I have tried all kinds of alternative medicine over my 21 years since being diagnosed. A lot of it has helped me tremendously, and I've been able to taper off all the lupus and blood pressure drugs, each of the 3 times I've had a flare. And my flares are not minor. They involve kidney failure, congestive heart failure, pleurisy, anemia, and even a stroke. Not mention hair loss, weight loss, fever, exhaustion, neuropathy and chronic pain. (OK I just mentioned those).

Our mainstream doctors are trained to treat us with only 2 tools: prescriptions and surgery. Yes, prescriptions such as prednisone are the reason I am still alive and able to sit here and type about anything at all. 50 years ago, lupus was a death sentence. So I definitely appreciate the existence of life-saving drugs, and I take them when I'm in trouble. I am NOT anti-drug.

However, long-term prescription use is *always* going to have consequences. And sometimes those consequences are very serious. And anyway, drugs can't get you to "flourishing." They can get you to the "not dead" zone, or even the "OK" zone, which is the best we're told top hope for. But being diagnosed in my early 20s, I wanted more than just getting by with "OK" for the next 40-60 years.
(Especially since "OK" seemed to mean, from the folks I saw at support groups back then, being 50-100 pounds overweight from the steroids, and thin to no hair. And in some cases, frequent surgeries to replace bones eaten by the steroids. How was this OK?).

Thus, my search for better answers all this time. I wish I could type up every single thing I've tried in one concise blog post, but we're talking 21 years of experiments on myself. And what works for one person doesn't always work for another.

However, there are 2 basic, sustainable habits I would recommend every lupus patient try:

- Qi Gong (also spelled chi gung). This is a deep-breathing, slow-moving Chinese art much like Tai Chi. Make sure you find a practitioner/ DVD that teaches healing chi gung, not warrior chi gung.

- diet modification (eliminating gluten, dairy, eggs, diet soda, sugar). This can be done on your own, or with a health coach, or setting up a pair or more of you to do it together. Or you can do what I did, and get a system that makes it very easy. Here is the system I've been using for the last 63 days. It's both really nutritious *and* it detoxes your system. It has completely eliminated my need for narcotics and I have slimmed down by 6 pounds with no exercise. I'm really pleased with this.

http://www.isagenix.com/en-US/Isamovie#cat=weightLoss&vid=9jeIL82Of9I

Cheers and good health!

Carla
The Singing Patient
carla@thesingingpatient.com

http://www.thesingingpatient.com

Lupus and General Health chat Tues. 12/2 5:30pmEastern

Tuesday, December 2nd
5:30 pm to 6:30 pm Eastern time 
Hospital for Special Surgery and S.L.E. Lupus Foundation present:
Lupus & General Health Chat
Hosted on the HSS Facebook page:
Attendees will be able to ask lupus-related questions and get answers from a panel of experts, which includes rheumatologists, dermatologists, and social workers.



Jogging 100 Feet

Day 62: The vlog is back! Jogging. sorta. once or twice. http://youtu.be/kxTyn91hJkM


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/   

Monday, November 24, 2014

Reasons I never sleep nude

Day 60:
Reasons I never have and never will sleep nude:
1) mom ripping the covers off me every morning in high school to get me out of bed (I overslept a lot and lost interest in school around 11th grade)
2) 2peeping toms (that I know about)
3) frequent fire alarms in my dorm
4) woke up to a weirdo rubbing on my arm (he had broken into my house)

But most of all:
5) I oversleep on occasion and awake to the doorbell, with a guitar student outside waiting for me. Today I threw a sweatshirt over my top and taught in my pjs. It's good to work from home!
I've been napping and/ or tired a lot lately. But then, I've been burning the candle at both ends - and in the middle. Just way too busy and pulled in far too many directions. I think I'm near the end of a month-long string of overdoing. It is an old, long-standing habit however. Overcommitting.

Regarding my health adventure, Today marks the end of my second "30 days." In other words, 60 days. I would love to make a vlog but - as is the theme of this post… I'm too tired.
Going to bed at a reasonable hour, and perhaps I'll actually be properly dressed for my guitar student by 1:30 PM.
I'll give the vlog a shot tomorrow, I hope. I want to do a proper update so that I can kick off my next 30 days. Yes, I'm going to keep going! I'm feeling so much better I'd be insane to stop.

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/   

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Still finding the right balance

Day 59: whew! Tired when I woke up. 2-day cleanse has that effect.

Taught guitar lessons then got ready for gig in Westfield, opening for David Roth.

Had to caffeine up during the day to be up to par. Even had a few pieces of chocolate (with sugar!) at the show. I can see how performers of days past ended up on uppers (for shows) and downers (to sleep). It's easy to just pop something when you're not feeling up to the gig.

Part of the reason I cut back on my traveling/touring was that it is nearly impossible to go at that rate I used to go and stay healthy. But If i don't gig enough, I start forgetting lyrics and don't have enough chance to work in all my new ideas. Still finding the right balance.

As to my current nutritional cleanse project: Was discouraged to see my measurements did not change post-cleanse. Usually a 2-day cleanse can slim some part of me by as much as an inch. But then aunt flow is here, so there's that. Gotta keep the big picture in focus: health! That's why I started this plan.

Tomorrow marks day 60, or "the end of day 30, volume 2." Hopefully I will be up to making a vlog. It's been a while!


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Cleanse Day 2... stay occupied!

Day 58: 2nd day of 2-day cleanse. The key is to stay occupied... (And remind joe not to ask me if I want to eat out tonight!)

Just walked into the hair salon to see about getting my hair done. They don't have any open spots. In a way that is fine – it smells so full of chemicals in there that when I go back I'm going to wear a gas mask!

Meanwhile I'm going to go get a massage tonight as I had promised myself. I decided to reward myself for doing a two day cleanse by getting a massage. Happily it also serves as part of the detox process. So I can luxuriate and feel like I'm doing something good for myself.  


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/ 
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I made it!

Day 58 part 2 (late late night post): I made it! 2-day cleanse!! When I reach my ideal weight and/ or health goals, I won't have to do 4 per month.

Got a massage today as reward for doing the cleanse, and how interesting to get a professional massage for the first time while not in pain. Normally, I get a massage in hopes of reducing pain. And lying on the table is usually uncomfortable, at least until they start digging in. Not today!

Also, normally after having my face in a cradle for a half hour, I'm all congested. Also not true today!

I may meet all my 60-day goals!

Meanwhile..
I have guitar students in less than 8 hours ..


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Friday, November 21, 2014

Cleanse day!

AUGH! It's day 57! So I'm having a cleanse day.
Wow, my 2nd 30 days is going by so fast.

The plan is to get in 4 cleanse days per 30 days.
I got in my first 2 cleanse days pretty early on in this 2nd 30-day installment of "carla's health adventures" (subtitle: I hate cellcept and will do anything to avoid it).

Then I went off on my 10-day trip down South, and did my best to stay on the plan while traveling. I did pretty well.

Now I'm back and- whoops! It's day 57 and I gotta squeeze in 2 more cleanse days between now and Sunday. So today is cleanse day 3 of 4, and I guess tomorrow will be 4 of 4, because I'm gigging saturday and going to NYC to tape a fun 20-minute musical. Don't want to do either of those on an empty stomach.

5 minutes ago, Joe turns to me and says "Moe's for dinner?" to which I replied "I'M FASTING!" This is the second time he's done that. In his defense, he just had a 2-hour nap.

I think next week, Joe is going to do the nutrition plan with me for a week, as a show of support. I could use a little morale boost, having someone else on board.

and in the TMI department, i had to take an advil twice this week because my shoulder was bothering me. I've had chronic shoulder pain for 20 years, and it has mostly disappeared since starting this plan- so I was disappointed when it showed up this week.... UNTIL my monthly visitor showed up! Normally my PMS is so bad I have to take 2 percocet and sleep sitting up.

So- now I see this past couple days' mild discomfort not as a setback but as a huge improvement over my typical PMS experience. YAY!

Well it's only 9pm, so I still have a few more hours to get through before I've officially survived his cleanse day, but Moe's closes in 15 minutes so I think I'll make it.


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Day 56

Day 56: gained 1/2 pound in a day. Lesson: do not weigh yourself daily.

Feeling not quite as exhausted. Followed the plan well today.

Long drive up past Westchester and back for a friend's father's wake. Our dog was very angry that we were leaving, as I just retrieved her from the babysitter last night. Sometimes I wish I could come up with an excuse to make her a therapy dog so I could take her everywhere with me.

I'm not sure I know how to behave at a wake. I only met the deceased once. It's my husband's close friend's father. I find myself conversing about… Almost anything. And making light conversation. We were laughing a bit with my husband's friend and his wife which felt natural and normal – it's kind of our way of injecting a bit of normality. But some part of me did wonder if we were making others look askance.

No jokes about John's father or anything inappropriate like that.

After my grandmother's funeral, we all went back to the house and I found an essay I had written when I was 16. I was supposed to interview an older relative, and of course she was the only one who lived within 90 miles of us. In fact she lived a quarter-mile away.

My grandma had a few mental issues, something I didn't realize when I was a kid. I just thought she was eccentric and I can always make her laugh, so nothing really seems strange to me. But in reading this essay years later, I realize how skewed her point of view was, and we were all laughing uproariously at this view of my grandmother through 16-year-old eyes.

At that time, it was a laugh we all very much needed. There was a lot of family drama surrounding my grandmother's death. My mom took the brunt of it, and she really needed a good laugh.

Anyway… I am happy to be healthy enough to go and be of support to my husband for events like this. And to have been of some support to my family on my ten-day trip to South Carolina that I just returned from.

And of course to perform my goofy songs and go out to waffle house afterwards and have a blast with my friends. I take none of this for granted, as I've had periods where I've been hospitalized or trapped in the house because I can't make it up and down the one stair to the outdoors.

I'm very grateful for the level of health that I have right now, and I only intend to get even healthier.

December 8, I get oral surgery. I'm taking homeopathic remedies every day to prepare for it. We're going to reopen where two of my wisdom teeth were extracted and dig around looking for infections and dead bone fragments. I can't believe I'm signing up for this. 


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Need a cleanse day ASAP

Day 55: slept 12 hours but still tired. Battled flood of email for couple hours then did 5-hour round trip (6 with stops) to retrieve our doggy.

Shoulder bugging me tonight - looks like Advil if I want to sleep. I need to do a cleanse day ASAP!

Overdue for vlog/ songs. Sorry- just tired!


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Travel day!

Day 54 (yesterday): travel day. Sat next to a pharmacist on the plane- he works with cancer patient groups! I perform for patient groups. Serendipity?

I was tired a lot over the last week. Spreading myself a bit thin, trying to see everyone and flipping back and forth between doing my regular comedy shows (which I am constantly honing) and giving Sunday morning messages ("sermon," which I am constantly honing).

Had 2 1/2 hour drive then lots of long schleps with luggage around the sprawling Atlanta airport. Flight delay, flight delay. No big deal. But man was I craving chocolate!!!

I staved off my craving all day but caved when I got home. Then I had some of Joe's "skinny cow" chocolates. Those of course are loaded with sugar. And like clockwork, within an hour I was in pain( in my shoulders).

I just can't get away with eating any significant amount of refined sugar. It will result in pain. Which stinks in a way – but is great in another way. Being punished immediately for eating something unhealthy makes it a lot easier to abstain.

Joe when I got in bed at 11 PM and watch some Netflix for an hour. I slept about 12 hours.

According to the scale, I did not gain (or "release") any weight at all on my trip. I certainly snuck in a little junk food, but I also managed to work in a little exercise.

However the scale never tells all – I have actually gained half an inch here and there on my body. So I've either reclaimed some fat or my body is a bit inflamed. Most likely it's inflamed from the naughty things I ate. Time for a cleanse day! Perhaps tomorrow if all of my supplies show up in time.


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starting fresh

Day 53: stayed up too late rewriting my talk last night! Which I enjoyed delivering at the Unitarian fellowship in Clemson.

Had lunch at western sizzler (salad bar... And 2 teaspoons of soft serve "ice cream"- or whatever that stuff is). Mom, dad, me, joe. Place hasn't changed one bit since they opened (1982?). Had to grab a paper butter lid out of my dad's mouth. He was trying to eat it!

I haven't been eating anything quite that bad for me but I did have a few corn chips with dinner and done chocolate. I had a major craving today, probably because i was tired.

tried to nap, but I guess I had too much caffeine in me.

So I bought this alkaline water to try to restore a bit of balance to my system since I've been having dabs of junk here and there. Looks like I can sleep without the help of Advil tonight.

When I get home I am starting fresh! Back 100% sticking to the plan. Joe may even join me for a week. I need some support since the travel has been a challenge and I kind of feel like I'm in the "saggy" part of a long bike ride/ run. Just slogging along but not doing a great job with my plan. Not awful, just not great. Need a cleanse day or 2!

Stayed up too late watching tv and facebooking. I will behave when I get back home!!
Peace out


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Day 52: hit the ground running

Day 52: hit the ground running today. Lots of zipping around in the car. Had my shakes n vitamins. Way too cold to walk today.

Another dinner out! Had salmon broccoli n rice, and water. 1 tiny bite of Joe's dessert (yum!) and some fruit w chocolate syrup. Which may have been too much sugar. Or I may have had too much caffeine tonight. Or it may be stress.

My shoulders are bugging me a bit. I've been completely pain- free for weeks but tonight they are unhappy. And I am disappointed. When I get home to nj, gonna do a cleanse day or 2.


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trying to eat well on the road

Day 51: had my 2 shakes then decided to try some Splenda-sweetened chocolate. Big mistake.
Ew and p.u. (What does PU stand for anyway? I sure know what it means!) I'm just glad I had those chocolates (only 2 of them btw) several hours before the show. Yowza!

I've been eating such clean food I can't get away with eating garbage anymore! It'll be easy to avoid artificial sweeteners knowing the smallest amount means an afternoon of bathroom runs!

Speaking of garbage (haha), went to Waffle House after having a super fun show tonight. One of my favorite parts of traveling and doing shows is after-show meals with friends.

We made quite the spectacle of ourselves, laughing, singing, etc. I'm eating low glycemic, so I had 2 eggs, 4 strips of bacon, and hashbrowns (hashbrowns are not that low glycemic but they're also not pie- and not Splenda!!).

If I did this every day it would be a major problem but I don't travel as much as I used to (constantly, from 99-2001, 2003-2008). It can be a challenge to eat well on the road.

The healthy plant-based shakes and snacks keep me on track for 2 of 3 meals. It's that 3rd meal where temptation can creep in. Generally I've done quite well with eating on this trip. Just had to have 1 Waffle House meal while in the land of Waffle House!

Tomorrow, back on track! No artificial sweeteners and no hashbrowns :)


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Friday, November 14, 2014

Day 50

Day 50: woke up tired yesterday but had lots to do so I relied on caffeine. Which really meant I was borrowing from Thursday to get through Wednesday..

I walked around town posting concert flyers today- for an hour! Kinda knocked me out.

Passing out now ....


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/  

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Learning how to visit the elderly and the ill

 Visited DOD today. Dear old dad.

Yesterday, I picked him up from his dialysis treatment, and he was very weak and very quiet, occasionally making sounds that indicated to me that he was uncomfortable and possibly in pain.

I tried to engage him in conversation but really didn't get anything back from him. I hadn't seen him in eight months, so I didn't know if this was the "new normal" or if this was a bad day.

I went over today with mom and their dog, Bu. Dad was having a little nap with his head on the table in the sunroom but woke up when we got there and was much more lucid today.

I was so relieved and pleased to see that he was much more comfortable today and able to hold a perfectly normal conversation. I said dad you seem like you're feeling much better today. And he said yes I am.

I asked him about his days in college and as I recently learned that he actually studied to be an engineer, not a physicist. And that he went to Brown for one semester. I never knew any of this. And that he taught himself atmospheric physics after getting a PhD in solid state physics.

My dad 's been in a nursing home for two or three years now. He has some form of dementia, which may or may not be Alzheimer's. He also has a stoma in place of his bladder and has had more than one occurrence of cancer, which has always been treated simply with surgery.

The main thing I try to remember when I go to visit my dad is this: it's not about me. If he doesn't remember me or doesn't feel like talking, I don't take it personally. This is all about him right now. And I leave myself, my needs my feelings my ego at the door. I try to be 100% there for him. And that seems to make for the best visit.

Yesterday after I realize he didn't feel like talking, I just drove him back to the nursing home in silence. I could tell he just didn't have the energy to force conversation.

Today he was in a good mood, so I engaged in a conversation about stuff that would be in his long-term memory, what college and studying physics – things like that. I also showed him some funny pictures on my phone of my dog and some funny things I had snapped off of the Internet. It was a nice visit, and spending about 30 minutes with someone is all you really need to do.

If they are in a facility or hospital they don't have that much energy and you don't want them to feel like they have to entertain you. In fact, for a number of people, 30 minutes would be too much. Maybe just 10 minutes.

The point is this: leave yourself behind for a brief time, Tune in to what their needs are, and do your best to be a good friend/loved one.

If you have experience or advice that is helpful in visiting a loved one who is chronically ill, terminally ill, recovering from surgery or in the hospital for any amount of time, please leave them in the comments below. I'm always looking to learn more and share more about this topic: How to be a good visitor.


Photo: Me n dad at the singalong on Wednesday. 

Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/ 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Homeopathic remedies and elective dental surgery

Day 46: had a fab fab fab time playing comedy concert at UU Aiken! Then got back to my sister's house, hungry. After-show hungry, which can be dangerous. Judgment impaired!

I did the impossible in one way: reached into a bag of Lay's and ate just one. Yeah- Just one!

Saw some cooked chicken in fridge, had a bunch of that and wasabi popped snap peas. Not bad. A bit caloric and processed but not unforgivable.

My niece is having a birthday sleepover (bunch of 10-year-old girls), and cake was on the counter calling to me. Of course I can't have cake (gluten), but I did snarf about 1/2 teaspoon of frosting off the part of the tray that no longer had cake on it.

Sadly, sugar still tastes fantastic. Wish I'd lose my taste for it altogether!

I have begun a series of homeopathic remedies (drops under tongue, 2x/day) in preparation for dental surgery.

I almost can't believe I'm volunteering for this, but I've decided to have elective dental surgery. And I don't mean cosmetic.

I've been saying for a long time that my health went south right after I got my wisdom teeth extracted. I have a holistic dentist now, and he was surprised at how confidently I said this.

It turns out that these holes can close off as they heal, but leave a cavitation that can fill with bacteria, resulting in a slow Constant drip of bacteria into your bloodstream.

So, we are going to open up two of the four sites where my teeth were removed, drill out any dead bone that might've been left, put in a tiny piece of human bone and then my own bone will go around it. It's not covered by dental insurance, I'm not looking forward to it, but I feel very deeply that this is the right move for me.

Proving once again- from high colonics to sticking onions on my feet to signing up and paying out-of-pocket for a really unpleasant dental procedure: I will do anything to be healthy.

So far so good. I feel so much better now than I have in years. I only hope that this dental surgery move me forward and is not a setback. Wish me the best! It won't happen for about another three weeks.

Meanwhile I will continue to build up my health and use the homeopathic remedies in preparation for the procedure.


 

Cheers!
Carla
thesingingpatient.com

Day 45: Still going strong!

Week 7, day 3 ( day 15 of "2nd 30 days," aka day 45):

At the end of my first 30 days (oct 24), I set some goals for my 2nd 30 days:
• 1-2 inches off waist or hips (done! 2inches off waist since original day 30!)
• continue writing ridiculous songs (aim to vlog 4x/week) (doing)
• set up dental procedure (it's set up!)
•experiment with exercise (yet to do- but headed to SC and expecting some nice days where I can go for walks. perhaps even jog a bit- we shall see!)

I also have 2 cleanse days to work into my schedule before my next day 30 (day 60) mark.

My skin is clear, I'm free of shoulder problems, I'm sleeping well, and I have much more energy. Every reason in the world to keep going! Just have to never get complacent/ lazy about my health. It's too easy to get unhealthy again.


Carla
The Singing Patient
http://thesingingpatient.com/

Sleep!

Sleep! What could be more important to your health than good, deep sleep?

Lately, I find that one day a week, my body just demands that I take a really long nap. So, I don't fight it. There have been years when I was tired but wired and could not nap. The new me enjoys a nice long nap. And yes, "normal people" should only take 20-30 minute naps, lest it disrupt their sleep cycle, but people dealing with autoimmune or other serious issues need to just listen to their bodies, in my opinion.
Latest installment on my vlog is about overdoing it, and then needing to have a sleepathon:
http://youtu.be/Bg8jr_ijKRI

Sweet dreams-
Carla
The singing patient
http://www.thesingingpatient.com

Kraftie truck challenge

Week 6, day 7! Guess that makes this 7 weeks. Today's challenge? The kraftie truck. I worked as a background actor ("extra") for the tv show "younger" (tv land, next summer). Anyone who has spent some time on tv/ movie sets knows about this truck full of coffee, sodas, candy, etc.

I decided my best strategy would be to just not visit old kraftie at all. Junk food is hard enough to turn down when you're tired but doubly so when it's free.

I had plenty of healthy snacks in my purse anyhow.

So... Here's to another successful day on the plan.

Fading to sleep again...


zzzzCarla
thesingingpatient.com

Worn out!

Week six, Day six: I fell asleep recording the previous post. I will try not to do that again right now. It's been a very busy few days. Wore myself out on Saturday with a 500 mile drive and a fun concert and playing some games at geek talk.

Sunday I got up and taught guitar for 2 1/2 hours then got dressed up and went to a friends birthday party in the Bronx. There was candy on all the tables. I did not have any. I had a nice chicken Caesar salad- Low glycemic.

We had a great time. I did give in slightly to Temptation, by having the frosting off of a piece of birthday cake. I figure if I cheat once in a while, I can stay on this plan long-term. Falling asleep again!


Carla
thesingingpatient.com

Victory over candy and soda!

Week 6, day 5: A long travel day with a great fun gig. I did not get enough sleep the night before though. And there was a long drive in each direction. So… Candy was very tempting as were sugary soft drinks to lift my energy for the ride home. However I prevailed and had neither!!

Carla
thesingingpatient.com

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Candy-free Halloween?! Yes!

This year, I decided to give out trinkets instead of candy.
I did not want to be the house that gave out raisins, or apples, or kale.
Or, as happened in my neighborhood when I was a kid, a penny. yay.

I was relieved to see my plan actually went over really well.
http://youtu.be/nvMulj54JDk


Happy Halloween! Carla

http://www.thesingingpatient.com

Friday, October 31, 2014

Week 6, Day 2: "Don't Ever Get Old...?"

My Dad, for a long time now, has said to me "Don't ever get old."
Um... OK. when should I jump off a bridge. Now? ... how 'bout now?

And this was back when his problems were bunions, thinning hair, stuff like that.
Not the big problems he has now, like Alzheimer's, kidney failure and cancer. Yeah, the trifecta.

So I wrote a rap song to answer my Dad of 15 years ago, who was actually in pretty great shape back then and just didn't realize it. He sailed in regattas, mowed the grass, was still doing scientific research papers, and was fully mentally present. My heart goes out to my Dad of today. This rap goes out to my Dad of 15 years ago.

http://youtu.be/3EK7kQC0GpU



Carla Ulbrich
The Singing Patient
http://www.thesingingpatient.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Health and Wellness Event (free!) Riverdale, NY Nov. 6

Hi y'all-

Fun and free health and wellness event in Riverdale, NY (close to the George Washington Bridge, near Manhattan and the Bronx) on Thurs., Nov. 6.

I will be attending this!
In fact, the host (Sarah) has asked me to sing one of my humorous songs before the main speaker gives his presentation.