Taco Tuesday Mexican Casserole SCD/Paleo

Mexican Casserole

Last weekend I scooped up armfuls of summer squash from Whole Food because they are one of those veggies that seem to easily accompany all the summer meals. When Tuesday came around, I was craving Mexican and that is when this casserole became a thing. It is grain free but the squash seeds give it a texture similar to rice.

For taco seasoning, I used my preservative free, migraine friendly recipe which you can find here

Ingredients

2 Pounds ground beef

4 Summer squash (8 cups chopped)

2 Jalapeno peppers

1 Cup chopped shallots

1/2 Cup sliced scallions (about 3 stalks)

6-8 Garlic cloves

2.5 Cups cherry tomatoes

1 cup water

6 TBSP Taco Seasoning 

2 TBSP Olive Oil

2 Cups shredded organic cheese (*Optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325

Prep your veggies: Chop squash, seed and dice the jalapeno peppers. Chop shallots and scallions. Dice garlic and cut cherry tomatoes in half.

  1. Brown ground beef and set aside
  2. Heat 2 TBSP of Olive Oil in a large pot on medium
  3. Cook squash, jalepeno peppers, shallots, 1/2 of the scallions, garlic, tomatoes, water and taco seasoning in the pot until soft (~ 15/20 minutes)
  4. Once vegetables are soft, add ground beef and stir the ingredients well
  5. If you are using cheese, add 1 cup and stir
  6. Pour into a casserole dish
  7. Top with remaining cheese and scallions
  8. Bake at 325 for 10 minutes

This meal is compliant with the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. If you omit the cheese this is a Paleo compliant dish too.

I hope you love it as much as we did!

 

 


How to Stop Our Fear-Based Stories and Improve Our Life Experiences

IMG_3675

Lake Michigan with my Wisconsin-native hubby

I first learned about metacognition in the early 90’s when I was in graduate school at The University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. My master’s degree is in Speech-Language Pathology which means that in addition to learning about speech and language, I have studied cognitive (thinking) skills extensively.

Metacognition is the ability to think about what we are thinking about. It is the high-level thinking skill which allows us to be aware our thoughts. Originally this was deemed a human skill but there are some other animals who show signs of metacognition.

My ability to think about what I am thinking about became a large part of my hope and healing last summer/fall. I was quite sick and felt extremely discouraged after nearly 17 years of dealing with crohn’s disease, chronic migraines, leukemia and now immunodeficiency due to chemotherapy.

Because I am allergic to the medical treatment for immunodeficiency, I am left piecing together good hygiene with what has felt to be a very limited amount of immune-boosting agents in an attempt to protect myself from infections, viruses, and even common bacteria.

This is not something I ever imagined would be my life experience. I never anticipated that I would beat cancer only to have a future that can feel bleak and hemmed in by isolation due to immunodeficiency. The chemotherapy I take put leukemia into remission, but I have to stay on it to stay in remission. With leukemia back in remission, I feel great. However, loneliness, repeat infections and a complete upheaval from regular socialization left me grief stricken and fearful from 2015-2017.

It is scary to have a paper thin immune system with nothing sizeable to provide backup support other than my faith in a healing God. I feel like I am falling backward with nobody there to catch me. In addition, my body does not fight incoming germs with typical defense mechanisms such as fevers. This means that I can be getting very sick without the symptoms until I am severely infected.

This is both physically miserable and frankly terrifying.

Last summer I found The Work of Byron Katie. Through her work, I came to understand that much of our life experience is not the actual events that occur in our day but it is how we perceive things to be happening.  According to Katie, our minds create stories based on past experiences and emotions combined with future expectations. And if we are not cognizant of our thought process those stories can be daunting during times of duress.

Katie proposes that we create stories in our mind by marrying the memories and emotions of our past with what we imagine to be our future. These thoughts pull us out of the present moment into an experience that is emotionally charged and filled with images that are not our current reality.

Neuroscientist Dr. Joe Dispenza explains that during stressful times our minds create images of our future in the worst possible outcome as a survival mechanism. This is a subconscious method in which our mind attempts to keep us alive, by preparing for the worst. However in reality most of those worst case scenarios never happen.

Last summer I was too sick to take healing walks through nature so I literally wrapped blankets around myself and shuffled back and forth on our back porch soaking up healing rays of vitamin D. I listened to Byron Katie for hours each day and learned how to stop the scary thoughts that bound me.

Over the past 17 years, I have gone through horrifying experiences because of health crises. These experiences provide me a with a very strong, emotionally charged past. That combined with future images of the worst possible outcome sets me up for my mind to create some profoundly sad and frightening thoughts about my life experience.

I reached a new level of hope and peace when I learned how to stop letting my thoughts race back and forth between the past and possible future events; when I learned how to live in the present moment. This required me to first practice metacognition — to think about what I am thinking about. I then went through exercises to stop the past/future thoughts and stay in the present moment.

Since then my fear and grief levels have largely subsided leaving hope and joy in their place.

You don’t have to have immunodeficiency or even leukemia to experience the scary thoughts. You just have to be human, this is what we tend to do unless we teach our minds to stay in the present moment.

I have learned a lot through illness over the years. This is a lesson I wish I had learned before I ever got sick. You can apply these strategies to finance, work, relationships in addition to health and experience a much more peaceful, positive life experience.

“God designed humans to observe our own thoughts, catch those that are bad, and get rid of them.”  

–Dr. Caroline Leaf

 


The Feel Good Days Golden Milk Latte (Migraine Friendly)

Golden Milk Latte

The Feel Good Days Golden Milk Latte — jgb

I work turmeric into my diet daily because it is a nutritional powerhouse. It has antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties to name a few of the many benefits. The only problem is that I do not like the taste of it, not at all. Thus, I am always on the lookout for ways to disguise it.

Last winter I found recipes for Golden Milk. It was the first time I had heard of drinking turmeric in a soothing drink. At the time I had a new diagnosis of immunodeficiency from a chemotherapy which was hitting me hard physically and emotionally so I was excited to find these recipes that made turmeric palatable.

Since then I have been switching ingredients up here and there to make it, as Goldilocks would say, just the way I like it. I hope you enjoy it too!

I drink mine with coffee, hence the name “latte” but you can drink it without the coffee. That is called golden milk.

Because I use nutmeg instead of cinnamon this is migraine-friendly. You migraineurs may find that the anti-inflammatory turmeric and ginger help to decrease the severity of your migraines. They help mine but we are all different.

If you have have been watching my Instagram stories you know that I make enough of this to last more than one serving. See my instructions for storing and reheating leftovers below the recipe.

Recipe

Ingredients

 

golden milk ingredients

Golden Milk Ingredients — jgb

 

1 Can of Coconut Milk (sub whichever milk you prefer — just over 1-1/2 Cup)

4 Cups brewed coffee (omit if you are just making the Golden Milk)

1 tsp Ground Turmeric 

1/4 tsp Ground Ginger

2 TBSP Maple Syrup

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Dash of Cayenne Pepper (I use 2 dashes — but try one first)

Dash of Pepper (this helps with absorption — omit if you are sensitive to nightshades)

Directions

Pour Coconut Milk, Turmeric, Nutmeg, Ginger, Maple syrup, Vanilla, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper in a saucepan over medium until hot to touch but not boiling

Stir or whisk occasionally while heating so the milk does not burn on bottom of pan

Pour coffee into pan and stir/whisk

This tastes great with or without froth. If you want your beverage to have froth, use an immersion blender or a regular blender

 

How to store leftovers and reheat

Let your remaining golden milk latte completely cool.

Store in single serving sizes in freezer bags. I use plastic as long as the beverage is cool. A plastic-free option is to use jars or Stasher Bags.

To reheat: run your bag under warm water for ~ a minute. Pour into a saucepan and heat on medium for a couple of minutes until warm. If you want froth use immersion blender or blender.

Enjoy!

 

 


Book Review – The Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing

Complete Guide to Crohns Dz and UC

I recently reviewed a book on Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis written by Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Alexa Frederico. Alexa has lived with Crohn’s Disease for over a decade. Like me she is thriving, enjoying delicious meals and not allowing her diagnosis to define her.

This is the book I wish someone had given me upon my diagnosis in 2001 when my life seemingly turned upside down overnight. It is a book of hope and education.

Before I went into the hospital I was a speech therapist with a successful career in the medical setting. At the time my friends and I dined out weekly, we went to parties, we traveled. Life flowed easily. I could eat anything without thinking about whether or not it would hurt, much the less send me to the Emergency Room.

On July 3rd, 2001 I collapsed at work and my colleagues rushed me to the ER. I spent the majority of that summer in the hospital. Eventually I was fed through a line in my heart because I was unable to eat or drink. I had blood transfusions. Everything hurt so badly.

I remember staring out the window of my hospital room at magnolia trees that were in bloom. I missed my life and couldn’t wait to get back to normal. I had no understanding that there would be no quick bouncing back to the life I previously led.

Back then, social media was not a “thing”. In 2001 we were just starting to use email outside of work to socialize. Smart phones did not exist. My family brought books to me about Crohn’s Disease through which I educated myself on what exactly this disease was and what I could expect from it.

I recall how strongly I wished someone with Crohn’s who was dressed and alive, enjoying their life would walk into my hospital room and tell me how they did it. I wanted to know that I would be ok.

Alexa provides that example through her book.

Alexa addresses everything from the very basic definitions of Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis to lifestyle topics such as how to find supportive networks that will foster healing in your life.

In addition to reading this book you can follow Alexa on social media to get an idea of what she eats and how she lives. That glimpse into her life may serve as a beacon of light during a dark time of your life.

This book is not only for the newly diagnoses. Even though I have had Crohn’s Disease for 17 years, I found myself learning new things and feeling validated about some of the choices I have made on my healing journey as I read The Complete Guide to Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis: A Road Map to Long-Term Healing.

The book is available here on Amazon inpaperback and kindle.


Kicking off 2018: Happy, Healthy & Resilient

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it.”

– Jacques Prevert

Christmas Day 2017

Christmas Day 2017: Happy, Healthy and Resilient

It is early January and we are wrapping up a dazzling holiday season. For the first time in 4 years I was completely healthy; we were able to go to parties, dine out and even travel.

2014-2017 were almost unbearable. I was home more than 80% of the time fighting leukemia and then immunodeficiency.The days were long and family bolstered my heavy heart reminding me that better times were ahead.

During a time when it seemed that happiness had forgotten me in a much bigger, more agonizing way than ever before, my family refused to let me to forget happiness. 

The silver lining of life’s hard times is that we learn so much through them. 2014-2017 were rife with lessons that I have yet to fully unpack.

One of the fundamental lessons the recent years taught me is the role of mindset in determining our life experience. 

Going into 2014, I thought I understood mindset…

It seemed that years of hospitalizations and procedures for crohn’s disease and leukemia had taught me how to focus my thoughts, how to foster hope when circumstances looked bleak.

I never imagined that I would beat cancer and then be constrained to stay home for years because my immune system was deficient from chemotherapy. Outside of a miracle I will be on that chemotherapy for the rest of my life. To make the situation more dire, I am highly allergicto the only medical treatment available for this type of immunodeficiency.

I have felt completely hopeless and trapped.

Neurologists, psychologists and other specialists who study cognition estimate that between 75-95% of our thoughts are repetitive and that 80-90% of our thoughts are negative. These statistics include everyone; as in people who are out and about in society with all of its distractions. Being at home, feeling profoundly isolated, has demanded that I create systems to take my thoughts captive, to practice mindfulness so that I can move forward and heal instead of staying stuck in sadness.

In addition to developing mindfulness skills, I have become much more attuned to what my body is asking of me and honoring its requests.

I am aware that my body is at a turning point, I can sense that 2018 will be a year of change and that miracles are ahead for me.

I am equally aware that of the role I play in creating space for healing to take place. I am releasing some activities to immerse myself in actives that directly boost my immune system.

The biggest thing that I am letting go of is the Beautycounter business I had for the past 1-1/2 years. I am deeply honored that people believed in me enough to support my business. If you are one of those people, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I recognize that it is time for me to direct the energy I was using to run that business toward boosting my immune system.

A handful of the actions I take to boost my immune system (some of these are already in practice and some are new)

  • Cooking nutrient dense meals
  • Take EnteraGam — a prescription medical food supplying me with Immunoglobulins (more in a future post)
  • Writing daily
  • Daily exercise
  • Increase social opportunities in small groups or outside (less germ exposure)
  • No screen time 1-2 hours before bed
  • Daily positive podcasts
  • Less time on Facebook because I am spending more time on Instagram(I limit the amount of time I spend on social media)
  • Read more books and less mindless scrolling through social media or emails
  • Currently going through Dr. Caroline Leaf’sSwitch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health and will do other mindfulness exercises this year

I thought you might enjoy a quick glance at the pictures below. God has brought me through so much these past few years.

Thank you for the support you have given me these past 3 years. It has been intense and I am not sure I could have made it through without you.

I wish each of you a Happy and Healthy New Year

bone marrow room

January 10, 2015: the 6th of 7 bone marrow biopsies/aspirations I have had. This was the most painful and traumatic of the 7. It was a crushing day. I later found out that leukemia had relapse.

bronchoscopy january 2015

January 18, 2016: After a prolonged, severe respiratory infection I had a bronchospy to rule out some scary stuff. This was such a sad time.

January 4, 2017

January 4, 2017: I was officially diagnosed with Immunodeficiency from chemotherapy. Life Altering and crushing.

Christmas at Fishers Perdido Key 2017

Happy, Healthy and Resilient the Hubs and I got to travel to the beach during Christmas of 2017!


Sometimes God Really Does Speak…

 

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I focused on BETTER DAYS when I was sick like our wedding anniversary at the North GA Wineries

 

I woke up early Thanksgiving morning and wrote a blog post giving thanks to God for healing me. Later that day I started to feel chilled and crummy.  Really? Really God?

Friday we were supposed to have my husband’s kids and grand kids over to celebrate Thanksgiving; instead I donned a hospital mask and The Hubs and I headed to urgent care.

My heart was on the floor

During the month of October I consistently wore hospital masks when I went out in public to protect myself against the bugs because I have developed immunodeficiency from chemotherapy.

 

Mask

NOT my favorite look

 

Yet despite the precautions I took, there we sat. If this had been an isolated event my spirit would not have been crushed but I have been in and out of hospitals and ER’s for 16 years.

The past few weeks were a blur of blue lips, inhalers, antibiotics, steroids and sleeping with my Bible in my bed. It was incredibly difficult to breathe and I wondered if this was the end of my journey.

My husband, parents and sister’s family poured life giving words over me. I forced myself to press into gratitude for seemingly small things: the soft blanket my sister gave me 2 years ago, the pretty trees outside our window, our dog, our peaceful home, my family’s unconditional love.

One night I threw a magnificent pity party for myself. I sat in our bed with my journal and Bible in my lap, tears streaming down my face and cried out to God. And this time I heard His voice in reply. It was not an audible voice but it was clear and spoke directly to my heart, not the words I would have picked.

I cried something along the woeful lines of “all these years my friends have grown families and careers and the only thing that has been consistent in my life is that I have been sick for 16 years”...

I heard “And I have been there”.

I got quiet because, well I wanted to wallow in pity and what do you say when you hear that truth bomb?

I was like “well yes, but still…”

I heard “And your family has been there” “And you have had shelter”.

I smiled faintly and said, “OK. You win”.

Then I curled up with my Bible and went to sleep.

It was not smooth sailing after that night. In fact the weeks were riddled with complication and heartbreak as I crawled through mud to regain health.

I often think of those words God gave me that night to calm my broken heart. Immunodeficiency with no end in sight does not seem fair and it can feel frightening. But those words were peaceful, true and gentle in the midst of my distress.

My goal was to be well by Christmas and I am happy to say that I will meet that goal. I am also believing big for miracles in 2018.

*For the record — the past 16 years have actually been filled with incredible experiences. Yes illness has been a part of my story, but not all of it.

“Call upon Me in your day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”

–Psalm 50:15

 


A Thanksgiving Miracle

fall-walk

It is Thanksgiving morning. I woke early and padded out of our bedroom quietly in hopes of writing before my early rising Hubs wakes because today is my very favorite.

Thanksgiving is the day when all the things, the leaves, the foods, the home decor are gold, orange, warm and glowy. 

There are 2 nights in my life when God has healed me. No I did not recover completely but He touched me. There was a shift in which I went from severe pain to no pain, from being unable to eat regular food to being able to eat solids. Both of these preceded Thanksgiving.

The medical term for what I experienced is “Spontaneous Remission”, I call it a miracle.

I realize that not everyone who reads my blog believes in God but I hope that as you read this post you might open your thoughts to the idea that there is something bigger out there because what I experienced is real. Plain and simple, these things happened. And to be honest, that reality gives us hope in a messy broken world.

In both cases I was so far beyond what I could handle. In both cases I cried out to God with a completely shattered heart. In fact, in both instances I was so far past my limit that I felt He had forgotten me.

The first time I was 29. I had spent the majority of that summer in the hospital due to a profound onset of Crohn’s disease. I was brave that summer and believed big for healing in the face of excruciating pain. I was fed through a line in my heart and all the days were lonely.

I frequently sat alone at midnight in the cold sterile hospital room, journal in hand trying to make sense of my unthinkable situation. One night I sat with my Bible and journal in sheer heartbreak. I cried out in grief to God. I told Him that I was absolutely at the end, I could go no further, that I needed something, some sign that He cared.

That night a nurse I did not know came into my room and asked if she could pray for me. I collapsed into her arms in tears as she prayed over me. The next morning the nurse was gone and my body felt different. I knew I had been touched by God overnight. For the first time in months I was not in horrific pain. To make that morning even more abnormal, my doctor discharged me home. 

My recent experience with the healing touch of God is similar. I have been fighting a Crohn’s flare since September. The months have been dark, shrouded in pain and hopelessness. My family and I have been back and forth to specialists and hospitals. We frequently wondered if I was going to be admitted.

About a week ago I curled up in our bed with my Bible and journal. I have been acutley aware of how abnormal my past 16 years have been due to ongoing illness and I have felt a mix of humiliation, loss and anger.

The other night I told God that for the first time in my 16 year quest for healing I could feel myself growing bitter and I don’t want that to happen. I begged God for some sign that He sees me, that He has some plan for my life and then I curled up and went to sleep with my Bible in my arms.

The next morning I woke up and my body felt different; I was no longer in pain. As I made our bed my thoughts drifted back to the night when God touched me in 2001. That same peace washed over me and I knew it had happened again. As the morning progressed I found that I was able to eat solid food for the first time in a couple of months and I have been on a steady trajectory forward ever since that night.

Some years the holidays are extra glowy. Today my family will gather and we will have that same feeling we had on Thanksgiving in 2001, when everything seems to be falling back together after it all came undone.

If today is a hard day for you a couple of things that are helpful to me:

  • Get outside — force yourself
  • Check out The Work of Byron Katie
  • Keep putting one foot in front of the other, no matter how hard it is, force yourself
  • Distract yourself with fluffy “feel good” movies or books because this hard time will pass you just need to get through it
  • Every day find 1 thing to be thankful for — even if it is as simple as a blanket

Luke 8:42-47

As Jesus was on his way, the crowds almost crushed him. 

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,c but no one could heal her. 

She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against you.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. 

Then he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”


Simply The Best Salmon Marinade

Salmon

Simply The Best Salmon Marinade – jgb

Earlier this month I made a promise on my Instagram feed that this recipe would be on the blog by midnight September 30th.

Time check as I write this: September 30th 6:40 PM. I may procrastinate but I keep my word  😉

While grilled salmon is not particularly a fall food this is a marinade we use weekly.

Now that we have discovered the individually wrapped, frozen Atlantic Sockeye Salmon Fillets at Costco this has become a super simple weekly meal and it is always delicious.

My marinade is soy-free & gluten free. I use grass-fed butter and recommend ghee if you cannot tolerate butter.

Ingredients

1-1/2 lb Salmon

1/2 Cup diced shallots (migraine friendly onion)

3-4 Garlic Cloves diced

2 Tbsp Grass-fed Butter

2 Tbsp EVOO

1/3 Cup Maple Syrup 

1 teaspoon fine grain Himalayan Pink Salt

1 Fresh Lemon

Fresh Parsley

Directions

  • Melt Butter in a medium sized bowl then let it cool slightly
  • Dice shallots and garlic
  • Mix: Melted Butter, Diced Shallots, Diced Garlic, EVOO, Maple Syrup, Himalayan Pink Salt in bowl
  • Place Salmon Fillets in a bag or container for marinating
  • Pour liquid marinade over salmon
  • Marinade for at least 30-60 minutes in the refrigetor

Preheat gas grill then lower to medium heat.

Place salmon skin side down on grill grates. Pour remaining marinade over salmon fillets.  Grill salmon for ~ 15-20 minutes undisturbed with until it flakes easily.

Garnish with Fresh Parsley

Serve with fresh lemon juice

Enjoy ❤

 


First Ever Medical Study on Efficacy of Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Cover Pic

AIP summer meal at Jessica’s house 2015. Photo taken by Bob Ginn

We all have moments that redefine our life’s course. They are the jarring moments when time and events play out in seconds, but feel like a slow motion movie. Those moments that, when we will look back, cause us to refer to life as “before” and “after” the defining event.

The results of the first medical research study on the efficacy of using the Autoimmune Protocol Diet (AIP) for Inflammatory Bowel Disease were recently released.

After reading the report, I felt like I was watching the highlights fom my 2001 hospitalization. Memories flooded my senses…central line feedings through my heart, horrific abdominal pain, endless bleeding. I saw my family sitting bedside pleading with God for healing. I remembered the fierce pain and how it felt to wonder when I would be able to eat or even sip on water again.

One of my college roommates told me about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and we began the slow process of healing by integrating diet, lifestyle and western medicine. We dug into faith harder than I knew I had the ability to do, we believed that I would heal.

16 years ago I was repeatedly told that there was no connection between diet and gastrointestinal health. Gluten free and Paleo were not popular back then, Whole 30 was not even a thing. It was not cool to make diet modifications and I was judged harshly for the diet I followed. Few people understood. Even people at popular holistic stores criticized my diet.

It was all profoundly crushing to a 29 year old woman who was trying to turn her world right side up again after it had been so completely undone.

I once had a career in healthcare; specifically I worked in research hospitals. I have a great respect for research. It is critical for many reasons. One being that it gives doctors options for their care plans. Without research to support their medical decisions physicians take on huge risk and liability. Another reason is that research provides a way to chart progress. Healing is slow and very messy; it may follow patterns but it does not follow rules and it is different for everyone. In order to know what works, we need ways to chart progress.

The results of this study were more suggestive of the role of diet in healing than the AIP community anticipated.

The authors of the study cite ““Clinical remission was achieved by week 6 by 11/15 (73%) of study participants, and all 11 maintained clinical remission during the maintenance phase of the study. We did not hypothesize, a priori, that clinical remission would be achieved so early (week 6). Indeed, this proportion of participants with active IBD achieving clinical remission by week 6 rivals that of most drug therapies for IBD . . . (Konijeti, et al. 2017)”

This is a tremendous step for the autoimmune community. It opens doors, starts conversations and while it is a small study it provides data for doctors to consider when making their recommendations. I believe that this study is only the beginning and that we are at a time in medicine where more research will begin to explore the use of a healing diet and lifestyle for managing illness.

The link to the full study is here Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease


Pain Relieved

Cascade

photo purchase from istock in 2005

I was looking through old photos, trying to find an image to match the way I feel now that I am virtually pain free compared to how I have been the past several months. This picture I purchased from istock photo for an old blog stood out to me.  Unfortunately I do not have the photographer’s name.

Pain Relieved

I cannot begin to recall the amount of times I laid in bed this past summer shivering with pain and a low grade fever begging God for relief. In moments of sheer honesty I told Him that I could not live in this much pain with no answers for the rest of my life.

Each day I got up and tried to breathe the best I could, my ribs, spine and neck all so inflamed and rigid with pain of unknown etiology.

I took narcotic pain medication and nausea medication, a steroid taper. I took NSAIDS which I am not supposed to take given my history of Crohn’s as they can cause GI bleeding. I have taken an Epsom salt bath almost every day.

Nothing really helped

5 days ago I started using hemp derived CBD oil, the legal kind. This does not have psychoactive effects. Over the past days, my pain level has steadily decreased. I am off all other pain medications.

My pain level which was originally a 7-9 is down to a 2-3

You know how it is when things are super confusing and we can get overwhelmed and just not do them? It is normal, in fact some companies use this as a strategy to alter our decision making: overwhelm us with confusing information.

CBD oil has been this confusing for me over the past few years. I had heard about it for pain relief and as a way to help with chronic illness. I also heard about cannabis oil. In fact, cannabis oil is legal in my state for 2 of my diagnoses (crohn’s and cancer) but my doctors won’t discuss it as a treatment option for me. These are doctors who have treated me for years; I know they genuinely care about me. There is a bond that forms when you bring a person and their family through gruesome moments and utter distress. These doctors have done that for me. We have quality relationships. I personally think that they are in a difficult position with constraints that are beyond their control about what is ok to discuss with their patients when it comes to CBD and cannabis oil.

Most of my life I have been a rule-follower. I grew up in a very loving home. Part of the way my family and community expressed love was to shelter us while we were young. Looking back, my friends and I had an idyllic youth and drugs were definitely not on my radar.

Even now, at my age of 45, there will always be a part of me that is compliant to way I was raised. So for me to get comfortable talking about CBD and cannabis oil, I had to go against my upbringing. I also had to go against what my doctors are telling me. None of this has been easy. But I desperately want to get better. I want to get off of some of the medications I take.

I decided to research CBD oil and cannabis oil in order to learn about this medical option that is labeled as “wrong” by people are making decisions, but “right” by people who are fighting for their health.

The truth is that I am being given opiates for pain. I am grateful that we have that type of relief for times of horrific pain which I have experienced with crohn’s, leukemia, even migraines.

However, this recent pain and inflammation that is due to Lyme disease or something else…I don’t want to just exist on opiates that alter my mind, put me to sleep and really don’t even take the pain away. I decided to try Hemp CBD Oil, which is legal for anyone, anywhere.

The pain diminished within 24 hours. I was off pain medication in 2 days. As I wrote at the beginning of this post I have gone from a pain level 7-9 to a 2-3. The CBD oil does not make me high, not at all.

My life is totally different today than it was just a week ago all because I found a way to significantly reduce pain and get off narcotics.

I had forgotten how light life feels to not be in horrible pain. I feel like someone gave me a luxurious gift when the truth is, the only thing that happened is that I am out of horrific pain. That is how devastating pain can be, it can make everything weighty and it can crush your ability to put one foot in front of the other.

There are a lot of uses for CBD oil, some include:

  • Neuroprotective (research is being done on the role of CBD oil in alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Stroke, Parkinson’s disease)
  • Pain (Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Lyme Disease, Cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Spinal Cord Injuries, Fibromyalgia, Muscle Pain, Chronic Pain….the list is much longer than this)
  • Anti-seizure: this is a possible anti-epileptic option
  • Anti-acne
  • Anti-cancer
  • Anxiety relief, PTSD, Sleep…

For the first 29 years of my life I did not know what it was like to be in excruciating pain. I have always been a compassionate person but I can remember times when I thought people who talked about pain were embellishing it; I just did not understand because I had not lived it.

I think that history will look back on this space in time as cruel, that there is a stigma against something that can help people with chronic illness/pain. If I have been afraid of the stigma that is associated with CBD oil there must be others who are also living in pain, taking addictive opiates, who are afraid to try something different because it has been labeled with a bad stigma.

CBD oil does not work for everyone. And I am not giving medical advice. I am sharing my experience because I believe it matters and it may help some of you who are also living in pain. If you do look into CBD oil, you want to make sure to get a high quality brand. The brand I use is Elixinol.

I use the hemp oil drops. They also provide it in the following forms: CBD capsules, CBD balm, Repira Versital CBD tinctures for vaping, oral applicator pens, hemp oil liposomes. Elixinol offers CBD dog treats which we are going to try for our pup who struggles with anxiety.

Elixinol is non-GMO, vegan, free of harmful ingredients and pesticides.