Friday, September 26, 2008

Walking Through The Rain

Today was a gray and rainy Friday in the Northeast. Even though the temperature was around 60 degrees, it seemed to chill me to the bone.
However, in order to keep my promise to myself to try to walk EVERY DAY, I headed out with my rain gear on to see how far I could go before getting too soaked and cold. I didn't get as far as earlier this week, only around the block, but I did have to time think and listen to a few songs on my iPod. I got thinking about how much has changed since last Fall.
I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in November last year. A pretty big deal, having to totally change the way I've eaten for 46 years. Also, a big deal for my family, who have had to change their habits as well, such as trying new and "interesting" GF foods and finding restaurants I can eat in. They have also had to listen to me whine a lot about the foods and restaurants that I miss. The good news is that I guess I am feeling better, in the tummy area, but I need to schedule my annual follow-up appointment with my gastro doc to see what the tests show.
In December, I began my journey of the dueling herniated discs, which led to my cervical fusion surgery in March. Another big change for myself and my family. The recovery has been slower than we all expected. I guess I'm a work in progress. Lots of lingering nerve issues. More whining. More missing things that I used to take for granted, like sleeping comfortably or finding a comfortable position anywhere for that matter! The heating pad is a permanent fixture around my neck. Taking medication has not been something I've ever liked doing, not even Tylenol for me unless absolutely necessary. Now it's become a normal, daily event to take my little nerve pills, just to be able to function in a "normal" way. Some days, I even have trouble signing sales receipts when my hands are particularly shaky. Is that my signature or a 90 year-old woman's???
Walking through my neighborhood makes me feel my "most normal". Even in the cold rain. Even when my feet feel like I'm wearing lead boots. I'm still here and I'm still walking....
I have family and friends who are battling much larger challenges than mine. Walking reminds me of that with every step I take.
Speaking of family, my wonderful, (currently stinky) husband just returned home from running another 5K. Yes, at dusk in the cold rain. He has had more than his share of spinal surgeries and medical issues. He ran his first half-marathon a couple of weeks ago. Whether he realizes it or not, he is my daily inspiration and that voice in my head that says "come on - just one more step!"

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bat Update

Well, after spending a good part of the afternoon yesterday trying to no avail to find someone to come and take my squealing bat away, it seems that the little guy must have been feeling ok once the darkness fell. The bat is gone. It makes me feel a little uneasy, not knowing where he went. I don't step out the door without taking a good look around first! I had heard that Animal Control Agencies were saying that the big wind storm we had on Sunday night had blewn a lot of little creatures out of there nests in trees and such. I'm hoping that my little visitor found his way back home!
The photo above is from a site I googled. It's almost exactly what our little guy looked like. He really had some teeth!

Monday, September 15, 2008

"The Vampires Have Found Me!"

So, ok. I was trying to do a little weed-pulling in my badly neglected garden this afternoon, when all of a sudden, I heard something hissing and squealing at me. I jumped back and threw down my garden tool! Snake? No. Chipmunk? No. Bat? YES! There was a bat on my neighbor's porch, hissing at me! Right out there in broad daylight! Well, I ran as fast as I could right back into the house! I've been reading the Stephenie Meyer series,"Twilight" and now "New Moon", which is about VAMPIRES. I'm guessing that they've found me and now I'm in serious trouble! Actually, I think this little bat has been injured and can't fly away. It's definitely more scared of me than I am of it. I'm also guessing that it may be dead by morning. It has crawled under the bench on the porch and hasn't moved or hissed in quite a while. It did give me quite a fright!

Friday, September 12, 2008

National Celiac Awareness Day

Tomorrow, September 13th is National Celiac Awareness Day. This day was chosen in honor of the birthday of Dr. Samuel Gee. Gee is credited with being the first to identify the link between celiac disease and diet. To read more about it, check out the Celiac-Sprue Association's Website .
In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has scheduled a public hearing on allergen advisory labeling on September 16, 2008, at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition's Harvey W. Wiley Building in College Park, Maryland. Formal notice of the Hearing published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2008. Please click here to read the Federal Register. "The FDA is developing a long-term strategy to assist manufacturers in using allergen advisory labeling that is truthful and not misleading, conveys a clear and uniform message, and adequately informs food-allergic consumers and their caregivers."
As someone who deals with living a gluten-free life everyday, clear product labeling is necessary and should be required on all food items. Many manufacturers are already listing the possible allergens on their labels. Many, still are not. For those of us with food allergies and intolerances, a trip to the grocery store is sometimes very tiring and confusing. I find that when "regular" brand items are not clearly labeled, it forces me to buy the much more expensive "Certified Gluten-Free" labeled items in the Natural/Organic Foods section of the store. While these foods are usually very healthy, they are not so "budget friendly". Organizations, such at the Celiac-Sprue Association are working to improve labeling so that Celiacs can shop without fear of being accidentally "glutened".