Sunday, April 21, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler

Did you know it is the start of Rhubarb Season?

My hubby is a huge rhubarb fan and, in the right recipe, I am too.

I could never find a recipe that quite fit what I was looking for, so a few years ago, this is what I came up with:

2 quarts of strawberries, trimmed and sliced
3/4 lb of rhubarb stalks, chopped coarsely
zest of two clementines (mandarin oranges) & 1 small organic lime (it was all I had)
1/2 c or so Of orange juice (I juiced the Clementines and Lime)
12 Tbsp of granulated sugar (I used turbinado because it was what I had on hand)
3 Tbsp. of Tapioca (to thicken)
Cook over medium-low heat until juices are thickened.
Let rest, covered for a couple of hours (this lets the flavors meld)

Topping (sweet biscuit type):
2 cups of Buttermilk baking mix
1/2 cup of turbinado sugar, brown would work well too
1/2 cup of milk (can substitute almond, soy, etc. if you are vegan or sensitive to dairy)
blend until just mixed.

In a 9x13 inch casserole pan, spray likely w/ Pam cooking spray.
Pour filling in
Spread topping buy spoonfuls over the filling.
Bake at 350 until topping is golden brown.
Allow to cool.

Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream.

You can also double the rhubarb and omit the strawberries if your are like my hubby and a HUGE rhubarb fan!

As soon as I get the first one of the season made, I will add photos!

Now, I know that this is a health related blog, but sometimes I need a little comfort food.  This week is definitely one of those.
In the recipe, I have given links to products that help make the baking process a little easier on my poor hands!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Methotrexate . . .side effects

So, en lieu of increasing side effects(GI and Menstrual), some which may or may not be directly attributed to the actual MTX or not, I am changing my protocol.

Instead of 15 mg every week, I am gonna see how I do on every other week.

I have been having breakthrough bleeding for about 6 weeks . . . so I began pouring through the NIH archives and I found this article. Which clearly indicates further studies are warranted.

I have been working with my OBGYN Nurse Practitioner about how to proceed. The cramping is nearly constant and getting tiresome . . . I had an ultrasound last Monday, which save for some free fluid (which the radiologist feels may be secondary to a ruptured cyst; which brings up a whole added set of questions) was unremarkable.

My insurance will only cover tubal ligation if it is to prevent a life threatening condition.  I would like to think that getting pregnant while on Methotrexate would fall under this category, as MTX is a category X medication and as such pregnancy is prohibited.
 Comment below if you or someone you know has experienced something similar.
I know that MTX increases friability (fragility, which causes the tissue to weaken), but that doesn't account for the cramping.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Hair loss . . .

Some of us begin losing hair while on MTX.  I know my hair began shedding something fierce (worse that its normal drain clogging behavior) when I started.  I found that switching to the No 'Poo Method of hair cleansing helped. (Thanks Simple Mom)  I also noticed that the mouth sores I was getting [from MTX] diminished even further; I think it is from lack of exposure to SLS and SLFS.  I also use an SLS/SLFS free toothpaste alternating with a paste of baking soda and coconut oil (organic).

Sans Makeup. I know that it only looks like an old scar and that I am lucky to not have true En coup de sabre,but I am slightly self conscious about it as it goes back further. 
Anyway, the patch of morphea on my forehead is creeping further into my hairline.  Despite Dovonex and MTX.  
A friend from high school's mom has beat Basal Cell Carcinoma on her scalp, after two surgeries and a radiation regimen.  She was left with a bald patch (Mainly from the skin graft) on top of her head.  To see her, you wouldn't know.  She started her own business several years ago specifically for head coverings for women!  She is awesome!  It allows her time to watch her two grandbabies and help others at the same time.

So, she and I have been chatting back and forth about my dilemma.  She has a few hats that I am going to buy, especially since I need to keep my head covered for protection from the sun.  However, she had bought a few headbands earlier this year for herself, but the were not wide enough to cover the area she needed them to.  She sent them my way and I adore them.  I will post soon to let you know where she got them.

If you or anyone you know suffers from hair loss, I urge you to check out her site!  She is like a second mother to me, I have known her for nearly 20 years.  She was actually the third person I told when I got engaged!
Check out her site: KT's Rags to Riches

Friday, April 6, 2012

Swelling with bony changes . . .

Y is where I had a greenstick fracture when I was 17.  Playing volleyball with a balloon at a friends birthday party.  I know, I know . . . it wasn't the balloon itself, but rather the 6'4" guy on the other side who felt the need to spike the balloon at me.  Anyway, the area has been thicker than the Left ring finger ever since.  It went from being a 6 3/4 ring size to 7 1/4.
If you look at X  it is swollen.  There is bony enlargement on the middle phalanges bone, just distal (towards the end of the of the finger) to the proximal phalangeal joint.

I am including links in this blog, like I do in most of my blogs, so as to help you understand the anatomy of your body.  This helps you communicate with your physicians (especially over the phone) with what parts of your body are problematic at that time.

This started about 3 weeks ago and it doesn't seem to be going away.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Caffeine and Methotrexate

I have been having stomach pain after my weekly dose for the last two weeks.  Last week, I attributed it to being on Augmentin at the same time.  This week, not so much.

I'm already on Prilosec, 40 mg daily.  I will be calling my rheumy tomorrow morning about this.

In the mean time I looked up additional side effects of food intake with methotrexate.

Apparently, consuming more than 180 milligrams of caffeine per day interferes with methotrexate. Patients who consume more than 180 miligrams per day "experienced significantly less improvement in morning stiffness and joint pain from baseline than patients with low caffeine intake (more than 120 mg/day)."   

I have been consuming more caffeine in recent weeks.  Which could explain my increased morning stiffness and joint pain.  I do know, that I will be carefully examining my caffeine intake and reducing it in the next few days.
Please check out this link, to assess your caffeine intake and see if you can help reduce your symptoms.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Homemade Toothpaste

I know I'm not the only one out there with sensitivity to SLS & SLFS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and Sodium Laureth Sulfate).
I have already cut them out of my haircare and am using the "No'Poo" Method
Simple Mom
Crunchy Betty

Unfortunately, I am not one of those "I thought I had oily hair and skin . . . .but then found out otherwise", but I knew that . . . my mom and dad both have oily skin . . . as does my brother . . . you see where I am going here.

Any who . . . I have been 'poo free for 6 weeks now.  I did have an initial surge of oil production, but it waned in 10 days.  For weeks three and four I could get away with washing every 4 days.  Now that I've settled in, it's every two to three.  As a "conditioner" I add a 50/50 blend of Apple Cider Vinegar/Organic Lemon Juice, adding 3 tsp to 3 cups of water.  My hair looks great!
My counselor (a guy) remarked on it and wrote down all of the nitty gritty (ha ha, the reason I even mentioned it to him is I had NOT rinsed properly and had leftover baking soda paste behind me ear . . . gritty! :)  )details . . . .

Ok, back on topic . . .

Tooth paste.  My mom had always used a blend of salt and baking soda.  Kept it in a little yellow Tupperware container on her bathroom counter.  She has always had amazing teeth.

I had to cut out a majority of commercial toothpastes due to SLS and SLFS.  So I figured I'd try this:
3 T. Organic Coconut Oil (melts at 76 degrees F)
3 (or more) T Baking Soda
1/4 tsp ground cloves (you can also substitute with 10 drops of peppermint essential oil; I was out, so I used cloves)

Coconut Oil is naturally antimicrobial.  As are cloves and peppermint oil . . .

I'll let you know how it works for me!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Grey hair . . .

Grey strands aren't new to me . . . I found my first three ten years ago . . .
However, until recently, their texture was smooth.

Now, I have wiry strands floating above my crown.  This morning after washing my hair, I went to tweeze my eyebrows and discovered a white eye brow hair!  I called my husband into the bathroom to show him the offending hair before I plucked it out.  He goes, "Maybe it is because you are on chemo?"

He doesn't like that I take MTX, but he understands that it is helping.  He always refers to it as "chemo".  He's scared and rightly so.  It's a serious drug.

I had a follow up with my rheumy on Wednesday.  It went really well.  On physical exam, my feet are still no better, but they were also the first place this disease hit.  Probably where the worst damage is.  She says my condition is stabilizing and feels we can stretch my next follow-up out another month.  So I don't have to go back until June. YAY!  I had a chemistry panel drawn before leaving the facility; I had a CBC a month ago.  They came back completely normal!  So my liver is handling everything well!  As are my kidneys.

Therefore, I guess it is worth giving up a few glasses of wine a week and gaining a few more unruly greys!
Aside: I did do a bit of research and apparently grey hair is a side effect of methotrexate. Boo!