October 7, 2017

A kinder, gentler October

After a rugged September I'm relieved that October has started off well. I now have home care (cleaning, chore help, etc) covered by my insurance, provided by an awesome lady in my building. She wants to learn to knit so I may make a new friend as well :)

My local best friend is moving into the city--today in fact! We get up to the best shenanigans and I know she'll be much happier not living far away from all the fun things.

I saw my rheumatologist yesterday and she's doubling my immunosuppressant dose. After a month we'll know whether it's helping or not, and if not we'll switch to a new biologic. Heading into Thanksgiving and the winter holidays with a plan that's not "watch and wait for months and months" will help my mood.

I'm still working on recovering from the breakup. My clever plan to find community was abandoned after hitting the wall that is my body's limitations. Once again I was reminded that I'm doing my best. Instead I've been taking long naps and staying engaged with friends online.

Ella helps model my latest knitting project

September 17, 2017

Another one bites the dust

I am once again a single woman. After stringing me along for months and lying about his feelings and intentions, finally on Friday Sweetie just...let go. He was not stronger than his fears, especially when he started believing the lies depression told him. I'm still in shock but friends have had many kind words and that helps a lot.

Cat litter calls: feel free to admire my breakup yarn while you wait.

I forget how weak many people are and how scared they are of love. Love is the reason I get up in the morning. It's what gives my life meaning and joy. Love makes my heart sing even when tears are falling.

I realize I cannot rely on the fickle nature of romantic attachments for my future. What I truly long for is community and family. There have to be local families who would love an honorary aunt. To that end I'm going to start attending a community church on Sunday evenings. It's a bit of a trek and previously had conflicted with my support group meetings then softball spectating (ugh!). But now is the time. Maybe this is an unattainable goal but all my goals seem out of reach so why not aim for the stars?

August 23, 2017


My Sweetie and I took an eclipse road trip and it was AMAZING! We make a great team with superb catering* and really enjoyed having two solid days together. The drive down was mostly easy peasy if long, with a nice break to visit a friend in Centralia, WA. We stayed in Corvallis, OR, in the backyard of someone from my online knitting group.
Sunset Aug 20th, just south of Portland
The six of us hung out in the back yard Monday morning watching the eclipse and playing with shadows. As the eclipse progressed it gradually got cooler, the light got strange and dim but still directly overhead, and it was unlike anything else. Totality was incredible and unique and felt too short. As the eclipse ended it seemed like early morning as the light and temperature increased. And then it was a normal summer day. 
After the eclipse we poked around Corvallis a little, napped in a hammock, fed ganache to our hostess' daughter, then packed up and headed home. It was perfect. My body cooperated pretty well and I felt like I had a break from being sick for a day.**

Sweetie and I stare at the sun just before totality.
wearing our eclipse glasses of course

You can't see anything through eclipse glasses so be extra impressed by this selfie.

What my phone saw during totality
Leafy shadows acting as cameras obscura
Afterward I got a little silly with a nibbled leaf-turned-pinhole camera.
eclipse shadows on Tacocats forehead

Driving home was not as fun. I navigated us on side roads to avoid the awful I-5 traffic until north of Vancouver. Then it was a long slow slog for 130 miles until past Tacoma. It was fully nighttime so Sweetie napped in the back seat while I drove much of that. I'd brought a quilt and pillow and made a nest for him. My self care techniques are appreciated by healthy people too :)

I'd cleverly placed the stereo aux cable out of driver's reach so couldn't connect my phone for driving music. Instead I played "how long until the Subaru notices its headlights aren't on?" (40mi). And quietly sang whatever song came into my head. And talked to traffic and other drivers. And cruised through the radio stations a few times. Finally I pulled out my phone and played music with it sitting in my lap. You know you've found your match when he thinks all the above are adorable.

We got back to Seattle at 2:30am and quickly fell into our respective beds. Yesterday I had a rest day. And now we're firmly back to normal life, albeit with a reminder of how magical and surprising life can be.

* Black bean burritos with chili-lime-cilantro brown rice, banh mi with spicy sausage and homemade pickled vegetables, strawberries, plums, lychee, cold brew coffee, and dark chocolate ganache.

** YAYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!

August 14, 2017

Rheumatology update

Awesome Rheumy is back and I had an extremely positive appointment with her in July! She had some questions for my hematologist before prescribing new meds. So I waited, and waited, and got tired of waiting and ran around kicking butts into gear, then waited more. Did you know it's almost impossible for two specialists to actually talk to each other?

In late July I was once again hit with the dizzy stick plus some other neuro symptoms. Poor memory is among them so I don't have a symptom list. AR was told and squeezed me in for a visit two days later. At that appt she prescribed Imuran/azathioprine, an immunosuppressant also used after kidney transplants to prevent rejection. Hallelujah!

I officially have systemic lupus now, which should ease treatment hurdles in future. SLE carries much more weight than Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. The azathioprine is treating me very well so far, no increase in nausea, and I've titrated up to the full dose.

My emotions have been all over the place since June but finally seem to have leveled off. It feels great to have a doc who has the ability and desire to diagnose and treat me. She believes we can achieve remission, that it's a matter of time and finding the right meds. And my neurological issues will resolve as the level of inflammation in my body is reduced. 😁

July 6, 2017

Let's get probiotic; or I am Summer's microbiome

Last month I took a free uBiome gut microbiome test and learned that I had basically zero probiotic bacteria. So I've started eating yogurt. The new fancy Greek yogurts are quite tasty, not at all like the runny gritty yogurt of my youth. I like to buy unflavored versions and add unsweetened apricot preserves* and granola.

The first crop: Smári, Noosa and Fage

Smari was up first. It had an aggressive yogurty tang and no sweetness at all. It would pair nicely with sweet jam but I added honey. I'll keep this in mind for days when my tongue craves lactic acid.

Second was Noosa. Noosa is tangy and rich but not too sweet, and great for breakfast or lunch. I loved its thick texture and honey sweetness. It has a high fat content which stops it from being my daily choice.

Fage didn't impress me. It was very thick, tangy, and unsweetened, yet lacked the mouth feel of full fat yogurt. It mixed well with apricot and granola but I wouldn't eat it alone. I'll consider trying the 2% fat version, in part because Fage is easy to find.

And last came Ellenos. I was powerless to resist: sweet, creamy, not heavy, and there's a passion fruit flavor. Ellenos is delicious but with no yogurt tang it's like eating dessert. I tried eating it for breakfast and confused my brain and stomach no end. 

Welcome to the Cult of Ellenos

Conclusion: I'll keep looking for a daily yogurt. Now that I know yogurt and I get along I'll try brands available in large tubs. I've learned to keep an eye on the fat and sugar content. And I know the difference in flavor between different yogurt-making traditions.

Ellenos will remain my dessert or afternoon snack yogurt.

* I have a couple jars left from 2012's batch, back in healthier days.
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