Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tysabri: Take Three

  It's that time again!  March 19th marks the day of my third Tysabri treatment.  I've noticed a couple of differences between this time and my previous treatments.

1) The period leading up to my Tysabri.  In past treatments I was having major, sharp joint pains and muscle aches in the three days leading up to Tysabri.  However, this time I only had an ache in my right ankle.  I did not have any major muscle aches in my hands or feet! (Third time = Pro)

2) The placement of my IV.  In every past experience I've had in the infusion center my IV has been located on my left forearm.  This includes my three days of steroids and two Tysabri treatments.  Unfortunately, my nurse was unable to locate the "big, juicy vein" that the other nurses used.  She stuck me on the inner arm bend of my right arm.  This was not a pleasant experience.  Any movement that I made was worse than in the past.  I have a theory that this is because I'm right handed and when I need to do something, I instinctively reach out with my right arm.  Also, the twisting motion of my right arm seemed to be more painful that when the IV was in my left forearm. (Third time = Con)

  (Can you say... OWWW!)

3) The LFT (Liver Function Test).  In times past, the lab has always been very busy, so I have to work around its schedule. This means that I will go down to the lab after my infusion is over and have blood drawn or the lab tech will come up in the middle of my transfusion and take my blood then.  This is the first time that the blood was drawn from my IV site before the medicine was hooked up.  And I'm pretty sure that this is the way the infusion nurses and lab techs prefer to take my blood.  I also prefer this method: I only get pricked once!! (Third time = Pro)

4) During the transfusion I experienced two new things: 1) I had to powder my nose (that was an adventure, especially the belt) and 2) I fell asleep. While editing posts. While watching Twilight. 

 (Check out that angelic appearance, yes, I'm an angel)
5) Post-transfusion reactions.  Normally, I am full of energy (for about three hours) and then proceed to be on ups and downs.  AKA:  I'm the Energizer Bunny for three hours and then I'm Sleeping Beauty after she has eaten three Thanksgiving dinners worth of turkey and is experiencing a tryptophan overload.  This time I noticed that I still have the ups and downs, but I'm also experiencing excess joint pains that were not there before.  I also have weakness in my hands.  (These are the symptoms that usually occur leading up to the treatment, not following the treatment). (Third time = Con)

Anyway, when it comes down to it, this was not my favorite transfusion.  But! It's over, that's that.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

How to Choose Your Fruit

So the grocery store can be a confusing place,  like Lady Gaga's mind.  Here are some easy to follow rules for selecting the best fruit in the store.

1) Buy in season.  There are many different seasonal charts for fruits and vegetables.  Here's one that I follow.

2) Buy from bins, not groups in bags. One spoiled apple will ruin the bunch.  Over-ripe fruit releases a gas that will make the fruit around them also begin to rot.

3) Use your eyes.  Make sure that you are selecting fruit that does not contain mold, soft spots or bruising. Also, make sure that you are picking appropriately colored fruit aka: not white watermelon or green strawberries.

4) Use your nose. Some fruit, such as melons, release a sweet aroma.  If the fruit is beginning to spoil, the fruit releases a sour odor.

5) Use your hands.  Gently feel the fruit to make sure that there are no bruises, no soft spots, and the appropriate firmness.  Some fruits such as apples and pears are supposed to be firm while other fruits such as peaches and plums should be slightly tender to the touch.

6) Choose the smaller fruits.  This seems counter-intuitive since you want to get the biggest produce for your money, however, the smaller the fruit, the higher the skin:flesh ratio.  This ratio is important because the highest level of nutrients are found in the flesh just under the skin.

7) Don't settle.  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!  Make sure that you don't settle for an unripe fruit, there are many different types of fruits out there.  Try to mix up what you buy based on the season!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friends, Chinese, and Edible Art

It's the little things that we take for granted. For instance, I enjoyed an all-you-can-eat buffet tonight with an old friend. I'm lucky that I have friends who want to get together for chopsticks (and every fried food imaginable). I'm lucky that DT has this ability to make me smile regardless of what's happening in life. Dessert didn't taste very good tonight, silver-lining: I have a friend who can make accidental edible art by smashing coffee tainted brownies with her fingers. Enjoy:

Not kidding, this actually landed in this position (after being nearly flung off the plate by an overzealous DT).

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How to Prep Your Fruits and Vegetables

According to the Environmental Working Group (2013), pesticides are toxic chemicals that are aimed at killing living organisms and have been associated with brain and nervous system toxicity, cancer, hormone disruption, and skin, eye and lunch irritation.  

As a person who is majorly concerned with the threat of pesticides due to the connection between pesticides and Multiple Sclerosis, I always make sure to clean my produce as much as possible.  The New York Times wrote about a study comparing the washing methods to clean your produce.  You can read about it here.

Here's how I clean my fruits and vegetables to the best of my ability:

Step 1: Wash your sink with hot soap and water. (Your kitchen sink can better dirtier than your toilet)
Step 2: Fill up your sink and add one cup of white vinegar.
Step 3: Let your produce soak for 10 minutes.
Step 4: Rinse off your produce under running water and make sure that you scrub them to ensure that you get off the vinegar and pesticides off.
Step 5: Dry off your produce and store properly!

Enjoy your freshly cleaned produce!

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Just because everyone needs giraffe salt and pepper shakers in their life at one point or another.  Enjoy! : )

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What's In Your Kitchen: Freezer

It's that time!  Here is what hangs out in my freezer, just waiting for a lazy afternoon.

Bread Products
- Gluten Free Bread

- Hormone Free, Free-Range, Organic Chicken Breasts
- Turkey Sausage Patties
- Turkey Sausage Links
- Ground Turkey
- Salmon
- Medium/Large Shrimp
- Ground Burger
- Steak

- Frozen Berries (great for smoothies)
- Frozen Bananas (great for breads and ice cream)
- Frozen, Cooked Black Beans
- Frozen, Mixed Vegetables

Ice Cream
- leftover shakes (don't throw those away!  Place the excess in a tupperware container and it becomes ice cream. Half-priced large Sonic shakes never tasted so good!)
- Banana ice cream

Wanted List
- Taco Meat (already prepared)
- BBQ chicken (already prepared)
- Lasagna
- Turkey Pot Pie

I'm working on it!  What's in your Freezer?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Heart Stopper

Confused:    The moment when your eye lid begins to twitch, but you don't realize what is happening.
Scared:  The moment when you realize that your MS could make this a normal thing to start happening.
Distraught:  The series of potentially blinding eye squeezes you perform to stop this madness!
Hysterical:   The beginning motions of poking your eye to get the twitching to stop.
Thankful:     The moment where you realize you just spent 30 seconds flailing like an imbecile.
Embarrassed: The moment when you realized if you had only stopped freaking out, you would have noticed that your eye twitched once.

Moral: Step back, re-evaluate your potential problem, create a plan (preferrably one without flailing arms, violent eye blinking, and dizzying eye pokes), and then attempt to fix the problem (which probably seems a lot less difficult/deadly/impossible now).  THINK BEFORE YOU ACT.

"The secret of getting ahead is getting stated.  The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." -Mark Twain 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

What's In Your Kitchen: Pantry

It's the time again!  What time is it? Game Time! It's What's In Your Kitchen: Pantry Edition!  Without further adieu, here are my staples in the pantry.

Oils / Dressings / Condiments
 I like to keep a spare of all my condiments etc. in the pantry at all times.  It's helpful so that I don't have to run to the store in the middle of making dinner.

- Soy Slender Chocolate Milk
- Almond-Coconut Milk
- Chi Latte Concentrate
- Classico Pesto
- Jar of jalapeños
- Lime juice
- Lemon juice
- Sriracha
- A1 Steak Sauce
- Ketchup
- Hellmann's Light Mayo
- Applesauce
- Honey Mustard
- Olive Oil

Baking Ingredients
- Sugar
- Powered Sugar
- Brown Sugar
- Gluten Free Flour Mix
- Brown Rice Flour
- Chocolate Chips
- Coconut Strips
- Dried Fruits (Craisins, Raisins, Mango, Apple, Coconut)
- Cocoa Powder

Canned Goods
I typically try to stay away from canned goods due to the increased sodium content.  If I do happen to use canned goods, I make sure to rinse them off before consumption.
- Black Beans (both dried and canned)
- Tuna (in pouches)
- Soups (any soup with rice as a good lazy meal)

- Brown Rice
- Cous-cous
- Quinoa
- Steel Cut Oats
- Assorted Gluten Free Pastas

Nuts (A great quick snack)
- Almonds
- Pine Nuts (for pesto sauce)
- Pistachios

That's pretty much it for me!  What's in your pantry?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Silly Memories With Friends

Some of the best parts of life include doing absolutely nothing with friends.  Cherish these, you never know if these moments will keep happening. Example: inventing words that make no sense, baking cookies, randomly driving with your windows down but your heat blasting!  Share your fun memories that will make you smile and, literally, laugh out loud.