Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tube Girl in Switzerland

Yes - that's right.
Tube Girl is currently residing in Switzerland.

Some old friends of mine spontaneously invited M and I to visit them in Switzerland a few weeks ago, and of course we just simply had to take them up on their offer. They had an appartment available for us to stay in, which makes this type of vacation affordable to us.

My Mum was kind enough to lend us her car and that made travelling for 7 hours from M's parents place in Wattens to this lovely swiss skiing village bearable. I am really proud of myself because I drove all the way. M had a touch of a cold (pure exhaustion from too much work, in my opinion) and was doped up on some cold meds. There was no way that I would have let him drive.

The last 15 minutes of our drive were the scariest ones. I had selected the quickest route in my navigation device and it led us through vineyards along roads only local people use. Imagine this: to my left vineyards going up, to my right vineyards again, steeply going down, a two-way road built like a one-way... My adrenaline level just kept rising, and I was so grateful when we ended up on the main road again after 10 scary minutes. Oh, and I kept stalling my Mum's car going around very narrow curves, as it was so steep and it is a diesel motor, and I kept forgetting to down-shift the gears...

We arrived on Sunday late afternoon and had a lovely dinner with our friends. I made the big mistake of wanting to "be normal" and had a tiny bit of grilled chicken and some steamed potatoes and zucchinis at 8.30 PM. Honestly it was not a lot of chicken, and I really thought I would be fine. Well, I wasn't. 8.30 PM is just too late for my stomach to even think about digesting the chicken properly. I ended up not being able to hook up my tube-feeds and 12 hours later on the next day I still had chicken in my residuals from my g-tube. Had a low-key food day yesterday and extra tube feeds during the night.

Being in this lovely skiing village and having access to a big skiing area in the Swiss alps made M's and mine legs really itchy to get up on the mountains. And that's what we did today! Got up early in the morning, rented some skis and boots, spent a small fortune on a three-day-skiing pass and up we went. In the beginning the weather was good, the view was breathtaking, the snow was perfect. Later on it started raining and snowing and the snow felt quite heavy.

Even though I used to be a good skiier when I was a teenager I did have some problems getting into it today. My left ski boot really hurt and that didn't make it easier getting back into the rhythm.
My dear fiance on the other hand, showed me once again today that he is a true Tyrolian (for my Non-Austrian readers, Tyrol is a province of Austria located in the Alps and full of skiing opportunities and most Tyrolians learn how to ski just after learning how to walk). I now know why women fall for skiing instructors. When I watched him wedeling down that slope, he did indeed look very sexy :-)

The only downfall today was that, once again, I wanted to be normal and instead of eating my packed lunch, I shared a grilled chicken with bread and only a few french fries with M. That damn grilled chicken really bothered me when we went back to skiing after lunch and I had hard time not getting too nauseated to keep on driving. M got mad at me afterwards for eating with him and he had me promise that I would stick to carbohydrates tomorrow while skiing.

We are both really tired now, even though it is only 7.30 PM. We are planning a quiet night in, watching a movie and going to bed really early to be fit for another day of skiing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Sunday evening update

A lot has happened since I last posted.

My dietician finally reviewed my last BIA (body impedance analysis) results and actually had them reviewed by several professionals. Turns out that even though I had gained quite a bit of weight and am finally approaching a normal BMI range, clinically I am still malnourished. I still have far too much extracellular water and too little active body mass (muscle mass). This means that my cells can't absorb the water and I am still fluid-overloaded and protein-deficient.

My dietician therefore upped my protein intake and I am to intensify my strength training. Even though I am already on a very high protein formula (7.5g/100ml), I now have to have protein supplements throughout the day. The protein supplement is low in fat, lactose- and sugarfree and unflavored and even though it can be mixed into some foods (it doesn't taste too bad with dairy), I have to tube-feed it with some snacks.

That has not been going too well. I am supposed to have at least 25 g of additional protein, but on most days I only manage about 10-15 g. I don't mind adding it to snacks (whenever it won't compromise the taste of a meal), but I am having a very hard time taking the time for myself to prepare the protein supplement and a syringe, get my extension tubing and tube-feed it. I was a good girl for the first few days (didn't have to work those days), then I started working again and even though I managed to feed myself the supplement twice while at work, I only did that one day and then stopped completely. As a consequence I kind of forgot about it at home too...

I am glad my christmas vacation is coming up. I am looking forward to being able to get myself into a routine and hopefully will be able to continue with it at work too.

I am supposed to keep a protein diary and count the grams of protein I have during each day. My dietician wants me to get 120g protein/day, this can only be done under medical guidance, and I think I will have a blood test to check my kidney function tomorrow. This will be repeated in regular intervals.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Atopic dermatitis

A couple weeks ago I was diagnosed with atopic dermatitis. I had always thought that this was something you get as a child or not at all, not in your early thirties.

Of course, according to the dermatologist, it makes sense, as I have a lot of contributing factors: I have severe pollen allergies and am histamine intolerant. But still...

And then I started doubting my dermatologist. Even though atopic dermatitis is her speciality, I keep thinking, maybe she is wrong, maybe it is something totally different, and what if she is really wrong, and I am at the hands of someone really incapable?
And then I am searching the internet for pictures of atopic dermatitis comparing them to my rash....

I now know what this is - this is full-blown denial!

And slowly I have come round. After 10 days of topical steroid treatment and switching to a different cream, I had my first relapse. I then went to see my dermatologist again and we went through everything again, through potential triggers and treatment options that can be done beside using steroid creams. And then I got it, I think. Denial is still there, but at least I am following her advice. I have bought some really good creams and lotions for atopic dermatitis, I have realized that not only that patch of real eczema is a problem, but my very dry skin in general. I am now bathing in almond oil and dead sea salt water once a day, and I even started following her advice on doing moist/fat dressings on my eczema. And yes, it is starting to look better again, but of course not as good as it looked after the steroid treatment.

I will see my doc again next Friday and hopefully I will be allowed to continue with the non-steroid treatment.
She did take another culture of my eczema last Wednesday and hopefully those cultures will be clear once again. I want to avoid having to take oral antibiotics at all cost, as they tend to wreck my already very fragile digestive system big time.

M's mantra for me always is (regarding all my health problems): patience and consistency. I guess this applies to dealing with my eczema as well.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

How I met M - Part 2

A couple weeks passed before I decided to contact M. Because really, I always like to meet new people. But instead of calling him, I texted him and gave him my email-address, thinking that this would be less obtrusive.

He really did e-mail me the next day and told me a bit about himself and we decided to meet for some tea the following Sunday. It was kind of strange, I had never been on a blind date before, even though, technically it was not a real blind date because I had no romantic interest whatsoever, I just wanted to meet someone new.

Well, that was before I met him. We had set up a meeting point at a downtown subway station and I was there before him, waiting for him. He had told me what he was going to wear that day, and there I stood waiting for him to come up the escalator. I remember thinking to myself, whenever am man came up the escalator that I didn't find cute: "please, let that not be him". A bit shallow, I know :-)

And then he did come up the escalator and when I realized it was him, my heart started beating faster (I know, very corny), and then he started talking to me, and he has quite a deap voice and a very sexy (in my opinion) Tyrolian (part of Austria) accent. For me, I guess, it kind of was love at first sight!

We went to a café to have some tea and talked and talked and talked for almost three hours. I felt really comfortable talking to him and the more I got to know him the more I wanted to meet him again. But I had no idea how he felt about me, I didn't even know if he had a girlfriend or not.

We both had to take the same subway line, but after a very noncommittal good-bye just before I had to get off the train, I had no idea if I was going to see him again....

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

How I met M - Part 1

Today is M's and I 7th year anniversary. We had originally planned to re-inact our first date, but M has been feeling a bit sick and with today being a public holiday we stayed in and watched a movie. Oh yes, and he took me to "B never too busy to be beautiful" - a lovely little make up store with the coolest and most extravagant make up I have ever seen and treated me to some really cool eyeliner and eyeshadow.

How I met M - Part 1 :-)

With today being this special day I want to tell you about how M and I met because it is a neat story. My stepmom Ursula met M at a meditation class in Linz in November 2002, during break time she listened to him talking to other people and thought to herself that M seemed to think like I do and felt that we should meet each other. Being the straight forward person that she is, she went up to him told him about me and knowing that he was studying at the University of Vienna as well and therefore living in Vienna she asked him for his cell phone number to give to me.

A couple days later my Ursula called me and told me about M and gave me his phone number. I wrote it down just to please my Dad and my stepmom, thinking to myself that I was not going to call him.....