Friday Fun · Gluten

Friday… Well, Not so Fun, But Answers Bring Relief…and Irrational Guilt… and Somehow the Muppets Fit Into It

sleep study blog*Deep breaths* So it’s only an Arnold-Chiari Type 1 malformation. It’s not a type 2 or 3, fortunately. But it means Charlie probably needs neurosurgery.

Neuro. Surgery.

Wow. The kid is only four.

I’m so glad I’m an observant mother. I noticed that just as Charlie fell asleep, he would exhale…then wait. After several moments, he would gasp in his air. The first time I brought it up to our pediatrician, he said, “As long as he’s not snoring, he should be fine.”

Um… oookay! Time for a second opinion.

Same pediatric group, but a different doctor, checked his tonsils and adenoids, and they were fine, so she sent us to a sleep specialist. *sigh* Good, getting somewhere.

A sleep study determined Central Sleep Apnea, but they didn’t know the cause. MRI time.

That’s what revealed the Chiari Malformation and where we are now.

So I’m reading up and according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke,  “It can be caused by structural defects in the brain and spinal cord that occur during fetal development, whether caused by genetic mutations or lack of proper vitamins or nutrients in the maternal diet.”

That actually makes a lot of sense. During my entire pregnancy with Charlie I was lactose intolerant. After he was born, I discovered my issues with gluten leading to self-diagnosis (long story about a lazy GI “specialist”) of celiac disease which would explain the weird lactose intolerance which seemed to disappear a few months after Charlie was born. I’d had a random bout of lactose intolerance before that vanished just as weirdly. I can’t remember if I brought up the lactose intolerance to my obstetrician. I’m pretty sure I did, but I’m going to contact them to find out.

Celiac disease is known for malabsorption of nutrients because it blunts the villi in the intestine where they are absorbed. I had no idea that I might have celiac disease when I was pregnant with either one of my boys.

*slumps shoulders* Bring on irrational guilt.

I know, it’s not my fault. It’s not like I drank alcohol or smoked. I took care of my body with the knowledge I had at the time. As rigorous as I am to sticking to a gluten-free diet, had I known then what I know now, part of me thinks that Charlie wouldn’t have this problem at all.

Oh, if time travel were truly possible! Circumstances like these are probably why we creative types dream of it. When I think of all the expensive prenatal vitamins that I took but probably did not absorb because I was also eating bread, I start to feel quite sick.


Well, at least we know what’s going on now, instead of when he’s a high school dropout at 16 because we couldn’t figure out why he couldn’t focus or even why he didn’t have the fine motor skills to write his name properly.

There’s definitely that.

Meanwhile, for the last day and a half since the first mention of the word “neurosurgery,” a kink in my own mental wiring thrust this blast from the past that I never have forgotten:

When Baby Piggy promises to practice neurosurgery on Kermie’s brain… yeah. It’s been stuck in my head ever since. I guess it’s my subconscious way of lightening my mood. 😉

Simply prayers, please.


Zombie Porcupines

Zombie PorcupineDue to a recent re-exposure to gluten just one week shy of when I was supposed to start feeling better from my last exposure, I do not have a post ready for today. I do however have a lesson learned since this exposure happened almost the exact same way as the last one. I’ve learned not to order gluten-free pasta just because it’s the least expensive thing on the menu.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to curl into a ball and hope that the porcupine, which I seem to have swallowed, gets gunned down by zombie-grade rifle.

Gluten · Writing

Hmm…Frigid, Churning River, or Gluten? I’ll Take the River!

That’s obviously not me. But I’m pretty sure that’s the falls that ate my sunglasses. Image attributed to anoldent via Wikimedia Commons.

First off: The Stone of Kings will be released August 12! Squee! That means I’m going to officially show off its gorgeous cover tomorrow. I don’t usually post on Tuesdays, but this is a special occasion. 😉

Why Writers Don’t Fear Death

This past week, we’ve been on vacation in Helen, Georgia. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it. It’s a cute, touristy town in the Northern part of the state and it’s modeled to look like a Swiss village. On Wednesday, we took a day trip to go rafting down the Nantahala River in North Carolina.

The river flows from a dam. The water is pumped from the lowest part of the lake which is always around 40 degrees. After blending with the rain water and regular river water, it runs about 50 degrees.

When we started out, the double paddle I was given kept dripping the frigid water on my legs. I paddled on my inflatable kayak (funyak) with my husband and his cousin in their funyaks. The first time we hit a rough rapid, the water splashed on my face and body and made the drips coming from my paddle inconsequential. We floated down, occasionally getting splashed for about 2 hours. One splashing dribbled through the back of my life vest and it felt like someone had dropped an ice-cube down the back of my swimsuit.

Then we hit the last rapid.

It’s the only class III on the commercial part of the river. Not too rough if you’re in a large raft with lots of other rowers. But by yourself, it’s a different story. I had gone on this one before in a funyak, so I figured I knew what I was doing.

My husband went first, and made it through okay. Then it was my turn. The white water was pumping through the stones and I hit it with my left side showing. I think that was where I went wrong. The current took my boat and flipped me over. I gripped my paddle as hard as I could just for something to grip. I was completely disoriented.

My brain didn’t register the cold until my face broke the surface. I tried to breathe because I knew that the current would pull me back in again, but my lungs wouldn’t expand because they were frozen by the water. I gasped in short panicked bursts. This felt weird, because I wasn’t panicked.

What would be the first thing to go through your mind? What if the current bashes my head on a rock? What if my foot gets stuck in some stones and the current makes my legs or knees break? What if my back hits a stone and breaks it, paralyzing me?


The first thing that ran through my mind was, this would make a great description for a story!

The writer’s mind apparently puts the story first. We can’t even take a vacation without thinking about plot points.

Then I heard, “Rope!”

A man on the river bank threw out a rope and pulled me out of the current. When I tried to stand, I realized I needed to take it slow. I was still dizzy from being tossed around like my four-year-old’s stuffed Mickey Mouse. When I tried to walk, it felt like my feet had turned into blocks of ice. The muscles in them refused to work but the ones in my arms were going spastic with shivers.

Then I realized that my third pair of sunglasses this trip, were missing. Charlie had snapped the first pair, William stepped on the second, and now the river had claimed the third. At least, I noticed that my hubby had managed to grab hold of my funyak before getting out of the river himself. His cousin made it through the falls just fine too.

Face to Face With Gluten! *Shivers*

Two nights later, we all went out to dinner, I ordered gluten-free rotini pasta. Like the river, I’d been here before, not had any trouble with the food, so I felt pretty confident about what I was eating.

Then I saw the shell.

About halfway through my meal, I spotted regular, wheat, pasta shell lurking among my gluten-free rotini. Remember the splash of river water that felt like an ice-cube was sliding down my back? Somehow the river found its way to the restaurant because I felt it again.

Sure enough, though I obviously didn’t eat the shell, it was enough to contaminate my dinner. Two hours later I was squirming with abdominal cramps and nausea. Ugh. At least it happened on the last night of our vacation.

It’s going to be a loooong seven weeks.

Given the choice between falling in 50 degree water or eating gluten…I pick the water!

I’d love to hear from you!

What are some of your adventures? Would you do them again? If faced with potential life-threatening danger, would your life flash before your eyes, or would you want to put the experience in a book?

Gluten · NaNoWriMo

Bring Back My NaNoWriMo Attitude!

I feel as if it will take the strength of two superheros to get me out of my slump. Rescue me, Spider-men!
I feel as if it will take the strength of two superheros to get me out of my slump. Rescue me, Spider-men!

This will be short, because I feel broadsided by life and gluten. But not to worry. To keep from being a Debbie Downer, I end this post with two positives.

Normally, I know that gluten causes my depressions and I can usually push though it. But after deaths of beloved grandmothers, our car being stolen, and now a beloved uncle – who I was looking forward to visiting with again – will quite likely never make it back to the States from England, I’ve been feeling like sludge, both physically and emotionally. I totally expected to be back into blogging again, but I can barely bring myself to work my edits for The Stone of Kings (which are now overdue). So please bear with me while I get through this mess which is currently my life.

I may just be that all I post for a while is Friday Fun, because I do have one lined up for this Friday. I thank the Lord for my boys because without their sweet hugs, smiley faces, and hilarious clowning, I’d be reduced to tears everyday. I’m so blessed to have them lift my spirits even just a little. 😀

For my second positive, I just discovered that the audio version of Harp Lessons has been released! It was quite surreal to hear a professional reader bring my words to life 😀 And I love the beautiful new cover!

Gluten · NaNoWriMo · Writing

When It Rains, It Pours

I’m thinking this may be a good look for our next car. Anti-theft paint! Image attributed to popejon2 from Paddington, Australia via Wikimedia Commons.


Okay, so trying to make this fun. Somehow. Who can make anything fun? SNL! I looked up Debbie Downer. I watch Saturday Night Live only occasionally, and I remember seeing a few bits with this character. In the Wikipedia article, it talked about the sketch where Betty White (as the grandmother) tells Debbie not to enjoy her birthday cake because gluten allergies run in her family.


Why is this funny to me? I’ve always thought that my Grandma McIntosh (the last of my grandmothers who’s alive) resembles Betty White and she’s the grandmother who has celiac disease. In other words, I inherited my gluten problems from her.

So, what is it I’m trying to make fun?

Our new year is off to a bang-up start. The big thing is that less than a week into the new year, hubby’s car was stolen. And no, the keys or other valuables were not left inside, nor was it left in a high crime area. On top of that, the boys glutened me again, which, as miserable as I feel, after what happened to the car, it’s the least of our worries.

What a great way to get back into my blog, huh? I guess this explains my prolonged absence too. 😉

So, the bright side.

There’s a bright side? Okay, well,

1. They didn’t take the family car.

2. It was ours – not the bank’s. We don’t have to make payments on something we don’t have since we don’t like making bankers rich taking out loans.

3.We will be getting money toward a new one in the likely event that the stolen one is not recovered.

4. I learned a new emotion to use and correct for a reaction in my NaNoWriMo book: helpless, victimized, anger. My main character is kidnapped, and after this experience with our car, I’ve realized that her parents are not nearly angry enough about it.

Anyway. I hope your New Year is going better than ours.

Please tell me good happy things going on in your New Year! I need cheered up!

Blogging Contest · Gluten · NaNoWriMo

#17 Relate A Recent Epiphany (er…”Aha!” Moment)

You look at this and see: wheat. I look at it and see: POISON! Image attributed to User:Bluemoose via Wikimedia Commons.

I love having an epiphany, especially when it comes to writing. I love when research pulls my plot into a new direction or adds a dimension that I hadn’t thought of before. But I’ve actually wrote about those epiphanies many times on my blog. So instead, I’m going to write about one of my most important epiphanies which also directly affects my writing; gluten.

So I’m going along doing the mom thing, when a friend of mine suggests a smoothie recipe. I go out and stock up on wheat germ, wheat bran, flax seed, frozen blueberries and yogurt. The first couple of weeks are like… POW! I was like a minivan with a turbo setting. That smoothie gave me so much energy, I didn’t get hungry till 2pm.

This was not the epiphany.

Then I felt miserable. Nausea, vomiting, cramping, extreme fatigue, etc. As if that wasn’t enough, my brain couldn’t seem to connect to my writing hand. I couldn’t remember things that had happened five minutes before.

This was obviously not the epiphany.

For a month, my GI “specialist” ran all kinds of tests trying to figure out my physical symptoms while I started seeing a psychologist for my mental symptoms. I was down to eating oatmeal and chicken noodle soup all day, everyday because I thought, at the time, that those were supposed to be the most gentle to the stomach. Then the specialist suggested that my problems were from Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

The translation for IBS is: “I don’t know what’s wrong with you. Stop clogging up my appointment calendar. Here’s a pamphlet. Good luck.”

The pamphlet told me to look for my trigger foods. I was thinking “trigger foods” meant peanuts, strawberries, or chocolate. Then finally, another friend mentioned Celiac Disease. Wait…what? My grandma has that. She can’t eat wheat.

Cue the epiphany complete with a bright light, gust of wind, and full choir. “Ahh!”

It totally explained my symptoms including the bouts of lactose intolerance that would come and go for no rhyme or reason. Cutting gluten has been the best thing I have done for my body, and I wish I’d known to do it sooner. I certainly would have been a better student growing up. I’m so thankful to both those friends for pointing me in the right direction. 😀

There are over 200 symptoms of Celiac Disease, including everything from fibromyalgia to ADHD. If you would like more information please go to

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 16,624

Gluten · Guest Posts

Well that’s just great…

My apologies for not having a blog post ready for Wednesday Welcomes. Charlie has developed a fun little game called, “Watch Mommy’s Reaction When I Try To Put My Gluteny Fingers In Her Mouth.”

He won.

This week, I’ve been trying so hard to remember things and events for William’s first day of school on Monday, that it completely slipped my mind to get today’s post ready. I’d do it now, but I’m at the Y so that I can peacefully double up in pain till hubby gets off work. I haven’t yet figured out how to copy and paste on my new Nook tablet.

Sorry folks. Next week.

Gluten · Writing

Misplaced Commas – They’re Jumping Out Like Jackrabbits

The one we saw was yellow – Bumblebee’s Grandma! Image attributed to Sicnag via Wikimedia Commons.

Lots of “wanteds” in this post. I had wanted to have The Stone of Kings finished by now. But a certain booger-nosed three-year old has kept us from visiting the Y this week. Add an accidental glutening on to that, and I’m surprised that I got any writing done at all. I also wanted to get real pics that I took for this post, but I can’t figure out how to get them off of my new phone. So, you got Wikimedia again. Sorry.

But I am almost finished writing. Yet circumstances in life have cause the end of my book to elude me as effectively as the end of a rainbow. I saw the end of the rainbow once. It went into the Ohio River.

But I digress.

While I’m nearing the end of my book, I’m finding that the editor hat I discovered while publishing my first book, keeps wanting to show itself prematurely. Because of this, I’m noticing grammar/punctuation mistakes in the strangest of places. Case in point: this past weekend.

Our trip to Rainbow River was a bust because we failed to look at the weather report. If we had, we would have seen that remnants of Tropical Storm Chantel were going to dump rain on us just as we arrived. So instead we hopped over to the Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing in Ocala. I enjoyed it about as much as any only-female-in-a-house-full-of-males would. My favorite part was when William noticed a yellow, 1940 Studebaker and proclaimed it to be Bumblebee’s Grandma. (He’s trying to get into Transformers right now, but I’m holding him back as much as I can because of the violence.)

When they found a looped video of a drag race crash, Charlie sat and watched it about 30 times. Sitting there with him, I got bored, so looked at the framed pictures on the wall behind us. There was a magazine article, with no date, which talked about building your own dragster chassis. At first, I laughed that it mentioned how a ready-made dragster was a whopping $5000 (I’m guessing the article was written in the ’60s?), I then noticed something that made me wish I had a red pen:

[Imagine here a picture of the article with the following error which I had wanted to highlight in red] “…and started winning the, tables started to turn…”

Even as I typed the error just now, I naturally wanted to put the comma before “the.”

So I’m surrounded by over one hundred years of ingenuity and pure horse power. Behind me, as I stare at that wall, there are some of the finest and most powerful cars ever built. Why is it that what I notice the most was a misplaced comma?

I think hubby wanted to leave me there with that misplaced comma.

Do you suffer from finding spelling and grammar errors amid greatness? Does it drive your family crazy too? You’re not alone! 😉 Share your story!

Gluten · Writing

Using A Lot of Salt

Hmmm, a bit more, I think…

For the last eighteen years, I never understood the draw to pay close to $100 a ticket to wait on crazy long lines in muggy heat all day long. But then family hit the state and offered to treat us to the Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in Orlando. I really enjoy spending time with my in-laws (seriously, they are awesome people!), so I thought I’d go ahead and brave the crowds this past Saturday simply for the benefit of being with them.

I’d been mildly following the story of the spoiled rotten wealthy socialites in NY who hire disabled people to pose as family members so that they can skip the long lines. I thought, “Boy, if it’s that bad, I’d just skip the whole park even if I had that kind of money. Who needs it?”

I guess I’m not snooty enough. What a shame.

Then, when I started randomly talking about our upcoming trip with people, I started getting advice left and right. It kind of reminded me of my first pregnancy. Everyone always has a special tip or a trick that “really works.”

The grocery store clerk told me about parking in a nearby hotel lot that is walking distance to the gate so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking. A waitress said that International Drive had lots of cheaper gluten-free food than I would find in the park and that I should bring that instead.

Yeah. So, here’s where the salt works in.

All those ideas, even the family poser scam, may seem great before-hand, but honestly, I ended up having an absolute wonderful time without any of that. I never knew that there are free fastpasses for many of the more popular rides. As long as you are willing to do something else (and there is PLENTY to do) until it’s your turn to ride, the most you really spend in line is about five minutes.

Yeah, we ended up paying for parking like everyone else. But you know what? My boys were so excited about riding the tram and the monorail, that they thought we were already IN the park. Okay, so maybe that’s not really worth the price for parking, but to me, their enthusiasm was priceless.

I don’t really care what I Drive has to offer in the way of gluten-free unless I happen to be driving down it. At the Magic Kingdom, I got an awesome bacon chicken sandwich for lunch complete with an Udi’s bun and “safe” fries. For dinner I had a hit-the-spot pepperoni pizza. My food was fresh, not rained on, delicious, and it did not make me sick. ‘Nuff said.

In the meantime, my boys had a blast! William spent half the day hugging babies and pretty girls. He liked Belle so much he made sure to warn her about Ursula who was in The Little Mermaid ride we had just come from. Charlie did not miss anything. He went napless the whole time, and long after his big brother had fallen asleep, Charlie was still up to be “squeaky excited” about the monorail and tram rides back to the car at 11:30.

"My advice to you Belle, watch out for Ursula! She's a bad guy!"
“My advice to you Belle, watch out for Ursula! She’s a bad guy!”

Like anything in life, people will always try to give you “expert” advice. Just be sure to have a large salt shaker to sort out the truth. One bit of advice I wish someone HAD given me… never think there aren’t repercussions for styling your hair with mousse, then wearing it down in Florida weather all day.

*head desk* I’m a native – I should know better. I guess I was too busy salting my other bits of advice…

What kind of advice were you given for a big event? Was it helpful? Did you ignore it? Did you wish you’d followed it?

Gluten · Writing

Glutened Goal Update

Just stopping in quickly to say that while I got another page written when sitting in the waiting room at the doctors office, I haven’t been able to get any more done at all (other than this post). The doctor gave me some new meds that not only prompted the rocks that roll around in my belly to don their barbed wire jackets, but to also throw a rave in my gut. I have been quite literally knocked down. The only time I can unfurl myself from the fetal position is after a bit of sleep, hence why I’m writing this in the morning.

It’s not uncommon for me to have feelings of being “knocked down” when I’m glutened. But it is unusual to have them for this long. At least it’s been mostly the weekend so my hubby has been Superdad for the last 2 days (he fortunately had already taken Friday off). Here’s to praying this goes away soon. 🙂

Anyway, I hope you guys are able to achieve your writing goals