Allergies, Celiac and Food Intolerance

Ever since I can remember I have had allergy and sinus problems.  When I was around 8 years old I can remember being teased for “sniffing”.  I remember everyone saying “Go blow your nose, go get a tissue”.  My nose was stuffed up all the time.  This was back in the 1980’s. I finally went to see an ENT specialist who put me on a steroid nasal spray.  Wow, did that work like a charm.  I was so grateful.  I could breathe through my nose and the congestion was gone.  Nor more sneezing and pressure!! That lasted for about 3 months and then it came back.  I was put on another round of steroid sprays which worked again but it was short lived. 

I also had eczema in every nook and cranny possible.  I had it so bad on the inner part of my elbow and up and down my forearms that I wore a sweater to cover it up.  That sweater acted as my shield against all the comments like..”EWWWW, What’s that gross stuff all over your arms”.   I specifically recall one time itching my skin so bad I got impetigo.  I had to take oatmeal baths and put this heavy paste on my skin each time I got out of the bath tub.  I was not allowed to go swimming either.  The water from the pond or a pool was not good for my skin.  That was torture to a small child.  I recall sitting on the side of the pool or on the beach not being able to go in. 

As I got older, we were able to get my eczema under control.  That was done with steroid creams.  With all these steroids I’m surprised I’m not a hairy, women like lady with a voice like Arnold.  Around the age of 21, I was working for the Government and I finally had INSURANCE!  I went to the allergist to get “scratch tested”.  They injected my back with a bunch of allergens.  The tests came back that I was allergic to dust, mold and rabbits.  Rabbits????  Oh geeze, now how on earth will I ever be able to eliminate rabbits from my life?  Those hairy bastards  LMAO!

I was given an allergy pill to take as needed when I did encounter the dust, mold and those darn rabbits.    Around the age of 30, I started having issues with my stomach and constant lose bowels and urgent, explosive, diarrhea.  Now there are 3 words you don’t want to hear together in a sentence. (UED)  At times it was bloody.   I again, went to the doctor who did blood tests and found nothing wrong in the blood work.  That is when I had my first (with 3 more in my future); colonoscopies. That test showed I had proctitis. I looked at the doctor and said “I have WHAT?” I know the suffix “I T I S” means inflammation so now I have to figure out what a PROC is?  The doctor began to explain:

Proctitis is defined as inflammation of the anus,  OH GREAT, I have a broken Anus.  The opening and lining of the rectum (lower part of the intestine leading to the anus). I feel like such an ass.  Symptoms of proctitis can vary greatly; which is no news to me…One may at first have only minor problems. Proctitis affects the last 6 inches of the rectum and can cause the following:

  • Pain during a bowel movement
  • Soreness in the anal and rectal area
  • Feeling that you didn’t completely empty the bowels after a bowel movement
  • Involuntary spasms and cramping during bowel movements
  • Bleeding, and possibly a discharge

Proctitis can last a short time or become a chronic condition (last for weeks or months or longer).

So now the million dollar question.  I asked the doctor,  “How did I get this? “ 

He rattled off a number of causes; Excessive Antibiotic use ,Autoimmune Disorders and the most bizarre one was  “Foreign objects in the rectum”   I cracked up laughing and said “ Umm, we can rule out that last one doctor”.   

To make a long story even longer, I was once again put on steroids.  This time the steroid has a special twist to it.  I was given a rectal suppository.  Refer to previous paragraph where I thought that was SO VERY FUNNY about objects in the rectum causing my affliction.  Yeah, not so funny now is it ?   The thing was the size of a magnum 44 bullet.  I briefly flashed back to the movie Scar Face where he says  “Say hello to my little friend”.. YIKES. 

I was on the suppositories for 2 weeks and felt SO much better; but with any steroid, it only lasts so long.  I relapsed again…………It was a vicious circle………Cramps, fatigue, and the 3 words again I don’t want to hear together…. Urgent, Explosive Diarrhea.  I pretty much gave up and accepted the fact that I am sick and I will just have to live with it.  I kept an emergency kit in my car for when I traveled.  Unlike most emergency kits, it didn’t contain fix a flat, or flares,  It contained, baby wipes, a clean pair of underwear. 

It wasn’t until my niece Kara was born that I realized what was going on and the importance of  healthy, organic, wholesome and a GLUTEN FREE diet. 

You see, Kara, our little angel, was born with Down Syndrome.  I remember hearing the news.  I remember feeling so sad for my sister and so sad for Kara.  That’s when I had a reality check.  I held that beautiful, little baby in my arms I thought; “Why am I feeling sorry for anyone?”  This little baby girl is beautiful, kind, sweet and loving.    Kara looked up at me and gave me the first of many of her bright, heart warming smiles.  It was the kind of smile that says “Look out world, here I come”.

She has brought so much joy and laughter into our lives.  On top of the Down Syndrome, Kara has Celiac Disease.  I had never heard of this before.  My sister Wendy filled me on the subject and she suggested I do some research on my own.  I looked up all the symptoms of Celiac and they did sound very similar to all the issues I was having.   Then I thought, the doctor said I didn’t have celiac and he wasn’t sure what was wrong with me or why I have proctitis, but here TAKE THIS MEDICINE and come back and see me in 3 months. 

I told you this was a long story.

I started following a diet that was similar to Kara’s.   I eliminated Wheat & Gluten.  Within 2 weeks, my intestines felt a little better.  My aches and pains were slowly subsiding.  My fatigue was lessened.  I had more energy.  I actually felt normal for a change.  Thank you Kara.

I do have days where I cheat and have gluten.  30 minutes later I feel lazy, sluggish, crampy and a fogged brain and yes, the U. E. D.  

If your feeling sick all the time, try an elimination diet. Take out wheat, gluten, corn, dairy and soy from your diet for 3 weeks. Note how you feel. Do you feel better or the same? Keep a food journal. Plan, plan, plan your meals and make sure you have plenty of food in your house that does not contain the 5 items above. You may find it very difficult at first however it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Limit sugar also and take out all the GMO products from your diet. That is a large cause of inflammation in your body. Eating wheat and gluten or things that are inflammatory can also irritate raynaund syndrome which I also have.

On that note,  I am going to grocery store to replenish my gluten free supplies, organic veggies and snacks.  I have also taken dairy out of my diet. I switched to coconut yogurt. Chobani has a delicious selection of flavors. It’s the consistency of a pudding instead of the thick greek I was use to eating.

A great site for recipe ideas and GF treats along with our beautiful Kara.

Autoimmune Disorders

So many doctors with out any answers on what’s going on here. Is it an autoimmune disorder? Food allergy?

Symptoms of patient: Toes & feet turn purple, with cracking skin and brittle toe nails, numbness in feet, Raynauds, tired, no energy, weight loss, swollen nose, rashes behind neck, swollen lymph nodes in neck, deja vu frequently, body is randomly cold then hot. Right ear turns bright red and hurts. Symptoms for 1 year. Progressively getting worse.

Autoimmune disorder?

Note the black is nail polish, I advised the patient NOT to use that any more.

All of the blood work taken from the primary care and the rheumatologist came back within normal range. How can that be? Patient prescribed a very low dose of blood pressure medication in the mean time. She has normal blood pressure and is in her mid 20’s Symptoms point to Lupus however tests came back normal

I have been listening to this book on audible by Susan Blum, MD, MPH. It is filled with a great deal of information. I just have to convince the patient to try the elimination diet for starters. The Immune System Recovery Plan.

Feed back greatly appreciated. Please comment.

New Puppy And Small Dog Dangers

When the weather gets warmer and we are all outside walking our dogs and spending alot of time enjoying the warm weather and sunshine, be mindful and aware of your surroundings.  Spring time brings out many new predators for our small dogs and puppies.  Ticks, mosquitos, coyotes, fisher cats, fox, hawks, falcons and owls. 

I see so many new puppies in the neighborhood over the past week. I also see them tied to trees as the owners rake their yards or see them running around the invisible fence.

What is to stop a predator from snatching a small puppy out of the yard while the owner isn’t paying attention. An invisible fence can be deadly to a puppy or small dog. Predators can get in and the dog can’t get out or escape. It’s trapped.

One predator that is especially vicious is the Fisher Cat. They are from the weasel family and are increasing in numbers in the United States. THEY WILL ATTACK YOUR PET. They also target chickens.    Photos of fisher cats:;_ylt=AwrJ7JbltbFcHiYAAIVXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0N2Noc21lBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNwaXZz?p=photo+of+fisher+cat&fr2=piv-web&fr=mcafee
Strange how the name of this animal is fisher cat.  It’s neither a fish or a cat.  Where did it come from?  It came from the word fitch which is a European pole cat.

To keeping fisher cats away, remove food that will draw them to your home. Fisher cats are predators that are attracted by food. They eat berries and fruit when it’s available.  However, the fisher cat favors meat, but also might be attracted to bird feeders, seed beneath the feeders, or water sources in the yard.

Fisher cats are extremely vicious predators.  Your small pet will not be any match for them. Fisher cats have been known to stalk and kill house pets.
It has been know that fisher cats go after and kill cats.  Keep your cat indoors, as well as any small dogs.  Do NOT leave any pet unattended. Larger dogs may actually keep fisher cats away. Remove decaying organic materials from your yard. Fisher cats will nest in this, such as logs, stumps & brush.

Trim your brushes and trees. Mow the lawn regularly so that they have fewer hiding places.

From 2011 however a good read

IPE Deck Cost

Click on photos below for FULL size version. Then click BACK button to return to the original post.

Our old pressure treated wood deck was badly damaged by a tree that fell on it a few years ago.  It was over 26 years old and made out of pressure treated wood that was splintering.  We didn’t want to rush into getting just any deck so we took our time and did a ton of research.  When I say “WE”, I mean my husband who is amazing and patient when it comes to finding the best of the best.  We wanted deck material that was durable yet good looking with low maintenance.  We also wanted a reliable and talented contractor. IPE Deck Cost is well worth the price.

We decided on IPE (pronounced EE-PAY).  This material is indigenous to Central and South America.  It is one of the toughest and long lasting decking material available today.  IPE is very low maintenance. You do not have to worry about it growing mold and it will naturally fade to a silver color over time.  If you want to preserve the original color, apply IPE oil to the deck.

Instead of the traditional railing we chose Atlantis stainless steel cable rail system.  It looks AMAZING!  Cable Rail Pics.  We also decided to go with a mahogany lattice finish across the bottom which looks gorgeous.

Here are a few pictures of what our old deck looked like.  We were so very lucky that the tree didn’t destroy our sun room.

Let’s fast forward to after the clean up, design, demolition and reconstruction of the NEW deck.



The contractor that designed the deck was Ken from

We are extremely happy with all the work he did.  He was always on time, respectful, honest, and the communication was great.  Each day he would clean up what was taken down and didn’t leave any unsightly debris behind.  The project was started and completed in the timeline we were given even with a few rain/snow days.  Yes I said SNOW in New England in April.  If your looking for a new deck, this is the company to contact.

Now, bring on the sunshine so we can enjoy our deck!

Lasik Eye Surgery

2 Weeks Post Op

Woke up at 5:00 am and my eyes were a little blurry, which is normal.  The good news is each  morning my eye site gets sharper and sharper along with less cloudy.

I put in the Sustane Ultra eye drops Eyedrops however I experienced something different this morning.  There was pain in my right eye.  It felt like a pin poking me in the eye.   I gave myself an extra dose of the eye drops and the pain went away only to return an hour later.  I kept using the drops through out the day which made it feel better but only for a short time.

I ended up calling the doctor who asked me to come in.  When I arrived they took me right in and did a few vision tests which went fine.  He examined my eyes and tested them for dryness.  The doctor said my right eye was healing a little slower than the left and it still looked a little rough like sandpaper.  Yikes, that sounds bad.  He said don’t worry, and that I would be fine.

He changed my eye lubricating drops to something a little thicker and longer lasting.  It is called Refresh Optive. Single use drops  He also recommended a special night time eye lubricant which is Refresh PM Ointment or Genteal Ointment. Ointment It’s a thick ointment that stays in your eye all night and keeps them from drying out.  After I put them in I have to go right to bed because I can’t see much at all with that thick stuff in there.  I put on my eye shields and go to bed.

Update:  2 Week Post Op Plus 3 days, which brings us to Memorial Day Weekend.

In general my eyes are feeling better.  The right eye is still being a little stubborn.  They both felt good all day today until around 6:00 pm.  My eyes felt tired and I just wanted to close them.  I rested for a little while and they felt much better.

I’m not unhappy I got the Lasik.  I get impatient and want to see perfect NOW.  I need to chill out and in 2 more weeks all should be just fine.

It took about 3 months for my eyes to feel totally fine and to the point where I was comfortable on a daily basis.

Fast forward to August.  My vision is great.  The dry eye syndrome has gotten much better.  I only use the drop 3 x a day.  H O W E V E R……………………………………………………………..

I traveled to San Diego, California in mid August and 1 week after I got home I contracted a staph infection on the tip of my nose that spread to my eye!!!!   The very eye that I spent so much time and money on fixing.  It was brutal.  My eye was burning so bad I could hardly open it.  It was red, swollen, tearing like crazy and very painful!!  I called the lasik surgeon and they saw me right away.  I was put on a combo steriod and antibiotic eye drop to clear the infection out of my eye.  My vision was so very cloudy.  All I could see was white, no colors or no shapes of anything.   I was so scared I was going to lose my vision.  I mentioned to the eye dr that the tip of my nose was red and hurt.  That comment wasn’t taken seriously and they said to use the eye drops to clear the infection. The infection started on the tip of my nose and spread to my eye.

After 1 day it wasn’t much better so I went to my primary care doctor.  He put me on an oral antibiotic and said if I didn’t feel better in 24 hours to go to the ER. The infection cleared up with in 3 days.

Shower Head Filter

iSpring SF1S Stylish Multi-Stage High Output Shower Head Filter

I will review this shower head filter after I get it and try it for a while.

Stay tuned.

Shower Head Filter Update:  2 weeks later:  I LOVE IT.  I noticed a difference the very first shower.  My hair feels incredibly soft and silky.  My skin feels soft and the eczema on my neck and legs isn’t itchy and is healing.

When I first installed the unit it did leak like the reviews said however I applied some plumbers tape to it and it’s working perfectly now.  There is no difference in water pressure either.

Update:  3 weeks later:  Still loving it and NO leaking.  Skin and hair feel amazing!!

Staph Infection / MRSA In Eye

Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA)  The name even sounds frightening. 

It is an infection caused by Staphylococcus bacteria.  It’s resistant to many antibiotics.  The bacteria lives in your nose naturally and on your skin.  It usually  does not cause any harm.  The issue starts with a break in your skin.  Then all hell breaks lose.  The bacteria multiply at a high rate of speed.  That is where the infection starts. 

MRSA is contagious and can be passed from person to person and it can also be transmitted by surface contact where the bacteria is.  It can kill you if not treated properly.  The nose is very close to the brain, therefore one needs to take serious action on this condition.   Oral antibiotics and sometimes even IV antibiotics are necessary.  

The infection is painful.  The affected area turns red, spreads quickly and hurts to even tough it.  It’s also warm to the touch.  It can be accompanied by fever, headache, muscle aches,  chills, fatigue, shortness of breath, and chest pain.  Oh and don’t forget a cough too.  

Here is a photo of what mine looks like.  It feels much worse than it looks.  At this time I do not have a “pimple”  however one should form soon.  This condition is also known as cellulitis.    Photo is day 3 of infection before antibiotics

Symptoms include rash, muscle aches, chills, fever, redness and swelling, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and a headache.  Sometimes there is even a small pimple on the inflamed area. 

Risk factors include:  

Being in a nursing home or hospital

Weakened immune system

Share exercise equipment, towels or razors

Crowded unclean areas

Work in a daycare

Interesting Facts:

MRSA can live up to 8 weeks on the head of a mop

9 weeks on a cotton towel

Over 6 months on blankets


Wash Wash Wash your hands.  

Keep them away from your face especially your nose, mouth and eyes.  

Keep all wounds covered and clean

Bleach your towels and face cloths

Day 2 on antibiotics 

Car Rental Places

I rented an Audi A5 SUV this week from a brand name car rental company. I picked the vehicle up Sunday late afternoon due to the fact I needed to leave my house very early on Monday morning to pick up a coworker to drive down to NJ. The vehicle drove nice, smooth and was very comfortable on the short 15 mile drive to my house. I parked the vehicle in my driveway and went to bed early.

Monday morning at 5:30 am I hopped into the SUV and was on my way to pick up a coworker who was waiting for me a few miles away. I noticed a warning light on the dashboard. It was a LOW key fob light. I remembered I had to push the start button on the car 3 X before the vehicle started. I called the rental company and they said not to worry about it and to keep the FOB next to the starter button when starting the vehicle and it would be fine. Not the answer I was looking for but I was on a time schedule and figured all would be well? I was about 5 miles from where I had to pick up my other passenger.

As I was merging onto the highway the Audi started to make a loud sound like it had a flat tire. I quickly pulled off to the side of the very DARK highway and put the emergency flashers on. I cautiously got out of the vehicle with my cell phone in hand. I put the cell phone light on so I could see and the tires surprisingly enough the tired looked fine. I got back in the vehicle and continued on my way. I drove about 100 yards and the noise came back. It seemed to be really loud if I went over 30 MPH. Once again, I pulled over onto the dark breakdown lane on the very busy highway.

I called the phone number for the rental place. They instructed me to call the emergency # for roadside assistance. I called the roadside assistance and reported the problem. 1 hour later help arrived. Let me note that was 1 HOUR of cars driving very close to me, from 65 MPH to WTF MPH. The cars, trucks, 18 wheelers were wizzing by me as I was helpless on the side of the highway. What if someone was texting and driving and rammed into the back of my vehicle????

When help arrived, he noticed I didn’t have a flat tire and due to the fact it was SO dark and I was in the breakdown lane of a MAJOR highway, he recommended that I drive SLOWLY to the next exit. The roadside assistance person followed me and called me on my cell phone as he was driving behind me to make sure I was okay and then told me that he saw the engine splash shield dragging underneath the vehicle. He suggested I drive slow and continued to follow me.

When I got to a safe place, I was not able to drive the vehicle any further due to the fact the flap would eventually fall off and either hit another car on the highway or it would fall off I would run over it. The next issue was the roadside assistance was not the type of vehicle to tow. Soooooooooo I had to call roadside assistance again who told me I needed to stay with the vehicle until a tow truck arrived. This process took another 1.5 hours. The new roadside person crawled under the vehicle, tucked the flap under a nook but said it would fall down again without the screws in place. At that point I was so flustered I called my coworker who came to pick me up and the road side assistance person towed the vehicle away.

So lets get this straight. I rented a vehicle from a well known rental company. I had an issue. I called them not once but TWICE. The second time was with a MAJOR issue and they didn’t send a vehicle to come pick me up. They didn’t do much of anything but apologize for my current set of circumstance. I had to do everything to get that vehicle back to the rental place. I had to call my coworker to come pick ME up and take me to the rental place as the tow provider wasn’t allowed to have me as a passenger.

Once I arrived at the rental place, I was greeted with smiles and hello’s. I did my very best to be cordial and explained my situation from the first issue with the low FOB key to the what I thought was a flat to the real problem of the engine shield. I haven’t heard that many sorry’s in that short of time ever from a company.

How about the fact I rented a vehicle from YOUR company and it failed. I was told “We do not look UNDER the car to check it”. I said “Well maybe you should start implementing that safety feature”.

I really liked the way the Audi handled and it was a great vehicle. I am considering it for my next vehicle and that is why I picked it to drive on my journey. My question is, who maintains the rentals and checks them for safety?

End of the story, they gave me the vehicle complimentary. My company benefited from that as they were paying for it. Original rental was an Audi, they offered me a Hyundai Sante Fe in replacement. No GPS, It got me to and fro with no issues. It was a 2019 with under 10K on it. Unacceptable service from this rental company.

Car Rental Places

How much is the doggie in the window?

How much is that doggie in the window?  That all depends on the breed, health, size and grooming schedule.  Don’t forget about the flee & tick prevention and the heartworm prevention.  It’s Spring already and the ticks are out in full force.  One of mine had 2 ticks already!!

I have 5 dogs.   The first dog we purchased from a breeder and the other 4 are rescue dogs.

To satisfy my curiosity I added up all the receipts I saved throughout the 9 years that I have had  just one of my dogs, Marcus.   Marcus, had a grand total of $6,000 over 9 years, which didn’t include food, toys, crates, sweaters, dog sitting (on occasion)  or training.  That was just the basic care of vet bills, dog licenses, flee & tick meds, and grooming.   If you add the food, toys, etc, I would estimate that would add another $600.  Grand total just over $770 a year.  Keep in mind, and thank the lord, he is HEALTHY along with my other 4 dogs and a rescue cat.  I then multiplied that by the 9 years =’s $6,930.  Add in the other 4 dogs for a grand total of over $20,000 in 9 years.  Not too bad.  I know some people with only 1 or 2 dogs that spent thousands and thousands of dollars on them due an illness or accident.

From the research I did, the average cost of owning a dog is around $1,000 a year.  The first year could be as high as $1,200.  Cost of owning a pet

Other expenses to consider are fencing and gates.  I have a least 5 gates in my house to keep the dogs out of rooms they should be in.  I love the Regalo gates.  They are sturdy, reliable and good looking  Gates

Lastly, do not forget about the invisible fence or a real fence.  The fence I purchased and had installed came from GMH Fence company.  They did an amazing job installing it.  I decided to get a chain link fence with the vinyl coating to prevent rust.   My dogs are small so I purchased the 4 foot to save some money.  If I had to do it again, I’d get the 6 foot fence.  From my recollection the fence was around $1,200.  It covers about 600 feet of my yard.

It’s so important to have a fence as it help to deep predators away from your dog.  It won’t stop them but it does help. How much is that doggie in the window?