Tag Archives: Histamine

Weekly roundup

This week was the first of my stay-cation but I’ve been so busy I think I’m going to need another holiday to get over my holiday 😉  Back pain aside, however, it’s been a fabulous few days and I’ve enjoyed every second.

On Monday a friend and I went to photograph wild Red Squirrels.   They are native to Britain but in the late 1800s North American Grey Squirrels were let loose in the UK (for reasons unknown) and over the years they have decimated the native Red Squirrel population, not least because greys carry squirrel pox to which they are immune but the reds are not.  We have one of the few remaining red populations here in Cumbria but they are very timid and shy animals and very difficult to capture on film.  But I managed it and had an enchanting hour sat by a tiny waterfall in woodland watching 3 reds foraging for food:

Thursday I had a lovely day with my best mate, having lunch out to celebrate her birthday.  I had taken a shot of a local stone circle and, having seen that on my Facebook page, my friend had asked for it to be printed off for her birthday.  I’m a shit landscape photographer so was extremely flattered that she’d liked it enough to put it on her wall.  I went the extra mile and had a custom frame made and even I admit it turned out nice.

Thursday night didn’t quite go to plan as I discussed in my last blog post, however I still made it out on Friday night to my Camera Club’s annual awards dinner.  Food was fab, company was great and I walked off with 3 trophies for winning the Summer Challenge, the Intermediate Print League and the Intermediate Digital Image League – there was much ribbing about me needing a wheelbarrow to take my haul home and an extension built on my house to put them in 😉  As a bit of fun we had to produce an image we’d taken with a caption and I also won the caption competition:

Saturday I had booked to go on a short Portrait photography workshop.  It was a stupid thing to do considering I’d been out the night before and knew I’d be absolutely knackered but there was a reason to the madness – I needed a distraction from the fact that 300 miles away 6 judges were looking at a panel of 10 of my photographs and assessing me for my first photographic distinction!  So off I toddled to the workshop along with 5 other people from my camera club.  I have to admit it wasn’t that great and made worse by being so tired and still having awful back pain, but having said all that it was interesting to be in a proper photography studio with expensive lights and stuff.  I managed to get a nice image of the model too, though it still needs some work:

After the workshop finished I tentatively checked my phone and saw I’d received a text from someone I know who was at the Distinction Panel – I held my breath as I opened it.  Hurrahhh I had passed and can now put the letters CPAGB after my name! 🙂

So, as weeks go this has been one of my best in a long time.  I’ve way over-done it and will suffer the consequences over the coming days but I don’t care!  I’ve spent time with fabulous people doing the things I love and life doesn’t get much better than that.

Weekly roundup

I do not have pretty legs.  Along with the ‘elephant knuckles’ on my hands I seem to have ‘elephant knees’, and in addition I’m bow legged due to my flat feet and consequently rolling ankles.  It’s my Camera Club’s annual dinner and awards presentation this Friday and one thing’s for sure, I won’t be wearing a skirt which is a shame because, although I’m not the most girlie girl in the world, I am female and it would be nice now and again to wear something pretty.  The situation has not been helped by all the bruises I managed to acquire while helping my neighbour last week.  I’ve no clue how I got them, they just appeared, but they sure aint ladylike!  Is it just me who thinks the bruises on my right knee have made a face?  And the ‘face’ on my left knee looks like it’s winking LOL!

For about 5 days this week I had bags of energy.  At the time I had no idea why but was grateful and made the most of it 🙂  I got all sorts done, then woke up Tuesday morning to discover my period had arrived.  I was only on day 19 so it was completely unexpected, bearing in mind my cycle last month was 32 days.  Due to my endometriosis I usually have plenty of warning when my period is on the way in the form of back and stomach pain, but this month nada.  I can’t believe some women go through their whole lives like that, just having periods and it’s no big deal.  I’ve never had a pain-less period in my entire life and it was wonderful but weird!  I’m now putting my preceding energy spurt down to hugely surging hormones.

The few days since my period has ended have not been as great.  I appear to be having post-period tension and am like a weepy bear with a sore head.  My dwindling hormones also give rise to spotting for days on end and my back and reflux are rubbish.  My proprioception is also way off and I’ve spent three days banging into the furniture, dropping every item I pick up and spilling everything from my morning cuppa to the liquid which goes in my washing machine draw.  It’s driving me nuts!

To add insult to injury my cold-induced cough is still lingering.  Three weeks of hacking up phlegm when you’re already ill is pants and I just wish it would do one.

Wednesday was my last Camera Club of the season and we won’t meet again until September.  I’ll really miss it.  It’s the only time I ever get to see people and I enjoy being sociable as much as I enjoy the photography.  However, at the same time I do find the 2 hours I spend there exhausting.  Thursdays are always a right-off and I’m still suffering the consequences on Friday.  Bertie will be happy though.  He’s usually fed at 4.30pm then sleeps til 6am the next morning – having to go out in the cold at 6pm to be dropped off at his Nannie and Granda’s and not getting back home til 10pm makes him tired and grumpy 😉

I started a 2 week stay-cation on Friday.  As regular readers will know, I decided that I deserve holidays just like everyone else and although I can’t afford, and am not well enough, to go away that doesn’t mean I can’t abandon my parents and my home for a fortnight three times a year.  I’ve made sure my Mum and Dad don’t need anything doing, I’ve cooked and frozen enough meals to see me through and caught up with my laundry.  Apart from still having to take Bertie out, I’m spending my days doing what I want and not thinking about anyone else for a change.  Bliss 🙂

Today is Easter Sunday.  Like most heathens the religious significance passes me by, but I am going out with my parents for lunch which I’m both looking forward to (getting out of the house and not having to cook) and dreading (Dad being scatty and Mum being drunk).  Whatever you’re all up to I hope you have a lovely day 🙂

Weekly roundup

I really must make more lists.  As I’m going about my week I think to myself “I’ll tell my readers this on Sunday” but when Sunday comes I can barely remember what I did an hour ago let alone on Tuesday 😉

I do know that I spent the whole of Monday in bed with a migraine due to my attendance at the Photography Salon last weekend.  It was to be expected but still sucked.

The good news is I am feeling so much better since starting the Spatone iron water for my low ferritin and making a concerted effort to include iron-rich veggie foods at every meal and snack.  When I first tried the Spatone it gave me awful nausea, stomach pains and a bit of a runny bum (iron supplements are notorious for giving people gippy stomachs), so I took a break then restarted it a little bit at a time, working up to a full sachet.  I now have no side effects and the daily dizziness I’ve had for months has totally gone 🙂

After 16 days my cold is still lingering.  I’m not alone – a friend at Camera Club also has the bug and has been coughing and sniffling even longer than me.  I woke this morning and my runny nose finally seems to have dried up, only to be replaced by the raging sore throat which started the whole debacle.  WTF?!  I take Sambucol daily (which contains both Vitamin C and concentrated elderberries which are high in mast cell stabilizing quercetin), with added vitamin C in my Spatone, yet the bioflavanoid doesn’t seem to be helping my immune system fight the good fight.  On the plus side my hive outbreak, brought on by my mast cells having a virus-induced hissy fit, has finally cleared up though I did have to use steroid cream on my butt for a week.  For anyone who wants to know the technical ways in which mast cells react to viruses see Lisa’s article here.

I was given a garden centre voucher as a “thank you” when I left my volunteer job as compositor for our Church newsletter recently, so on Tuesday my bezzie and I had lunch out and a potter round a Nursery.  I bought 11 plants which, with my voucher, only cost me £8 🙂  I now have to find the energy from somewhere to actually put them in my garden!  I love gardening but plants are now so expensive I can hardly ever afford to buy any and actually doing any gardening cripples me :-/

I finally exploded over the situation with my 90 year old next door neighbour this week.  She fractured her hip last year and now has great difficulty walking let alone doing anything else.  She has two children who are about as much use as a chocolate fireguard.  My neighbour agreed to home care, but they were terrible – often turning up an hour late and sending someone different every week so that no-one ever knew what needed doing.  It rightly drove my neighbour nuts so she cancelled them.  Her house isn’t just filthy, it’s squalid.  She only has a bath 4 or 5 times a year.  She has a skin condition, which means she has weeping, pussy, bleeding blisters constantly.  She wears blood soiled clothes and sleeps in a blood soiled bed which again only gets changed 4 or 5 times a year.  Her kitchen is so dirty you can hear your feet sticking to the floor when you walk in there.  No-one seems to be helping her and it makes me furious.  It’s now so bad I feel physically sick when I visit as her house is so disgusting.  So on Wednesday, when I was paying my cleaner £10 an hour to clean my house, I went over to my neighbours and cleaned her oven. Four hours and a lot of elbow grease later it’s still only 50% clean but at least it’s something. Her hob is now spotless, but sitting on it is the most disgusting pan and casserole dish you’ve ever seen.  They’re beyond cleaning, so I’m buying her some new ones this week even though I can barely afford it.  She can no longer reach her wall units, so there is food and crockery all over the counter tops which makes cleaning those impossible.  Why aren’t her children sorting all this out?!!  She also has a huge apple tree in her garden, and all the apples have fallen off onto the lawn where they have lain rotting for months.  So for the past two days I’ve been picking up apples and have so far filled 5 dustbin bags which I’ll have to take to the tip.  Her only crime is being old and sick and unable to care for herself.  The District Nurses know about her, Social Services know about her yet she is still left in filth – it’s inhumane.

Yesterday I aged 5 years. I was helping the neighbour mentioned above walk to a seat in her back garden, looked round and Bertie (who had been right next to me) was nowhere to be found.  He has a tendency to wander up the village, so I thought he’d be on the verge at the front of the house. Nope. I called him. Nothing. I then spent 20 minutes running up and down the village like a loony toons shouting his name and couldn’t find him.  I always fear that, being a cute Pedigree, if he’s loose in the village someone going past in a car will snatch him. I was crying and terrified.  I was too exhausted to walk another step, so decided to get my neighbour back into her house so that I could get on my scooter and search further afield. I opened the back door, and there was the Bertster in her kitchen – he had pulled over the waste bin and was busily trying to eat the rubbish. I didn’t know whether to kill him or cuddle him! I have no idea how he got in the house as the back door was shut and why did the stupid git not bark when I was shouting for him if he couldn’t get back out?!

I’m now off to spray my throat with Ultrachloraseptic and am wondering if it’s OK to eat ice cream for breakfast!


Weekly roundup

They say time speeds up as you get older and they’re not kidding.  Not only can I not believe it’s Sunday again I also can’t believe it’s March already – where the hell did Jan and Feb go?!!  Not that I’m complaining about the fact it’s March because that means Spring is round the corner.  There are cute lambs in the fields, the lovely Oystercatchers have returned to the river and yesterday in a brief period of sunshine the chatter from a large flock of Siskins in next door’s apple tree was wonderful.

The decorating is finally finished and everything has been washed and put back.  I’m now crippled with awful back pain as a consequence of helping with the DIY but such is life.  The day I helped paint the skirting boards my right hand was so painful I couldn’t even put the top on my hot water bottle when I went to bed :-/

Speaking of pain, my gut is seriously getting me down.  I hurt from my throat to my backside every minute of the day and eating is no fun at all.  I can’t lie on my right side in bed because of a shooting pain near my right rib at the front and if I lie on my left side I get reflux.  I have random, shooting, stabbing, stinging pain all over my belly and also still have weird poop transit and soft stools, despite stopping the iron supplement 6 days ago (until I tried the supplement my poop was fine).  I feel nauseous all day every day and my appetite has done a runner.  Combine all that with back pain and my entire torso is miserable and so am I.

Thank God for my photography which is a much needed distraction.  We had our last Projected Digital Image competition on Wednesday night and I’m delighted to say the image below got 1st place 🙂  It is made up of 11 different photos and, yes, it is me in the frock 😉  It was the last PDI competition of the season and I received the overall highest score in my league over the year, which means I will be promoted to the Advanced league in September (gulp!).

Since Christmas I’ve been spending all my ‘spare’ time working on 10 images to enter for my first photographic Distinction (the CPAGB).  I finally got them all done this week and they are ready to be posted off to Croydon where they will be judged at the end of April.  I’m also entering my first International Small Print Salon which is being judged at the start of April, and have had to do my prints for the annual Northern Counties Photographic Federation competition also being judged in April.  I’m a bit photographed out now and ready for the season to end next month and to have a break over the summer from the pressure of competitions!  Having said all that, I’ve been asked to judge the portrait section of an international Salon in October, which is a huge honour and about which I’m massively nervous but excited 🙂  You can see the standard of photos entered in international Salons here.

Whilst recently looking for new recipes to try containing quinoa I came across quinoa crips!  They have the texture of Quavers but with a sour cream & chives flavouring (my fav).  OK so they’re junk food, but I have no problems with a little junk food now and then and at least both the quinoa and lentil flours are high in iron  😉

I re-started the Spatone iron water yesterday but this time I’m trying a small amount and working up to a full sachet in the hopes it doesn’t make me more nauseous than I already am or give me diarrhea.  Wish me luck, because if I can’t tolerate this most gentle of supplements there’s no way on earth my stomach would cope with anything stronger and I’m desperate to get my iron levels up.

Right I need to get my lazy but snuggly warm backside out of bed, have some breakfast, get dressed and take the mutt out!


Weekly roundup

I finally had enough money to treat myself to a proper over-the-bed table.  One that tilts so that I can still use my laptop even when semi-reclining.  It’s bloomin’ marvellous and I so wish I’d bought one sooner instead of making do with having my laptop on my knees or a small folding table next to the bed (sadly other, much more pressing, things always needed to be bought instead).  As with most items for elderly or disabled people though it’s the ugliest goddamn table I’ve ever seen.  Why can no-one produce disabled products that are just as pretty or trendy as regular household items?  All disabled equipment seems to be brown and made of melamine, not to mention self assembly (hellllooooooo, if I could put together flat pack furniture I’m guessing I wouldn’t be in bed needing an over-the-bed table in the first place!).

My period arrived this week and what little iron I had left vamoosed.  I haven’t felt that ill in quite some time and was so pale even my lips were white.  I have, though, started on some iron supplements.  I’ve opted for natural iron water by Spatone which I can conveniently have delivered with my Tesco groceries and which is supposed to be well absorbed but not cause gut irritation or constipation.  I’m only on day two so time will tell!   I’ve made an appointment to see my GP to discuss the reasons for my anaemia but can’t get to see her until 22nd March which is absolutely bloody outrageous.

I’ve been looking at foods to increase my iron levels and have discovered that information on the mineral content in food appears to be about as confusing as the histamine content in foods, with one source saying one thing and another source something completely different.  Arrgghhhh!!!!!  I’ll do a post on that this week because it just shows the conflicting advice that’s online and how hard it is for any of us to make informed decisions.

I actually quite enjoyed my lunch out with the boys from Camera Club on Friday and managed not to burst into tears or be snappy.  I’m always grateful when someone else does the cooking cos I get fed up to the back teeth of being my own chef.

This weekend we are continuing on with the decorating.  The front hall is all finished so now it’s the turn of the back hall.  Everything I do takes forever because my healthy friends work so can only come at weekends and I can only do little bits at a time before my energy conks and my pain becomes unbearable.  Bertie has been helping though and I now have hairs stuck to my wall and gloss paint stuck to his tail – I may need to get the scissors out 😉


Onwards & Upwards

Following on from my last post about being fundamentally happy despite everything, I just want to point out that this doesn’t mean I live my life in a zen-like stupor.  Hell to-the-no.  I am chronically ill and peri-menopausal – trust me when I say I have really shit days.  Like today.  I woke at 6am and the second I opened my eyes I was both pissed and weepy, my hormones raging like a spotty teenager.

There are days where I can’t eat, can’t walk, can’t sleep, can’t shit, can’t drive and have the brain function of a coma patient.  I get fed up of being sick, in pain and chronically exhausted.  I get frustrated and angry and cry snotty tears into my duvet.  I feel achingly, achingly lonely and hugely isolated.  Overwhelmed and unsure how to go on.  Which is all perfectly normal.

A friend from Camera Club is moving away and I am going out with him, and two other friends, for a farewell lunch today.  As it stands right now I don’t think I can speak without bursting into tears.  My brain is stuffed with cotton wool, every time I move the room spins and the dog can hear my painful stomach gurgling from across the room.  I think my ‘bad’ rib has partially popped out during the night which means every breath is painful and, despite a relatively good night’s sleep, I feel like I haven’t been to bed in 10 years I’m so exhausted.  Every cell in my being wants to pick up my phone and cancel.  But I won’t.  If I stay home alone I will spend the day in bed bawling my eyes out.  If I go out I will be forced to get my act together and it will take my mind off my suffering for an hour or two.  I wish my life weren’t like this, but it is and wallowing won’t help.  I am going to have a good cry before I go though which I’m hoping will get it out of my system and I won’t boo hoo into my risotto which I’m sure would make the three guys I’m with pretty uncomfortable 😉

Our emotional health has to be managed just like our physical health.  I am so ill that I could cheerfully stay in bed every day for the rest of my life, but if I did that my muscles would waste, my bones would crumble and my heart and lungs would pack up.  So no matter how utterly, utterly exhausted I feel, how much pain I’m in, how nauseous I feel or how weak, I get my arse out of bed.  I don’t always manage to get dressed and have been known to take Bertie out on the scooter in my pyjamas under my wet weather gear, but I get up.  And I do the same with my emotional health.  Today I would love to not be going out.  I would love to stay in my snuggly, warm bed having a pity party for one but I won’t because I’m not sure what it would realistically achieve other than giving me a whopping headache (why does crying give you a bad head?!).

Onwards and upwards my warrior friends (and failing that, just sit at the bottom of the hill in your jim jams 😉 ).



Weekly roundup

Hurrahhhh!!  I tried some Famotidine (H2 antihistamine) for my horrendous GERD and I am tolerating it OK 🙂  The agonizing pain in my acid-eaten stomach is slowly receding and my cough has totally gone (I still have pain in other parts of my abdomen but that’s from separate issues).  You have no idea the relief.  I know that eventually my mast cells will reject the drug (I tolerated Zantac/cimetidine for over a year before my body revolted) but for now I’m just enjoying having a break from the torture.

I decided I no longer need to see my Counsellor.  The anger I’ve felt towards my Mum and her alcoholism for the past few years no longer threatens to overwhelm me and I feel more like I’m swimming again rather than drowning.  The situation hasn’t altered, but in talking it through I hope my response to it has.

I was pissed to see the Low Histamine Chef’s transcript to a recent podcast with Abel James say that meditation can help Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.   Firstly, where are her medical qualifications and secondly she does not have M.E. and I resent hugely her talking about a disease she clearly has no knowledge of.  I’m sure meditation is helpful in calming the mind and helping with stress whether you’re healthy or sick, but for her to talk about it helping specific diseases is reckless.  I was bedridden with M.E. for nearly 10 years.  I was unable to open my eyelids, chew solid food or speak for some of that time.  I spent virtually every waking moment in my head because I could barely physically move.  Trust me when I say meditation did not help any of my symptoms.  In fact I tried gentle yoga breathing, in through the nose and out through the mouth, for 10 minutes a day for two weeks and ended up so ill I was in the Neurological Rehab Unit of my local hospital for nearly a month.  You also cannot cure M.E. by anything you eat and if you do you did not have M.E. to start with. Don’t forget that many health gurus online, most of whom possess no medical qualifications and are not registered dieticians, make a shed load of money from telling people how to treat incurable diseases through diet and we believe them because we’re desperate.

The post office have buggered up my entire weekend.  I want to decorate my hall.  Everything is ready and I’d arranged for a friend to come and roller the walls this weekend while I did the skirtings.  The paint I needed was out of stock at my local B&Q so I had to order it online, paying for it to be delivered on Friday.  I waited all day as deliveries can be any time from 8am to 6pm but when it hadn’t arrived by 5.30pm I decided to ring B&Q to check it was coming.  According to their records, the post office had attempted delivery at 10.30am that morning but I hadn’t been in and they had taken it back to the depot.  I was livid.  No-one had been to my house and even if they had and I just hadn’t heard them (not likely when you own a dog who barks like a lunatic at anyone who dares to open our garden gate) no card had been put through my door.  B&Q tried ringing Parcelforce to redeliver on Saturday only of course they were closed, so my plans are totally scuppered.  Everything out of the hall is in the lounge, and there is masking tape all over the hall floor, which means my cleaner won’t be able to do her job on Wednesday (the whole point of doing the decorating this weekend was that it would be finished by Weds!).  I know it’s not the end of the world, but when you’re ill and have very limited energy doing something like decorating a room is a huge undertaking, which you only barely cope with if everything goes right.  So when it goes wrong it all just seems too much.

From comments on my last blog post it appears my American friends need a dictionary in order to understand the way I ‘speak’, even though it’s English (there is no such thing as American English, there is just English which you lot in the States have butchered! 😉 )  I suspect most Americans think that all English people speak like the Queen, or Julie Andrews in Mary Poppins, not realizing that accent died out in the 1950s.  The next dialect recognized by Americans is Cockney however this is only spoken in some parts of London and not by 90% of the rest of the country.  Like America, where Texans speak differently to New Yorkers, England has hundreds of regional accents and dialects and massive variations between the North and the South – you can listen to some of the regional variations here (only listen to the first few minutes, after that he wanders off all over the world).  Cumbrian is a mix of old Celtic and old Nordic (we were invaded by the Scots, the Romans and the Vikings, who all settled here) and very traditional Cumbrian actually doesn’t sound like English at all (listen to this clip the speech starts at 20 seconds and this clip)  Now aren’t you grateful I don’t type in my local dialect? 😉   We even traditionally have our own counting system, you can have a listen here.  Apart from Farmers, however, most Cumbrians speak with a more modern dialect you’ll be pleased to hear, even though young people pepper the end of every sentence with…….like, eh!

For anyone who doesn’t know where Cumbria is, below is a map of the British Isles.  We are the 2nd largest County in England, though one of the most sparsely populated.  We are the last county in the North West before Scotland and lie approx 100 miles north of Manchester and 300 miles north of London.