McGonigel’s Mucky Duck

Irish jam session, baby

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Dijon Lemon Chicken

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Don’t let anyone tell you the endo diet is boring.  I refuse to allow that because, god do I love food. I’ve definitely been forced onto a horizon of creativity, where I am constantly on my toes to keep things fresh, healthy and most of all, NOT BLAND. You know what is bland? Ground turkey. Gross. Don’t ever feed me ground turkey. Or turkey.

Does not contain: dairy, gluten, soy, sugar

Adapted from Simply Delicious:

1 package chicken breasts or thighs (I used tenders)
2 large leeks
2 garlic cloves
handful of mushrooms
1 spoonful Dijon mustard
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper
olive oil
red pepper flakes*
butter*

*ingredients not necessary

1. Heat up some olive oil in a large pan and brown the chicken, season with salt and pepper and a dash of red pepper* if you can tolerate a bit of kick. Cook the chicken all the way through and transfer to a plate.
2. While the chicken is cooking, slice the leeks, mushrooms and garlic. When the chicken is done, toss the veggies into the same pan with more olive oil and saute until brown. I added a little bit of butter* at this point. Like a tablespoon. Not necessary, but I can handle a small amount and I can’t imagine cooking leeks without butter. They belong together.
3. After you have browned the veggies (~5 mins), add the lemon juice and mustard. You might need a bit more oil too. Make sure the sauce coats the veggies, then add the chicken and stir until the chicken is coated too.

The original recipes suggests rice or GF pasta which would be delicious, but we had some spinach that needed using so I put everything on top of the greens for a mind blowing salad. Packed with nutrients and flava. You’re welcome.

 

 

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Roasted Chicken and Vegetable Soup

thoopButternut squash is my favorite winter vegetable, and I have been sitting on this recipe for months, waiting for the weather to turn cold so that I could make it. Does it HAVE to be cold to make this soup? Of course not. There are no rules! But when it is cold, it makes hot soup that much more delicious, amirite? So when Houston finally got the one cold week a year that passes for winter, I was all ova this.

The beauty of this dish is that it’s just plants and animals – so totes endo friendly and totes flavorful. Plus, it’s very pretty, and I love pretty food.

When I use butternut squash, I always go with the peeled and chopped version most grocery stores sell. Yeah it’s more expensive, but doing it yourself is such a pain in the ass. I’d rather pay the extra billz and save myself some time.

This soup is perfect for when you have leftover chicken and veggies in the fridge and no clue what to do with them.

Does not contain: dairy, soy, sugar, gluten

Adapted from Against All Grain:

2 minced garlic cloves
2-3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
½ chopped yellow onion
extra virgin olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
2-3 cups leftover shredded chicken or 1 pound uncooked chicken breasts/thighs
dried parsley
dried thyme
dried rosemary
dried oregano
salt and pepper
2 cups spinach

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
  2. In a roasting pan, toss the vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cook for 20 minutes, until the vegetables get nice and tender.
  3. In a large pot, heat up the chicken broth and toss in the cooked chicken along with some generous sprinkles of the dried herbs, salt and pepper. Let simmer until veggies are ready.
  4. Once the vegetables have roasted, put half in the pot and the other half in the blender. Puree them with a cup of water.
  5. Add the puree to the pot, along with the spinach.
  6. Simmer for 5 minutes, and then prepare yourself cause it’s about to get real.
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Insomnia + Work = I’m Bad at Math

Well hello! I didn’t see you come in. Let me just wrap this up…
Just kidding. I wasn’t doing anything.

Before I get into the bits and bobs of endo that you’ve come to know and love, Marissa has finally updated her blog and this post has left lingering shadows in my brain. I can’t stop thinking about the importance of what she addresses here. Please, read it! I shall provide the link again in case you missed it the first time: Marissa Knows Best.

What’s up with this weather, eh? One day we have the AC on, the next it’s the heat. Over it.

I’m working, y’all. Don’t get crazy, just temporary gigs. But it’s the first time in well over a year that I have had the strength to even think about doing this, so that calls for a champagne celebration.

I am still dealing with this insomnia and while I feel terrible, I had also become rather stagnant and felt the need to shake things up a bit. Do something new. So I emailed my old recruiter, dusted off my business casual wear, and headed downtown.

They called me the next day for a 3 month assignment at a prestigious law firm downtown. My insides clenched – the pay was great and it would be great networking and a great opportunity (how many times can I say great?)…but I knew my body couldn’t handle that yet. I said no thanks, and hung up the phone imagining I had just plugged up the flow of abundance from the Universe straight to me. Great. Life is ruined. But then I realized that I honored myself and my body, and let it go. And wouldn’t you know it the recruiter called the next day with another job at the same firm, same great pay, but working 10:30-7pm which accommodates my sleep schedule MUCH better than an 8am start. So, crazy, right? Ask, ask, ask and you shall receive. Bada bing. Plus, those hours mean I completely avoid traffic, which is one of my top 3 most hated things, followed by okra and people chewing gum.

It’s been tough working because… insomnia, but everyone is ridiculously warm and welcoming so it’s been a true pleasure. A very calm way to ease myself back into the waters.

So, the insomnia. Figures it would be back. Guess who also came back? My period. Bastard. No pill can stop this thing. Mathias said I’m very sensitive to progesterone, which is the hormone that stops the cycle, and wanted to put me on another medication, this time a nasal spray that I would use twice a day. I said no. I still haven’t gotten over the trauma of the Dark Months, and I am not ready to go down Birth Control Boulevard again. I asked him if I could just wait it out a couple more months and see if my body adjusted and he said that was fine. Crisis averted.

Then we addressed my sleep. There is nothing more discouraging than going into your doctor’s office and hearing them go “Oh boy” when they look through your chart. I know I’m a bit of a complicated case, but I still want to know that there is hope. Because of my insulin sensitivity, I have limbic system dysfunction (controls sleep/anxiety, etc.). According to Mathias, the GI and limbic system are one entity. He pulled out my GI electro-magnetic testing from last year and showed me the results. “Look at your numbers and all this activity. I can guarantee your limbic system is suffering from the same disturbances.”

“But my GI has calmed down so much that I’m at a 1 now! So why do I still have insomnia?”

“Well that’s what I’m trying to figure out.”

Sigh. “So I’m going to have limbic system dysfunction forever?”

“Well let’s hope forever is a long time.”

It doesn’t make sense. The nausea is gone. The pain is gone. I’m following the endo diet and eating every 3-4 hours to keep my blood sugar balanced. So why the feck can’t I fecking sleep?!?

He prescribed another sleep medication for me – Restoril. By day 2 I was shaking with Oct 2013 style-anxiety at 3am. So obviously that pill is out. I don’t know what the hell will work for me anymore. What do you do when you’ve tried everything? If anyone has any suggestions, please, tell me. I’m desperate. I don’t feel like Mathias can help me anymore, and I’m tired of being tossed a different drug every time I see him.

I will punch anyone who suggests melatonin…

In other news, Rodrigo and I are going to Austin next weekend, and it will be my first time back in a year!!! I’m bursting I’m so excited! I can’t wait to see all my sweet friends, eat good food, and relax in one of my favorite cities. Then I get to meditate on Sunday. Ahhh bliss.

I’m running out of websites to read.

So happy it’s Friday. Happy weekend everyone!

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Endometriosis wrap up – December

After 7 weeks on the Loestrin and 4 weeks on Wellbutrin, I throw in the towel. Mathias had a last minute cancellation so I went in and told them it wasn’t working. They switched my birth control again to Minastrin, which is a lower dose, and to Lexapro, another anti-depressant. That was the first week in December. Within 5 days (5 days, y’all!) the crazy train rolled to a stop and I got off. It pulled away, and I just stood on the platform watching it disappear into the horizon. Then I looked around at all the open space around me and exhaled.

I’ve been sleeping a ton. I think my brain is exhausted.

Sweet relief. I see bits of old Erin starting to awaken and poke through. I’ve missed her so! It’s such a light feeling to not be angry and depressed anymore. I’m laughing and giving high fives again.

Physically, the insomnia is back. Son of a bitch. 7:30am bed times are the norm again. But I have suspicions it may be the Lexapro (remember all that SSRI nonsense and my high serotonin levels) and I’m tinkering with some things (read: stopping it) so we’ll see if it changes in a couple of weeks

And just as I was working on accepting the severe nausea that I thought was going to be a lifelong companion, it goes and packs its bags for the winter. It’s almost too good to be true. Could my GI be calming down? I don’t know, but let’s just say this month has been really, really good. Comparatively speaking, of course.

I lost 25lbs this year due to disease, as well as a lot of hair. I’m really hoping it grows back. I’ve gained a bit more weight this month so I don’t look so much like a skeleton anymore.

I also was feeling well enough to take a Kizomba workshop, and it just happened to be the most fun Kizomba workshop I’ve EVER taken! What a great month. For those of you who don’t know, I was introduced to this Afro-Latin rhythm of dreams a year ago and it was love at first sight.

Prepare for sexiness overload:

As a general rule on this blog I tend to not speak too much about the people in my life. Privacy and stuff. But this year has been pretty unique, so I’d like to recognize some key players and shine a bit of love and light in their direction.

My mother: Gosh, I’ve talked about my mom quite a bit, and I still never get tired of singing her praises. Because she’s earned it, she deserves it, and she’s been just so darn lovely through a gruesome year. She has been my partner in crime from the beginning. She drove me to every doctor’s appointment, picked up all my prescriptions, researched all the drugs when I had weird reactions, held me in bed while I cried in her arms, encouraged me without ceasing, never left the hospital after my surgeries, woke me up every 4 hours to take my pain meds so that I wouldn’t suffer, keeps the kitchen stocked with endo-friendly food…bah. I’m just naming all the examples of what she has done for me this year. In truth, I probably won’t remember all the details after some time has gone by. But I will remember that she was the only one I wanted when I was afraid. I will remember how much her hugs comforted me. I will remember how nothing was more important to her than my well-being. I will remember her compassion, her gentleness, and her strength. Most of all I will remember the love that blossomed between us – a sweet and tender love between a mother and daughter – and one that I didn’t recognize could exist until I needed her the most.

Rodrigo: I’ve been hesitant to mention Rodrigo on the blog because I want to keep what is between us sacred, and I have this superstitious belief that if I say something good, something bad will inevitably happen. But I need to convey the amount of goodness in this man. He literally got out of my dreams, and into my car. I had taken dating off the table until this mess was over, but his kindness and ease of spirit slowly worked its magic, and that’s when he proved to me just how strong of a man he actually is. During the Dark Months (as I shall now call them) he faced the brunt of my emotional agony. I made him walk through fire, and he never once accused me of burning him. Even as I write this, I’m still amazed at the patience and gentleness he has had for me during this entire year. It has been a most unconventional start for a relationship, but it’s only made us stronger and closer. I trust him more than I’ve ever trusted any man, and despite all of the turmoil, we’ve managed to cultivate a relationship of sweet playfulness and joy. I didn’t know it was possible to be this happy. He is the best man I know.

Marissa: This is definitely not her first rodeo. She gets mentioned a lot, because she’s one of my main people. Up until this year it was all just for funsies, but then I was bored and decided to get endometriosis so she’d really have to step up her game. This girl was at the hospital at 5:30am on a Tuesday, just so she could hug me before surgery. Then she waited the entire 7 hours with my parents and Rodrigo until I was safely out. That was such a meaningful gift. However it’s her thoughtfulness that has been such a sweet surprise. She made countless trips out to my parents house to visit, would scour the web just to find funny links to lift my spirits, and when I started driving and could come see her, would always make sure she had endo-friendly items stocked in her kitchen. I am touched beyond words when she opens her fridge and pulls something out she thought I might like and made sure she checked the sugar content before she bought it. She keeps decaf coffee pods on hand since I can’t have caffeine. She gives her love easily and freely, and I’ve soaked it up like a sponge. The only problem is how damn funny she is, and it was a real problem for weeks after surgery because it was so painful to laugh. My room was a laugh-free zone that she did not abide by very well. But I guess I’ll forgive her. She’s pretty cute, so it’s hard to stay mad.

Melissa – She gave me her laugh pillow and Judith. That could be enough right there, but I’ve got more to say. She organized a “card shower” and got all of our friends on board to send me snail mail cards at staggering times so that I received a get well card every day after surgery. For weeks. It was such a beautiful manifestation of the love that my friends have for me. I was blessed beyond words and saved every single one. I don’t save cards so that’s kind of a big deal. Every time I was afraid and called, her words of comfort were like diamonds in my hand. She would freely give them whenever I asked, and I squeezed onto them so tightly my palms bled. They soothed me and became my light when my world got darker.

Dr. Mangal – Thanks to Captain Kicks Endo’s Ass I am now pain free, and looking at the possibility of having a seriously increased quality of life. That man will never know what a gift he is to me and the world of endo, but I sent him a Christmas card and I don’t send anyone Christmas cards, so maybe that will tell him something. Never have I wanted to pay it forward to someone more than I want to for him. I hope he encounters mountains of blessings in 2015 – he deserves all the richness life can offer.

I’m not going to end 2014 with something like “Here’s to a great 2015!” Cause it’s cliché and after last year I just don’t buy that shit anymore. You know what? 2015 may be terrible. And so what if it is? It doesn’t mean I’ve done anything wrong – it’s just what’s happening in 2015. So instead of having high expectations for my health, I’m going to practice having no expectations. Now now friends, this is not pessimism talking. Nay, this is acceptance. A horse of a different color. Check out #4 in this fantastic article that talks about 10 ways you could be making your life harder. It probably articulates it better than I can.

Here’s my mantra for 2015: I will be open and will practice acceptance. I’m going with the flow.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all my friends and family who have supported me this year. It’s been one hell of a ride.

<3

 

 

 

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Mexico

a few Mexico snaps…


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IMG_0046 IMG_0047 IMG_0048 IMG_0558 mandinga piramide

 

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Endometriosis wrap up – November

I retired my laugh pillow this month. It was like losing an arm, not carrying it around with me. Didn’t realize I was getting so attached to a pillow. A million high fives to Melissa Gilson, the angel who lent it to me. Total life saver.

As you probably guessed…this month showed continued emotional obliteration. I did not get better, like the doctors predicted.

I also took my first international trip since India in 2012. The novio had to go to Mexico to renew his work visa so I tagged along for 12 days. Big mistake. Huge.

Physically, I wasn’t ready. Emotionally, well…we all know I was a raging asshole so there’s that. I was exhausted, my GI was in a constant state of agitation, and my emotional health was spiraling downward, which meant Unhappy Erin At All Times. So much anger and sadness and pain. Geez! Where was it all coming from?

This was a really heavy time for us. I was never happy, and I was afraid I had lost my ability to be so. I constantly picked fights just because I wanted to give my rage a voice. I was overwhelmed with the fear that I was now a burden or a liability…something I had never even considered being a part of my identity. I was afraid Rodrigo would leave me because it was more than he signed up for. And there would be nothing I could do about it because I couldn’t control myself.

The anger was the most perplexing. A new experience for me. I get irritated, sure. Every day, in fact. But irritations happen, I acknowledge them, then let it go, and it passes through me like the wind. Gone. But this anger was hot and viscous. It poured over me like lava, and wouldn’t leave until I had given it license to burn through everything in my path. Once everything was thoroughly charred, it would nod with satisfaction, wipe off its hands, and curl up back inside me, waiting for the next opportunity.

Like trying to corral a dragon.

Anyway –

I discovered that I have to plan ahead and bring food with me. BYOF – it’s a thing. WHAT an annoyance. But what else can I do? The level of physical discomfort I had on that trip is something I never want to experience again. And I don’t want to stop traveling so…this is the new me?? Hello. Here is my sack lunch. (plop)

Food. It’s so goddamn crucial to women with endo. Gone are the days where I can pick up a meal from a street cart or wander into any random restaurant and choose whatever I like. I get nauseated if I don’t eat every 3-4 hours, and I get nauseated if I eat food that isn’t endo-friendly. Nausea seems to be my body’s favorite way to respond to this disease. So most all of Mexico was spent being hungry, taking deep breaths and trying to find coping mechanisms. And crying, because I was watching my freedom evaporate before me.

We arrive home from that trip, I barely exhale and then 2 days later we drive to Fort Worth for Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving with my family means tons of booze, good food, laughter and parties. For days. We are loud, obnoxious, inappropriate, and have no personal boundaries. I love it so much. But I was so sick and depressed I couldn’t enjoy myself like I usually do. Fake laughter all around. I don’t think anyone noticed, because I’m really good at hiding my emotions.

Through it all, I kept taking that stupid little pill, willing my luck to change at the 8 week mark. It just had to, because I couldn’t go through this process again.

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