Saturday, June 7, 2014

Why I'm not blogging so much these days…

I haven't been posting as much for a couple of reasons.

First, it's because my Facebook and Twitter accounts make it so much easier to share thoughts and links. I'm not alone because I've seen other bloggers reducing their posts as they use social media more.   It takes less time than making a post to click a share or re-tweet button; or to type out a brief thought on Facebook (and most of it I make available publicly, so you can view it without having an account, by visiting those links).   I'm on Google+ and Pinterest, as well, but don't get to those as often as the first two.  With Google+ I just don't see the high level of activity, but maybe it's just me.   I have an Instagram account, but almost never use it.  Right now, I probably have the most activity in Facebook which allows me to express my thoughts about something while sharing it, and there is no limit on how long something can be.  Twitter is good for passing on quick links and it is my go-to place for news before it becomes news, but it has character limits.

Secondly, I continue to heal from a long standing intestinal issue. More recently, out of desperation, I tried, and found helpful, the diverticulitis diet out of Stanford (note the "itis" as opposed to "osis" on the end.)  I've been on so many diets and this one has done the most good in three years.

I've not been diagnosed with diverticulitis, but I have diverticulosis pockets and decided to give the low fiber/low residue diet out of Standford a shot, and it has helped.  When not in an inflammatory stage, those with diverticulosis need to eat more fiber and Stanford has a diet for that, as well.  But when symptoms appear, and won't go away, even if you don't have a fever, I recommend trying the Stanford Diverticulitis Diet.  You still need to get 10-15 grams of fiber, but it needs to be spread out and soluble.   Not all soluble sources are approved on the diverticulitis diet, since some will only aggravate a flare up, so follow the suggested foods in Stanford's list for diverticulitis.   Non-soluble fiber, which does not dissolve (like corn, beans, and whole wheat), traveling through an irritated digestive tract is like rubbing sand on a scraped knee. It just can't heal.   Even too much soluble fiber can be as bad as a little non-soluble during this period.

Now, I'm awaiting results of a  CT Scan that was aimed at seeing if diverticulitis will show up.  I avoided an ER room trip by getting into a local gastro doc I had seen two years ago when the diverticulosis pockets were found.  It's unusual to have diverticulitis without a fever, but not impossible.

I experienced a set back this past week because, doing better, I pushed the envelop way too soon.  I should have stayed the course for a full 6 weeks, had but I got bold after successfully graduating to bits of smoked beef brisket I made in my smoker and making this awesome smoked meatloaf a week later.  I was intending to nibble on it, but I went well beyond nibbling, and used a typical 80/20 beef, and pork, blend.  I committed a second cardinal sin by including some heat to it in the form of cayenne pepper and other sources of spice that could make a healthy gastrointestinal tract shed a tear or two.  I had gone forward about 10 steps on the Standford diverticulitis diet, then back 6 a few days after enjoying this meatloaf (google smoked meatloaf recipes and you'll find wide varieties - just use a meat thermometer). Since then, I've been laying low, staying around the house, and just trying to rest and recover.  I worked from home two days last week. Thanks be to God for modern technology as this was a win-win for me, my employer, and team, that I could keep my jobs moving and feel productive.  Gut problems have a tendency to make us want to stay in the relative "safety" of home, but not incapable of certain kinds of work.

If you have those pockets, and are having symptoms, try following that diet for diverticulitis for a  couple weeks and see if it helps.  If so, stay on it for a few more weeks to make sure healing has taken place, then gradually re-introduce more fiber, including non-soluble.  I can tell you that for me, it took a full week between each improvement I felt, so it is a very slow process.  It's one of those deals that you look back one week and ask if you feel better, rather than comparing to the day before.

For my fellow Grotto-goers, this might explain why you have not seen me in recent weeks as I strived to limit my activity to focus on healing. I have a backlog of pictures that need to be edited, but it's uncomfortable to sit at the desktop that has my Adobe Lightroom software. I need to get it on my laptop so I'm not tied to that desktop at times like this.  I've slipped in and out of the shorter 6:30 a.m. Mass for a couple of weeks, and went to my territorial parish, St. Faustina, other times.

I'll feel so much better when I can eat from my smoker, but at the rate I'm going, I may have to wait for Labor Day.

Smoking: Both an Art and a Science

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