I Have Exciting News! (Hint: Big Ears)

Kathryn Chastain Treat:

Congratulations Amy. Please share all you learn. Ask good questions.

Originally posted on Adventures of an Allergic Foodie:

My sons have shown very little interest in my blogging–except for when complimentary allergy-friendly cookies arrive in the mail. My husband likes to good-naturedly poke fun at my blogging at cocktail parties: “My wife gave up her day job to write a blog–for free.” Such a comedian, my husband.

But now they all think my blog is pretty darn cool.

You see I’m going to the very first  FOOD ALLERGY AND CELIAC CONVENTION in WALT DISNEY WORLD!!!!

I may or may not take the family . . .  they have four months to be really nice to me.

Here are the top reasons why I’m so excited about going–and why you should meet me there on November 22.

1. It’s WALT DISNEY WORLD people . . . c’mon who wouldn’t want to go to a convention in the magical kingdom?

2. I’m AN ALLERGIC FOODIE– I LOVE allergy-friendly…

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My Life With Dysautonomia

I would like to welcome Lindsay (Musings of a Dysautonomiac), my guest blogger for the day. Lindsay and I met quite some time ago as my blog was just getting started. I wasn’t that familiar with dysautonomia until I began following Lindsay’s blog.  Now I will let Lindsay explain her chronic invisible illness to you all. Many illnesses come on gradually – symptoms slowly progress over time –  unable to determine when the illness started.  However, that was not my experience.  I remember the exact day, almost the exact moment I became ill. I was at an outdoor festival on May 17, 2009 here in southern California. I was a little tired, as I had just returned from a week long work trip to Washington, D.C. the previous day, but otherwise was feeling good.  Suddenly I felt very nauseous and while I waited in line to use the bathroom, I fainted on the street. I was taken to the emergency room in an ambulance.  After numerous scans revealed no internal bleeding, I was given an IV and sent home. In the days and weeks that followed, I attempted to return to work (I’m a business attorney) but was so weak and dizzy that I was afraid to walk the ten feet from my desk to the office printer.   At home I would sometimes have to crawl to the bathroom when the lightheadedness became overwhelming. I felt like I was on a rocking boat everytime I stood up.  I was referred to doctor after doctor and ended up seeing a neurologist, cardiologist, pulmonologist, ear, nose and throat, allergist, and physical therapist, none of whom had any idea what was happening. I was diagnosed with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome, but more for an inability to find anything else to explain my symptoms. It wasn’t until February of 2011 when I was finally diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) by a second cardiologist. POTS is a form of dysautonomia, which means a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.  The autonomic nervous system controls all those functions you don’t have to think about – heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, respiration, perspiration and body temperature, among other things.  POTS is characterized by an excessive increase in heart rate when going from lying to standing. The vast majority of people with POTS are women of child bearing age. When humans stand up, gravity pulls blood down to the lower arms, abdomen, and legs.  Your body attempts to counteract the effects of gravity by increasing your heart rate and constricting blood vessels to promote the flow of blood back up and deliver oxygen to the heart and brain. However, in those of us with faulty autonomic nervous systems, this function does not work correctly and we have difficulty delivering blood back up to our upper body.  The body then almost enters a state of panic, the heart starts to beat excessively, and adrenaline may be produced.  The diagnostic criteria for POTS is an increase in heart rate of at least 30 beats per minute, or a heart rate of over 120bpm, within 10 minutes of standing. For those of us with POTS, it feels as if we are constantly running a marathon, every day. Although the diagnosis revolves around heart rate, it is just one of the many symptoms of POTS and the easiest to measure.  Other symptoms include:

  • fatigue
  • tachycardia
  • headaches
  • lightheadedness
  • dizziness
  • heart palpitations and chest pain
  • nausea
  • exercise intolerance
  • cognitive impairment (brain fog)
  • insomnia

Although these are among the most common symptoms, POTS patients can have a wide variety of symptoms. I tend to have a sensitivity to light, noise and vibrations. Because it is a “syndrome” and not a disease, most cases of POTS have a cause. Causes can include other illnesses (particularly autoimmune, lyme, mast cell diseases or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome), pregnancy, vaccinations, viral infection, serious accident or deconditioning. In fact, NASA astronauts returning to Earth develop a temporary case of deconditioning POTS after being in a weightless environment for an extended period. I still do not know definitively what caused my POTS. I’m fortunate that I’m still able to work, as many people with POTS are unable to work or attend school. However, I can only work part-time, and there are not a lot of part-time positions available for attorneys. Career advancement isn’t a priority, or a likelihood, for someone with a chronic illness.  I am often frustrated by how hard I worked throughout college and law school, just to end up sick. I can’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time before becoming dizzy and lightheaded, and can even become symptomatic when sitting for prolonged periods of time. I realize now how I took the simple act of standing for granted before I became sick.  Sometimes I become envious of the people on t.v. and in magazines who are standing, confidently, and don’t look like they are about to fall over. I don’t remember what that’s like. I’m unable to participate in many of the social activities for people my age (35) – I can’t stand around for long, so things like bars, concerts and malls are a no-go.  Loud sounds, flashing lights and vibrations can cause an exaggerated adrenaline response, so I avoid movie theaters and overly crowded restaurants. I am intolerant to heat, so beach days, hiking, or other outdoor activities are often not a possibility. I feel as if I’ve become the opposite of the fun-loving, adventurous woman I used to be. Although my symptoms are not necessarily any better than when I was first diagnosed, there is a level of confidence that comes with experience. I know my limitations and plan my activities around those limitations. The fear behind every chest pain, palpitation and blackout has been replaced with the understanding that they are just a part of my situation now. No one prepares you for what it’s like to become sick, to have your life change in a single moment. I am so grateful to all of the other health bloggers, regardless of whether they have the same illness, and to Kathryn and her book Allergic to Life for teaching me how to live with a chronic illness.  It is very comforting to know that I’m not alone. Lindsay welcomes anyone with questions about POTS/Dysautonomia to reach out to her via email. Her email address is Lindsay@dysautonomiac.com.  Please also take some time to go to her blog and learn more about Lindsay and her struggles.

What Is She Saying?

Today is day 11 of my “Spotlight” Author blog tour through Rave Reviews Book Club. I am being hosted by fellow RRBC member, Marlena Hand on her blog Life as I know It.

What Is She Saying?

I am not a part of this world
When I speak, strange
terms come from my lips
People look at me with my mask
as if I am an alien
Holed up here inside my room—
stripped bare of carpet

To read more of my guest blog post and learn what Marlena has to say, visit her blog using the link above.  Please take a moment to thank her for hosting me.

How I Got Here

Today I am honored to be featured on Notes From Tabor Lane penned by Katherine Logan.  I am so thrilled at the wonderful response I have received from my fellow Rave Reviews Book Club members in supporting my time as “Spotlight” Author. 

My life was full and busy. I was a stay-at-home mother of two teen-aged daughters.  My life was wonderful and hectic.  If it weren’t for my at-a-glance calendar I would have been lost.  I was a board member of the local elementary school, a 4-H leader, president of the PTA, and a member of a local athletic booster club for young ladies at a new high school. When I wasn’t busy with community events I was playing Bunco with a group of women that I had met through PTA..to read more of my guest blog post with Katherine, please click on the link above.  Don’t forget to take a moment to leave a comment and thank her for hosting me.

So, What’s Cooking?

Kathryn Chastain Treat:

Yes, the aroma of lamb permeates my house. It must be LDA (low dose antigen) time. Today is day 1 of my 3 critical days. It has been 7 months since my last treatment; far longer than I had planned. Originally I was aiming for May and postponed it until June. I cancelled June when my father passed and am now finally doing it. Because it has been so long, I am not sure how my body will react this go round. I get my shots tomorrow and will share with you then how it went.

Originally posted on allergictolifemybattle:

What is that smell  aroma throughout my home?  Could it be?  Dare it be?  Yes, it is the overwhelming smell aroma of lamb cooking.  Lamb in a pot for stew, lamb fat being rendered down to use when cooking my potatoes and ground lamb patties in the morning.  Yes, I am prepping for my LDA (low dose antigen therapy) treatment.  Tomorrow starts Day 1 of my three critical days.  What’s on the menu for those days?

DAY 1

Breakfast:  Ground Lamb Patty &  Organic Potatoes fried in none other than rendered lamb fat.

Lunch:  Lamb stew and a glass of cold sparkling water.

Dinner:  Lamb stew and a glass of cold sparkling water.

Snacks:  More Lamb Stew or a naked baked potato or sweet potato.

DAY 2 

(Repeat Day 1)

DAY 3

(Repeat Day 1 & 2)

WARNING! THE PICTURES YOU ARE ABOUT TO SEE MAY BE TOO MUCH…

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How Do You Celebrate The Holidays?

It is amazing being in the “spotlight” with Rave Reviews Book Club.  Today I am honored to be hosted by Loren Weaver.

Today, I have the honor to welcome Kathryn Treat to my blog for a word about her book, Allergic to Life. Kathryn is a Rave Reviews Book Club member and author. So, join the fun with Kathryn and me.

HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS?

I am sure that most of your holiday celebrations do not include your family looking like this.

Kathryn Treat Holidays

This was my first Thanksgiving after returning from Dallas and moving into my safe home. This looks more like a group of people at a painter’s convention than a family sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal. My family has done its very best to do whatever it takes to keep me from having reactions. Even if it meant wearing these lovely one-size-fits-all Tyvek suits (that one size being XXXL). These lovely Tyvek suits protected me from anything my family’s clothing might contain. to read the rest of the blog post, please visit Loren’s website at the link above.  Please take a moment to thank her for hosting me.

Just Put Me In A Potato Sack

I am excited to announce Day 8 of my “Spotlight” Author blog tour with Rave Reviews Book Club.  Today I am happy to be hosted by Kenneth Kerr .  I am enjoying basking in the “Spotlight”.

Just Put Me in a Potato Sack

I was becoming more and more depressed at the fact that I had no nice clothes to Wear—or a need to wear them for that matter. In August (2004) I wrote, “I feel bad that I have no need for nice clothes. Hell, I could almost wear a potato sack I used to love to look nice—nice outfits with my jewelry, shoes, and hair done nicely and make-up on. Now I dress shabby, my hair is a mess, I don’t wear my pretty jewelry, I don’t wear any to read more of my guest blog post, visit Kenneth’s blog and take a moment to leave a comment.

My Daughters Were Affected Too

Today is Day 7 of my Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author blog tour.  What a week it has been!  I have had the most amazing blog hosts allowing me the opportunity to guest post about myself and Allergic to Life: My Battle for Survival, Courage, and Hope.

I am privileged to be hosted today by Suzy Turner from Fiction Dreams.

My Daughters Were Affected Too

It’s like I don’t have a life any more. My heart aches for my life back. I try to
Make appearances of things being under control but they aren’t. I can’t go
anywhere with the girls (referring to my daughters). I can’t take them shopping
any more. They say they understand, that it is okay, but it is not okay to me. I
want to do things with them again. My life has been taken away from me…My
heart is breaking. I feel like a part of me is missing and that I will never
get it back.

It was hard to cope with what my life had become. I could not fathom how my illness had affected my daughters. I was so wrapped up in my own pain, my own hurt, and trying to survive that I didn’t pay enough attention to how this was affecting my young daughters and their lives….To read more of my guest post, please click on the link above.  Please take a moment to leave a comment as well to thank Suzy for hosting me.

What Your Dreams Are Saying

Today I have the honor of being hosted by P.S. Bartlett on day six of my Rave Reviews Book Club “Spotlight” Author blog tour.  This has been an amazing week as I have traveled to different blogs and made an appearance.  If you missed any of them, you can find a list of my blog tour stops on the Rave Reviews Book Club site.

What Your Dreams Are Saying

Excerpt from Chapter 45

I was rarely able to remember my dreams. But one night I had this strange dream that I had accepted a job with the city. When I arrived on my first day there was no one there. I sat and waited. Finally, people showed up with Christmas decorations. I noticed that there were no administrators. It was Columbus Day and the office was closed. I asked about the office being closed and was told  that administrators were off but everyone else had to be there. They were setting up for Christmas (a little strange since it was Columbus Day).

To read more of my guest post, visit P. S Bartlett’s blog using the link at the top of the page.

Kathryn C. Treat in “WHO’S ON THE SHELF WITH NONNIE JULES?”

Kathryn Chastain Treat:

I was featured “On The Shelf” with Nonnie Jules, president of Rave Reviews Book Club today. I also had a wonderful TWITTERVIEW chat with @danicacornell. To view the TWITTERVIEW use #RRBCSpotlightChat.

Originally posted on Rave Reviews by Nonnie Jules:

Hello and welcome to “WHO’S ON THE SHELF?” with yours truly, Nonnie Jules!  Since we are a book club, we had to offer something that included a book shelf.  A lot of interviews merely cover an author’s work or an individual’s career stories.  Here on this “SHELF,”  we get down and dirty and ask the questions no other interviewer dare ask.  We ask the questions that you want to open up a book and find the answers to on your favorite authors and fellow book club members, but no one has dared to cover them.  WE get personal!  Because when you sit on the RRBC “SHELF”, YOU are an open book!

Today I have with me on the “SHELF” our Current “SPOTLIGHT”Author,  KATHRYN C. TREAT!!!

IMG_1858NJ:  Sorry for my tardiness, guys.  I had a little scare last night and ended up in the ER, so that…

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