Change of Season

 

sprouts sprouting

(This is a post I wrote over a year ago, in April of 2013. The information is still relevant)

Hello my dear Reader!

I’m sorry for the silence. I went back to Mayo Clinic… and there have been some changes. There were a lot of funny moments, most of which led up to the discovery that I have hyperadrenergic POTS

Which could be a good thing, because I looked in the mirror the other day and noticed a vague resemblance to a Teddy Graham.

teddy grahamWell isn’t that just disgustingly adorable.

I could just eat you up.

But I can’t. Because there is gluten inside of you.

I actually had something really hilarious happen when getting my MRI. They gave me something horrible to drink with lots of glucose in it, and just as they tell me to hold my breath and hold still to take the picture I got the hiccups!!

Getting-rid-of-hiccups arthur

 

Lets just say it wasn’t the most opportune timing.

This was about a month ago now, but I’ve been quiet since it’s been a lot to handle. A bunch of my medicines got changed. Well, actually all but two. Plus I’m now supposed to exercise 40 minutes of cardio using my legs and then work on my core and upper body. I could manage that. What drove me nuts was the fact that my pillow had to be up 6 inches and I had to go gluten free for a month.

the scream painting

 

Yeah. “The Scream” by Edvard Much has nothing on my horror. Just to clarify, I like to bake. A great deal. I enjoy making dinners, but confectionary delights are my joy. And wheat is a crucial part of that airy, crumbly, delicious process.

Oh, I tried. Don’t get me wrong. I tried. I bought all the right gluten free flours from Bob’s Red Mill. I ate spaghetti squash when the cravings got bad. I even tried to bake. A few of Pie’s descriptions for my baked goods were:
“This tastes like Hobbit feet”

hobbit-feet1

“What are you feeding me?! A 100 year old potato that’s still in the ground??”

Needless to say, she was not impressed. You have to be on a pretty intense learning curve and the mistakes are… inedible. For those of you who have sadistic doctors, this is a list of websites my gluten free friends gave me.

http://www.glutenfreecookingschool.com/archives/gluten-free-soy-free-all-purpose-flour-mix/ (if soy isn’t an issue, you can sub sorghum for soy since it’s easier to find)
http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2008/02/best-vegan-baked-mac-cheese.html (glutenfreegoddess is a great blog, so many different options and they’re usually delish)
http://www.landolakes.com/recipe/1470/chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies-gluten-free-recipe (this one, if I remember right came out rather well, def the best of my cookie tries at normal cookie consistency)
http://www.cookingquinoa.net/ (quinoa blog with awesome recipes)
http://www.celiac.com/articles/21679/1/Pumpkin-Chocolate-Chip-Cookies-Gluten-Free/Page1.html (this is a good website if you’re gluten free, because celiacs can’t fudge or they’re in serious trouble, so it’s a good site to keep on track)
http://glutenfreehomemaker.com/2010/01/gluten-free-snickerdoodles-perfect/ (I think these came out the best of all my cookies, except maybe the pumpkin ones but how can you beat pumpkin?)
My favorite bread mix was by Pamela. It’s a brand thats pretty common, you should be able to find it at Trader Joes, Sprouts, or some other natural food store. Don’t do Bob’s Red Mill mix. That’s what prompted the 100 year old potato remark. Also, buy rice or almond crackers. I had no idea how frequently I reached for crackers until my entire pantry was off limits. The only flour I ended up liking was ground almond flour. It’s sweet and nutty without being overwhelming. Also, it manages to cut some of the acidic taste in the other flours. Stay away from pure coconut flour unless combined with something else. It makes the mixture SUPER chalky and grainy. Granted, I may have just been using it wrong. Anyways, if you have to go on this for any reason, good luck and God bless you. This was my own personal 9th level of hell. I was cranky and lethargic ALL MONTH LONG. So, whoever says that going gluten free makes you energetic and lose weight is someone I hope I never meet. They made me angry.
cute angry kid
Granted, the whole having to sleep with my head up super high might have contributed to the sleepiness. Nah. I’ll just blame the lack of gluten.
awkwardly sleeping cat
I think the whole thing would have been easier if I hadn’t just started eating things I liked again. Milk, chocolate, fiber, anything besides rice had been gone for a few months. I don’t know. Sometimes it just seems in POTS that as soon as something heals up it has to go berserk again. Pie once described POTS as “A day on repeat that got lost in translation” and it’s pretty true. It’s hard wanting to know the meaning about why you don’t feel well that day. It’s also hard knowing that just because you’re tired today doesn’t mean you’ll feel better tomorrow. Even if you sleep well, take all of your meds, and don’t pull the cats tail. There’s no such thing as karma in a POTS life.
So who else is diagnosed with not only POTS, but a super-special rare kind of POTS? If so, tell me about it! Honestly, my version explains some things, like the anxiety that happens when my adrenaline just leaks all over the place for no good reason. I’d love to hear from other exotically diagnosed individuals, but until then,
Be well!
Teddy
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Studying Sprouts

Teddy: Hello Everybody! Well, here in University-ville, it’s midterm season. This involves a campus devoid of student life (because everyone is in the library) and a sudden spike in that likealittle website (since everyone is bored out of their minds). So… with a Biology 221 midterm, English midterm, History test, and two papers, my new favorite game has been how to not fall asleep. That is easier said that done, so I made a short list of things NOT to do, in order to stay awake.

Avoid

1. Listening to Iron & Wine. Or the Swell Season. Or any other soft music that I enjoy.

2. Reading French Literature. I don’t care how good it is. It is conducive to zonking out.

3.Re-create pebble games that died out in the Mesolithic Era. This was for archaeology. I decided to become an anthropological Sherlock Holmes with no prior training. My friends have been asking me to shut up about the pebbles for days. May this be a warning.

So I know what you’re thinking, I’ve just banned you from doing all of your daily plans in one fell swoop. Not so, dear readers, not so. For, I, beneficiary that I am, have been busy. Busy doing domestic-like things. It is an odd part of college that you actually have to * gasp* pick up yourself. Most people hate it, but I think the German in me has decided to manifest itself in a love of tidiness. I didn’t ike this when sharing a room with Pie. I would like to take the time now to apologize for my wordiness and long winded sentences. It happens when I’m sleep deprived and have been studying for days. I’m working on rectifying this. Honest.

*Clears throat* Anyways, in order to study for the long hours necessary for my classes I needed to create a good working environment. This advice is mostly for college students out there, but certain aspects can be used for our dear high school compatriots : ) So first off, clean your desk. And room. I can’t study unless my space is clean, so it’s a good idea to use a free Saturday morning before test week to clean. Do not stop until your desk looks like this:

Yes, my preferred method of cleaning books is stacking. It annoys my poor mother to no end. But look how much room you have in FRONT of the books! Next, I sweep the floor. I prefer studying on the floor so my papers can have the space they require, and the dust bunnies are not very helpful. Or sanitary. Unless they look like this.

Then they’re adorable! But my dust bunnies do not look like that, so they must be banished. Sweeping takes the longest because you have to stay upright for so long. I always get a bit dizzy, so give yourself plenty of time.

Now that your room is neat and pristine, I like to advocate plants and flowers! My personal goal is to have a house like the one features in Utada’s music video “Baby Come Back to Me”. She’s gorgeous and her outfits are worth watching by themselves, but the PLANTS! *teddy swoon* I love gardening, but having that many plants in a dorm room simply isn’t feasible. At least not now. Give me time. So, to brighten up my room, I planted a bunch of paper-white bulbs. They’re daffodils and smell lovely. They’re ridiculously easy to grow too, just stick them in a pot of water and pretty pebbles and put it in a window! Pie is a potter, so she let me have some of her old pots. First they look like this,

Then, give them about a month,

And finally, these darling little blossoms come out!

It’s in the narcissus family, and I could go into the Greek myth about it, but I won’t bore you with that. I have about three pots of these scattered about my room. They’re the perfect spring time flower! I also have an orchid that is currently re-blooming in a scandalous shade of pink, so my room is rather cheery. Gardening helps me cope with stress, and I advocate it strongly. Orchids are a little complicated and expensive if you’re not accustomed to growing things, so I don’t recommend them for beginners. Paperwhites are cheap and easy to grow. You can get them at any nursery in the spring time! You might be thinking, “I’m sick and stressed out of my mind, why would I want to take on another responsibility?” It’s a valid question. But, they’re very similar to my journal, Bleddyn. They give me a little joy throughout the day, something everyone needs and deserves. Some other good beginning plants are succulents, since they don’t need watering every day. I prefer the ones that do though, it gives me a routine I can stick to. Legumes are fun to grow as seedlings, they have these adorable little curly tips. Hmm, that might be my next plant!

Pretty cute, eh? I think that I might have to hunt down an old tea pot…

I will not go into the mundane world of studying methods. I just finished midterms and I don’t fancy reliving them. But, for those of you still in the thick of it, carry on! You will be victorious. In the end. I’m off on spring break and going home! Ah, what a blessed word! Back to gardening with dad (time to plant the vegetables!), reading in the haystack, and of course curling up with Pie, accompanied by a good movie and some tea. Perhaps, we will manage to do a joint project or two while I’m home! You never know : )

Be well!

Teddy

Music & Mushrooms

Teddy: So a mushroom walks into a bar and takes a seat.

Pie: STOP, noNoNO!

Teddy: The bartender turns to him and says, “sorry we don’t serve your kind here.” and the mushroom says, “why not? I’m a fun guy!”

Pie: WHY WOULD YOU TELL ME A JOKE ABOUT A FUNGUS? You know I don’t like mushrooms!

Teddy: On that note, hi : ) Well, I briefly toyed with the idea of calling this “Pigs and Playlists” but thought “Music and Mushrooms” was more to the point. Besides, who wants to hear about pigs? Anywho, I have had several days that I’ve felt totally normal. Well, mostly normal. Aside from the medicine, morning broth, and stuff. And when that happens, I completely forget that I’m sick (until someone tells me to walk up a flight of stairs or something). But I’ve hung out with friends, gone to parties, stuck out my tongue to catch rain drops in a storm, and had almost no homework. So, basically, this was a good Teddy weekend. There are plenty of bad ones, so it was a particular blessing. Not only that, but a ton of good music has come out recently. My favorite female singer of all time, Adele, came out with her new album 21. It’s fantastic. And, another favorite band, The Decemberists, had an album this spring called “The King Is Dead”. Which, in true Decemberist fashion, is morbid, happy, and corny all at once. So with all this awesome energy, I began to compile a list of songs that fill me with joy. I love sad music, especially when it’s quiet and poignant. But no matter how much I love The Swell Season, I don’t think it necessary will make everyone happy just by listening to it (except for its sheer beauty that is). So Pie and I made lists of our favorite songs that make us happy, even on our terrible days. Hopefully, our dear readers will get get some pleasure out of them as well!

Teddy’s Happy Songs List (In no particular order)

1. You Make My Dreams by Hall & Oats. Yes it was on the 500 Days of Summer soundtrack. Yes Joseph Gordon-Levitt begins dancing in my head every time I hear it. You still wonder why it makes me happy?

2. This is Why We Fight by the Decemberists. It’s like a call to arms. It’s a good song to walk epically to.

3. You Belong Here by Anberlin. Someone should play this after they get married, or at the end of a movie. It gives me the shiveries.

4. Firework by Katy Perry. Yes it is pop. But, it’s the type of pop that makes me want to go and change to the world, so it is thus acceptable.

5. Blind Mary by Gnarls Barkley. It’s sweet, and so up-beat. Just listen to it.

6. Dog Days Are Over by Florence + the Machine. Her entire album is splendid, but this song stands out as one of the few truly happy ones. The day I realize I’m over POTS I fully intend to play it. Over and over again.

7. Secrets by OneRepublic. The last of the pop crap : ) I adore their first album, but it wasn’t happy. This song is filled with joy.

8. Not Alone by Darren Criss. Ok, Pie and I will devote an entire entry to A Very Potter Musical. It’s probably our favorite silly thing. For those of you who have not seen the splendiferous youtube musical, he is also on Glee. But the song is like he is singing in your ear, comforting you. Plus, we could all use a reminder that we’re not alone.

9. Defying Gravity from Wicked, the Broadway musical.  It’s inspiring. The musical isn’t the most profound thing I’ve ever watched, but the message is good. Plus, their vocals are superb.

10. Nothing in My Way by Keane. My favorite band in this world, though I am the only one who still enjoys them. They have 3 albums and 2 EPs that are brilliant. Then they sold out, in a big way. But, I’m in denial about all of of that and continue to love this song especially.

11. Run by Snow Patrol. I really can’t think of a description. Listen to the darn thing and you’ll understand.

12. Numb by Marina & the Diamonds. It is her eternal misfortune to have produced an album the same year as Florence. They target the same listeners, but Florence is a bit better. That being said, this song is verifiably one of the best of the album. I adore it, and you will too.

13. Grace Kelly by Mika. We’ve all heard it. It’s hilarious. Plus, it’s amazing to sing to, give it a go. I’m practically tone deaf and I still belt it out 😛

14. Home by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. Just found this song recently, though it’s been out a while. It’s a love song, which I usually don’t like. I mean, there are so many awesome things in this world to sing about besides love. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now. This song makes me melt into a puddle every time I hear it, literally. It’s like an indie/alternative song had a baby with a country song. It’s the only way I can describe it. Just, AGH! So cute!

15. Razia’s Shadow by Forgive Durden. I’m cheating on this last one, because it’s an entire album. Not just any album though, it’s a rock opera. On a recent bad day, I listened to it on repeat and it completely calmed me down. The lyrics are intricate and the music is completely divine. Give it a shot, even if it’s not your normal cup of tea.

 

Pie: It is true….mushrooms are not on my list of favorite things 😉 This week has been a bit of a whirlwind for me and its been mentally and physically quite a ride. What I still find amazing is that after a really horrible day due to POTS, lack of sleep, grumpy teachers, and testing I was surrounded by so many good things to counteract them. I came home crying after talking to one of my teachers (this is one of those moments when you are in your car and you feel like you are in a crying scene from a movie) my amazing Mother hugged me a talked me through everything. I also had a huge tennis match that day (and we all know how hard it is to feel good after crying and feeling your sickness take its toll) but despite all of that I won my match by saying ‘I want to win, I am going to win’ I seriously looked like a nutcase talking to myself. My friends, coach, new music and parents helped me survive a bad POTS day. This post isn’t about my weird mumblings and car crying though (you are missing out!!) Teddy and I constantly sing to each other or write lyrics on each others facebook walls. When I used to nap everyday I would listen to music to help me sleep and I love the feeling of slowly drifting back to awareness and having one of those perfect simple moments listening to the songs inner meaning that you would have never caught. I have a lot of songs that play my heartstrings in ways like nothing else on this earth can. Like Teddy, I too like songs that are slow and sad. Songs that you feel a connection to through lyrics intertwined with a mesmerizing melody. Please enjoy my fellow mushroom haters…….(if you don’t hate mushrooms….well I guess I can make a small exception ❤ )

Pie’s Favorite Happy Songs ❤

1. Fix You by Coldplay. This song makes me cry! (I am sounding like such a cry baby in this post!)  “When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep, stuck in reverse.” When I think about POTS I think of this song, it gives me the hope that lights will guide me home and ignite my bones and my fatigue will be washed away.

2. Lost by Anouk. A beautiful song about a woman who is heartbroken that the man she loves does not love her (isn’t that so surprising?). She feels her world melting in all around her and she feels her path has been shaken and now she is lost.

3. Things You’ve Never Done by Passenger. This song has been replayed over and over on my ipod, computer, and brain.

4. I Am Not A Robot by Marina and the Diamonds. I must admit, I have never heard a more unique and intricate voice before. Teddy had to urge me to keep listening to it until I liked it….and now I love it.

5. Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machines. Lyrics=beauty. Melody=strength. Voice=Perfection. I can’t seem to get enough of this song, it makes me want to hold onto her words and keep them in my heart.

6. When the Sun Met the Moon by Panic at the Disco. I LOVE THIS SONG! It makes me so happy! It makes me want to get up and dance ❤

7. Half Life by Imogen Heap. If this is your first time hearing the name Imogen Heap, you have been deprived as a human being and I recommend seeing a therapist as soon as it’s humanly possible. (warning sad song!)

8. Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop by Landon Pigg. An innocently adorable song. I think the title explains the theme of this song.

9. Life Left to Go by Safetysuit. I fell in love with Safetysuit’s ENTIRE album. Teddy and I bought the whole album because we couldn’t love one song without loving them all.

10. That Green Gentlemen by Panic at the Disco. Another great song that is just amazing! “Things have changed for me…and that’s okay!”

11. For Good by Wicked. I adore this song, my best friend and I have decided this is our song. It’s so adorable.

12. If I Had You by Adam Lambert. I can’t NOT dance to this song. I request it at every school dance ( I am not even kidding )

13. Get Back To Hogwarts by A Very Potter Sequel. This is from a musical dedicated entirely to HARRY POTTER! Nothing compares to Harry Potter We all know that!

14. Bravest Man I Ever Knew by Ministry of Magic (MOM). Teddy and I are proud Potter nerds.

15. Someone Like You by (the absolutely brilliant) Adele. Her new album is out!!!! I saved the best for last. I sing this song basically every time I am in my car. Who doesn’t love great lyrics and a singer with a voice to die for?

Teddy: Oh, and a huge shout out to Sleepless Vigilante. I was having a bad night and she distracted me enough from my anxiety attack so I could sleep. She played this game with me where she would ask me my favorite things. So, if you have a friend who gets anxiety attacks, text them and see if it helps. She was a total blessing for me that night. A link to her blog is here: http://sleeplessvigilante.wordpress.com/

Teddy&Pie: Thank-you reader for tuning into another one of our posts. They are brilliant songs and we hope they make you as happy as they made us. Please for our sake have an amazing sickness free weekend full of fun 🙂 Until next time!

Love,

The Misses Pots aka…..TEDDY AND PIE!!

Free-writes and Caffeinated Owls

 

Pie: Hello again 😀 It’s been a while! Thank-you saintly person for reading our blog. It’s really great to know we have people reading this (and hopefully getting some enjoyment out of it too!) The idea for this particular post came out of the blue, in my english class we have 5 minute freewrites (when you write about something for 5 minutes). Now normally I find these so called “freewrites” quite boring they make me yawn and my mind wander back to my warm bed. This freewrite was different. I started pouring out phrases that really made no sense while I was writing them. Like the  Beatles said,

“Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither while they pass they slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me.”

I’m not trying to say my words hold a candle to theirs, but my words came out freely. When I wrote my freewrite I realized that the experiences that I was making up were actually my experiences in dealing with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It was a bit odd to unknowingly write something meaningful without realizing it. This freewrite explains how my life has changed through being sick better than I think I could have attempted to explain through a different approach. Like Teddy explained in her last post about how great writing in a journal can be. Writing can help get bottled up feelings released. Same as reading can, or singing or dancing. Anything that you enjoy to help you not  concentrate on the hard days. The good days are what matters, whether they are often or far between. This freewrite means a lot to me…..It’s hard to post this actually, because it’s really personal. But that’s what this post is about! Being able to relate to one another through realistic experiences. So please enjoy!

I fell into a liquid vacuum. It sucked me up and rearranged my way of thinking. I forgot how to remember, I lost my way, I fell into the nothingness, I sunk into the sky, I dropped my heart and I ran forwards and was pushed back. Sinking into the cold eerie light underneath my leather footwear. No explanations, no destination. The only options, to keep moving, keep pushing, and to keep trusting in the nothing of the everything. I was left to exist, but I chose to defeat. Defeat the choices I was forced to make. Choices that are made for you are lies in disguise. Reasons masked up to look correct and right. Lies were fed to me by the hands of an imposter I call sickness. I’ve forgiven but I have yet to forget. It’s unlikely they did the same. In my heated anger I became unfamiliar to my own recognition. I lost what I knew and forgot what I wasn’t. Sickness views and watches what I have become. A child left to fight off an invisible force. Mechanical and robotic they attempt to destroy, while I fight to live. I beg you to do the same. Their masks will dissolve and reveal their vulnerability. No mask will be found upon my soul. They have ripped mine off to leave me raw and unprotected. I have a world to gain and nothing left to lose. What if I refuse, refuse to be their ideal victim? Will their galaxies fade and their motivation turn to dust like mine did? A ticking clock will be my answer. I am more powerful than these masked terrors. I will leave them like dust in a bloodthirsty desert. I will say to them, ‘How does it feel to be defeated by your prey? No longer will you control me! I have fought and I will win. Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome I will defeat you. I will reclaim my wishing stars, dreams, loves, aspirations, hopes, beliefs, values, heart, mind, soul, body, independence, strength, being and life. I will never be fooled by your cruel ways again.’

So, thats what a freewrite is! Now if someone says do you know what a freewrite is? You can say PSH YES! This post is a tad too depressing for me. I am sorry if you were wanting to read something more entertaining. My point in this post is for you to keep the bigger picture in mind. Even though I am still struggling with this sickness I am not letting it take over. POTS will not win because I won’t let it. This is the same thing for anyone fighting a disease or sickness. Keep an open mind, and enjoy the life you are given. For better for or worse we are all unique. This is something that has changed me and helped sculpt me to the person that I am and will become.

I am going to totally copy Teddy and put in a funny video at the end of this (serious) post. Because our blog is about making the best of a hard situation! As you know, Teddy and I are HUGE animal lovers so when we came across this video it was an instant hit. Teddy and I quote movies, videos, books, and t.v. shows like it’s going out of style. This video holds some of our favorite lines to quote. My Mommy (yes I said Mommy ❤ ) even quotes it. She will say ALLAN ALLAN ALLAN around the house if she wants to get a laugh out of me 😀

Honestly who doesn’t love dentist monkeys, Michael Jackson birds, a good game of nighttime daytime, beat-boxing chipmunks, consciences, and caffeinated owls? They are a must in my household! Thank-you once again for reading my fellow blogger! Have a splendiferous day!!

Love,

Pie