Welcome to my blog...I am happy you are here! I hope this site will grow in time, and will be beneficial to you as you follow your own path to better health. Please feel free to relax a while and spend a few minutes with me as I share my gluten-free adventures with you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Setbacks and Successes

The month of September has unfolded before me like a tapestry woven with all kinds of colors -- both muted and bright, most definitely variegated -- a month of challenges, setbacks and successes so far. I am still holding on to the notion that while the road may not always be smooth, my life is beautiful just the same...and the adventure continues!

After experiencing improvement in my overall condition, my health has taken somewhat of a downward turn which is a bit discouraging to say the least. A sudden recurrence and intensification of fatigue, pain, severe headaches, weakness, stiffness, and an overall sense of illness (all of which had improved markedly since my diagnosis) has plagued me for a few weeks now. My first thought was that I had somehow ingested something that was toxic to me. But what? And how long does it take to recover, anyway? I have been so careful!

So I went to my primary care physician,  and discovered that I am indeed experiencing a Lupus flare. So what brought it on? Was it the brisket that I didn't know was marinated in beer that I ate at a wedding? Or are there other stresses in my life that have pushed my immune/inflammatory responses over the edge? We aren't sure, but Lupus has definitely raised its ugly head and invoked an inflammatory response that has taken me two steps backward instead of one step forward. However, I am determined to follow all the advice that the doctors are giving me, starting with learning to handle the stress in my life and taking each day as it comes with a positive, optimistic outlook.

As many of you know, my house is on the market and we are hopeful that a buyer will come along that will love it as much as we have. Preparing for the sale has been stressful in itself, since as a perfectionist I feel I have to make beds, clean, mop, & dust on a daily basis. But I am learning (sometimes the hard way) that my body needs rest more than my house needs to be immaculate. There comes a time in every one's life when we need to recognize that taking care of ourselves must be priority...everything else in life will eventually fall into place. It is inevitable. Nothing is suspended forever! All the worrying in the world will not change a thing - it only brings physical weakness, especially in a body that is already compromised. So I am going to eat right, take my medications (yes, even the dreaded prednisone with which I have had a love/hate relationship for many years), get lots of rest, and de-stress my life as much as possible. I intend to be the victor in this battle for my health!

I mentioned that there have been successes, and that is indeed a true statement. Gary & I are avid ballroom and country/western dancers. We got together on the dance floor, and dancing is one of our favorite things to do. Besides...I promised myself long ago (after having to relearn how to walk) that I once I was on my feet again, I would take every opportunity I could to dance until I can't. So I had a slightly better day last Friday, and since it had been many, many months since we were able to attend a dance, we decided to make our way to the LMRA dance in Fort Worth to listen to Trey and the Tritones. What a delightful evening we had! We started out at Mimi's Cafe, one of the few restaurants that truly cares about their patrons with food allergies and Celiac Disease. Darby, our waitress, was a jewel, taking special care to ensure that I received a fabulous meal with nothing that would make me sick. Then we were off to hear Trey and his band. While it would have been enough to simply sit and listen (albeit with my toes tapping constantly to the music), I actually made it onto the wooden floor as a couple of my dance buddies and my loving husband "gently" danced with me. From dinner at a great restaurant to relaxing to music from the Big Band era...definitely an evening worth remembering!

Speaking of restaurants, we are always looking for recommendations for places to eat and my sister Andrea has definitely found such a place. Imagine having the best chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy (or yummy baked potato), veggies & dessert...all on a gluten-free diet! That is exactly what she received when her husband took her out for her birthday at the Ranchman Cafe (formerly Ponder Steakhouse) in Ponder, TX. All the owner of this establishment needs is some advance notice, and he will put together a gluten-free meal fit for a queen (or king). Check out their website for more details!

Since I spend a lot of time at home and am trying to expand my culinary horizons, I am proud to say that I have also had success in the kitchen, much to the delight of my taste buds. My daughter Aimee gave me a recipe  for Skillet Fudge that she found via a book called The Road to Health (to access the Road to Health website, click here) that is absolutely fabulous. If you have to watch your sugar intake (NO refined sugar in this recipe, no sir!) but love chocolate, you will LOVE this recipe! Another success in the kitchen came as a pleasant surprise when I tried the Gluten-Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake posted on the Living Without website. For an afternoon snack or quick anytime dessert, give this one a try...mmmm, mmmm good!

That's it for now...hope to see you again soon,
Kathie Lea


  1. I'm so sorry you're having a Lupus flare-up. :( You're in my prayers!

  2. Thank you, Christy! I will be okay...this too shall pass!

  3. Hi KathieLea,

    My name is Tina Jin, the community manager for a new blogger community called Gluten Free (www.atomicreach.com/tribe/glutenfree). This is a feed powered by Atomic Reach, and features bloggers writing about being or becoming gluten free. This community will focus on food, diet, tips, advice and personal stories on the subject. I want this Gluten Free community to be a place where expert advice and tips are consolidated in one place for everyone to digest.

    If you decide to join, Gluten Free will publish the title of your posts and the first few sentences of each post. If readers want to read the full story, they’ll be pushed to your blog and give you traffic. These readers will be people who share the same passion and interests as you, which is the sole purpose of the community.

    If you’re interested in joining our community, please e-mail me back at tinajin @ atomicreach.com with “Gluten Free” in the subject line. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them.