(I've been going back and forth about sharing about a major change in my life, but have ultimately decided to share. In the past few months, I have found it very helpful to read about other's experiences, and hope to maybe help someone else who is going through this as well.)
It all started March 4th. Yes, I can clearly remember the day that my life changed. I felt a bit off, but by night, my husband wanted to take me to the hospital. I was in enough pain to think I may be one of those crazy people who didn't know they were pregnant (just to jump ahead...I have still have two children, so no that wasn't the "problem.")
I felt awful for about a week and eventually went to the doctor's office...long story short, I went to several doctors, had several misdiagnoses, a couple rounds of antibiotics, and spent a couple of months with just about every sign of the worst urinary tract infection on earth, but without bacteria.
During this, my husband went to Europe for 10 days for work. I couldn't have done it without my in-laws. I spent the whole time on the couch...I couldn't even be in bed because of the position I had to maintain to be in to be semi-comfortable. They took one child at a time so I could rest and still have someone to snuggle with, because sometimes, the best medicine for a Momma is to have a little one to snuggle.
Eventually, I got in with a physician assistant in the urology department...who sent me off for further testing and suggested I change my diet since she was leaning towards a diagnosis of Interstitial Cystitis, but had to rule out a bunch of other things first (as in cancer of about four different organs.)
So I looked up the diet...and folks it wasn't pretty.
No acid, caffeine, carbonation, artificial anything or preservatives...with the option of slowly phasing things in.
I am glad I am a person with canning experience because canning has taught me one thing...acidity...so I had a basic understanding of what has acid and what doesn't. When they say no acid, what they really mean is basically no fruit...if you can can it in a hot water bath, it is unacceptable, as in tomatoes are not an option. If it has vinegar or citric acid...it's a no-no...and anything fermented...it's a no go...lactic acid.
As for the other things on the list...this rules out the ability to have coffee, tea, chocolate, water and milk kefir, yogurt, prepackaged foods (I have a few items that I still use without too many problems, but I do have to read ingredient lists very carefully...so I just use them for convenience such as one brand of jarred pesto, some crackers, and that's about it.
She did however give me another piece of advice...if you are having a flair up (aka a bad day) have a vanilla milkshake. And another piece of advice I have never heard from a medical professional...use all the whole fat dairy you can...whole milk, cheeses, cream sauces, and homemade ice cream...they all have the "milkshake effect." They all help the bladder calm down (in fact country sister once told me her pediatrician's advice for bed wetting is to restrict dairy since it can calm it to the point where a child doesn't wake up to go.)
Lo and behold, the diet worked along with some other behavioral modifications (stress reduction, sleep, rest, and massive amounts of anti-inflammatory medication as needed.) I have never been a person to take medication and avoid it whenever possible, but some days it is the only option.
I can play with my kids, cook dinner, take a hike, and spend time in the garden and taking care of the ladies of the coop. All those things that keep me sane, are possible again.
So from here on in, the recipes will change from my front...I have found some really wonderful and tricky ways to change the traditional to wonderfully different. Spaghetti with roasted red pepper cream sauce with basil...pesto...homemade sausage anyone? Or I could go completely nuts and mix them all up like I do for my pseudo lasagna! Stay tuned...I'm going to be posting a series of Interstitial Cystitis friendly recipes!