November Update

As we speak, I’m living in 600 sq ft with no oven, two screaming toddlers who are very upset with me and little to no will to live. The last couple of months have been so hectic that we’ve been completely overwhelmed. I’ve gone from a 2100 sq ft home, with full-time day care and supportive family around to this – practically overnight.

My husband is in the military and in August we received word that we were moving to Phoenix, Arizona, ready or not, by the end of October. We spent most of the month of September out of the country and partying as much as possible with friends we’d never see again. That left October for us to get packed, landscape/sod an entire neglected backyard, look after two toddlers, repair damages to the house, clean it, load up the cars and hit the road.

Just parenting these two kids amidst all this other crap has been almost more than I can take. They are out of their normal routine and schedule for the first time in their lives and have turned into little monsters. They demand 100% of my attention, 100% of the time and fight violently with each other if I’m busy doing something else, say, like selfishly wanting to pee in private. Every darling young woman I run into that gushes, “Oh, TWINS! I’ve always wanted twins!” I want to immediately bitch slap into reality.

I know the kids are insecure right now and their entire lives have been turned upside down, so I’m trying to cut them some slack. It’s been hard, though; we’re completely alone out here, with no support, no one to watch them so we can have a break, no playmates and nothing to take the focus off of how freakin’ bored they are, except the TV. All of our attempts at discipline seem to be failing and even taking the kids to the store is impossible without at least 2 meltdown-tantrums per child, per hour.

Mid-October we packed enough clothes and supplies to last about two months – including a crock pot, cast iron frying pans, my food processor and Vitamix – as I was told that we would have a full kitchen in the temporary lodging we’d have on the new base. Since I had so many other things to deal with, I didn’t have time to prepare any of the foods I would normally make before a road trip, including beef jerky, dried fruit, and kale chips. We barely had time to empty our freezer into a cooler and strap it to the car.

This essentially left us naked and powerless on the Generic Interstate that is the United States of America. The very first day of our road trip we were already at the end of our rope, dealing with the whining and the tantrums as well as the stress of driving and securing shelter for the night. I had kombucha SCOBYs with me, a whole organic frozen chicken, frozen lamb liver, condiments the movers wouldn’t pack like horseradish and other equally useless things like whisks. I didn’t have anything to feed my kids except banana chips. I was the one that suggested McDonald’s. That quarter pounder with cheese was one of the best things I’ve had in a long time.

The place we were supposed to stay at on base had a full kitchen, so I had packed with that in mind. I was also supposed to be filmed by TLC during our stay there, cooking and generally being Primally Domestic , so I needed things like cute aprons. However, when we got there and got settled in, we found out we could only afford to stay there for about a week and TLC had pushed us back to Season 3. All the stuff I’d packed was essentially useless.

We had to move and couldn’t find a place in our budget that had a full kitchen so we landed at a craptastic Extended Stay with a single burner, a microwave and a toaster. I’m lucky enough to have a fridge and freezer to keep the useless fucking chicken frozen. The whisks are still in the car; there just isn’t need or room for them in here.

After our initial stint at McDonald’s, we ate wheat for 2 days in a row and then began to regret it. We’ve been surviving on gluten-free bread, whatever fruit and vegetables you can eat raw, deli meats and pickles for a couple weeks now. I’ve also been eating sugar like a junkie. I’ve been trying to stay as Primal as possible, but it’s hard. My sleep has gone to shit, the kids are on me constantly and I feel completely overwhelmed. I also haven’t had the energy to exercise, something I know would really help if I could get up off my ass and just do it!

I have been fairly productive throughout this move, though, when it comes to doing biohacking regarding my HS. For a while, I had been wondering if I was one of those individuals in whom it just “disappears,” but some well-timed experiments and research have provided some valuable insight into the disease, the life cycle of hair follicles and different things that can cause problems. I’ve included all this information in the book, as well as some great tips and insights that readers have sent me over the last few months.

I’ve got 173 pages done on my book and plan on writing another 50. When I first started this process I thought I would simply combine my two blog posts, add a couple extra pages of information and publish it. As I started writing, I realized that this topic is way too big to encompass in a couple pages. I felt that I would be doing everyone a disservice if I published this book without all the information in it that you needed to beat your HS. There are a few more factors at play, other than just “finding your trigger foods.”

The reason I’m mentioning this is that I am getting emails from people every single day looking for help and I can’t write everyone back. Right now I have 54 unread and flagged comments and emails in my inbox and the best intentions to “get to them as soon as the kids go down for a nap.” Which, unfortunately, they have decided they no longer need to do. Ever.

I realize that I am one of the only sources online that offers any hope for those with HS and I am working as quickly as I can to give you the information you need. However, I won’t be able to complete this book or handle any type of consultations or even basic email correspondence until I get some sort of care for these kids. To put it into perspective, this blog post alone has taken me TWO WEEKS to write. I’m not kidding. I really wish I were.

My advice to anyone who is currently seeking help regarding HS:

  1. Educate yourself about what foods contain gluten, wheat and nightshades. If you don’t know what a nightshade is, please Google it. I can’t answer everyone’s questions about things like that. I wish I could but I just don’t have time. Find out what is in the food YOU eat. www.marksdailyapple.com www.paleohacks.com and www.robbwolf.com are great places to start.
  2. Make a list of all the OTC and prescription medications you take and Google them in addition to “leaky gut.” Healing a leaky gut is probably the most important part of putting HS into remission and there are lots of factors at play, including birth control pills and Ibuprofen.
  3. If you have a question you can’t find the answer to, do email me. Just please don’t expect an answer quickly. I will answer your email in the order it was received. We appreciate your business here at Primal Power, please stay on the line and a representative will be with you shortly. LOL

Some things you can do to help me:

  • Please send me pictures, along with your legal name and permission to use them. Let me know the name you would like me to use in the book (or I can use “anonymous”) plus your age and where you live.
  • Send me a short story about your HS, 50-200 words max. You can recount your experience regarding your personal life, surgery, interactions with doctors or what has worked for you. Again, I need a name, age and where you live.
  • I’ve been writing entire chapters in response to some of your emails, and sending you the chapter as my answer. If you’re willing to wait a little while, send me some of your questions and I’ll see what I can do.

We should be closing on our new house in a matter of weeks, so I will have some semblance of normalcy returning soon. I completed my CHEK certification in September and am now an official CHEK Certified Holistic Life Coach so I will be opening up my new business early in the new year.

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16 Comments

  1. I feel for you as you struggle through this difficult time. I just wanted you to know that many support you and appreciate you. Wishing you the best!!

    Reply
  2. Just wanted to say that I hope things get better for you. It sounds like life has turned into quite the living hello and I’m so sorry. You must take care or yourself before you can take care of others and I hopeyou’ll be able to do that soon. Do know that others care and are thinking of you. Hang in there and thanks for your post. I was wondering what happened to you. May 2013 be a much better year for you!

    Reply
  3. Toddlers were my favorite age, but no doubt they are nonstop action, especially when doubled, especially when moved.
    Lots of stress in your life right now. I hope things settle down for you soon and I know we all look forward to your completed book on a long neglected subject. Hang in there- this too shall pass!

    Reply
  4. Holy socks, that’s ALOT going on! I hope you are able to find some moments of zen in all the craziness. If you are still looking for help, check out SitterCity.com or Care.com. I know Care.com has people who make themselves available on short notice.

    Good luck with getting everything settled down!

    Reply
  5. Hi Tara, I just read your MDA success story and I am so sad to hear how much you are struggling right now. It sounds like an awful, stressful time. So many stresses all at once. I hope you can find some support for yourself. I have a toddler and think I’d die if I had two. Mine is very active – any way you could get your little guys and yourself outside and run around? Playground? Just run around the block playing tickle and chase? It sounds like you all need an outlet. My heart goes out to you.

    Reply
    • Hi Amanda,
      Thank you! I’m doing okay. I had a really stressful month but things are looking up now. Escrow closes on our house on Friday and we’ll be moving to a great big house in a nice neighborhood with a park right next door. Right now we’re in an Extended Stay right in downtown Phoenix (but not the cool part) with NO parks or ANY place to run or play within walking distance. I could take the light rail places, but Gibson is terrified of it and refuses to ride it. The kids are doing okay, but probably the biggest problem has been stopping them from running or playing in the hotel room, since the people below us are super sensitive to noise and have no problems calling the front desk when one of the kids drops a toy. I don’t like having to curtail my children’s natural inclinations to run, skip, jump and play and they don’t like it either. Also, not having a proper kitchen has been tough but I’ve been getting really inventive, and I know we only have a couple more days to go before we’re in our own home.
      If anything, this whole process has shown me how important it is to eat Primally, as it helps me mentally and with energy levels. I got some great data out of my “experiments” and have by no means fallen off the wagon, I only took a little detour. :)

      Reply
      • Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m kind of glad you’ve been taken out of the big beautiful house and put into a more apartment-type living situation. There are so many people who live daily in the environment you lived in for a short time and your experiences there can help HS and GF folks cope in their world. I really hope that any tips or tricks that you learned while (for lack of a better term) “slumming it” are added to your book! Standing at the very edge of life not being certain if you can do it *while* living in conditions that dont really condone a healthy lifestyle are just everyday life for many HS sufferers (with no “great big house in a nice neighborhood” waiting for them around the corner). I would really love to know your suggestions on how you stayed (mostly) primal throughout all the stress and non-optimal living conditions, all while wrangling children. I hope to read about it! Thanks for the consideration.

        Reply
        • That is a fantastic idea. I’m in a new house now but I haven’t forgotten how hard it was to be in the hotel. I managed to stay 90% Primal but there were some nights I was just in tears and literally couldn’t make the meals I would have made otherwise. I think this would make a great blog post and I’ll add it to the lineup. Thanks for the idea! :)

          Reply
  6. Just stumbled across your blog while looking for primal recipes and wanted to give some advice. We lived in a crappy basement apartment for 6 months with no kitchen or hot water when my daughter was a year old. A large crockpot was my savior. Pretty much everything we ate was a crockpot meal, and it was actually pretty good. You can do lots of meat, vegi dishes in one. For a simple toddler meal, I would put frozen peas and carrots, broccoli, some diced tomatoes or tomato sauce and some chicken in there. Top with shredded cheese, if you eat dairy.

    Also, for your sanity, get outside as much as possible. Spending all your time in a place you hate will only make things worse. Set up two containers of water outside for each kid, or snow or ice cubes if it is cold, and give the kids some measuring spoons and cups etc. Toddlers and preschoolers love this sort of thing. Or just go out for a walk and explore. Let the kids set the pace, so they don’t spend the whole time complaining they are tired.

    Hope things get better soon, I know I was devastated the first week of our move, but it got better.

    Reply
  7. I had to laugh at you wanting to slap someone who says “I want twins” because I have twin boys. They are constant nonstop action. I hear that from young women all the time. They think having one pregnancy and “getting it over with” is what having twins is about!

    Reply
  8. I’m also a military wife, and they’ve sort of diagnosed me with PCOS (not the biggest fan of the health care scene here). The last three years, my weight has exploded. Hair loss. Acne (Which I never had before, oh how I miss those days.). I just feel like I can’t quite get my head above water. I just learned a few weeks ago that there’s even such a thing as a Paleo diet. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be absorbing everything I can from your blog, as fast as I can. I’m ready to make a change. I’m pretty much miserable, all the time. It hurts to be this big (5’3″ and over 250). I have headaches. I can’t sleep. Stomach and digestive issues. I think depression, but I’m pretty good at being an introvert so I’m not sure anyone would notice. Even if they did, I’m pretty sure they’d be too afraid to say anything about it (moodiness). Anyway… I just wanted to thank you for sharing and putting so much time into this page.

    Reply
    • Where are you stationed hon? We’re at Luke AFB in Phx now. I really feel for you. I know firsthand how horrible the military system is, I hope they’re not pushing too many drugs on you. At least here we can go off base for appointments because the base is so small. Check out the references page I’ve got on here, I’ve got a ton of books that I’ve found really helpful. It really helps to read everything you can. Let me know if you need any help

      Reply
      • Thanks so much for taking the time to respond. I appreciate it :) We’re at Ft. Lewis, WA. I stopped taking the drugs over a year ago. I felt like I was losing my mind while I was on them (severe mood swings), and I gained weight (again). I won’t lie, I just gave up for a while. It’s been more about maintaining than changing. I will definitely scour your resources page. I spent a few hours on Mark’s Daily Apple last night, and plan on purchasing some books as well. Matter of fact, if you could suggest a few to get me started? Since you have a unique insight into where I stand medically. I’m really excited, honestly. It takes a lot to get me excited lol. I know that in some ways, there will be big changes. But, having grown up in Michigan – eating food that we’ve grown or hunted isn’t a foreign concept. And, in my traditional Polish family – we didn’t eat many sweets. We ate meat, whole meals. Food that was grown in our back yard. We’re actually moving back to MI in about a year after he completes his military service, and we’ve been looking at homes with greenhouses and chicken coops, with a little acreage. My mother in law, who has 7 acres really attacked gardening pretty seriously last year. Canning, etc. She’s planted fruit trees, gotten goats, lol. She’s had chickens for years. We’re ready to jump into a healthier subsistence lifestyle upon returning home, and I pretty much had planned on biding my time until then, but now I see that I can start now. I want to. I’ve only been actively researching for a few days, so I’m green. Nothing else has worked thus far. The only time I’ve lost weight was when I was fresh out of college, poor, living on pbj, and working out too much so I could avoid my pervy roommates. After I was engaged and moved in with my husband, I started eating more, less exercise and the weight came on in a hurry. That’s what kicked my PCOS into high gear – within a few months, I had the dark patches of skin starting to form. It’s been downhill since then. So, yeah… I’m ready. I really admire that you’re reaching out and helping others. It’s refreshing. It’s really nice to see blogs like yours and Mark Sisson’s. It lends credibility, in my book. I’m always skeptical of the “I know the magic secret to _______, but you’ve gotta buy ______ first.”

        Reply
        • I know, I HATE those websites. I never pay for the information or download that stuff. I got burned a long time ago by magazines in the supermarket that claim to have the answers on the cover, but when you get them home and read them, you find they don’t actually have any information, they’re just selling a product or reporting some stupid claim.
          I think it’s a great idea to get into a little light homesteading and return to your roots. Good books to get yourself started are the Primal Blueprint, the Paleo Solution, Breaking the Vicious Cycle (Intestinal Health through Diet) and Wheat Belly. Then, start looking into recipe books, of which there are hundreds, get your MIL to teach you how to do canning, preserving, etc. and start experimenting with fermented foods.
          With PCOS, your number one goal is to reduce your insulin. That means a fairly low carb diet, definitely no sugar for a while… Stephanie Ruper has just done a book on PCOS at http://www.paleoforwomen.com that you may want to check out.
          I’m excited for you! I loved the journey and exploration phase, it was very exciting to find out a lot of this stuff. I’m still discovering things everyday, so it never really ends. :)

          Reply
          • You rock :) I have to admit, I was so excited to learn more (on top of scouring the internet) that I went ahead and purchased some books before you’d had a chance to respond (I figured – I’ll just buy more books lol. Can’t have too many books.). I ended up purchasing The Primal Blueprint, the under 30 minute cookbook to go with it. I also picked up Rich Food, Poor Food – as well as the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook: Real Food for Real Life by
            Sarah Fragoso. I figured it was enough of a smattering to get us started at first. Spent hours reading reviews lol. Thank you so much for the recommendations – after reading more about them, I can totally see why you would. Also, the Paleo For Women website is pretty awesome. I run a military wife FB page, so I put the feelers out there to see if there were any women who had PCOS and had tried or were interested in trying Paleo. There were a few, and we’ve since started corresponding. We plan on meeting up, being a support of sorts, swapping info. I’ve passed on all the helpful info and links you’ve shared with me to them as well. Thanks so much for your time and the encouragement, we all really appreciate it!

          • I’m so glad you’re getting a community together! God knows the military wives need something or someone to help them… O_o
            Tracy Barksdale and I are are coming to Portland, OR June 29th for a Primal Transformation Seminar, that’s only 2 hours away from you! We’re offering a 15% military discount so if you could get a couple people together and head down, it could be life changing. I hope to see you!!! I’ve put a link to the seminars on the right hand side of my main page, check it out and let me know what you think.

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