Bye-bye Clindamycin and Rifampicin. It’s been a pleasure.

It has been an amazing 9 weeks. I have seen an improvement in my Hidradenitis Suppurativa that I never thought I would. I’ve been living pain-free for weeks. I’ve worn my bikini lots and lots. I’ve spent evenings in the hot tub on holiday. With no daily swelling, I’ve found my trigger foods easier to spot, any little flare being noticeable. I’ve enjoyed nights and days off this crazy diet with little impact to my HS.

I’ve been living!

So now, I’m getting ready to say goodbye. Goodbye to Clindamycin and Rifampicin. My little security blankets in tablet form. My little silver linings. Goodbye to the guarantee that I will have consecutive days of no pain. Goodbye to cheating on my diet.

Guess what? I’m super scared!

I am trying to get it into perspective. I have made progress on working out triggers. I’ve had a long period of nearly 100% remission. I’ve had an even longer time with no open lesions. I’ve found a temporary fix that I may be able to use for future holidays or situations where I think I may not be able to stick to my diet. I have made progress on accepting my new eating habits – although sometimes I feel I am a long way from being fully committed to paleo eating! I have organically phased out certain foods that I believe will very, very rarely – if ever-  pass these lips again. Above all, I have enjoyed my physical freedom and am grateful for being able to once again, experience pain-free living.

Many of you have said that it will be fine. So long as I stick to the diet, I will stay in remission. I’m hoping so. The problem is, life is always getting in the way. Due to the storm damage, I no longer have a freezer. I have lost all my homemade chicken stock, fish stock, coconut milk, bones and gluten/sugar-free goodies I had made and frozen. I have a Campingaz stove instead of a proper stove top/hob. I am in the middle of moving house again – the second time in 6 weeks. I have a second job interview for a 22 hour post – minimum. I need to find a child-minder. I have a super active 2 year old and a very teenage 10 year old! I am dealing with all of life’s hiccups and obstacles in a foreign language. This is enough to make anyone lose their cooking mojo, right??!

To deal with all this, I am trying to focus on staying prepared as much as possible. I’ve been making an excess of food at dinner to ensure I have plenty left over to eat for breakfast or lunch. I am eating plenty of fruit (I am not about to make any inroads on this sugar dragon with this level of stress!). I am looking at lots of lovely recipes of all the foods I can eat. I am reading my lovely new Digestive Health with Real Food book, to remind myself why I am eating like this.

Despite all my efforts and due to the chaos we are living in, we are still having take outs on occasion. I still try to avoid things that I know will really aggravate my HS. However,  I’m sure once I’m off the antibiotics, these foods will cause me big problems, if I were to eat them as often as I am now. That’s what scares me. Just a day or two of undisciplined eating could send me back to those dark days of pain.

On the positive side, I will be antibiotic free. My stomach will be normal again. I won’t feel lethargic anymore. I won’t be reminded by my Inner Hypochondriac that I am slowly poisoning myself to death. My feet will stop peeling. Certain other parts will stop itching! My body flora will be graciously returned to its natural state – although I’m sure it’ll be awhile before I get a good balance back!

In al, I will have achieved what I set out to achieve – a clean slate to start afresh with. No leaks, no spots, no swelling.

I have been free and I have enjoyed it. Every. Single. Day.

One week left of this free ride, then it’s back to business. Better get my head back in those books!

Home sweet home.

We’re home!

I made it through and did not run out of salad, nor starve. I had a lovely time, although I did spend an inordinate amount of it preparing salad for seven people every meal!

Serving up my famous roasted sweet potatoes, grated ginger, cumin and garlic…

I did cheat a little, but I didn’t suffer too badly. I definitely felt the effects of having some wine and cheese, with the inflammation getting quite bad towards the end. Everybody was super accommodating and I really didn’t feel like my diet had too much of an impact on anyone else, which was a relief.

A little reading break at the Beach Library…
Definitely not wearing my bikini in this one!

The weather was crappy and the boys only got to surf a few times. It was so cold, that there were no bikini moments – another thing I was dreading! I had bought a lovely pair of bikini surf style, short shorts for the occasion, so that I could wear bikini bottoms underneath with all my dressings, too. I know when the time comes, I’ll still be paranoid about wearing a tight fitting pair of shorts. C’est la vie!

When everyone had ice cream, Nina and I had sorbet, which was delicious. I really savoured those junk food moments, knowing that it would all have to be very worth it for the consequences that would follow!

We had to have the apartment clean, sheets laundered and be out by 10 am Sunday morning, so thought it would be easier to clean up Saturday and spend the last night at our place – just an hour’s drive from the apartment and on the way home for the others. We packed up, cleaned up and Mr B and I headed home with the bubba, whilst Ty and the others spent a few hours at the lake.

Our holiday roomie, Elliot – what a beauty!

We got a BBQ on the go and finished up with plenty of good wine. A plus for me was that I had everything unpacked, put away, washing on and all back to normal by Saturday evening – a day earlier than expected.

Back in the tiny kitchen, marinating the pork chops for the Barbie.

So overall, it went well. I had to resort to painkillers by the end of the week, but only in the evening before bed. I had one incident of a little stomach distress, after treating myself to some 85% Lindt chocolate. Another downside to avoiding certain foods, is that your body quickly develops an all round intolerance to them. From having an iron stomach for my whole life, I am now lactose intolerant. I did eat nearly the whole bar of chocolate, so perhaps I went just a little overboard…

Now I must prepare for my little trip to UK.  I fly out Tuesday with the wee one, so I need to get myself ready for holiday part deux….

All images © 2013 Leila Bodros. Not to be used, copied or redistributed without express permission from Leila Bodros.


A trip away from my comfort zone.

I’m a little unnerved this week for two reasons.

Firstly: there are two bank holidays – tomorrow and the next day.

For those who live in the UK, you’ll know this normally means epic panic buying by most of the nation, who are compelled to stock up like there is going to be a war/food drought. I went shopping the day before yesterday and there was hardly anyone in the store. Maybe I was a day early or maybe in France, as they are used to the supermarkets being shut on a Sunday, they just buy their normal shopping, safe in the knowledge that unless we really piss North Korea off, we will all be able to go and buy our usual food on Friday. In any case, I set about my shop like a true panicked Brit, wondering what someone who only eats fresh food does when all the shops are shut?? Cue, a little more panic and then huge stockpiling of salad making ingredients….rocket, iceburg lettuce, radishes, cucumbers, carrots, apples, lemons, limes, oranges, olive oil. My trolley looks like I am about to open a restaurant for rodents, but my panic is subsiding. I’ve bought the lemons, limes and oranges to make a three citrus fruit vinaigrette after my reaction to vinegar (or was it the artichokes? Who knows?!) I plan on making a whole jar of it, so whenever I fancy some more salad, I’m good to go.  This time of year and with a little vinaigrette, I can eat piles and piles of salad. I also buy plenty of tinned mackerel, veggies and soya stuff for the wee one. I know soya products are no good, but I feel my hands are a bit tied as she’s lactose intolerant and I can’t find any other substitutes here. The reason I’ve bought yoghurts leads me to reason number deux….

We’re going on holiday.

I don’t mean an all-inclusive fortnight in the sun with no kids, but a lovely coastal, family holiday just an hour’s drive from here, in a self-catering apartment. We are going with 2 other couples, their baby and a dog. They are a lovely combo of French, Brazilian and Ecuadorian and are bound to bring plenty of milk products like yoghurt, that I’ll need to substitute when the little bubba spies them. I am happy to get away, but a little bit apprehensive. Not only will I be away from my (tiny) kitchen, but I will be sharing meals with four other people. I don’t think my diet is too restrictive – I can make delicious huge main meals that everyone can enjoy. However, I am worried about the little things that others may notice, like turning down cheese, bread and wine or eating a cooked plate of courgettes and mushrooms for breakfast, when everyone else is eating cereal. The worst fear is having to say no to a dish because it has an ingredient that I can’t have. We have all agreed to bring food for two main meals, but we’ve also said not to worry too much about my dinners as I will bring extra food just in case. It’s just annoying to be different though or make others feel like they’re excluding you, right?

Anyhow, I have bought enough food to see me through – pretty much for the whole 5 days. I am thoroughly prepared and pretty organised, if I do say so myself. I have made my vinaigrette, we’ve packed the drill and hammer to open the coconuts and there is enough stuff to see that we live comfortably for the duration of our stay. I’ve been packing and repacking, making sure I have all my dressings and medicines, cleaning the house, tackling the ever-growing pile of washing and organising the girls.

I’m exhausted. Holiday, anyone??