True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss – seekthebestblog

Greetings Readers!

If you read my ‘about’ page you may remember me mentioning that my father would be making contributions to my blog.

Today, he decided to share a ‘feel good’ story from his time as a conductor on the railroad.  It is important to note that this is a true story; and frankly, it is my favorite.

Enjoy!

– Gwin

The Coal Toss

     Many years ago, I was a young railroad conductor who was in charge of a train running between two major cities in the South. At that time, I had a beautiful wife and together we had two healthy children.  I felt very fortunate to be able to provide a comfortable living for myself and my family.
     Anyway, I had been working the same train route for several years so I was very familiar with the surrounding areas.  Oftentimes, I would get to know the people who lived and worked in the smaller towns along the way.  But of all of those places, one place sticks out in my mind for sentimental reasons.  Basically,  it was a tiny ragged shack where a mother and several small children lived.  I remember how the children, whose clothes were always torn and tattered, would run outside and wave to me and my crew whenever we passed by.
     When winter came, I would think about this poor mother with her children.  I thought about how cold they must have been at night.  I also thought about how warm my own children were in my home.[more]

Source: True Railroad Stories: The Coal Toss – seekthebestblog

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Bird Politics — the Ordinary Hiker

Sunday Scene

What causes fights and quarrels among you?

Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?

2 You desire but do not have, so you kill.

You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.

You do not have because you do not ask God.

3 When you ask, […]

via Bird Politics — the Ordinary Hiker

Letting You In On A Secret | BeautyBeyondBones

Letting You In On A Secret

There’s a part of my past that I haven’t really shared with you.


I’ve been pretty irresponsibly open about the anorexia in my past, but there’s also another part of my history that was equally defining, perhaps even more so. And that’s Ulcerative Colitis.

If you don’t know what that is, it is the “sister disease” of Crohn’s disease, which is more well known — they just affect different parts of the intestine. Basically, it is an auto-immune disease, meaning the body attacks itself, and it affects your digestive system. And there is no cure.

And the reason that I haven’t really shared much about this is that it is so intertwined with my development of anorexia.

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis when I was sixteen, and subsequently developed anorexia shortly afterwards – in large part because of the pain from eating due to the UC. The UC made me lose weight, as I was unable to absorb nutrients because my intestines were lined in ulcers and I had developed gastroparesis (paralysis of the pyloric valve in the stomach), but it was exacerbated by my fear to gain weight from the anorexia.

They were happening simultaneously.

Which also allowed me to use UC to my anorexia’s advantage.

Top it off with having to take literally the highest dose of the steroid, Prednisone, which made me hyperactive, and you’ve got the recipe for disaster. And fun fact, Prednisone is nicknamed the “dirty drug” because of its negative mental and physical side effects.

The thing about UC is that you go through periods of remission, and periods when you’re in an active flare, which can range from anywhere from 1 month to -as I found out, 10 months. I don’t need to go into detail, but flares are excruciating. My mom always jokes that childbirth will be nothing for me after the pain I’ve had to endure.

So I was actively flaring when I developed anorexia. The steroid did work after about 3 months, and put me into remission, but it left some long lasting effects that I still deal with to this day.

Fast forward five years later to 2012, and I started to flare again. And it was worse.

This time, I went to a different doctor. The highest rated GI doctor in the midwest. He was appalled that my previous doc had put me on Prednisone, given its dangerous side effects for young women in particular. Namely, the mental side effects, and the fact that it significantly increases your risk for osteoporosis. So he will not prescribe it.

That was music to my ears, because after the episode with it in high school, my parents and I vowed that dirty drug would never cross my lips again. #ItNearlyKilledMe

But this second flare, it was out of control. I had to move home from NYC. I was on bed rest for 10 months. Nothing was working. I went to probably 5 different GI doctors within the tristate area, I went to naturopaths, specialists. Took mega drugs, natural medicines, pills, powders, drops, homeopathic remedies, experimental drugs that were still in trials, herbs, supplements, chlorophyll. We even tried faith healing. Nothing worked. My condition kept getting worse and worse.

Hospital Visit for UC ~2012

Given that UC is an auto immune disease, in the most severe cases, the symptoms can become extra-intestinal, meaning that they show up in other areas of the body, outside of the ulcers in my intestines. During this flare, I was experiencing erythema nodosum. Google that shiz. For two months, I was getting nodules the size of oranges and grapefruits on my knees and shins, making me unable to walk. Mine spread to my forearms too. Unsightliness aside, it was also excruciating. The ulcers in my intestines also spread to my mouth, and for several weeks, the sides of my tongue became covered with ulcers, and I was unable to eat. Period. Additionally, given the fact that UC is an inflammatory disease, I would get fevers of 104 degrees, as fevers are the body’s way of fighting inflammation. Nights consisted of cold compresses to break the fever, followed by debilitating, tooth chattering chills.Things were dire. And my family and I were becoming more and more desperate as the days and weeks went on and on.

The last and final option was to undergo surgery to remove my intestines.

During all this time, I had been researching. Reading different books and looking into different studies on the internet about UC and how people have gotten better and even healed from it.

And the one thing that I had been reading – and also experiencing – was that none of the doctors were talking to me about what I was eating. None of them were talking about my diet.

Which, when I stopped to think about it, was really odd. Ulcerative Colitis is a digestive disease…shouldn’t the food I was eating be the first thing you look at?

I’m not a doctor, but that just made sense to me.

And so I got to researching.

During one of my early visits to the naturopath, he suggested that I go on the Specific Carb Diet, an anti-inflammatory therapeutic way of eating.

He explained it as a very restrictive diet: No grains, gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, beans, legumes, potatoes or corn. But although very rigid, has produced promising results in people with Crohn’s, UC, and autism, surprisingly.

But I am in recovery from anorexia. There’s no way I could adopt a restrictive diet. I do not want to be restricted again. I am free from restriction in my life. I am not going back to that place.

So I put it out of my mind.

That is, until I was facing the last option of getting my intestines removed.

So I tried it.

And you know what? It worked.

It put me out of my flare and into remission. For good.

Ten months after starting that horrible flare, I was back in NYC, living vibrantly and abundantly.

I have my health back. I have my life back. I have my future back.

And it’s thanks to the Specific Carb Diet – SCD.

But let me give credit where credit is due – I know that it was truly God who healed me.

When I told my doctor that I wanted to wait on the surgery and give the SCD a try, he “poo-poo’d” it, saying it would never work. That I was writing my own death wish. He literally said that my healing was a miracle. Something that he’s never seen.

God facilitated my healing through the SCD. And for that, I am forever grateful.

But obviously, it’s hard to talk about food on an anorexia recovery blog, when a person could look at the way I’m eating – following the SCD – and proclaim that I’m not truly in recovery, when I’m still eating a restrictive diet. That I’m a “faker.” That I’m disingenuous.

Especially given the fact that I used my UC in the past to my anorexia’s advantage.

So up until now, I’ve left it out of my story.

But the fact is, it is a huge part of who I am. And how I live my life. And the roles God and faith and trust have played in my life. And in what I’ve had to overcome.

During that time, I never lost hope. I knew that God was going to heal me. He had gotten me through my anorexia, He would get me through this flare too. He was going to teach me something, make me grow, give me a perspective that I could have only gotten through that suffering.

While I was sick, I began documenting the foods I was eating. The recipes I was making that ultimately healed me of my UC. What started as a blog for my own personal records quickly took off and developed into a pretty highly trafficked blog. I even published a e-cookbook.


But I haven’t talked about it for fear of people doubting my credibility. Doubting the authenticity of my recovery.

So I’m just addressing it head on.

Being home this week, inhabiting the setting where I have so many memories – from the dark days of my anorexia, as well as the dire days of my UC flares, I can’t help but reflect on my journey so far. The journey that hasn’t always been the road I would have chosen. But it’s the road that has gotten me to where I am today. To who I am today.

I don’t know why things happen, or why we have to endure the things that we do, but I do know that we are never in it alone.

I can safely say that I could not have gotten through those periods in my life without God. He held me up. He supported me. Gave me the grace, moment by moment to endure. And ultimately overcome.


So thanks for letting me share that with you tonight.

I know there are no funny cat gifs or flashy Ryan Gosling appearances, but you guys mean a lot to me, and you deserve to know my whole story.

Consider this one step closer to me working up the courage to fully introduce who I really am.

Sending the biggest hugs and love.

Source: Letting You In On A Secret | BeautyBeyondBones

More than “Me”

I believe I know how Adam feels. Jessica is not yet confined to bed, just her wheel chair, most of the time. But I must attend 90% of her clinic appointments and my life revolve around these.

Two Rooms Plus Utilities

It’s one of those days, a day when I know I have things to do and things that need doing, but all I want to do is go to sleep. Keeping my eyes open is hard and if it weren’t for the fact, I’ve felt like this a so many times before, I might be sitting here wondering why, but I’m not. I know that fatigue is very much part of my life, but yesterday, just like a couple of times last week, I had more than one visitor in the same day. I have known for as long as I have been housebound, that having people here exhausts me, but when I land up with a series of visitors, it totally drains me. At 9 am, the incontinence nurse was here to measure the amount of urine left in my bladder following going to the loo. For the second…

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Steps To Spring

Steps To Spring

Here is a soft pastel I did a few weeks ago.  This is a scene at Francis Park here in south St. Louis.  One of my favorite things is to combine architectural elements with nature.  This makes for an interesting contrast.  I like the structural, geometric forms, and how they interrelate with the soft, flowing elements of nature.  I also like how the light and shadows play off of one another here.  See how the tree shadows define the geometric lines of the steps, and the curb along the steps on the right?  The open space in the background adds depth and dimension, contrasting with the vertical aspect of the plant leaves on the left.

Source: Steps To Spring