Wednesday, May 28, 2008

An update, if you care.

So, here's an update on the back.

It's apparently not from a herniated disk, although no one would give me an x-ray.  I've gotten all sorts of verdicts, like the one mentioned, muscle inflammation, or something with the sciatic nerve. 

To me, it just feels like all of the above.  

What I've learned:

-Back pains are often undiagnosable and, in the end, no one knows jack shit.
-It's expensive to try to find out what the hell is wrong with the spinal area.  
-Everyone has their opinion about the cure.  

Here's what I've been suggested and tried:
- Sulfur pills (I don't think it's working.)
- Massage (Maybe it was the skill of the masseuse, but it didn't work.)
- Daily exercise (Sometimes it makes it worse, sometimes it makes it better.)
- Rest (Like the exercise, it can make it better, and it can make it worse.)
- Mangosteen juice (I don't think it's making any difference, but it's yummy!)
- Less meat and shell fish (I haven't really eaten any thing in this category, but since I really never did, I don't have a basis of comparison.)

The only thing I can say for sure is that staying stationary is the worse.  I had to stand with little movement for 4 straight hours for a work event last week, and that induced the worse pain since I've hurt myself.  The funny thing is, after I walked around for a little bit, it got slightly better.  I have to say though, it hasn't felt the same since.  

The other thing I've learned is that I have to be patient.  Patience used to be a great asset of mine but I've realized that I only have patience for other people.  I have practically none for myself.  

Ah, such is the process of being wiser with experience, I suppose.  All I want to do is whine like a kid, though, which I've successfully done here, so I'll stop and leave you all for now.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


So basically, my back pain might actually be a legitimate injury.

I was told today by my chiropractor that there might be a small chance that I have a herniated disc.  He wants to observe it for one more week to make sure.  I'm trying to get an X-ray.  ASAP.

FUCK!  This means, even more time of no running!  

Word to the wise:  TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES!!

I really really really really really really really really REALLY hope it's not something like that.  I really hope it's just some muscle inflammation and that it will all go away soon. 

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

My body is like a volcano

because it is currently filled with sulfur.

That is the result from my visit to the chiropractor today.

I hate doctors. Ok, I don't hate doctors, but I don't like going to the doctors. It's a hassle, and you almost aways come out with some bottle of pills in your hands, and I HATE (yes, that is a definitive hate) taking medicine. I don't believe pills cure everything, and I also simply just forget taking them.

When my back pain started 2 and a half weeks ago, I didn't think much of it in the beginning. But I decided to take action when it started interfering with my running, and let me tell you, I was DRAAGGGGIIIINN about going to the chiropractor. If there's anything I hate more than taking medication, it's taking pain killers, and I did NOT want to go home with some fancy name for muscle inflammation and a bottle of Ibuprofen.

I am happy to report, though, that I do not have any pain killers in hand. Nor do I have a fancy name to label my pain. Instead, I have orders to take 8 capsules of organic sulfur and stay off shellfish and meat. HoWHAAT in the name of Spinal Tap do sulfur and Surf and Turf got to do with back pains?

Apparently, there are different types of causes when it comes to pain in your muscles and joints. One is from an injury. Usually, there is an event, and you or your chiropractor can physical tell that there is something off. The other is caused by chemical imbalance in your cells that applies pressure to your joints and muscles. These can be caused by toxins in your body, or it could be hereditary. This type of pain is comparable with conditions like chronic migraines or weak stomachers. There are no straight reasons why the pain happens, but it just does sometimes.

Mine, apparently, is the latter. I apparently have a body type more prone to this type of muscle pain, proven by my family history of gout, and the fact that I've gotten this pain at such a young age. The chemical imbalance could be further aggravated by such things like high cholesterol diets, and over exercising. Sulfur helps with solving the imbalance along with appropriate diet and moderate exercise.

So, you're all like, that's bull. But here's the thing. #1 - Just days before my back pain started, I had this massive weekend of meat and shellfish fest due to weddings, wedding receptions, and 2nd wedding receptions I attended. I seldom eat these things on a daily basis, so it's possible that my body felt even more shock. And I didn't tell the chiropractor about this. #2 - Without explaining the above to my dad, he randomly left me a message of concern on my cell phone saying, "You should be careful because I started having back pains at your age." #3 - This might be psychological, but after swallowing 8 capsule of sulfur, I do feel less pain.

I feel like I'm trying to prove to you people about some psychic reading, but it's crazy!

Or maybe the sulfur aggravated my inner volcano so I'm just high off of sulfur dioxide gas. Who knows. I'll report tomorrow.

The good news is, it's apparently treatable in a week. My doctor said that I can start running in about a week! He told me to stick to swimming for now, but assured me that there was no damage and I should be able to get back to my mileage in no time.

I'll take sulfur for that! ( I can't even imagine what my insides smell like right now...)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Tofu keeping my sanity in check

It's been high-stress and high-activity volume the last couple of months. Events, work events, classes, and injury have made me into one big ball of a mess. At times figuratively, but a lot of times literally. My apartment (at least on my end) is in complete disarray. I hate it, but I also am at a point where I don't care.

To make a long month into a short story, (which paradoxically could also be a rapidly short month into a long story) I'll just tell you that I've had weddings to attend, a conference to organize, and night classes to endure. On top of that, from some unknown event (possibly stress, possibly some position I slept in), I've hurt my lower back. So, on top of being stretched to the limit, my one outlet of stress release has been taken away from me this week: my running. I've been told to not run this week, and let me tell you... it SUCKS. Betsy described it best when she said that it's taken over her thought process, and I can't agree more. My Google is tired out from searching "lower back pain", "stretches, lower back pain", "running, back pain".

The other thing is, because of me not running, my hunger and appetite has been thrown off a little bit. It might be psychological, but sometimes I'm not as hungry, and sometimes I'm just plain ravenous. And sometimes, I just need chocolate. But then, who doesn't.

In an attempt to keep some part of my life healthy, I've decided to make a batch of this tofu quiche that I made for Staff Breakfast a couple of months ago. I've done the unconventional thing and un-veganized it because I don't have a lot of stuff that the recipe calls for, and frankly, egg whites are less expensive than tahini and nutritional yeast. It's helped me eat with pleasure yet still with nutrition in mind, and has helped me keep my cool, knowing that I at least have some parts of my life remaining in my control.

This recipe is SO easy. Seriously, I can't stress it enough. I had to feed about 80 people at the staff breakfast, and the tofu quiche worked miracles with that.

Below is my version, but play with it because it's damn near impossible to mess this up. And even if you mess it up, it'll still taste good, I guarantee it.

Tofu and Egg White Crust-less Quiche

Makes 24 mini quiches
2 packs of tofu (I've used all sorts, and to me, it's all the same)
1/2 cup of egg whites
1 large bell pepper (Or 2 medium. Just a heads up, I suck at recipes because I seldom follow them myself.)
1 medium onion
1 garlic clove
1-1.5 cup of cremini mushroom
1 tablespoon each of sage, thyme, and rosemary (I used fresh. Play with the spices. It's the fun part)
Olive oil for sauteeing and oiling the muffin tin
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. Chop all the vegetables. Sliced or diced, it doesn't matter, just make them all the same size so it cooks evenly.

3. Sautee the vegetables starting with the garlic and onion. Throw in the bell pepper and then the mushrooms and spices. Sautee until the mushrooms sweat. Throw in some salt and pepper to taste.

4. Meanwhile, throw the tofu in a food processor and blend it. When the vegetables are done, blend them together and salt and pepper again to taste. ( I honestly would just stop here and keep this thing as a dip in the future. Seriously, you had to pry my hands away from the crackers to keep me from eating the entire thing in the food processor.) Pour the egg white into the mixture, and blend it again.

5. Spray the muffin tin with oil, or grease it to your liking. Pour in the mixture in each cup, about half way. They'll rise. Bake them for about 20 minutes. When done, let it cool for another 10-15 minutes. Carefully take them out with a spoon. They're on the soft side so be really delicate about it if you want them to still look like quiches. Enjoy with bread, rice, over a salad, you name it!

Honestly, this is barely a recipe, because I'll probably change the way I make this and it'll still come out great. If you want the vegan version, make the original. And if you want the yolk, use 1 egg per tofu package.

My back hasn't improved much, so I might have to see a chiropractor... In the meantime, I'll be noshing on these quiches while only running in my head...