My little buddy

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Pain Revisited

Stick a fork in me! Jesus!

I had breakfast this morning and by 9AM I was writhing in pain again! It took three hours for it to end.

The pain just wipes me out. And it leaves my abdomen very tender. Which means I'm not such a fun babysitter for the day. Thank God for Dora the Explorer, Superwhy and Curious George.

Mum took over with the kids while I was dealing with the pain in the morning. But after two hours she needed a major break. Good thing it was nap time by then. She made sure to shower and get out of the house before they were up for lunch. LOL.

The kids were really good for me in the afternoon. Well, Lauren was ... she's so good. I just have to tell her I am feeling sick and she's an angel. She sat on the couch and watched TV. Olivia was content to sit in her chair for quite a while. When she got down, she was too busy playing with her two favourite toys - Lauren's boots and a box of KD - to get into trouble. It's Jessica who is the pain in the butt ... she gets into everything ... she doesn't listen ... oye!

So, I got to thinking .... what did I eat for breakfast today and Tuesday that was the same? Freaking fresh sliced pineapple! I am staying away from pineapple for awhile and see if I have anymore bouts of pain. If I do have a problem with fresh pineapple, the truly horrible thing is that I just "discovered" it a couple of years ago! I always disliked pineapple as a child and only recently started eating it fresh. I LOVE it! OMG! I hope it's not the pineapple!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pasta-Pasta-Pasta!!!!!

I have never been a HUGE fan of pasta. Primarily because growing up, the main pasta dish was spaghetti. Oooooh! How exciting.

Well, since the advent of the Olive Garden in my life, I am now a number one fan of it! Wow! Their dishes are different, full of flavour and real ingredients ... not the same old, same old. Nick introduced me to the Olive Garden in Portsmouth last August. I had the Ravioli di Portabello. It's portabello mushroom-stuffed ravioli in a smoked cheese and sun-dried tomato sauce. It was to die for!!! Then, when my mother and I were in Bangor shopping one Sunday, we hit the Olive Garden there. I tried the Tuscan Garlic Chicken. OMG! Chicken breasts on a bed of curly fettucine with a white wine garlic sauce with spinach and red pepper in it. Soooo amazing! When the girls and I went down to Bangor to shop several weeks ago, we hit the Olive Garden again. I tried the Chicken Marsala. I was a little wary ... I am not a big fan of wine sauces and I have never had Marsala so I wasn't sure what to expect. BUT it was amazing! Chicken breasts in a marsala wine and mushroom sauce served with oven roasted potatoes, onions and red peppers.

Because I have become such a fan of the OG, I checked out their website and found that they post recipes of their dishes. Soooooo, I gave the Tuscan Garlic Chicken a try. It was so incredibly easy to make. After I got over a couple of obstacles, of course. First, as I was chopping veggies, I realized I needed white wine. Ummm ... not something I keep in the house as I hate wine. So, off to the liquor store I go. Then driving home, I realize I still don't have a corkscrew. Damn! So ... I did what I had done the last time I was in this situation .... I stopped at Sarah's parents house and got the bottle opened there. Hehe.

Anyway, the pasta was amazing! So, I made it again, a week later. BUT I made two small changes. First, I doubles the veggies. Second, I replaced the heavy cream(35%) called for with coffee cream(18%). Lighter, less fat. Much better. But guess what? Next time I make it, I will go even lower ... I am going to try it with the Light Cream(5%).

Knowing how great the Tuscan Garlic Chicken was, I decided to try another recipe. I wanted something that used roasted red peppers. So I did a little search on the OG website and found Cheese Ravioli with Fresh Vegetables. Wow! Woooowww! It was so incredibly simple, but so very flavourful! I couldn't get a plain cheese ravioli .... they all had meat or veggies in them. So I went with the Olivieri Three Cheese Tortoloni. Simple - cook the pasta and toss it with the "sauce". The sauce was the easiest thing to make - olive oil, zucchini, roasted red pepper, sliced olives, chicken broth, and garlic! I added some chives, parsley and Parmesan at the end. Truly an easy dish. And it is soooo much better the second day!

So, even though you can get the recipes yourself, very easily, I thought I would post them along with the changes I made to them.

Tuscan Garlic Chicken
Ingredients
4 each (4 oz) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1-1/2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon
1 Tbsp salt
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp Italian seasoning or VE Pasta Seasoning
1 lb fettuccine pasta or PC Pantacce pasta, cooked according to package directions
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp garlic, chopped
2 red pepper, julienne cut
1/2 cup white wine
1 lb whole leaf spinach, stemmed
2 cups light cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Procedures
Pre-heat oven to 350ºF.
MIX 1½ cups flour, salt, pepper and Italian/VE Pasta seasoning in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in the mixture, shaking off any excess.
HEAT 3 Tbsp oil in a large skillet. Cook chicken breasts 2 at a time over medium-high heat until golden brown and crisp (2-3 min). Add more oil for each batch as necessary.
PLACE cooked chicken breasts on a baking sheet and transfer to preheated oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
HEAT 2 Tbsp oil in a sauce pan. Add garlic and red pepper and cook for approximately 1 minute. Stir in 1 Tbsp flour, wine, spinach and cream and bring to a boil. Sauce is done when spinach becomes wilted. Complete by stirring in parmesan cheese.
COAT cooked, drained pasta with sauce, then top with chicken and remaining sauce. Garnish with extra Parmesan cheese.

Cheese Ravioli with Fresh Vegetables
Ingredients
1 lb mini round cheese ravioli, cooked according to package directions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove fresh garlic, chopped
2 7-oz jars roasted red peppers, sliced in strips
1 whole, medium fresh zucchini, sliced in half moons
1/2 cup black olives, sliced
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp dried VE Chives
Grated Parmesan to taste
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Procedures
HEAT olive oil over medium heat in saucepan. Add roasted red pepper strips, zucchini moons, garlic and black olives. Cook while stirring for 2 minutes or until the zucchini reaches desired texture. Add chicken broth and let sauce simmer for 2 minutes. Season with chives, and salt and cracked black pepper to taste.
DRAIN cooked ravioli well. Toss ravioli in a small amount of olive oil to prevent sticking. Add cooked ravioli to sauce. Blend well, allowing sauce to cover ravioli. Toss Parmesan and parsley with pasta.
PLACE sauced ravioli on serving plate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Please Gawd! Take Me Now!

That was the constant refrain in my head this morning. Something was and is seriously wrong with my gut.

Warning: This is gross and you may have a problem with it ... Susan.

I got up this morning and took my Sertraline. Soon after, my gut felt like I had a hot poker stuck in it, so I downed a couple of prescription Zantac. I have GERD and figured the Zantac would take care of it. I made breakfast, could still feel the pain in my gut, but went on my way. Just kept getting worse. In fact, it started to move into my intestines. Terrible cramping pain. So I took one of my mother's Pantoloc and some ibuprofen.

The kids arrived and we went downstairs and the pain started to become exponentially worse. I went to the bathroom, thinking it might help. No sooner did I sit on the flush, I grabbed the garbage can and proceeded to puke a bunch of bile. Lovely. No nausea, just horrible, horrible pain and projectile vomitting. Movement makes the pain worse so coming upstairs made it peak and made me puke. Like I said, lovely. More gut-twisting pain. More projectile puke. Great! The only other time pain has me vomit was when I had kidney stones.

So my mother was supposed to stay with my grandmother today .... she called my aunt and told her she couldn't go, she needed to stay home to look after the kids for me. I didn't even ask her. She just took over. So I crawled into bed and I had a major case of the shivers. I was also writhing from the pain. Praying it would stop.

Eventually, the pain eased off. Took about an hour. I could hear Olivia start to cry, so I went downstairs to see if she was ok. She was only on her second day with me and kept making strange at Mum, so I didn't want her to get too worked up. Just going downstairs and sitting in the chair with Olivia's weight on my abdomen made the pain start to come back. Eventually, I got all diapers changed and kidlets down for a nap. By eleven, an hour after having gone back downstairs, the pain had started to ease off again. I was hungry so I decided to try a blueberry muffin. All was fine, until my stomach started to digest ... and it came back up. And it was harsh.

So, would it come as a suprise if I told you that this was not the first time I have had an attack like this?

Well, it wasn't. I am sure it won't be the last. At least for a while.

Six years ago, I spent almost three months like that. Not the vomitting. Just the pain. That horrible, gut-twisting pain. My doctor sent me to a gastroenterologist (Koller) and I was barraged with tests. He found a lot of inflammation and some bleeding, but could never find the cause. Koller put me on Asacol (which is bloody expensive) and told me all should be right with my world. So I take the pills religiously, then within two weeks, I am on vacation. In Newfoundland. Gros Morne, to be exact. I didn't think I would be able to go, but the pain had started to ease off. Within days, it was gone. I had been having a lot of trouble with the Evil Bitch at work. I was stressed and in tears all the time. So I chalked the abdominal problems up to depression.

Two weeks ago, it returned. In the last two weeks, I have had three bouts of pain. Todays was the worse. And I can assure you I am NOT depressed. My mental health has never been better. But I have also had a lot loose bowel movements, lots of undigested food.

This morning, after the pain had subsided, I called the doctor for an Asacol prescription. I didn't think she would give it to me since it has been six years. But I was told to come up to the office immediately. Dr. Tingley asked me lots of questions about my BM, the pain, etc ... She told me if the Asacol didn't work in three weeks to come right back and she would start testing again. Also, if the pain became too much to bear or if my abdomen became distended and hard, I was to come back immediately.

So, it's great that she's taking this seriously, but I sooooo don't want to go through those tests again. If you've had any abdominal testing, you know what I am talking about.

Oh, and the freaking Asacol is still bloody expensive. $125 for one month.