huh.2011-02-19 06:43:16 ET

Well, got a call from the dermatologist yesterday morning, asking if I could come in for the afternoon.

My bloodwork came back negative for the gluten intolerance, but they knew I still had some sort of autoimmune disease.

He gave me a diagnosis of Pemphigus Vulgaris
It essentially means that my antibodies are attacking the stuff that holds my skin cells together, which causes the skin to separate and blister. After it blisters, it doesn't heal properly, so you end up with sores. Once those heal over, the top layer of skin doesn't always reattach to the under layer, so you are sometimes left with loose, easily torn skin (and more sores, and so forth)

I've been given instruction to not pay attention to the photos online, because they are usually the worst case scenario, and mine was caught pretty early. (so, if you do look it up, mine is nowhere near as bad, and is mostly on my chest and shoulders)

I'm being put on Prednisone for a while, which means I have to get regular blood tests, because I will be more susceptible to infections (I'm going in for a long list today, but later on it will be less tests). After that, I will be going on a different medication that is more specific in which antibodies it suppresses, so I won't be totally defenseless.

My mom sent me some websites "that might help" - it's for two Pemphigus "faoundations". One of the sites makes it sound like an incredibly debilitating disease, which with no treatment, I could see it being just that.
But really - I've been managing just fine.
Most complications seem to arise from not getting treatment and the sores taking over most of the body and getting infected. I've been smart enough to go to my doctor, and to use things like polysporin on any resulting sores to promote healing and prevent infection.

It is uncommon / rare - as low as 0.76 cases per million to 0.5 cases per 100,000 depending on area / race, etc. It seems to be more frequent in those of Jewish descent. As far as I know, that does not apply to me.
Also, it mostly affects people between 50-60 years old, so I told Rass that his wife is really an old lady.

Gluten? We don't need no stinkin' gluten.2011-02-16 15:50:29 ET

I've been having these weird blisters pop up randomly on my chest and shoulders. My doctor thought it was a skin infection, so she gave me antibiotics and sent in a swab for some tests.
The tests came back negative, and she told me to stop taking the antibiotics and come in for another appointment.
She gave me a different antibiotic prescription and sent in a referral to a dermatologist.
He told me that the antibiotics won't do anything, because it's probably not an infection, but a skin condition.
He thinks it's one that's caused by gluten intolerance, so I may have to go on a celiac diet (no wheat, barley or rye, or derivatives thereof).
He took two skin samples and sent me in for a blood test.
The skin biopsy will take about 3 weeks, the blood test will only take a few days.

Rassedr and I have decided to start on a gluten free diet (100% for me, he can still have his sandwiches and kraft dinner) while we wait for the test results.
I appreciate his willingness to change up our diet so much, when he doesn't have to.

I've pulled almost everything out of my main cupboard that has gluten in it, and put it in a different cupboard for storage. I went shopping today for a small selection of gluten free products.

I have an unopened box of pumpkin flavoured pocky that is mocking me from the top shelf. I should probably put that away too.
In addition to pocky, if I have to go gluten free forever, I can no longer have twizzlers, malt balls or candy corn. All things I rarely indulge in, but love.

"Jim" will do here, Janice.2011-02-04 22:05:53 ET

Finished, I think ... just have to wait for my friend to let me know if he wants the insignia painted back on the shirt - he had requested it removed as there was a production error in the first half of the episode where the insignia was missing, but the decal stained the rubber they made the shirt out of.
The photos don't show it well, but the skin was pretty orange before.
My friend only requested eyeliner, the scratches and asked if I could make him look sweaty - but gave me permission to do whatever I wanted.
I repainted the whole eye, so the figure could be posed with his head tilted down to look more sinister. I kept the same eye style, so it wouldn't look too out of place with his other figures.
I used gloss sealer in dots and lines on his face to simulate sweat (I'll have to go back and put a second layer on in some spots), and I added gloss to the blood on his hand and on the scratches on the face.

for the face, top photo is factory paintjob, bottom is mine.


To boldly paint ...2011-01-15 09:21:56 ET

One of my co-workers is a huge Trek nerd, and has asked me to repaint a Captain Kirk action figure for him.
He wants it to be 'evil Kirk' from the episode "The Enemy Within"
He lent me the DVD so I could reference it, because we couldn't find many good screen shots online.
It should be entertaining. He told me the basics of what he wants (dark under the eyes, scratches on cheek, sweaty), but told me to do whatever else I wanted, including stripping the whole head and repainting it from the primer on up, which I might just do, because the skin tone they chose for the figure is this awful orange shade.

my house is going to smell glorious2010-12-24 07:22:43 ET

Cranberry Sauce with Pomegranate and Orange (got the recipe from the newspaper 2 years ago)

1 c orange marmalade
3/4 c pomegranate juice
3 c fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 c packed golden brown sugar
2 tsp chopped fresh ginger (or 1/8 tsp ground ginger)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves

Place marmalade and pomegranate juice in a pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Simmer and stir until marmalade melts and combines with the juice. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer until cranberries begin to fall apart. Cool to room temperature, cover and store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chocolate Mochi Brownies (Gluten Free!)
(very yummy, with an odd chewy texture from the rice flour)

Eggplant Parmigiana (this is being made on the 26th, but it's still yummy)

2 eggplants (2 1/2 lb), cut in 1/2-in.- thick rounds
Nonstick spray
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 jar (26 oz) marinara sauce (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups (6 oz) shredded part-skim mozzarella
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

You’ll need a broiler pan with rack and a shallow 3-qt baking dish. Heat broiler.
Place half the eggplant on broiler rack; evenly coat with nonstick spray then sprinkle with half the pepper. Broil 4 in. from heat 4 to 8 minutes per side until lightly browned and tender. Repeat with remaining eggplant and pepper.
Heat oven to 350°F.
Spread 1/2 cup marinara sauce in baking dish. Line with 1/2 the eggplant. Spoon on 1 1/4 cups sauce; top with 1 cup mozzarella, then remaining eggplant, sauce and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan; cover with foil.
Bake 45 minutes or until bubbly. Let rest 15 minutes.
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