Friday, May 31, 2013

And the diagnosis is...

After four months of constant bloating and belching I've been officially diagnosed with Celiac disease.  This nasty sounding ailment means gluten does damage to my colon which is causing the bloating and also has other long range effects if not treated. 
The only treatment is removing wheat, barley and rye from my diet.  Yeah.  That sounds easy until you walk into your pantry.  There were only four items in mine that I could still eat.  Four!  The refrigerator wasn't much better.  There are tons of Celiac websites to help those afflicted with this malady.  Tons of recipes.  Links to sites, restaurants, and manufacturers so that I can know what items have gluten in it.  All great stuff and I'm extremely grateful. 
But while my family and friends are very nice to help me look on the bright side, and it is very nice of them, don't let anyone fool you.  This is not easy, not even close, it is heck!  First the mental aspect of living with the fact there are favorite foods of yours that you will never eat again - ever - is a real head trip!  Once you get past that you, or your spouse (sorry dear), has to get down to figuring out the meal plan.  Cooking gluten free can be done but it boils down to cooking from scratch to avoid items with gluten or buying expensive grocery items to help the process along.  Ugh.  Luckily I'm a meat eater because most, but not all, meat is ready to eat.  That helps for when I go to restaurants.  That alone can be tough.  I've been to places where 99% of the menu is off limits.  Sure glad they had mashed potatoes...  No fried foods, no breads, no this, no that.  It is maddening.  You would not believe the many different types of food which I cannot digest.  Good news is there is gluten free beer...
This isn't on woe is me post.  It is a fact of life and I'll deal with it.  It just isn't easy at age 44 to completely retool your diet while saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods.  I will get through this though.  First and foremost I'm glad it wasn't more serious.  The docs had a whole list of things I could have been suffering from and some were much worse than this.  Thank you God.  It is also good to know what I'm dealing with.  After months of having no idea I can at least attack this head on now.  Will I cheat?  I'm sure at some point I will but thanks to the long term possible ramifications those times will be kept to a minimum.  But it will happen... 
I must also think of my family.  I want to be around a long time to harass them and my grand babies of the future.  My daughter has been suffering stomach ailments for years but has put off definitive testing for fear of what might be found.  This may be exactly what she is dealing with and I have stepped up the fight to get her to testing.  She is starting college and doesn't want to deal with something like this but as an adult she needs answers and can then make informed decisions on how she wants to proceed. 
Bottom line is I now know what I need to do.  I'll do that and get the healing process started.  And things will get better, physically and mentally. 

Move Review: Iron Man 3

I was able to enjoy Iron Man 3 on my birthday with my wonderful youngins in early May.  I really enjoyed the movie and think everyone should watch it in the theaters.  I still see the first Iron Man movie as the standard bearer for this franchise and I can't say Iron Man 3 was quite as good.  I do think it was better than Iron Man 2 but as the difference between them is slight it doesn't really matter. 
The villains were good.  I always think Iron Man must have super powered bad guys to fight and they were there.  I still think there are some bad guys in the Iron Man rogues gallery who would make a good transition to film and have high hopes for any new films in the franchise.  There is a big twist in this movie concerning the bad guys.  I won't ruin it. I never saw it coming and that I like.  Overall I thought the pacing was good and I never got bored.  There were minor plot points that I am not a fan of but they didn't detract from my movie experience.   
Probably the best gauge for this movie would be how the kids like it.  Mine ranged from 12 to 25 (my 70+ year-old mother also went) and all really enjoyed the movie.  A couple have made multiple trips to see it again.  I've always liked Iron Man and Robert Downey Jr. is the best guy out there to portray him.  I'm not sure anyone knows if he'll be back but I hope he'll be back for more.  You always have to worry about sequel fatigue but the makers of Iron Man have done a good job of keeping this franchise going strong.   

NBA Playoffs - 31 May 13

Been way too long since I've been on here but this month has been crazy busy.  I'm back for the moment and wanted to touch on the NBA playoffs while I have a chance.  My Hawks were thrown to the curb fairly easily by the Pacers.  I thought it would be more of a series as Atlanta has some talent and even thought they could win. I was wrong and the Hawks found a new coach and are looking for an upgrade to the roster through free agency this summer. 

The Spurs have looked great on their run past the Lakers, Warriors and Grizzlies.  For the first time I've been able to watch Tony Parker quite a bit and wow he has impressed me.  I've never sold him short but haven't been able to watch him enough to truly appreciate him.  It helps when he torched the Grizzlies as San Antonio swept their way to the NBA Finals.  My only concern for the Spurs is Manu Gionobli.  He is not playing like his old self.  I know he's dealt with some injuries but he has to be better if they expect to win their fifth championship for Tim.  Speaking of Tim Duncan I love how he is playing.  My buddy Yaj (check out his take on the Spurs here) said Tim figured out he wasn't the low post guy anymore and losing weight helped him to get up and down the court better.  I can't argue with any of that.  He is really getting up and down the court well and doesn't plant himself on the block but is still able to get his share of rebounds.  I'm not sure this team can beat Miami, if they were to play them, but I think they could give them a good run.  They have a great mix of talent that I think lends to making Miami work on both ends.  I think Indiana would be a tough matchup with the bigs but I can't see David West outplaying Duncan and while Tiago Splitter can't hang with Roy Hibbert he would be better than Chris Bosh. 

Miami looks just fine in spite of the tough series with Indiana and the fact that Bosh and Dwayne Wade are not playing up to par as part of "The Big Three".  LeBron is doing his part and doing it very well.  Can he carry this team to a championship?  I think so.  He obviously needs help (like the role players actually hitting jump shots last night) but I agree he makes everyone on the team better.  He can also take over a game as he did in the 3rd quarter last night.  I think he will be a tough matchup for the Spurs while I can't say Miami has a great answer for Tony Parker.  I think Miami finishes off Indiana Saturday night but there are definitely no givens in this series. 

Indiana is playing great and I love rooting for them.  They have disappeared many times in the Miami series for quarters at a time and it has cost them the series lead.  They gave away game one in overtime letting James drive for a layup with 2 seconds left.  That was horrible to watch after they had played so well to get to that point.  I really hope they can come up with a few miracles and still pull this series out but you won't see me putting any money on it.  Not sure how their free agency situation looks for Indy but if they can keep this core together and add a piece here and there and they should be able to compete for years to come. 

New York was destined to lose after most of that team went MIA in the playoffs via injury or just plain failure. Carmelo did what he did best...try to score...but that offense has to be retooled to add other options other than one on one play..........You had to love Chicago's heart with all the injuries they faced but that second round matchup with Miami doomed them.........The Warriors were another fun team to watch and I really wanted to see them advance.  They were just overmatched by the Spurs but again another team I hope can challenge for years to come..........Boston=old.........Memphis - what the heck happened there?  They were setup for success getting to face OKC with no Russell Westbrook and a Spurs team who everyone thought their bigs could take advantage of.  I like many thought they had a better than even chance to beat the Spurs.  They just didn't show up for the series.  It has to be one of the huge disappointments of the playoffs.  I'm not sure Memphis management or fans will look too fondly on these playoffs unless they can bounce back with a better effort next year..........I think there are plenty of good games ahead in what is left of the playoffs.  I can't wait.