Hi, I'm Kim

Hi, I’m Kim Christensen, M.Om., Dipl.OM, L.Ac. I’m a licensed acupuncturist, herbalist, and owner of Constellation Acupuncture & Healing Arts in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Back before going to school and becoming a healthcare practitioner, Affairs of Living was my creative outlet while healing from chronic health issues. There's big changes coming to the site - it will soon be the home of my new health coaching practice! Stay tuned. 

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Unless otherwise noted, all recipes on this blog are free of gluten, peanuts, soy, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, shellfish, cane sugar, oranges, and yeast. Most recipes are also free of egg, dairy, and tree nuts (if used, reliable substitutions will be provided for these when possible). Check out my recipe index for a full list of recipes by category. 

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Riding that long healing road...

 This morning I met with my naturopath.  It was great to see her.  But as usual, I ended up crying in her office.  I really keep it together most of the time, and have a naturally positive disposition and unfaltering spirit.  But whenever I go to see her, I just let it all out.  All the frustration, fear, uncertainty, anger, aggravation, feelings of isolation, exhaustion of spending so much money, and concern over having days where I feel fatigued and experience a resurgence in symptoms.  My naturopath's nurturing demeanor get me every time, and before I know it, I'm crying my eyes out and baring my soul.  

Thankfully, crying allowed my suddenly congested sinuses to clear out a little bit.  In the last couple days, my throat has become scratchy, my sinuses are congested, and my lungs feel heavy.  Either it is a cold or it is the weird detox thing that happens whenever I start drinking green smoothies again for breakfast.  Regardless, crying was helpful for both my sinuses and my soul, and I felt better after.


I don't usually get too in depth on the blog about my symptoms and my health. I think it is probably easy to assume that I feel great all the time, following a whole foods diet free of all those pesky allergens.  But truth be told, some days I feel like crap.  I have recurring joint pain, suffer random fatigue, and I deal with a strange variety of other symptoms that seem to come and go without warning.  I recently starting having these random heart palpitations again.  And one or two nights without enough rest throws me into a full-out body freak out.  My hormones are still out of balance, and while  I'm working with my healthcare providers on dealing with it, I still suffer amenorrhea.   

Sure, most days, I'm bouncing off the walls with creativity, and have a relatively superb amount of energy.  I feel WORLDS better than I did a year ago, or even 6 months ago.  I recently starting going back the gym, and I noticed that I'm building an impressive amount of muscle, considering the short amount of time I've been lifting weights again.  A year ago I had a hard time walking up the stairs without feeling exhausted.  BAck then, I was losing weight non-stop, wasn't digesting my food properly, was constantly freezing like an ice cube, had a full blown Candida overgrowth, and was incredibly depressed. I never imagined I'd ever be able to do anything other than lie around and be sad; I hardly left my house.  Life as I knew it was completely AWOL.  

These days, it is such a different story.  My social calendar is back, I can go out of town for the weekend and still feel good, and I have the energy and focus to take part in activities I enjoy. I can't describe what a difference I feel in my overall health; it almost feel like a miracle. My digestion, what originally drove me on this path, rarely causes me trouble anymore.  Now it is everything else that is really rearing its ugly head.  It is those things that cause those occasional bad days, when I feel lethargic, have headaches, deal with searing joint pain, itchy eyes, and am easily distracted.  Sometimes I feel like a chemistry set - one little change, and a series of strange chain reactions occur that just totally throw me off.  

My cousin has Lyme Disease, and her body is ravaged.  After about 13 years of being diagnosed with this and that, being put on long lists of prescription medication, and suffering an increasingly long list of symptoms, she has finally found the answer.  Unfortunately, at this point, it has completely invaded her body, and her road to recovery will be long and hard.  My whole family is on Lyme alert; given my list of symptoms, it is a concern.  I have picked countless ticks off my body over my lifetime, and had a very strange, tickbite-like rash on my leg a couple years ago that doctors couldn't figure out.  But the biggest concern is my list of recurring symptoms that still haven't cleared up, despite my über-healing diet and overall lifestyle.  I had filled out a symptom checklist with my naturopath a month ago; after assessing it herself and with a naturopath with a Lyme specialty, she thought it wise to get me tested.  


Conveniently, my mom recently requested a number of Western Blot Lyme panel test kits through IGeneX, one of the laboratories in the U.S. that specializes in Lyme tests. I had brought one along to my appointment today, and was going to ask my naturopath to authorize the test.  Our timing was hysterical - I walked in, sat down, and she said, "I think we should test you for Lyme."  I chuckled, reached into my purse, and pulled out my own test kit.  It is always nice to be on the same page with your care providers.

So, right now, my blood sample is sitting on a FedEx truck, heading to the IGeneX labs for assessment.  I'm terrified.  Regardless of how the results come back, I know I have the support system to deal with it and it will all work out.  If it comes back positive, then at least I will know and be able to take on the proper protocol. If it comes back negative,  I still have this whole slew of mysterious, phantom symptoms with no explanation.  Either way, it is a  little bittersweet, to be honest.

The big piece of exciting news is that she said I can try reintroducing some of the foods that I had tested as mildly sensitive to on my IgG tests a year ago.  Most of my IgG allergens were only +1 on a scale of +1-+4, and I've been diligent at avoiding them for the last 10 months (my first post about this test is here ).  She suggested introducing one at a time, and monitoring any symptoms.  So, once I ditch this bout of congestion and am feeling in (relatively) tip top shape, I'm bringing some things back, cautiously.   

Here's the list of foods I get to choose from:
Asparagus, Avocado, Banana, Green Bean, Kidney Bean, Pinto Bean, Yellow Wax Bean, Cantaloupe, Chilli Pepper, Cinnamon, Clove, Cranberry, Eggplant, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Nutmeg, Oat, Oregano, Sweet Potato, White Potato, Pumpkin, Radish, Sage, Sesame, Snapper, Tangerine, Yam

When it comes with where to start, there is no question: SWEET POTATOES.  Of all the foods on this list, sweet potatoes have been the most heart-wrenching to live without, by far and away.  They are my favorite food on earth.  Who knows, maybe they won't be anymore, now that I've taken time away from them and have fallen in love with other things, like cashew butter, kabocha squash, carob powder, and raw kale chips.  I'm hesitant about reintroducing some things, like all the citrus fruits, since I have a substantial IgE reaction to oranges.  And some things, like cantaloupe and eggplant, have never really agreed with me.  But most of the things on this list I'm ready and rarin' to bring back.  Sesame tahini.  Pumpkin.  GF oats.  GINGER.  I have about 3 lbs of Northern Wisconsin cranberries vacuum sealed in my freezer, just waiting to be used. I'm hoping that my gut has sufficiently healed and will tolerate these items once again, like back in the old days... fingers crossed!

But in the meantime, I will continue on as I am now, taking all my vitamins and herbal supplements and estrogen and progesterone and cod liver oil and getting acupuncture and doing mindful healing meditation.  I'll continue making food I know makes me feel good.  I'll continue feeling thankful for the great strides I've made and be grateful for every moment of everyday.  I have a goal to get more sleep, which I know will help everything.  It isn't that I have trouble sleeping, I have trouble getting into bed; there is always something else to do that sounds much more interesting.  And when I have those bad days, I will listen to my body, honor what it needs, and take comfort in the fact that history has shown me the next day is always better.

Regardless of what I get back from this Lyme panel, I will wake up the next day and need to continue on with my life.  And let me tell 'ya, this girl has got some serious living to do. I've got dreams to fulfill and goals to achieve, and I don't give up easily.  So bring it on life, I'm ready to roll with the punches.  Because really, what other choice do we have?  Either we learn to roll, or we become stagnant, and I've never been all that good at sitting still.





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Reader Comments (6)

Loved this post. I really like how, though your overarching tone is positive, you include the bad with the good -- both in your life's events, and in your baking/cooking experiments.

NOT to diagnose you, but after having random heart palpitations for years, I finally went to a cardiologist this past summer. He told me two things of special interest: If you have celiac disease (which I don't know that you have, but it still might be relevant), if you get "glutened," frequently, you will have heart palpitations. So, perhaps when you have an especially bad day, reflect on what you ate in the last day or two, especially if you've eaten packaged/prepared items, or if you've ventured to eat out.

Secondly, it turns out that I have something called WPW (Wolfe Parkinson White) Syndrome, which is a fifth nerve that goes into the heart -- one should have only four, one for each ventricle and atrium. So, that extra nerve sends conflicting info to my heart, and makes it beat wonky at times. Though WPW can become serious, mine is not, currently.

You may consider getting an ECG, and pursuing the whole palpitation thing. Just knowing what is going on has been a great relief to me (even though it meant that I had to wear a HIGHLY ANNOYING 30 day event monitor)... part of me was afraid that most of it was all in my head, and it felt strangely relieving to know that a) there was really a problem, but b) it was not serious.

HTH. :)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Joy

Wow, that's a lot to deal with. I now know firsthand your positive spirit, and I bet you'll kick butt regardless of what comes next. Best of luck, Kim!

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterswellvegan

Such an inspiring post! And I can relate to so much of what you write here. Your healing so far sounds amazing, and I have no doubt you'll get to where you want to be! Lyme may be scary, but it's treatable (and you'd be catching it early). Good luck with the test results! As always, looking forward to your next post. :)

October 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRicki

Good luck on your tests. Please know that a negative Lyme test does not mean you don't have the disease. Lyme tests measure your bodies response to the infection. The Lyme bacteria has a lot of ways of evading the immune system thus inhibiting a measureable resonse. I am providing a link to a paper that talks about the complexities of Lyme disease. Skip down to the section entitled Lyme Tests if you don't have time to read the whole thing.


October 9, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbrewfunk

Karen Joy - thank you for the suggestions; I'm glad to hear you were able to figure out what was going on! It almost seems my palpitations seem to correspond with caffeine and not getting enough sleep, but it might be a food thing too, or some other thing - nothing is out of the question! Depending on what the test says, and what my heart does, I'll come up with the next steps.

A-K & Ricki - thank you both for your always encouraging words and support! I appreciate it.

brewfunk - thanks for the link to that article, what a great resource. i've read a number of Lyme articles since finding out my cousin is dealing with it, and this one is probably the most understandable and accessible. Thanks again, I'll be sure to pass this link on.

October 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Well said, "So bring it on life, I'm ready to roll with the punches. Because really, what other choice do we have? Either we learn to roll, or we become stagnant, and I've never been all that good at sitting still." This is very motivational. Overcoming circumstances can be achieved this way, not by throwing in the towel. Thank you for sharing your feelings and insights. I have learned a lot from your blog.

July 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterYoga Teacher Training
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