About Me & My Blog

My lifelong retail career now finds me working part-time, so NOW methinks is the time to put my energy into freelance writing!

My Sweetie and I live in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. We got our first place a couple of years ago and we’re working on fixing it up. I’ve spent all my life in retail and I’ve always despised it with a deep, abiding hatred that few are truly capable of, though my latest job has been enjoyable and rewarding! Possibly due to me part-time, when-I-get-off-work-this-stuff-is-no-longer-my-problem status, LOLOLOL!! Strangely, I was often complimented on my customer service skills, even when I was miserable at my retail jobs.
I’ve decided that this is a reflection of my abilities to put myself in another’s skin and plumb the psychological depths of various character-types (and NOT simply an indication that I’m an adept phony). I therefore contend that this is strong evidence that my success in the field of writing is assured. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

This blog documents my freelance journey, my struggles with Fructose Malabsorption Disorder, our ongoing attempts to renovate our place, and my ma-a-avelous and deeply insightful commentaries on all things that intrigue and amuse me.

My ultimate intent is to export to WP.org where I will be able to monetize my blog as another avenue toward ensuring my writing pays the bills!

:)

AVT

29 responses to “About Me & My Blog

  1. Alexandria Golding

    Hey girl,
    I finally found you again. Seems we are pursuing the same career. Except yours is on the net and mine is paperbacks. Hoping you will sent me a note back . We are all well. … San.

  2. Am questioning my recent diagnosis of fructose malabsorbtion. Would love to discuss with you….do I post here.
    Thanks.
    Lisa

  3. Hi there.
    First of all let me say I love your website. It was fun to read and informative at the same time! Okay, so I’m going to tell you how I got here. I was going through a bit of a stressful time in April. I do in home daycare and was really having some issues with a family. It bothered me to the point of sleepless nights and much anxiety…I have generalized anxiety disorder but do not take mediction as I have learned to ‘control’ it (ya right). Usually I can keep it where it’s tolerable. I’ve had some wierd things pop up from my anxiety where each time I think…oh, this is it….it’s going to be something medically serious this time and then in the end everything checks out ‘ok’ and the diagnosis is anxiety. So, in April I started waking up with pain in my stomach not every night put sometimes. It would be right in the pit of my stomach and boy would it hurt. I would re-arrange/re-position myself and it would just eventually go away in an hour or two….while it was there it was BAD…to the point where I would get sweaty with pain. The other thing that started to happen is I would periodically become bloated and burpy after meals…not every day and not every meal. There seemed to be nothing I could do to relive the burping and bloating….walking, drinking lots of water, gas x pills….so, off to the doctor I go. They put me back on Aciphex….I had been diagnosed with acid reflux back in 2005. I was on Aciphex for one year and then came off it and have sinced managed it with diet and stress reduction (again a ‘ya right’ to the stress reduction). I joke but I really have come a long way with my anxiety and managing my ‘thoughts’ that stress me out. Well, after being on Aciphex this time for one month I say no changes and it seemed the bloating and burping were becomming more and more …sometime in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon…the one thing I could count on was that when i laid down at night it would usually go away. Oh, and the stomach pain at night seemed to go away completely on the aciphex. So, I thought I’d take it upon myself to up my fiber. WOW! Was that painful. I was eating so much fiber that it pretty much became concrete in my stomach since I forgot to up my liquid intake and I’m bad at liquid intake in the first place….boy was I miserable! I felt like a stuffed Thanksgiving turkey. So, I backed off of the fiber…felt somwhat better but again was still burping and getting bloated and came off of the aciphex just to get a clean slate to start from again. I went to a gatroenterologist again and her gave me 3 breath tests to do….lactose intolerance, small bacterial overgrowth and fructose intolerance. I tested megative on two but positive on fructose intolerance…they gave me a small pamphlet and sent me on my merry way. This was about 2 months ago. So, I did an elimination diet where I had NOTHING with fructose…I ended up getting sick with walking pneumonia…I’m guessing due to the lack of fruits and vegetables and the nutrients they have. I’ve been trying to ‘test’ the waters and re-introduce foods but this doesn’t make any sense….here’s why…
    *I’ve heard that the breath test are inaccurate…I’m wondering if my reaction is anxiety or stress of maybe acid reflux and I didn’t give the Aciphex long enough…
    *This has seemed to come upon me overnight…one day I was eating anything the next day I bloat uplike a blueberry like the girl on WIlly WOnka!
    *My symptoms or tons of burping…big huge burps…not taste and bloating.
    *I don’t get diareah
    *It really does seem it doesn’t matter what I eat it luck of the draw…one night I went to a friends and had sliders (hamburgers with spicy cheese, pimentos, etc) on a bun which has HFCS listed as #1, pasta salad that was premade (so yes to HFCS), asparagus with prochitto meat, zuccini….I got nothing from this. I thought I was in big trouble after that meal but nope…just a full belly. On the other hand I will eat something in which I think is going to be just fine and I’m miserable. I had crumcake I made the other day with brown sugar on it and I was fine with that along with having other ‘not on the list’ foods
    –So here is my question…have you heard of these tests giving false positives?
    –Does it sound to you like Fructose Malabsorbtion?
    –I would love your opinions…
    —Am I in denial?
    –I feel lost as to any guidance…I want to feel better and it seems like I just can’t get there.

    Sorry this is so long…I do appreciated any guidance you can give me.
    Thanks a bunch!

    • Hi Lisa, just read your entry & it reminded me of my 2 yrs of GI suffering, with pieces of a puzzle that didn’t fit together.
      I, too, had lots of burping, getting worse & worse. I would start burping on an empty stomach first thing in the morning & it would only stop when I went to bed or laid down.
      I went to a ‘specialist’ who told me I was swallowing air & had to stop it- like I was doing it on purpose! I wasted almost a year with him, then thankfully was referred to another specialist who knew what he was doing and took an interest.
      After several tests, he diagnosed me with severe Gastroparesis AND Fructose Malabsorption.
      The test I did for GastroP involves eating ‘radioactive’ scrambled eggs then lying under an imaging machine for 2 hours.
      It seems it was the Gastroparesis causing the burping & the FM causing abdominal pain, diahorrea etc.
      Gastroparesis is delayed emptying of the stomach- apparently food was sitting in my stomach for over 20 hours. It seems unbelievable.
      It’s now about 4 months since diagnosis & the GastroP is being treated with medication & diet. It’s slowly improving, but can take 1-2 years.
      Where I’m having trouble is combining the GastroP diet with the FM diet. I’ll have to find a good dietician.
      Anyhow, wanted to let you know about my experience, as your symptoms sound similar.
      Good luck!

    • Hi Lisa,

      You could try the Failsafe diet. One of the food chemicals – salicylates – has a tendency to cause anxiety.

      Though Chinese Medicine with acupuncture is the only thing that worked for me – once a week, taking all the herbs, for a few weeks.

      Good Luck.

  4. Welcome Lisa!
    Don’t worry about the length of the post – I’ve authored many whoppers myself!! LOL!

    I have to say, I’ve never heard of a false positive – I’ve heard of false negatives, as some fructmals exhale methane rather than hydrogen, so merely a hydrogen test may not catch fructmal……. but just because I haven’t heard of it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen! I am not the be-all-and-end-all!
    And remember… anything done by a human can be done incorrectly… human error…

    That said, I need to know.. you say you “did and elimination diet with NOTHING with fructose”….

    1) how long were you on this diet?
    2) did the diet eliminate foods with fructan chains as well as foods with fructose?
    Wheat and wheat flour, spelt, kamut, brown rice as well as other foods have fructan chains and you WILL have a reaction!! Very often, particularly with the grains, these reactions happen a couple of days after ingestion. If you are fructmal hamburger buns WILL cause a reaction whether they have HFCS or not – because they are wheat – so will crumcake – again: wheat. However, your immediate reaction to the crumcake may have been to the brown sugar or to something else… heck… it may have had NOTHING to do with the crumcake and was a delayed reaction to something you had eaten a couple of days before!
    This is why it is SO important to elimination fructose AND fructan foods for 4 to 6 weeks RELIGIOUSLY. Then when you start reintroducing things.. say… one half of one hamburger bun where there is nothing in it you can’t have except the wheat, then (eating NO more questionable foods and no additional wheat) waiting a week to see if you get a reaction one, two, three or more days later.
    Honestly, most fructmals take months to reaquire even a small tolerance for wheat. I would not choose to reintroduce any of the fructan grains until last. Start with the safer stuff first – as your odds are better for a “good/tolerable” result and you get to expand your repertoire of foods sooner.

    What were you and were you not eating? And for how long?
    And why in the WORLD would you eat ANYTHING with HFCS for any reason?!?!?!
    You CrrrrrAZY, girl!
    :)

  5. Hello and thanks for the response. I’m struggling with when we eat out and at friends houses. We don’t eat out much but do take a family vacation (which we just took) and we had dinner at a friends house….hence the HFCS buns….what do you do in these situations. Also…on the elimination diet….you mentioned wheat being a no-no….what is left? I was told to eliminate fruits and vegetables and now wheat….I’m not a huge meat eater and it seems that and dairy are all that’s left….HELP!!!!!

    • Hello again, Lisa

      Ahhh! The dreaded social situation. Unfortunately I have been in the same situation… with my in-laws no less! Really, the only thing to do is say, sorry I can’t eat that. Period. Often I say I have recently discovered I have an “allergy” rather than having to go through the whole story of what fructmal is, blah, blah, blah.

      There is NO reason you should be off ALL veg! There are many different diets, but what seems to work as a 4 to 6 week elimination diets for most fructmals is:

      AVOID:
      -fructose (including HFCS)
      -All fruit and fruit products including juice, dried fruit, jams and jellies and fruit related ingredients in other foods.
      ** citrus rind has no fructose, so if you want to add some lemon or orange zest (outer peel) to your water or tea, go ahead!
      -asparagus
      -artichoke
      -onions, chives, leeks, green onions
      -honey
      -all active probiotics/bacterial cultures (like yoghurt)
      -all prebiotics (chicory/FOS/inulin)
      -wheat/spelt/kamut in any form
      -brown rice

      CUT BACK SEVERELY ON:
      -corn
      -potatoes
      -rye
      -molasses/syrup/brown sugar/raw sugar/white sugar (sucrose)

      THESE SHOULD BE NO PROBLEM:
      -all other veg
      -oats, barley, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, tapioca flour, amaranth, millet
      -glucose (also known as dextrose), and glucose syrup
      -milk & milk products (except yoghurt)
      -meat and eggs
      -nuts
      -mushrooms

      Once you have been on this diet RELIGIOUSLY for 4 to 6 weeks, start re-introducing the “Cut Back Severely On” foods one at a time. Re-introduce one food in a small quantity and wait a full week to see if there is any delayed response. If it seems safe, then bring it back onto your safe list and try another food, etc.

      I am not a doctor, but lots of fructmals have tried lots of versions of the elimination diet and this seems to be the most useful.

      That said, everyone is different. Some people DO have a reaction to oats. Some people react to some nuts. It is also quite common to have another sensitivity along with your fructmal – like lactose intolerance or an allergy.

      I hope this has been helpful.
      I know that social situations can be awkward – I often phone ahead or the day before and explain that I have developed “allergies” and don’t want to “get sick” and give the host/hostess some suggestions. Grilled chicken and white rice with sauteed broccoli and snowpeas, feta cheese omelettes with black olives and mushrooms, shishkabobs of beef, chicken or shrimp, sweet bell peppers and cherry tomatoes done on the BBQ, hamburger patties (no bread crumbs in the beef please) served on a bed of lettuce with pickles, cheese, everything but the bun!

      Please let me know how things are going! :)

  6. Thanks for the help. I am going to give your diet a try. I will keep you posted….again, thanks for the advice!!!

  7. Hi, I was diagnosed with Fructmal about 4 months ago by my gastro doctor through a breath test. I was totally shocked that this could all of a sudden “happen” at 38???!!!! My symptons are severe bloating, constipation and gas. I also gt a bad feeling of “Fullness” and burpy. I am so thankful to have found your site. There is NOTHING really out there for us!!!!

    Elizabeth

    • Yep, sounds familiar Elizabeth! Glad to meet you!

      There seem to be a lot of us who just “got it” one day. For me it seems to have correllated with antibiotics, but for other people….who knows? An illness? An allergic reaction?
      I hope that the fructmal diet gives you some relief! :)

  8. Your blog and website are so helpful and encouraging. My daughter is FM and I am looking for helpful sites. Thank you .

    • Thank you!
      RL complications have been keeping me away lately, and I apologize for my tardiness. I appreciate your good words! :)
      Ariana

  9. Hey there,

    I was wondering if soy yoghurt needs to be cut from a FructMal’s diet? My doctor thinks I may be FructMal and wants me to cut problematic foods.

    I’m definitely lactose intolerant – have been for years – that has been tested and diagnosed.

    Cheers,
    Cat

    • Hi Cat!

      The only issue with yoghurt is that there are active bacterial cultures. As the bacterial cultures in fructmals’ bodies have been overstimulated – sometimes for years – with fructose they shouldn’t have been dealing with, the idea is that adding MORE bacterial cultures is the LAST thing needed!

      I have been experimenting myself with bringing yoghurt into my diet occasionally. I have been careful to choose brands that list “active bacterial cultures” as the LAST ingredient, and contain NO prebiotics. So far my reactions have been moderate to non-existant! YAY!
      Each person must test themselves and find their own tolerance.
      Keep us posted!

      Ariana

  10. Hi, I’m so glad I found your blog!
    I got diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome a year ago, and have had ‘sugar sensitivites’ ever since. I can go off all sugar (not fruit) and the allergies to sugar subside with elimination except they dont for the fructose sugar. i found this out via an electro-dermal screening device that screens for sensitivites. I haven’t had a hydrogen breath test yet to confirm, but i’m pretty certain i have fructose malab.
    I get really bad low blood sugar, and bloating, flatulence, brain fog, depression.
    I’ve tried going on a ‘hypoglycemic diet’ with no carbs or sugar and i get wayyy too tired but can’t sleep at night. but during this 3-day trial i didn’t get any bloating, flatulence etc..
    I think the problem may be fructose malab. causing the hypoclycemia?! when i broke the 3-day trial i ate some fruit and got bloating and pain pretty much an hour later.
    does this sound like fructose malab. to you?
    I’m sensitive to nuts too. If I go off the sugar will my sensitivities decrease?
    hope you can get back to me :)
    thanks a lot!

  11. My daughter is 23 mo old and we are assuming she has fructose malabsorption. At her 1-yr check, her dr. noted several ‘failure to thrive’ red flags as well as gross motor delays. For the past yr. we have had every neurological test, every blood test, every possible specialist look at her. The gi dr. presented several possible options for her symptoms, one of which was fructose mal. Her only suggestion for that possiblity was to eliminate fruit and fruit juice. My daughter didn’t seem to improve much (she has always had terrible diarrhea 4+x/daily since starting food, but this was not on the forefront of our concerns until about 20 mo). After we had crossed fructmal off of our list of possibilities, something brought me back to that possibility. Now we have completely changed her diet and done as well as we can with our two other sugar monsters, age 4 and 6 under the same roof and in the same kitchen. We have seen several days of improvement, and then usually a good couple blow-outs because I missed something.

    My desperate question is: What sweets are made with glucose??? I can’t find any lists and such bits and pieces online. I haven’t ordered any books yet. I saw your kinnikinnic cake listed and choc pudding frosting. I thought sugar is to be avoided or at least greatly limited. I feel so helpless to help her and she literally begs for sweets all day long. Any great suggestions?

    We have not completely eliminated wheat from her diet, but probably need to do so. Everything seems so trial and error… Thanks so much for your blog and for the helpful information. It is so discouraging when so many different drs. have never even heard of this. Thank you, this is a real gift you are giving others with similar needs and concerns.

    Dawn

    • Hello Dawn!

      I am NO expert… and certainly not on things relating to the little ones, but I feel your pain and frustration! I’m glad you seem to be seeing improvement!

      The only candies I know made with glucose are, in the United States called “Smarties” and in Canada called “Rockets”. They are little pastel-coloured tablet-like candies. They are packaged in a little roll of cellophane and around here they are very popular at Halloween.

      Apply for membership in this group:

      http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/fructose_malabsorption_australia/

      Nevermind that it says Australia, lots of us are members from all over the world. There are many parents in this group and this group is highly educated and shares good, solid, real info.

      I wish you well! :)

  12. I have a 2 year old daughter who has had problems since she was six weeks old, only to get worse as she gets older. I recently googled her symptoms and it matched a few things. But it matched Fructose Malabsorbtion to the T! I put her in the diet very strict and within 3 days she was a different child. I brought her to the doctor numerous times just to be told she’s fine. I took her again yesterday for her two year check up and told the ped. after trying the diet I was convinced that I had found the problem. She does not believe that she has fructose mal. because she’s never seen a child with it. I can’t find any peds. that specializes in this. Where can I find someone to diagnose her, and answer my questions? Would I start at a GI doctor? Her Ped. wants to send her to a Genetic doctor, I don’t know what that would help? Where is the starting point to get help?

    • Where do you live? Canada? The US? Australia?
      Perhaps other readers of the blog can recommend a starting point in your area.

      I don’t see how a genetic doctor could hurt (then again, being Canadian, there would be no cost associated with that for me – government health care). There is a condition called HFI or Hereditary Fructose Intolerance. Fructmal which is what I have and what I blog about, is an inability to absorb fructose through the lining of the intestine. However, once fructose manages to GET through the lining and enter the bloodstream- all is well!
      With HFI, the body cannot “tolerate” fructose. It CANNOT be allowed to get into the bloodstream AT ALL. Fructose for an HFI will cause organ damage and eventually death. HFI is a genetic disorder, for that reason it manifests in childhood. Undiagnosed, I don’t know if you would live to adulthood. If it is financially possible, testing for this genetic condition WOULD be erring on the side of caution.

      If it is simply Fructmal, there are still very few doctors who are knowledgeable, but it is worth searching for one who is willing to work with you. Arm yourself with some printouts from the internet about this condition and return to your pediatrician. If this turns out to not be the doctor for you – be diligent. There are many doctors with open minds!
      I got a respiratory illness that lasted three months when I was a teenager – a relative of whooping cough apparently. And I caught from a BUDGIE. When I gave my medical history to my doctor, he looked at me quizzically as said he’d read about such cases – but had never met anyone who’d had it!…. BUT he didn’t therefore conclude that I COULDN’T of had it. That’s just ridiculous.

      Your doctor will not be very impressed with printouts from some woman’s blog – and rightly so…. so here are some sites:

      This was referred to me by a reader:

      http://www.wjgnet.com/1007-9327/13/5687.asp

      This page on my other site is a list of clickable links:

      http://fructmal.googlepages.com/research

      Finally, this group will have further resources:

      http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/fructose_malabsorption_australia/

      I hope this is a starting point for you!
      I highly recommend joining the australian yahoo group referred to above – there are many parents there with fructmal children!

      Best wishes! :)

      • Jennifer Brade

        you can have HFI and live most of your life without knowing you had it. there are severe and mild forms of it. my kids and i have had issues since starting solid food. HFI is where you dont have the neccessary enzymes in your liver or in your intestine to process fructose. so you could still get a positive breath test. HFI in the mild form can cause stuff like fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, liver issues, psoriasis, and other immune issues. severe cases can die from liver failure. it is all down to how much enzyme you make. we got our breath test done by a GI but are going to a geneticist to see if we have hfi or something else. we all got positives on the breath test.

  13. Hello there!

    Happy to have found you. I thank you for being a catalyst for others on this issue. Your experience is the best teacher for yourself and others.

    I have some comments/questions if I may ~
    I have a darling 14 month old daughter who since birth has had food sensitivities that has shifted my perspective on food in general..which is a good thing. I am still breast feeding,(so we are in this together) she has not been able to tolerate Dairy,soy,wheat, and corn, also( steer clear of gluten). She was blood tested at 4 months for above foods which came back negative. After being free of all this, we still have reoccurring symptoms all GI, (too many to list) including sleep disturbances periodically (depending on what she eats) She passes LOUD gas and thrashes her body at night. I myself, did research and self diagnosed her condition intuitively feeling this is FM….especially after monitoring foods closely that we both eat. I recently took her back to the GI who has just made up bottles of sugars to give her each day to rule out FM. Have you ever heard of this? He says she is too young for the breath test, and honestly I am at my wits end. I just hate to have to induce sugars to her this way to determine FM.
    The doctor thinks I am nuts, paranoid etc. and i feel he is doing this just to appease me. All foods she cannot tolerate are all FM associated. Her weight is very healthy, which I feel dodges doctors into thinking she is thriving thinking… she is fine.

    The interesting thing is that night time is when her system seems to react. I assume it takes her system time to process? Just when I think I have the diet down pat something else seems to bother her… like Brown rice pasta,(regular brown rice is poison to her stomach) and potatoes are the most recent we have omitted.Do you have/ or know of any problems with Xanthan Gum/ and FM? It is a corn derivative, and it is present in some things we currently consume.

    Thank you in advance for your time,
    Warmly,
    Carla Rose

  14. Dear A.T. Thompson,

    I was recently directed to your blog when I did a search of the organization I am currently working with – Puente a la Salud Comunitaria (Puente). I see that you have posted a link to our website on your blog – and I wanted to send you a large heap of gratitude! As we are a small organization, we rely highly on our supporters to help us get the word around about our amaranth programs in rural Oaxaca, Mexico. I would be curious to know how you found out about our organization.

    Congrats on your insightful blog! And once again, thank you so much for your support!

    Kind regards,

    Regan
    Puente a la Salud Comunitaria

    • Thank you Regan!

      Amaranth is a wonderful, wholesome food that more people need to know about here! I honestly cannot remember how I found it – I am a member of an online fructmal group – and I’ve done many google searchs for amaranth… I will rack my brain to try and give credit where it is due!

      I am happy to do whatever I can to bring attention to your organization’s great work!
      Thank you for commenting! :)
      Ariana

  15. After 5 miserable years (doctors, scans, blood tests, stool tests, dieticians, 2 colonoscopies, reflexology, exercises, medication) I found a dietician who diagnosed my condition on the spot by just LISTENING to my story. And why did she know about the condition? – because she had attended a lecture by Janice Joneja. In Canada you actually have an expert! – google Vickerstaff Health Sevices and you will find her website.

    Since then I have also “discovered” Jacqeline S. Barrat and Sue Shepherd in Australia. And at fructose.at you will find Maximillian Ledochowski’s website – in German. He has done some research on the condition and his report in the Journal für Ernährungsmedizin is excellent: now I also know where the insomnia comes from!

    I have access to medical databases and the good news is that research is being done on FM; especially during the past 10 years. But when all the new information will filter down the lines, remains to be seen. The gastro-enterologist, whom I visited several times, in the end told me that he has never heard of symptoms like mine…

    I am much better since I have been following a no-fruit, no sugar, some vegetables, low-lactose, no-wheat, no-roughage diet – but it takes some doing to manage it. I still have flare-ups and find that at such times I also have gout symptoms. Has anybody else had this particular experience?

    And has anybody tried taking glutamine to improve the condition of the inner lining of the gut?

  16. I was curious as to why instant oatmeal is not suggested for fructmals but steel cut oats are suggested as ok. What is it about instant in how it is prepared that bothers fructmals?

  17. Hi there,

    I came across your website today, and now your blog – they are fantastic. I have just started my own website for Fructose Malabsorption which is at http://www.fructoseandme.com – however I am from Australia so restaurants etc will be from Melbourne Australia!

    You are an inspiration with all that you know and do for fructmal sufferers!!

    Kind regards,

    Kate

  18. I started a blog! http://www.myfructmalgirl.blogspot.com Our 5-1/2 year old daughter has fructose malabsorption, SIBO, and Yeast Overgrowth. Join us on our journey!
    -FructMal Mama

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