1. any heavenly body.
2. a person's destiny, temperament, etc.

Whether you’re reading this because you’re gluten intolerant, suffer from PVFS or CFS, are starting to grow your own veggies, embracing natural and/or alternative remedies, or just want to enjoy the journey with us, please remember I’m not a medical expert, nor am I here to debate global warming. Being diagnosed with a life-changing illness, looking for answers or changing the way one lives can all be overwhelming events, so I hope that by sharing the triumphs and tragedies, you too will benefit in some way from our journey.

I hope you enjoy the journey and if you leave this blog having learnt only one new recipe or started to think about finding your star, then this blog’s purpose has been served.

My two favourite sayings:
Pondering the choices we make at the crossroads is like revision in the school of life. Regretting the mistakes or taking for granted the successes means we have learnt nought.
An attentive student will gain wisdom from the mistakes and joy from the successes. Cartillyer – 2008

'Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.' Mohandas Gandhi


This page is a more concise description of symptoms and the timeline for those who feel they may have a similar problem with gluten and/or wheat. In a way, I was lucky that my original illness set us on a path of discovery. Many people spend years suffering from food intolerances without even realising it.

This timeline will be added to regularly until it has caught up with the present.

April 2010 
  • Struck down with an unknown virus – fever on the first day and then two weeks of extreme pain throughout my entire body, much like the ache one gets when they have the flu, but ten times worse and without the other cold/flu symptoms. Extreme ongoing fatigue was another major symptom.
  • The doctor runs a variety of tests to rule out inflammatory illnesses.

May 2010
  • Diagnosed with nephritis.
  • The initial virus is gone, but the symptoms return every time I restore my normal daily routine.
  • My doctor tells me I have post-viral fatigue syndrome.

June 2010
  • June was one long month of struggling to cope with what our lives had become. 

July 2010
  • I ask my doctor for a doctor’s certificate confirming my post-viral fatigue, so we can put our three-week plan into action. The doctor refuses.
  • Mr T takes time off work work and we start our three-week plan. 
  • A renal specialist confirms that I had nephritis and that there are no other kidney problems. She also says that I am suffering from post-viral fatigue syndrome. 

  • Am sick of being told I have something that is just there. I can’t accept that it’s not being caused by something.

  • I see an optometrist about a strange blurry spot on one of my eyes. The optometrist can’t find any abnormalities and recommends I get a referral from my doctor to see an ophthalmologist. 

August 2010
  • Further urine tests confirm that the nephritis is gone.
  • Mr T takes me to Gold Class to see Inception. Despite loving the movie, it was too much for me and I am exhausted, aching all over and extremely nauseated with a bad headache by the end of the movie.
  • The opthalmologist suspects I have uveitis and refers me to his colleague, who specialises in uveitis.

September 2010

October 2010
  • Frustrated with the ongoing PVF, I explain to my doctor that it feels like the original virus is still in me and ask for antibiotics. She explains that is how PVF presents itself and refuses to give me antibiotics. I go home and cry.
November 2010
  • I develop a cold/cough that lingers through to December. Feeling defeated by the PVF, I don't give the virus much thought. 
December 2010
  • My ongoing cold turns nasty, so I see the doctor. She prescribes me antibiotics the day before Christmas Eve. 
  • For the first time in 8 months I feel like a  new woman. Within 48 hours of starting the antibiotics I have more energy than I know what to do with. Despite still having severe cold symptoms, I run about the house cleaning cupboards and windows.
January 2011
  • I return to the doctor and tell her that the antibiotics cured my PVF. She agrees it mustn't have been PVF.
February 2011
  • I return to the doctor with similar symptoms to my PVF and ask if it's possible that I have a sinus infection. She agrees and prescribes antibiotics. The sinus infection clears up. 
March 2011
  • Another sinus infection, so back to the doctor for more antibiotics. 
April 2011
  • I return to the doctor for another course of antibiotics as the sinus infections start to become even more frequent. 
May 2011
  • My menstrual cycle is all over the place. It seems the mini-pill, breastfeeding and ovulation don't agree with each other. We start to give Miss Flora a bit more of a push to get her off the boob. 
  • Sinus infections become so regular that I only have two days free of infection before needing another course of antibiotics. 
June 2011
  • The sinus infections are becoming resistant to the antibiotics.
July 2011
  • I'm at the chemist so often now that they give me the antibiotics and all repeats at the same time to save me returning the following week.
August 2011
  • I start revising my case history dating back to when I stopped consuming wheat and dairy, so Miss Flora didn't get it through my breast milk. 
  • I look for a link between wheat, dairy and sinusitis.
  • The doctor sends me for a CT scan on my sinuses, but all looks fine.
September 2011
  • I discuss my research with my doctor and she puts me on a different antibiotic, Doxycycline, for two months so I can perform some elimination dieting.
  • I soon learn that gluten causes extreme fatigue, aches through my arms and legs, headaches, foggy brain and depression. (Much like my PVF symptoms!)
  • As I learn about the astonishing number of food items that contain gluten, I have an urge to get back to basics and start experimenting with growing my own vegetables. 
October 2011
  • More refined elimination dieting reveals that wheat, in addition to the affects gluten has on my body, causes ear and sinus pain, and results in sinus infections. 
  • The more food labels I read, the more I realise that our food is loaded with additives and unwanted chemicals. I decide to start reducing the level of processed food in every family member's diet. 
  • I buy a bread maker so I can make my own gluten-free bread. Am scared to get adventurous as it's an expensive loaf of bread to stuff up. 
  • I'm still in denial about the gluten and wheat and hope that I can get away with just reducing my intake. 
  • Mr T's parents arrive from England for a month's visit. It's really hard trying to explain my gluten and wheat problems to others when I'm still trying to understand it myself. 
  • At a nice restaurant for my birthday lunch, I realise how limited one's menu choices are when they can't eat wheat or gluten.
November 2011
  • A few weeks after going gluten and wheat free I buy a different shampoo and it makes my scalp itch. I realise that the itchy scalp that I used to attribute to hormones went away when I eliminated gluten and wheat. I discover the new shampoo contains wheat germ oil. 
  • The doctor runs tests and confirms that I have the celiac gene, but the antibodies are inactive. She tells me that I'm a gluten-intolerant, inactive celiac. 
  • I ask the doctor if we can organise a wheat allergy test and she says no. She explains that it's a waste of money. I already know how my body reacts to it. She has a good point.
  • We spend three days in the country with limited choice in take-away food. I cry with frustration and order a pizza. The fatigue and pain waste no time reminding me that I can't eat wheat and gluten.
December 2011
  • I start experimenting with baking cakes and cookies with coconut flour and am pleasantly surprised with the results. 
  • Lunch at a restaurant with friends. Despite the staff being very accommodating about my dietary needs, I'm still willing to risk my health so as not to put others out. 
  • I find a recipe for a wheat-free banana cake that tastes just as good as the banana cake I used to make with wheat flour.
January 2012
  • I've now lost 2 kilograms. I still slip now and then with my wheat intake. Can't help eating a couple of Natural Confectionery Co lollies when giving them to the kids. The glucose syrup made from wheat gives me earaches and a sore throat within hours of eating them. 
  • I have severe gluten and wheat symptoms the day after cooking spaghetti bolognese from scratch with a store bought pasta sauce, mince and rice pasta. The only suspect ingredient is the herbs and spices in the pasta sauce. I start making my own pasta sauce so I know what's in it.
  • A check of store-bought chicken stock reveals that nearly all contain wheat/gluten. I start making my own chicken stock. 
  • I take a plate of homemade gluten-free biscuits to a friends place. Everyone is always amazed at how great gluten-free food tastes.
  • Australia Day bbq at a friend's place. I'm finally brave enough to quiz someone on what they're feeding me. I felt like an interrogator, but am relieved when they are totally understanding and very accommodating.
February 2012
  • Despite feeling good on my new gluten and wheat-free diet, I find I still can't physically cope with too much stress. If I try to do too much in one day, I'm exhausted and unwell the next day.
  • I discover that my immune system has still not fully recovered when I catch a virus from Boywonder. As in the past, I'm sicker and out of action longer than everyone else who has it.
  • My interest in removing chemicals from our diet has spread to the chemicals we slather on our bodies. I trial Herbalix Detox Deodorant with interesting results. 
March 2012
  • So many forward steps in my recovery are destroyed with one giant leap backwards when we have a curry from somewhere other than our usual curry house. 
  • A week later and I'm still suffering from extreme fatigue, sore throat, earaches, insomnia, headaches, nausea and body aches. Mr T and I agree that we must always ask about the use of wheat and gluten when eating out. 
  • Still extremely fatigued and depressed, I struggle to cope with Boywonder's meltdown at school. He's having trouble coping with the schoolwork and working through it with him is punishing on me mentally and physically. All I want to do is cry, but don't because that's the last thing Boywonder needs.
  • My current state of illness forces me to realise that I cannot compromise on the wheat and gluten issue.
  • I hint to Mr T that a bigger deep freeze would be handy if I'm going to be making more things from scratch and in bulk. 
  • I'm desperate to start planting my autumn seeds, but am too sick.
April 2012
  • I'm hired to ghostwrite someone's memoir.
  • I get another sinus infection, so back to the doctor for more antibiotics.The doctor says it's due to the change of seasons. 
  • I realise that even when I was well during the previous months, I still had trouble sleeping. We replace our eight-year-old mattress. It takes a couple of weeks to get used to the new mattress, but I eventually start sleeping better. It's like sleeping on a cloud.
  • I develop night sweats and the sinus infections start recurring again, so the doctor sends me to an allergist for testing.
May 2012

  • I have the worst sinus infection yet. Can't sit up or stand more than a few minutes without severe nausea and dizziness. Excruciating pain from my forehead to the crown of my head plagues me for days. I lose 1 kilogram. 
  • The allergist skin-prick tests confirm I'm allergic to dust mites and plantain weed.
  • I start on the desensitising injections. I feel fatigued the next day.
  • Mr T and I spend our first weekend away without kids in more than seven years. My sinuses are unusually good, despite the cold, wet weather. 
  • I have a severe sinus migraine the night after my second desensitising injection.
June 2012
  • I have no adverse side affects after my third desensitising injection. I worry about whether this is good or bad since the allergist said those with some reaction have a better result than those with no reactions.
  • After clearing another sinus infection with antibiotics, I have a week of feeling good. 
  • Am starting to wonder if the injections are working since I haven't caught Miss Flora's cold, despite her coughing all over me daily.
  • Two hours after I suggest the injections might be working I catch a cold from Mr T and lose my voice.
  • My next injection is postponed while I recover from my latest cold.
  • No surprise that the latest cold is still keeping me down after two weeks and I've developed another sinus infection. All three little ones have ear infections at the same time.
July 2012
  • My injection has been postponed again. The doctor has put me on antibiotics with a repeat prescription, so I'm still on them when we try to do the desensitising injection next week.
  • The sinus infections are becoming more painful and lasting longer each time. For every good week I have, there are at least three weeks of sinus infection.  
  • Finally, a hint of success!! As we end July and move into August, I celebrate three weeks of being well. I have not gone this long without a sinus infections in so long. 
August 2012
  • Still enjoying being free of sinus infections, so I start investigating ways to naturally detox my body and build my immune system. 
  • I increase my consumption of apple cider vinegar and honey drink to twice a day instead of one (with pleasing results). 
  • Mr T's doctor confirms that, like his mother, his body produces an excessive amount of bad cholesterol (LDL), despite exercise and healthy eating. Lucky for him, I have more research time to concentrate on him!
  • After a month of being free of sinus infections, I catch a cold from Miss Flora, which develops into another nasty sinus infection. 
  • I switch to A2 milk to see if it clears up the remaining brain fog that didn't left after going gluten free for nearly a year. 
  • I get a tummy bug two days after switching to A2 during the sinus infection. 
  • Back to the doctor for antibiotics. I don't mention the tummy bug as it seems to have been a 24 hour thing. 
  • The tummy bug returns with a vengeance. Between the tummy bug and sinus infection, I lose 1.5 kgs in two days.

September 2012

  • My tummy bug continues to keep me down so I stop drinking A2 milk. The tummy bug clears up.
  • Sinus infection and A2 tummy troubles fixed, I continue to receive desensitising injections.
October 2012

  • Mr T is made redundant.
  • I finish my desensitising injections.
  • Retesting by the allergist reveals I'm still highly allergic to dust mites and plantain weed.
  • The allergist prescribes Ketotifen but the side effects are worse than the original problem. I wake up gasping for air as if I stop breathing in my sleep.
November 2012
  • The allergist prescribes Zantac and Telfast twice a day. My head feels clearer, but my sinuses are still tender and sore.
  • The allergist prescribes Kenacombe ointment placed up my nose twice a day.
  • My sinuses are now healed and pain free, but I'm suffering heavy fatigue, trouble sleeping, aches and stiffness.
  • I overdo it walking to school and back and develop  plantar fasciitis.
  • The allergist stops the Zantac and Telfast and prescribes an asthma prevention puffer sprayed into each nostril twice a day. 
December 2012
  • My GP orders blood tests for hypothyroidism to see if my thyroid has now gone the other way.
  • I see the allergist one last time before Christmas and he agrees to let me experiment with the Telfast and Zantac to find the right dosage, so I benefit from it without the fatigue and aches. The asthma spray didn't help at all.
  • I try 2 Telfast a day and soon stop due to the fatigue. 
  • Postpone further medication until after Christmas. My body needs a rest!
January 2013
  • Need to see the doctor again. Recurring nausea, weakness, anxiety and feeling faint. The only thing that fixes it is carbs (potatoes/rice). Check blood sugar and insulin??
  • I start back on my olive leaf extract twice a day and an apple cider vinegar and honey drink at least once a day.
  • A sneaky sinus infection is causing the fatigue and nausea. 
  • I take on the role of Assistant Treasurer at Miss Flora's kindergarten.
February 2013
  • Two weeks of running back and forth to school swimming lessons, kindergarten and the school run combined with sinus infections take its toll with the fatigue. 
March 2013
  • I start desensitising injections again.
  • The allergist doubles the dose and I get a sinus infection.
  • I beat the sinus infection with garlic tablets, lymphodran plus and bright eyes from the health shop.
  • I get my first severe menstrual migraine.
April 2013
  • Allergist reduces the injection doses.
  • I get my first virus at the start of the cold and flu season. Back on antibiotics as it gets worse after two weeks. Next injection postponed.
  • The doctor starts me on Vitamin D as my levels are only just within normal range after Summer. Within days of being on Vit D, my brain fog clears significantly.
  • Another severe menstrual migraine.
May 2013
  • First virus is gone and I get a second one two days later, accompanied by a sinus infection. Back on the garlic tablets, lymphodran plus and bright eyes. The doctor gives me a prescription for antibiotics just in case. Injections further postponed.
  • I stopped taking the contraceptive pill and the migraines were dramatically reduced to a bad headache.
  • I start on Fusion Health Women's Balance and all menstrual headaches, insomnia, mood swings and bloating disappear!
June 2013
  • I manage to do two more injections during June. Despite fatigue and the usual average sinus pain, things aren't too bad, or I'm getting used to living like this. 
July 2013
  • Allergy injections are on hold while my specialist is away.
  • I start drinking the juice of half a lemon in warm water each morning. 
  • I start eating Peace, Love and Vegetables organic sauerkraut. Wow, this stuff is good. The probiotic that is created by the B.E.D. Lactobacilius Culture Starter is called Lb Plantarum and it has boosted my immune system like no other probiotic.  
  • My new routine is lemon juice and warm water each morning and a garlic tablet before breakfast. Then a Women's Health tablet after breakfast. Two tablespoons of PLV sauerkraut with either lunch or dinner each day. I alternate my Vit D, Calcium and Magnesium supplements with a multi-vitamin, Fish oil and Iron supplements each day. 
  • Everyone in the house except me catches a bad flu!
  • Two weeks at home with sick people and I feel quite good apart from always feeling fatigued. 
  • Finally out and about again, and I'm getting sinus pain, aches and nausea again. Doesn't make sense! Locked in house for two weeks with dustmites doesn't bother me, but fresh air does even though the plantain weed isn't flowering or seeding.  
August – December 2013
  • We started really discussing and acting on our dream to move to the country - where I always feel much better.
  • Two years of allergy injections haven't helped much.
January 2014
  • Our move to rural Victoria was the best thing we could've done. 
  • So much energy and no illness.
  • Kids loving it too!
February 2014
  • I have a strange rash on my collar bone that looks and feels like the beginnings of shingles. The doctor has no idea what it is and says to come back if it progresses. It eventually disappears with no answers as to what it was.
  • I get a sinus infection from the bushfire smoke, but manage it with garlic tablets, probiotics, and Kenacombe cream. 
March 2014
  • I catch a cold from Kasey and end up with a bad sinus infection. Both Kasey and I end up needing antibiotics for sinus infections. (At least it's only my second infection for 2014!)
April 2014
  • Fatigue returns as does the muscle weakness. Only minimal sinus pain, so am baffled as to why I feel so flat.
May 2014
  • Mood swings begin, wanting to cry all the time and bad hormonal headaches start. Then the night sweats begin.
  • I suspect I'm entering perimenopause. Haven't been to doc yet because I'm angry. Two months ago I had the energy to shovel 3 tonne of dirt by myself, now mopping the floor is a struggle. I feel ripped off. I finally felt normal and now something else is claiming my strength.

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