Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Meeting a Legend
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting a Legend. Mrs. Shoshana Shteif herself, the woman whose reputation has infiltrated into every single sect and religious group in Jerusalem and beyond! I had first heard of her a few months into dating Pidgeon, when his Aunt told us how this woman saved her skin. Her homeopathic techniques, I later found out, were also what cured Pidgeon's best friend's horrible acne condition. A few months went on, and I heard that Pidgeon's cousin from London flew in to see Mrs. Shteif in order to help with her terrible skin itchiness. Personally, I never thought I would ever meet this woman. But, that was before I got pregnant.
When Pidgeon and I got back from the States, the morning (or all day long) sickness was really getting too much to handle. I looked awful, and last Friday night it all came to a head. We were at his parents for dinner and I just broke down, I couldn't handle feeling so lousy anymore! I needed some relief from the constant nausea, the terrible taste in my mouth and the exhaustion. Pidgeon's Mom offered to take me to see Shoshana Shteif and I jumped at the chance. At this point, I'm willing to try anything.
Pidgeon's Mom called me yesterday morning and told me to make sure I dressed Tzniut for the appointment. I made sure to have my knees and elbows covered, and took an extra long shmata just in case. She picked me up at 10:00 a.m. for our 10:30 a.m. appointment and we drove towards the Belz neighborhood of Jerusalem. Literally, the office is 2 blocks away from the Blez Beis Medrash which was built to model the Beis Hamikdash. The up close view was pretty incredible.
I had been warned that the place is usually a complete zoo and that our wait might be long, so I brought along a book. MIL had her own and so I was ready to settle in and wait. Fortunately, there was no one in the waiting room and I was ushered back into one of the "exam" rooms. Mrs. Shteif's assistant then hooked me up to this machine and handed me a metal pipe to hold in one hand, while she used a rod like contraption to test my energies with the other hand. We switched hands and then she hooked me up to the machine a number of different ways. I went along, even though I had no clue what was going on. At first, I honestly thought she was just still testing me. Later, my MIL told me that it was actually detoxifying and purifying "cycles" that were going on. The weirdest thing included my bare feet on 2 slabs of metal that were hooked into the machine, which was hooked into a pad that rested on my stomach, which was hooked into this pipe shaped porcelin object that I held up against my cheek. I did this to both sides of my face for 10 minutes. Again, I had no idea what was going on, but so many people swear by her that I just went along with it.
Finally, after 2 hours of being hooked up to the machine with various contraptions and for different cycles of time, Mrs. Shteif came in to see me. She did a brief "exam" of my mouth, eyes and skin. She immediately told me that I am very "sensitive" from my skin to what I eat. I agreed that it was true. Then, she asked me who in my family has diabetes. Well, as far as I know the other person in my family who was borderline diabetic was my Zaydie. I told her this, and she said that while I do no have diabetes, I am genetically inclined to it. (side note, but Lord did my folks pass on the Lions share of genetic issues to me! I'm hoping we aren't doing the same to our baby!)
Then, Mrs. Shteif spent 30 minutes testing me for food allergies. Here's how it worked. I held that metal pipe again in one hand, and she used the rod to test my energy levels with the other hand while placing small vials of different food into the machine. I had no idea how it worked people, but I can tell you that with certain foods the machine really, really beeped. Only, it wasn't a beep but sounded more like the whir of a dying motor sound. I didn't know what was going on, but that dying whirring sound was pretty frequent.
Finally, after going through three huge boxes of vials, Mrs. Shteif told me that I have "quite a list". She then wrote down all the foods I can no longer eat, now that I'm pregnant. They include:
Charif (spicy), all kinds
Tomatoes and ketchup
Wine (which, I knew I was allergic to going into the meeting)
Oranges, clementines and orange juice (although lemon and pomello are ok)
Peanuts, bamba and peanut butter
White flour and anything made with white flour (although whole wheat flour is ok)
Eggs - although something made with cooked eggs like a kugel is okay
Milk and all milk products - although, I can have goats milk if I boil it first, cool it down and then boil it again. Soy milk is ok
Milk chocolate (which I knew I was allergic to going into the meeting) - although dark chocolate is okay
White sugar and everything made with white sugar - although, demerara sugar is okay
Then, she handed me a survival list for women who are nauseous and throwing up in the first trimester. Most of what was on it was pretty self explanatory, but somethings really were interesting. In particular, that you shouldn't combine eating and drinking and actually should wait an entire hour between the two. I thanked her for everything, made a follow up appointment for Friday, and then went home.
This woman has now left with absolutely nothing I can eat. Let me explain that the only things I've been eating each day are eggs, yellow cheese sandwiches and peanut butter on rice crackers. I now could basically eat absolutely no protein. It was really, really frustrating. I also managed to somehow get myself good and dehydrated yesterday because each time I was hungry, I ate which meant I had to wait an hour until I could drink. It was rough. By the time we went out for dinner with Pidgeon's family, I was exhausted and starving.
Fortunately, we went to the epitome of protein places at El Gaucho. I could hardly find anything on the menu I could stomach, and the pasta was out because it was made with white flour and cooked in a tomato sauce. So, I decided to try a steak and see what happened. The salad arrived and I devoured my plate! Finally, my extremely well done steak came and I tucked in tentatively at first. After a few bites and no nausea, I managed to clean my plate. It was pretty amazing, especially since I haven't been able to eat meat in quite some time. We got home and I had some watermellon before we went to sleep.
This morning, I woke up really, really hungry and thirsty and a bit nauseous. According to the paper, I should eat right away if I feel nauseous. Unfortunately, there wasn't much in the house I could eat. I opted to drink instead and had a bottle of water. A few hours later, I made myself a sandwich on whole wheat bread and cut up some approved vegetables. Sadly, I have a vegetable bin full of tomatoes that I can no longer eat, and a huge chunk of cheddar cheese. It was expensive to buy, so I think I might just package up all the foods I can no longer eat and give them to Pidgeon's family. At least that way I'm not being wasteful.
Today has been a very productive day, even though I haven't left the house. I managed to finish all the laundry and tidy up the house before tomorrow's bed delivery. I'm really, really excited about the new beds and hope they are everything I was hoping they'd be! If anything else, I need the firm new mattress to help with my back which has already started to ache. Tonight, we're going to the supermarket so we can stock up on food. It took me an hour to write my shopping list as everything I wanted to make had some sort of offensive ingredient in it. Sigh. I really hope eating this way will help, although my biggest concern is that I basically eliminated all calcium options and I don't think that's really healthy. Hopefully, once I feel better, I'll be able to slowly add it back into my diet.
Well, I'm off to finish up my errands and get ready for out outing tonight. President Bush is coming to town tomorrow to completely mess up this City for the next 3 days. It should be really, really annoying. More to come!
Yom Tov from Baka!