Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Beginning

I never thought I would blog.

I thought to myself, blogging is for stay-at-home moms who have too much time on their hands. I am a WRITER.

Then I read Gluten Free Girl and the Chef. I realized that Shauna used her blog to help others understand our way of life. I don't like calling Celiac a disease. It's a lifestyle. Sure, it may be a forced lifestyle, but I'm not dying, at least not anymore.

I have been sick since high school. I was plagued by constant fatigue, migraines, gastrointestinal difficulties, and nausea. My mother once said, "If I didn't know any better, I would swear you were pregnant."

Then there was the depression. I started taking Wellbutrin at the age of 14. It worked through high school. Then my dopamine levels stabilized and I had a breakdown after taking my daily dose. I was medication free until I the age of 23. Feeling crazy, I went back to the doctor. I was placed on Prozac. It's a great drug, really. It stabilized the mood swings, made me feel semi-normal.

I missed so much school that I almost didn't graduate. My teachers were sure that I was faking my symptoms. I went to the doctor time after time. "It's stress." "It's a virus." "You're healthy." This continued through college.

I went on a church mission to Dallas, Texas. I served the Hispanic people. Strangely, my condition stabilized. (I wasn't eating much bread for a long time, either.) I was strong, healthy, I lost weight, and I felt great!

Then I went to middle class America again. I was still a missionary, but I was back with the White people. I started a "healthy" diet of whole wheat toast, yogurt, and oranges for breakfast each day. I got violently ill.

I called our mission nurse. She was sure that I wasn't getting enough good fats in my diet. She prescribed salads filled with avocados. I ate the salads each day. I didn't improve.

When I reported back, I let her know that I was not improving. She said, "It must be gastritis. Go on the BRAT diet. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast." I did this faithfully for a week. I was okay until I ate the toast. I never made the connection. I'm an educated woman, so I"m going to blame the nurse and say it's her fault. I'd never heard of gluten or Celiac at this time!

The months passed and I toughed it out. 15 months into my missionary service the severe abdominal pain I'd been experiencing off and on became more on and less off. I finally went to a doctor. He said, "Congratulations! Your gallbladder is shot." I got sent home.

I was devastated.

I had my gallbladder removed. I didn't have stones; my gallbladder was just functioning at 25 percent.

This same song and dance continued and my condition worsened. By the time I was 23 and married I had had enough. I was missing at least one day of work per week. I had to go to the nurse's office at work to nap and was putting customers on hold (I worked on the phones) to use the bathroom.

Then my parents saw Elisabeth Hasselbeck on The View. As those of use g-free gals know, she has Celiac and speaks out for the "lifestyle." My mom called.

"I know what's wrong with you!" She was so excited.

"You're intolerant to gluten. You need to ask the doctor next time you go."

I told her that it was crazy! Whole wheat is the grain of the gods, after all. I had an appointment that day, but I didn't say anything.

A week later, my dad called me. My dad is not one to call and talk. He said, "I think I know what's wrong with you!" He too was so excited!

"You're intolerant to gluten. You need to ask the doctor next time you go."

I was home again with a migraine, so I thought, there might be something to this. I'll ask.

I went to the doctor, internet information in hand, and I asked the doctor. I explained my symptoms, tried to pronounce "gluten" the best I could, and asked to be tested.

She said, "We can't test you for that. You're sick."

I was infuriated! I got my morphine shot and went to Trader Joe's. I bought gluten free pasta, bread, brownie mix, and chicken breasts. I thought, this is what I will eat. I started purging my body. I bought gluten-free vitamins. Most importantly, I started to read. I've always been a voracious reader, and I knew that I had to knew what was killing me in order to heal me. The first thing I read was Elisabeth's book. Here is a link to it on I started to understand what gluten was doing to my body. I learned what to avoid. I learned that gluten was killing me.

The only way to save my life was to give up the grain of the gods.

So I did.

I felt AMAZING! I could think clearly. I could sleep. I had energy. I started to understand my body's chemistry and its inner workings. I knew how my innards worked!

Now, I don't want the one person reading this to think that I have never slipped since that day. That is not true. I have slipped, and I have paid dearly.

I also don't want you to think that I don't eat well. I love food. I love to cook. Most of my memories revolve around food in some way. Cooking with my grandma, grilling with my dad, learning to can with my mom...even smells remind me of the best (and worst) times of my life.

Within two weeks I felt amazing. I went back to the doctor for a check-up and reported that I had Celiac. She was shocked! She said, "Just keep that up." From then on, I knew that I was in charge of my life, of my body, and that I would make my body better.

This was my beginning.

1 comment:

  1. thanks again for your blog . i really enjoyed reading it, the part about your parents made me laugh. but sincerly i think that it was pretty cool that both of them came with the same news and diffrent times.i guess i never thought that having cilecik dieses could be so hard on ones body but also there mind. i met a girl a week ago and she told me the she couldnt eat wheat and i asked her where she usuly would eat out she said mexican because there is more of an opions of food for her to eat. but then she paused and said i dont really eat out because im tired of eating salads when i go out with my friends. so i stay home and do alot of my cooking. she then left and it was the end of are conversation. i think its great that your shareing about your life is like . i hope to hear more about how your coping and living each day. i look forward to seeing you reach your goals and living the best you can. youll be in my prayers.