July 15, 2012
I have had so many food ups and downs since learning that I do not need to eat gluten free. That’s right I do not have to eat gluten free. What I wrestled with is how far back did I want to turn. Feeling lost? Let me catch you up.
After the countless tests I endured this spring and summer I was greeted with some very good news at my last follow-up with the gastro. I expected to be told that he still did not know what was wrong and set me up to start rounds of food allergen testing. I ended up leaving his office smiling and filled with the hope that my health would soon be restored. What I found out was that over the last two years I had not become gluten intolerant as was suspected but food intolerant. How does this happen to someone? I make too much acid in my stomach. Honestly, I have know that for years as I suffered from ulcers and acid reflux off and on starting at the age of 16. What I was not aware of was that the overflow of stomach acid could also go into my intestines and in time caused serious damage.
This damage looked very similiar to that of Celiac Disease, hence the diagnosis of gluten intolerance even though the bloodwork always came back negative. Because of this damage my body was absorbing almost nothing that I ate and when I did eat I was sick. Leaving me to the diet of broth and fruit and wondering if this was how I was going to live the rest of my life. What is the solution to this problem? Well, for the next six months I am on a heavy dose of Prilosec. I can not ( and do not want to) stay on this medicine forever. My new life of unprocessed eating seems more important now than ever. Once I have healed I have to stay healed. I can not go back to feeling as sick as I did ever again. I can tell you with all honesty there were days when I questioned if I might have some terminal disease that was slowly killing me. It may sound dramatic but it is how I felt. I was scared that I would never be well again.
But what did I do with this newfound freedom? Without the dietary restrictions I had grown so used to over the last year? I thanked God that I was okay. I almost hugged my doctor and I cried a little bit. I told my husband I was going to be alright and thanked everyone who had been praying for me. I baked chocolate chip cookies with real flour and ate them for two days straight. I ate a hamburger with a real bun. This weekend I celebrated my youngest’s 2nd birthday with homemade cupcakes and stuffed myself with Doritos while visiting with my sister this past week. I felt completely miserable and sick because even though I CAN eat this things it doesn’t mean my body WANTS me to eat them.
While I am starting to feel better everyday eating these foods will only hinder my healing and will not help me to one day be off of the medication. I am ready to renew my resolve to eat only natural whole foods. I will let myself eat cupcakes and cookies on special occasions but there is no benefit to eating half a dozen of these treats at one time! Will I go back to gluten free living? Probably never entirely. I am grateful that I learned to eat that way because now I am certainly sympathetic to those with food allergies and I learned so much about what I eat and what real food actually is. I am certain now that as I heal the unprocessed life, clean eating, is the only lifestyle that I want. And so I am getting back on track and I promise no more cookie binges.
I am still fighting the arthritis pain in my arms and wrists. I will find out more at an appointment this Friday. They suspect vitamin deficiencies in D and B12 could be linked to this pain. As my gastro said. “It is logical to think that is the problem. You weren’t absorbing anything.” Looking back at the way I felt a month ago and the way I feel now I know I will never take good health and feeling well for granted ever again.