Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gluten, Karma and Full Disclosure...

Not so long ago I was one of those people who became annoyed with food allergies.  I'd think, "good grief, you're overreacting. Get over it. What's wrong with everyone?" I dated someone with a tree nut allergy and I just didn't get it. Peanuts were ok, but walnuts aren't? Huh? And I'm a nurse!

If you think I'm a jerk, you're probably right.  I just didn't understand food allergies.  And there are still a lot of people out there who don't either. Take my dad, for instance. This last year, after being diagnosed with Celiac disease and explaining to my parents why I couldn't eat the turkey that was stuffed with bread, and that I would make the gravy because my dad only knew how to make it with flour and please don't double dip into anything and contaminate it...uuuuuuuhhhhhhh <deep breath>...my dad takes his ladle of gravy and drags it through his pile of stuffing and says "like that?" and puts it back into to ONLY gravy boat. I guess it serves me right.

Karma. I don't believe in it. I believe that we reap what we sow in a biblical sense, not a buddhist one, or whatever religion karma belongs to.  But if there was karma, I guess you could say I am experiencing it.  You would think I'd have been more sensitive to other people since I've suffered with lactose intolerance, allergies to my pets, intolerance to chicken, shrimp, raw anything, and heck, at one point I couldn't even CHEW bread!  But I wasn't.  I was a jerk.  Kinda like Martha Stewart.  But we won't go there....

My food intolerance journey began after my son was born in 1994.  I'd always just had a stomach ache as a kid. Then, after C was born, I started finding myself running to the bathroom every time I ate. I was losing weight and people at school were asking me if I was ok.  I saw my doctor for a sinus infection and told him about it. He said it sounded like lactose intolerance and to stop eating dairy.  So I did. And the symptoms went away. Two years later, by the time I was pregnant with my daughter I could eat dairy again.

By then, however, I also found myself allergic to cats and dust and rabbits.  I thought it explained my chronic sinus infections.  A few years later I started being unable to eat anything without being doubled over in pain. So I would go all day at work eating only a small piece of chocolate and drinking coffee because, somehow, these were the only things I could eat without doubling over!  Then I'd go home, eat dinner, and suffer for hours until I finally could "use" the bathroom.   I gotta say that my boyfriend at the time was saintly about this because let me tell you, that ain't sexy!

I went back to my doctor who had been diagnosing me with "colitis" and GERD, IBS, and even an ulcer.  He immediately sent me to a gastroenterologist who saw me the next day.  A minimal exam later and he said it was IBS,  gave my a prescription for dicyclomine and sent me home with no real guidance on what to do.  Of course the meds didn't work.  Do they work for anyone? Ever?

Eventually I figured out that shrimp, milk, and  raw food were bothering me.  I cut them out and things got better.  Then my jaw tightened up and I couldn't chew.  I was told I had TMJ.  <sigh>  I know there will be someone reading this someday who completely understands how I was feeling right about then.  It gets better.

Forward a couple of years and suddenly I couldn't eat chicken without pain.  Chicken? What is life without hot wings?  How is anyone allergic to chicken?  So I didn't eat any poultry for 2 years.  Then one night I ate some duck and was fine. I did a happy dance and started hesitantly eating poultry again.  Hot wings were once again on the menu!

Things weren't great in the GI arena but they were sort of tolerable for a while. Running to the bathroom midway through a meal was pretty routine for me so I didn't sweat it anymore.  Then I became pregnant with my twins.  Any woman who has been pregnant knows what kind of trouble pregnancy can wreck on your GI system.  Not pretty.  But once the babies came, it took a few months, but things got back to "normal."

Last summer, however, I got a new job.  Sure I was nervous and I always considered myself to have a "nervous stomach" but it was getting ridiculous. I also couldn't understand why even though the babies were now sleeping through the night, I was feeling worse and worse.  Then I stumbled upon a chiropractor who gave me information on an anti-inflammatory diet that talked about wheat and gluten causing  the symptoms I was having.  And my new doc said she would test me for Celiac disease but that I should try an elimination diet first.  So I did. And the test was positive.

So as you can see, I kind of deserved this.  Perhaps God is trying to make me more sympathetic toward others with food allergies?  It is certainly an effective method of convicting you for being a jerk and straightening you out!  Score one (million) for God.  I was wrong.  I apologize.  In fact, I'd like to help.  Just please don't send me down to live with the pygmy's in Borneo. Ok?  Karma. Don't believe in it, but certainly living with it.

No comments:

Post a Comment