Monday, March 19, 2012

Gluten, Ugh, I didn't want to go here

I really didn't, I actually remember texting with a friend a few years back and saying things like 'if I have to give up bread I'm done.' Well here it is further down the road and not only have I given up bread but I read every single label of every single thing I put in my mouth or home, no wheat, nothing that is manufactured on the same equipment as wheat, nothing that is made in the same building as wheat stuff, nope, nope, even ordered our own communion wafers that are still bread and yet super dooper low gluten, the jury is still out on those but Mark seems fine with them. So you ask why in the world would someone go to these lengths for what seems to be the latest food fad, I've been thinking of how to explain that lately and well today I have come to the conclusion that a list is my friend. So here's the list of things that we don't have to deal with when we don't eat gluten -

for Mark
- upset stomach
- gut pain
- diarrhea
- increase of anxiety from those things and probably amplified by the gluten

for Gina
- inability to get my words out right, like John's apraxia or stuttering or something in between
- heightened anxiety (beyond just the normal stuff and constant)
- easily thrown into panic attacks
- feeling like the inside layer of the skin on my arms and legs are trying to crawl up my arms and legs
- more frequent and worse headaches (still not sure if I am headache free without gluten, but so far I've not had a headache that isn't at least related)
- numb patches on my skin
- brain whirling, like having 3 conversations in my head at all times
- kinda clumsy with both find and gross motor skills (trip easier, drop things more often, etc)
- absolute exhaustion, worn out from the heightened anxiety and depression type symptoms including thinking I'm the most worthless person to have ever lived and images of suicide
- joint pain in my hands, feet and back without having done something to cause it
- legs and arms that feel like they need to be stretched all the time and are rarely ever comfortable
- eyes feel like they are on fire a good bit of the time
- horrid time trying to focus, depending on typeface and size there are things I can't even read cause I can't get my eyes to stay still long enough to get through even a few paragraphs, and backlit screens are way way worse when this is going on too
- absolutely starving, nothing is satisfying, I'm just hungry, whereas without gluten I can go most of a day and not even think about food, at the point when the gluten effects start I could eat the whole fridge with a fork right now
- feet and hands swelling easily, gluten free road trips there is no edema in my feet, gluten laden road trips come with swollen and painful feet, ankles and hands

We started down this journey because we both ached and coming home from the hospital where we had, especially I had, pretty much lived on cake and coffee we wanted to see if we could feel better without the max dosage of ibuprofen all the time. We shortly figured out that Mark was gluten intolerant and so I changed things around here for him, happily, willingly because I would do anything for him. We knew that I felt much better too but just assumed it had a lot to do with getting off the cake/coffee jag, getting back home and such. It has taken us months to realize that I have all these neurological symptoms with gluten and as we look back over the years that we have known each other some of them have always been there and we never thought they could go away until I had some gluten free time around here. With gluten I spend 2 days of anxiety, loads and loads of anxiety and then a day or two of just crushing fatigue, for a long time I have wondered if I had mental issues that I needed to have addressed professionally, and really if you know me I am kind of a nut, but still without gluten I don't have days when I can barely move and others when I am so anxious that just having my skin touched makes me jump.

So if you've managed to read this far the most important thing you need to know is that gluten or not we still rely on Christ to carry us through this sinful broken world and that Mark has now appointed himself my gluten-protector so if you ever see a little white knight figure with a no-wheat crest let me know, he needs it.


Tressa said...

I have just started my GF journey. I am three months into it. My sister has been GF for 4 years and has spent the last 3 trying to convince me that I should be too. I finally reached my breaking point around Christmas when I had to get up 3 times a night due to pain that no one had an explanation for. It took 4 days to feel better. I have less anxiety. I do not like being GF, but I feel so much better that I won't ever go back. I enjoy reading about others' journeys. thanks for sharing.

Elephantschild said...

"I'm just hungry."

YES. This is huge. Off of gluten, I can be just hungry, not "eat the whole house" ravenous.

Gina said...

Tressa, I'm glad you found that GF is helping and that other's talking about it is a help - it has been to me, if it wasn't for some of my friends sharing their journeys with GF I would have never even thought to try it and would never know that I can actually feel good.

Jenny, I was reading some stuff on gluten ataxia trying to figure out what in the world was going on with me and it says that we are actually malnourished from the gluten, kinda makes sense with some other stuff I have read about weight issues and health in general. Thanks for sharing so much of your journey with GF, you have helped me beyond measure.