When I was in second grade I couldn't stop throwing up. I went from the doctors' office to home to the doctor's office and missed school for 2 weeks lost 14 pounds and wasn't well for a long time after that. When leaving for state basketball my freshman year...my stomach hurt. State basketball my senior year...my stomach hurt. In college whenever I had strep throat (which was 3-4 times a year) my stomach would hurt and lead to dry heaves during basketball practice, and after my final basketball season I got strep throat and took antibiotics, got strep throat, took antibiotics...repeat for a total of 6 cases of strep throat..in 3 months!
I've always thought of myself as being tough, but looking back at all of these times when I've felt sick has lead me to question whether I'm really tough at all. To everyone else I might look like the sick kid.
Over the past year and a half, I've had a stomach ache probably 3-4 times a week (my bf would probably think that number is too low) and felt so uncomfortable that I couldn't sleep laying on my stomach.
I finally broke down and made a doctor's appointment though I felt like the most unsick crazy person in the waiting room. We talked and talked. She thought my symptoms didn't really sound like anything, and was leaning toward a diagnosis of IBS, (irritable bowel syndrome..the universal your stomach hurts for no tellable reason, but we'll give you a diagnosis so you feel less crazy! diagnosis) however, with my insecurities I may not have explained all of my symptoms that well and also hid some thoughts and tried to not sound too crazy.
She took blood and it came back showing some bacterial infection in my stomach...I went through 2 rounds of antibiotics and Prilosec and tried to convince myself that fixed everything. It didn't.
I started recording what foods I ate and how I felt knowing that things might stay in my system over time and not point to a clear answer, but it was a start. Then I just decided to try and eliminate some of the big alergens from my diet, one at a time, and see what happened. I started with milk. I looove milk. I drink it by the glassful at night with all kinds of baked goods. I didn't want it to be a problem with milk, but remember growing up that my dad (whom instilled in my my love for milk) had once seemed, to me, to be lactose intollerent. After about a week, I had mixed emotions when the stomach aches hadn't gone away. I googled and googled and googled and found symptoms of celiac disease (oh that word sounds so daunting). It really sounded like most of my symptoms. It was going to be an extreme experiment which brought back all of my insecurities...how will I maintain this experiment at work lunches, will by bf think I'm crazy?...what about my farmer parents...gluten free has become such a trendy catch phrase around the more libral areas of the state.
Well it's been nearly a month and overall, I feel great. It would be nice to say that I haven't had a stomach ache since...but I have, however few and far between, and could be attributed to cross contamination. I haven't been "checked" for Celiac (you have to be eating gluten for that test to be accurate..and I haven't wanted to feel sick) So I'm still experimenting, trying to convince myself that I know what the results will be before I have the test run....to minmize the crazy feeling :)
Here I am at Thanksgiving with my parents who have totally adapted dinner today for me. My mom has found a new sweet potato recipe and is substituting corn starch for flour, was very interested in making homeade gf cornbread stuffing, axed out the green bean casserole (which has been on the table for most of my 26 Thanksgivings) substituted for creamed corn, and modified the gravy to be made with cornstartch instead of flour.
I brought a gluten free pie crust home and made homemade pumpkin pie that I'm praying no one can taste the non-gluten difference in.
This meal, this feeling, among hundreds of other blessings, is what I'm thankful for.