I have been feeling pretty miserable for over a year now, and struggling with why. There were some days I woke up so sick I thought I had the flu, while other days my symptoms were more bearable. Then there were those days I thought I was deathly ill. I couldn’t figure out why. I managed as best I could, with whatever symptoms revealed themselves on any particular day, but there were countless days I just had to cancel my plans, and try to function through the hazy blur of aches and pains, bloating, nausea, no appetite, headaches, break outs, chills, overwhelming fatigue and I would often become dizzy and unable to concentrate at its worst. Oh so many days, I became depressed, trying so hard to figure out why I was always so sick! I would attempt to battle these symptoms with what positive thinking I could pull up from the depths of my weak and trembling body. I just couldn’t figure out what was causing such horrible symptoms…
I rarely go to the doctor, so I finally gave in last year and went thanks to a gentle nudge from my beloved Lizzi. I was thinking I had some bowel obstruction causing my bowel issues and awful physical symptoms. I began to fear the worst- that something more serious was going on. The doctor prescribed some strong laxative pills to clean me out, yet it did nothing for my symptoms. I managed through months of continued suffering before I went back again to ask for a more in depth investigation as to why I would be so sick. I had a CAT scan and kidney tests and blood work- all of which came back fine. I had already been tested for allergies and had never had any reactions to food before, but I kept thinking there must be something I am eating or doing that is causing all of this…
I couldn’t connect any particular food or activity directly to feeling sick. I was so depleted and discouraged, I was losing hope and honestly? I felt like every day was a gamble to whether I would be able to have a productive and healthy day full of hopeful vitality. I’d often lose. It’s been awful. Last winter I remember day after day, feeling so horrible and desperately crying to my husband about being barely able to function. I was truly scared something very serious was wrong with me.
It was bad.
Many people that knew about this, talked about gluten and the idea of it being the culprit, but I dismissed it having never had a problem with it before. As I poured my heart out to some precious online friends, my beloved friend Jennie continued to raise the idea of gluten being the possible problem (bless her). I sought a GI specialist and scheduled both a colonoscopy and an endoscopy, fearing I had severe ulcers or something worse in my intestinal track or colon. After Jennie told me that you can develop gluten intolerance later in life and promised me I would notice a difference within a week, I decided I had nothing to lose-
I went gluten free.
After a few days, I started to feel less achy and weak and fatigued. My break outs stopped and by the end of the week my bowels started to function normally. I was realizing this may actually be IT! For the first time, I was encouraged that I would finally get well!
I have never been so relieved in all my life. As I continued monitoring my diet and eating gluten free foods, I began to feel so much better! Then I accidentally ate a ton of it not realizing I did and woke up feeling absolutely HORRIBLE. After researching the food I ate, I realized I did in fact eat gluten (Teriyaki sauce) and this was the confirmation that led me to truly believe I found the answer.
I was amazed that someone like me, who never had a problem with any food whatsoever- could be knocked OUT physically by gluten. I honestly thought only people with Celiac Disease (that is genetic) were the only ones who would need to tend to gluten reactions. I had no idea that people can actually develop gluten intolerance despite not having Celiac Disease.
After yet another accidental dose of gluten (I really suck at this), I have been miserable for the past week and slowly starting to feel better again. I am new at this thing. It is not an easy feat to start a gluten free diet without careful research and consideration of all the foods you eat!
I am both relieved and saddened to have this answer. I still wonder why I have developed this gluten intolerance. What on earth would cause it? I need to really dive into research and educate myself much more on all of this. I’ve merely spent these past weeks truly thankful that I now KNOW what has been ailing me for so long! I know I know I know!
Oh, it was so awful to be so sick and not know why…
What is settling into my heart now, is the reality that I must live a GF life. I look into my fridge and question everything. My pantry is gluten heaven. Those cinnamon rolls I stocked up on for the upcoming holiday, all the delicious breads and the best pizza in town will never be eaten again- by me. I’m slowly starting to learn that although I have to say goodbye to SO many foods I love, there are many options out there that I have only begun to acquire.
It’s a long road ahead for me. I’m only at the beginning of this path.
I’m so grateful to Jennie, because I would have never considered Gluten to be the cause of my sickness. (By the way, she has a rockin’ GF recipe page on her blog, full of amazing food!)
I’m so glad I finally have an answer.
I know GF diets have been around for years. I never really tuned into them, because I had no reason to invest my time or attention to anything related to gluten free foods or the affects gluten can have on someone.
I’m sharing my story, because I can only wonder if there are others out there feeling miserable and wondering why. It’s such a horrible place to be in when you are continually sick and have no answers. Oh, how I know.
Symptoms vary for everyone, but I am going to list the symptoms I had again, in case you may be experiencing any of them yourself.
Bloating and gas.
Nausea. No appetite.
Weakness and fatigue.
Shaky, blurred vision, dizziness, unable to concentrate.
Break outs of red bumps. (They were on my face.)
If you have any of these symptoms, perhaps this is something you may look into as well. I found this cool website with loads of information.
I’m not thrilled to face my future living Gluten free. I’m going to miss the foods I love. It’s not going to be easy, but rather frustrating and complicated…
But oh, I’m SO ready to feel better.
I’ll take that over deep dish pizza any day. (She says with a tear in her eye.)