I feel like ass today. As I sit at my desk at work (to which I arrived 3 hours late), clutching my mug of mint and spiced ginger herbal tea and a box of Alka Seltzer, staring at the bag of gluten free oats I brought in lieu of lunch and wondering if I’ll ever even consider making them, my stomach continues to tie itself into knots a boy scout could only imagine.
This, my friends, is what I call a Case of the Glutens.
For those who may not know, I was diagnosed with a Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity (or in layman’s terms, gluten intolerance) in July of 2010. This was after quite a bit of research on my part, an informative consultation with my doctor, and a three-week elimination diet. I’d had stomach problems all my life, but never really thought it was anything out of the ordinary. The frequency and quality of one’s defecation wasn’t a topic of discussion when I was a child; in fact, no one but my doctor had ever asked me about my bowl movements until I dated a nursing student. So I had never considered the possible root of my hypoglycemia, iron deficiency anemia, lactose intolerance, or irritable bowls until the symptoms got so severe I could no longer ignore them.
And after just a month of eating gluten free, most of those problems diminished significantly; the lactose intolerance was (and still is) all but gone. In the last two and a half/nearly three years, my intestines have healed for the most part (apparently, when they can’t break down a protein it just piles up in there or passes through damaged intestinal walls to build up in the rest of your body; joy) and I actually absorb most of what I eat now. Hence, my hypoglycemia and anemia have improved dramatically. While still easily irritated, my bowls are much less finicky and are running on a fairly normal schedule for the first time in my life. Generally, I feel fantastic.
And then, there are days like today when I am reminded of just why I adopted this rather restricting lifestyle. I painstakingly examine everything I have eaten and every medication I have taken in the last few days, trying to find the culprit. “Was it that chocolate bar Saturday? I read the ingredients! There was nothing! Besides, it should have been out of my system by now…Or maybe the generic liquid ibuprofen from HEB. It doesn’t SAY it’s gluten free. But the ingredients are exactly the same as the one from Target, and that one DOES say it’s gluten free…Or maybe there’s a stomach bug going around…AAAHHH! WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME!” I cried to myself this morning as I lay curled in the fetal position on my couch, waiting for the spasms to stop so I could get dressed and stop by the pharmacy in search of Alka Seltzer (no inactive ingredients! A.k.a., no crazy, incomprehensible chemical terms I have to stare at and scratch my head over and Google on my phone) so I might have a prayer of a chance of making it through the day. I finally managed to get the spasms down to a steady ache that left me breathing like a woman in labor, and made my trek to Walgreens and then to work. Post-Alka Seltzer dose, I am now sitting mostly comfortably at my desk, though I’m dreading my daily walk to the mailroom.
Dance company rehearsal tonight will be interesting, to say the least.