Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Gluten Series: Part 1

I've started and stopped this post a couple of times.  Right now it's called "The Post That's Hard to Write."


First off, I don't want to be laughed at.  Because doing things that are different, while socially applauded in the general sense (Be Unique!  Be yourself!) is not...really...OK... when you're talking to someone face to face.

Second, I will have to admit that I have had health issues for a very long time.  And I really don't want to be a person with health issues.

Third, it's just so darn CLICHE!  It's the "it" thing, just a rung in a hierarchy of food snobs.  And who wants to be a snob?

But fourth, what's happened to me is so life-changing that I have to believe this might help someone else.

Hi, I'm Myrnie, and I've been depressed for a very, very long time.

I won't describe it for you, because it's not pretty, but there it is.

Anyway, it was really bad in high school, and then kind of manageable for a long time.  Meeting my husband changed my life for so many years- he made me so happy.  His pragmatic, level-headed, unchanging approach to life is amazing.  But, after our third child was born, things were kind of hard.  No different than when the second came, really.

Then when my menstrual cycle started again when the baby was nine months old (that's 18 months without a cycle, everybody) I simply could not handle it.  The hormone swings.  Oh my gosh, the swings.  The days I would yell at my kids, and I NEVER yelled at my kids until now.  I'm serious.  The feeling of just being so tired.  My husband would ask me in concern "What is wrong?"  All I could say was that I was just tired.  Tired of trying so hard to be good, and tired of failing every day.  Tired of hating myself.  I just couldn't get this right, I was so tired of failing.  My body was tired.  I haven't slept properly in about 8 years.  I would pray at night to my Heavenly Father "Please forgive me for losing my temper again, and please help me be nicer!"

Failing every day at something I wanted so badly made my self-esteem plummet.  What kind of person can't even keep herself from yelling at three beautiful children?  I've been doing Zumba once a week with my sister, and gained 5 pounds in the process.  My belly looks 5 months pregnant. It seemed like I was giving all I had to give, and just didn't have enough in me.  Whatever I had simply wasn't enough, so I must be just not trying hard enough, and the thought of trying harder was crushing.

Finally, one day at church, I realized I had to get help.  I was missing something- I didn't know what it was, or how to get it, but there was something I needed.  I wasn't worth helping, because apparently I was too stupid to get it right, but the kids deserved better.  Knowing that the only options (I could think of) were hormone therapy and counseling was pretty depressing.  I don't trust hormone therapy (hormonal birth control scares the bejeebies out of me) and having a counselor give me exercises to learn how to try harder to be happy.....oh man.  I just was so tired.  But I texted my husband, who was home with a sick kid, and he was ecstatic.  He'd been praying for three months that I would figure out I needed help.  HE didn't want to be the one to tell me, because who wants to be told they're broken?

I was fairly certain my doctor would go the anti-depressant/counseling route.  I've worked with her for 15 years, I know what she offers.  If I had a pain, she prescribed a numbing cream.  If I wanted birth control, she prescribed hormone patches.  I adore her, but I didn't want those things unless they were a last resort.  Plus, she's on a six-month sabbatical.

  I knew an acquaintance had a medical practice nearby, and she's trained in western-style medicine AND stays up to date on "Functional Medicine."  She's more likely to prescribe vitamins and apples than something from the pharmacy.  Plus, she's actually in town.  I made an appointment with her the next day.

I went to my appointment nervous- I look fine to most people.  I didn't want to try and convince her that I really DID need help.  But she listened to me, listened to my problems, and said "Alright, cut gluten out of your diet."

Ummm...what?  "Oh, and you probably have a B12 deficiency, and a D deficiency, and add at least 3 Tbsp of plant fat like avocados and coconut and nuts to your diet every day.  Try to cut out dairy, too."  She went on about a methylation process, sent me home with some monster vitamins, and set up an appointment for a blood draw to check my levels.  (I've been researching all this since then, and NOW it makes total sense.  It didn't that day.)

That night, I told my husband my face felt funny.  It felt goofy.  "Well, what does it feel like?" he asked.  "It feels like smiling!"  So I did.  For the first time in years, I had hope.

Going off gluten has changed everything.  I'm not losing my temper.  I'm not listless and tired.  My brain isn't foggy.  I'm not anxious and jittery.  When I don't get enough sleep, I'm just tired.  That's all.  I'm calm and totally in control of myself.  I'm wrestling with the kids, keeping the kitchen clean, and singing while I sweep.  When I lose my temper, it's not like my mind is snapping, it's just...I got upset.  I'm hopeful.  I also lost two pounds the first week.

The test results will come back, and we'll see what they say about my vitamin and minerals etc.  My sister offered me a piece of pie last night, and then clapped her hand over her mouth and gave me a stricken look.  "I'm so sorry!  I forgot!"  Babe, I truly don't care.  If it's a choice between eating that pie, and feeling awesome?  I'll take awesome.


Anonymous said...

Ah gluten. Pesky, pesky gluten. :) I'm glad you've found something that is working. I think we've got to go back to gluten-free as well... it is just so hard sometimes. And expensive. Let me know if you need any gluten-free recipes. I've tried a ton. :)

Aunt LoLo said...

The last paragraph is absolute perfection.

Love you, babe.