Okay, I wasn't going to post about the 1 year anniversary of my divorce with gluten. But the Colts vs Chargers playoff game (it's on tonight) brought back the memory of my epiphany day.
Synopsis: Sick for five years. Covered with rash doctors told me was psoriasis. I had to soak my ravaged skin in the bathtub every night for an hour just to be comfortable the next day. Hair falling out in clumps. Constant back and foot pain. Hard, painful knots on my knuckles. Swollen eyes, blurry vision. Bad at sleeping. Bad at staying awake. Ever-increasing girth. Forgot everyone's names. Googled "symptoms:" and the ever-growing list daily. I'd seen more doctors than I could count. They ran tests and told me I didn't have anything wrong with me. I was just getting old. I should lose some weight, use this $100/tube psoriasis medication and get steroid shots for my bald spots.
Prayed for a sign from God.
One year ago: It was the Saturday after New Years. The Colts were scheduled to play the San Diego Chargers in the wildcard playoff game. Wow! It's like deja vu all over again!
I decided to give my aching body a treat and scheduled a massage with Chandra. She came highly recommended. Upon meeting her, I found out she was studying acupuncture. She saw my rash and the knots on my knuckles and told me I might have gluten issues. I thought that would give me something new to research on Google.
Later that same day, I met DeAnne and Nicci at The Dugout to watch the Colts game. Ate pizza and drank beer. Their friend, Brian, was sitting with them. He noticed the rash on my hands (they looked like raw hamburger,) and said he'd seen a similar rash on a friend's hands. Turns out his friend had celiac disease. Gave up wheat and the rash went away. Hmmm. Okay, two unrelated acquaintances mention the same suspected ailment on the same day. How much of a sign do I need?
(BTW, the Colts lost and our season was over. I was wearing size 18 or 20 jeans that day, with a baggy sweatshirt.)
Even though I was fairly certain that wheat could not be poisoning me (after all, I'd been eating it daily my whole life,) I checked with my doctor about getting tested. Expensive test for the uninsured. So I decided to give up wheat for a couple of weeks, just to prove that wasn't the problem.
I did it wrong. I didn't know about cross contamination. I made lots of rookie mistakes.
And I got better anyway. Every day.
I found Gluten Free Girl and Ginger Lemon Girl and The Gluten Free Goddess. I read their new posts and their old posts. I asked questions in their comments sections. Bless their hearts, they guided me through the early, frustrating days. I still made lots of mistakes. I still got better.
So here I am, one year later. I'm a seasoned veteran at avoiding gluten. My hair has grown back. I have almost no rash for the first time in 30 years. No back pain. No foot pain. No pain anywhere. My brain works again. My vision is back to normal. I sleep like a baby. And I'm wearing size 12 jeans.
What a long, strange trip it's been! I'm almost comfortable with my lifestyle changes, though I still miss feeding my friends after-work treats and massive party foods. And I'm still looking for a career outside the food industry. My health and attitude continue to improve. I am sooooooo much healthier than I was year ago. And happier! It's great that optimism has replaced frustration.
Thankfully, The Dugout makes good pizza. It was the last wheat I knowingly consumed. And the last time I ate in a restaurant.
The Colt vs Chargers wildcard playoff game has just started. I hope the Colts are having a better year, too.
I'll have a New Grist beer with my gluten-free pizza while I watch the game. Go Colts!