It’s morning. It’s raining outside and my room is still dark, but I know it’s morning because I’m awake. I never wake before seven without a reason, and often it’s much later than that. My children are still sleeping, too; so is the little dog. I see the clock blinking haughtily at me– pretending it knows the time. We both know it’s full of it. I toy with the idea of going back to sleep, but the big dog comes to get me and I realize we both have the same problem. I let her outside, and then I run to the nearest bathroom.
Run might be an understatement, though I have the ability to run. When the little dog chases a chicken, or I hear a blood curdling scream from one of my quieter children…then, I will run. If I need to move quickly, or I get upset, or I face unwanted confrontation, or I need to perform a mundane task that, heaven forbid, involves leaving the house, my body will take every ounce of energy (the energy I was saving for the next couple of days) and haphazardly dump it into my blood stream. It does this without my permission. My heart races from the uncomfortable surge of adrenaline; all at once I have the strength of ten infirmed and very elderly men.
After one of these rushes happens, I am left completely drained. The strength of the rush determines the strength of the crash. A light crash leaves me shaky and tired (but too shaky and tired to sleep). A serious crash feels like the flu, and it might last a couple of days.
This is what life is like. I don’t usually talk about it, ‘cause it’s hard to sound sick without sounding depressed. And I am not, in fact, depressed.
Still, I wake with bone pain from my toes to my neck. “Bone tired”? That’s how I wake up. I often also wake with the sneaking suspicion that I am a sleep-marathon-runner. I have the sore muscles to prove it, but I’m lacking the fabulously toned bod that one might expect of a late-night, all-night runner.
I wander into the kitchen to make the coffee I know I shouldn’t drink, and then I settle into my favorite chair to read or to study or to spend a few minutes dorking around on Facebook. When the children emerge from the hallway, I get up to make an egg cake, some gluten free carrot pancakes, or some eggs and turkey bacon. If you’ve been coming here for a while now, you know I’d rather be making bean bag-sized cinnamon rolls with gobs of sugary frosting. But that’s no more, at least not until we figure some things out.
My youngest daughter has had a few migraines. I suffered with migraines for years. While seeing doctor after doctor and receiving [negative] test after [negative] test, it turns out that what they did do (drugs) only exacerbated the problem down the line. I was finally set free from this drug addiction by a wise neurologist who (while he couldn’t diagnose the underlying pain) informed me, very bluntly, that I was slowly killing myself with drugs.
My daughter also has the same severe growing pains that I had when I was her age. Right now I cannot help but think that my issues, and hers, stem from an undiagnosed gluten allergy. In my case, celiac plus candida induced adrenal fatigue explains every one of my symptoms. And I know, gluten allergies are so trendy. Trust me, I’d rather have something obscure…something they could name after me. Still, gluten is my primary target of suspicion at the moment. Since the celiac tests are often inconclusive, we’re simply removing it from our diet and waiting and watching what happens. So far, so good. There’s no change in me, but Miss C’s leg pain has completely subsided, and she hasn’t had a headache all week. I’ve been gluten free (again) for a couple of months, now. After quite a bit of wrestling with God, I consented to adding gluten to my year-long sugar fast. This will be my third attempt at shunning the gluten. This time I promise I’m serious.
Since in Missouri, I’ve had the privilege of sitting down and talking with so many different people…hearing their stories and marveling over both our similarities and our differences. Sometimes it’s in the talking things out that we realize we already know what’s what. My pediatrician over-prescribed antibiotics, and that set me off on a road I haven’t recovered from, yet (candidiasis). That’s usually my lead-in when I’m recounting my medical history. It takes a long, long time to make up for years of antibiotics, especially if you were raised before Google and your parents were at the mercy of the “professionals” (and then you spent years as a raging bread addict). And, of course, those professionals were at the mercy of their teachers. No one could research like we can, today. With all the misinformation out there, I am still incredibly grateful for our ability to study online—to connect with people, to read their stories. I have nothing against physicians as a profession. Godly men in doctors’ coats have saved my life on two separate occasions. Medical science has been my worst enemy in more insidious ways, however. And so food, as much as is possible, will be my medicine now. He created it to be just that.
In a conversation this spring, I talked with a dear friend as she sat doubled-over my kitchen table. I’d accidentally “glutened” her with a contaminated corn chip; she knew how badly I felt, so she tried to act like she wasn’t hurting. I asked her about her life with celiac, and I asked her if she thought celiac was a “new” illness due to GMOs and such. That’s when she shocked me. “My mother died from celiac,” she said. I wanted to cry as she told me the story of her tragically misdiagnosed mother who spent years being treated for acute depression when she was simply allergic to a tiny protein found in wheat and a few other grains. Her grandfather drank; he used alcohol to numb his severe leg pain.
It wasn’t until my friend was grown (and had grown children) that she was diagnosed with the illness she’d suffered from her entire life (and the skilled doctors were able to work backward through time to diagnose both her mother and grandfather). Her adult son was also diagnosed. Every word she said felt like both hopeful confirmation and an attack on my entire identity. I’m the pizza lady! Could I actually become the gluten-free pizza lady?
Only time will tell.
For now, this is the path I’m walking. And I’ve decided to blog about it because I know I’m not the only one walking it. I’ve been fermenting and kombucha-ing, and gardening, and egg “farming”. I’m hoping to raise a little barn at our new place and get some milking goats as quickly as possible. In the living of it, I haven’t had much time or energy for the blogging of it. But I will try. I want to be the mother my children deserve–and someone who is around for the long-haul. Even if that means no more donuts.