One week ago today I went completely Gluten Free. For years I have felt chronically run down, headachey and just sick. In high school my mom took me to specialists and even made the house hyper-allergenic. I never got any real answers and just figured it was my Depression. Often I have felt too sick and exhausted to even move and have had to cancel plans. This has always left me feeling embarrassed and sad. Since being a mom I am often overcome with guilt and helplessness as I feel like I am not physically able to do enough to care for my kids the way I want to. I always thought this is just how everyone feels and I am too weak to just suck it up and function. I wondered if it was all in my head, if it was from Depression, sinful laziness, etc. The past six months, and even more so the last month, things got much worse. I had chronic neurological symptoms. Almost daily Peter or someone would have to leave work to come help me with the kids. I was losing my ability to see, walk, lift and use my arms. I had tremors in my hands and tingling in my arms, legs, hands and feet. I also had daily headaches and dizziness, as well as deep body aches and neck aches. I would stumble and sometimes fall. Sometimes I had episodes of facial numbness and I would lose the ability to speech. A few times I have even forgotten my children’s names and have been unable to process words and read. Needless to say this has been very scary, frustrating and challenging for us all. I have felt like a horrible wife and mother-even though deep down I knew it was not something I could help. Peter has struggled with missing work and my poor, sweet kids are acting out because they just want their mommy healthy.
I went to a neurologist a few weeks ago. After numerous tests we ruled out strokes, Brain cancer, M.S. and Lupus. He also ruled out a Thyroid issue and a slew of other things. A week ago though we were kind of back to square one. I was so afraid of being told (once again) that this was a virus, or Depression or migraines. I knew it wasn’t migraines because for the most part it has not been episodes but rather chronic symptoms. I was feeling very discouraged and frustrated so I decided to do a little research of my own on dietary causes for my symptoms. This is when I learned that about Gluten Ataxia.
I came upon this article, (among others)
I was floored. Minus the brain lesions this man’s experience has been eerily similar to my own! I showed it to a couple family members who know “my story” and they all had an “aha” moment feeling like this HAD to be it. I immediately went off all Gluten. I wasn’t sure what that really meant but as of 2:30pm last Wednesday I did it. I had nothing to lose.
And here I am a week later. I feel so much better. It is amazing! I still have an almost constant headache, daily vision issues and dizziness, but I have so much more energy and strength and every day I can feel myself getting better. Peter keeps remarking how amazing it is to “have me back”. I am still waiting for a final diagnosis from my Doctor, but for now I can’t help but think this is the answer. The proof is in the pudding.
In the past week I have NOT:
Called Peter to come home from work early.
Put my kids in front of the television for 4 hours straight because I can’t walk or see.
Ordered take-out because I couldn’t cook dinner.
Told my kids I can’t read to them because I can’t see the pages.
Fallen or walked into any walls or doorways.
Had to go to bed in the afternoon because I could NOT keep my eyes open.
Had my daughter ask me why my hand was shaking.
Sat and cried out of pure discouragement, frustration and embarrassment.
Lost the ability to talk.
Put all the kids down for a nap, even Hayleigh, because I couldn’t even sit up anymore.
Had to have someone else pick Royce up out of her bed.
Looked at something I wrote down and not remembered when I wrote it, but been shocked it was in my own handwriting.
Had my vision go completely black.
Told Peter “this arm doesn’t work.”
Heard Hayleigh and Braxton talk in slurred speech “like Mommy.”
Spent the entire day sitting on the couch watching Will and Grace.
Had Braxton turn the pages of a book because I can’t.
Spilled my drink because I can’t hold my glass.
Had the fear that when I am volunteering at church I will suddenly fall down or start talking gibberish to the parents as they pick up their kids.
Sat down somewhere wondering if when it is time to stand up if my legs will work.
Looked at my phone wondering why the page hasn’t loaded and still looks unclear-to have Peter tell me it IS clear.
Driven myself twice.
Played outside with my kids.
Went on a weekend trip with Peter and walked up and down main street Lake Placid.
Been able to pick up my kids.
Read my kids a 100 page book.
Made dinner and even baked myself gluten free granola.
Went grocery shopping, by myself.
Enjoyed the views from the top of Whiteface Mountain-clearly.
Put my own kids to bed every night (that I was home.)
Gotten out of bed at 7am feeling rested.
Given my kids string cheese without spending 5 minutes trying to peel them open.
Sent emails without the computer screen going black or spinning in circles.
Texted Peter to tell him how good I felt.
Had less pins and needles pain and tingling.
Been able to climb the stairs without stopping half-way up because I was so dizzy.
Walked a “balance beam'” with Hayleigh at the playground without stumbling.
Wrote a blog post. ;)
I still have so much to learn about the Gluten Free lifestyle and like I said still awaiting a formal diagnosis, but for now this is my new diet. I miss bread a little and am already mourning all the Christmas cookies I can’t eat. But I feel so much better in only a week! I can’t wait to feel completely better and functional! I can’t help but think maybe God had me get so much worse these past weeks and months so that I could no longer ignore or excuse the symptoms; I had to get help. Who knows what would have happened to me if I had continued this way. Also, such a “God thing” the Dr. in the article is from Rochester and was my grandpa’s Dr. years ago. How funny.
Praise God for his wisdom and answering my prayers that if the Dr. doesn’t find the answers I will. And in the words of my good friend “Thank you Jesus for the internet!”