|This is a warm loaf of poison to me.|
So anyway, the week began with some stomach upset—not a usual symptom for me, actually, so I assumed I had a little bug or something had just disagreed with me. Then the mouth sores appeared—quite painful, as they are with a bad glutening, and they’ll stick around for a couple of weeks. Then the exhaustion, the kind of fatigue that sent me to bed two afternoons, trying to keep an ear on my three-year-old because I had no other choice but to lie down. It was like early pregnancy exhaustion; I couldn’t fight it in the least. Then the depression and irritability. I can’t explain how an invisible protein can affect my mood and stability and brain like it does, but I know I’m not the only one.
Even as one part of my brain was saying, You know this is just the gluten, it wasn’t making much headway against the part that felt—well, depressed. No need to go into details there. And although I can apologize to my kids for my Friday afternoon meltdown and tell them it was the gluten talking, that’s no excuse, no excuse at all. “Irritability” doesn’t even cover it. It makes me feel like a cross between a porcupine and a pit viper; it’s like there is no connection between my head and my tongue, for starters. I knew the best thing to do was hole up by myself until I felt better, but there’s no way to do that in my life, and my kids got the brunt of my gluten-altered mood.
The worst of it—besides the guilt for being a terrible mother for an afternoon—is worrying about what unknown damage this latest gluten poisoning has wrought. Celiac is an auto-immune disease; that means that my body attacks itself in response to gluten. The initial bloodwork tested my body’s antibody response to gluten and its antibody response to itself. All three numbers were sky high—double to triple the normal level. When the tests were run 15 months after I stopped eating gluten, the anti-self antibodies were still very high—heading downwards, but still high. I have three kids. The idea that my body is attacking itself scares me more than I can say, and every time I accidentally poison myself, I’m making it worse.
This happens periodically, no matter how careful I am. It all makes me a bit crazy. Invisible stuff that transfers easily and makes me sick, eating food that ought to be fine and getting sick anyway—of course it makes me crazy. I have (more or less) cheerfully altered my diet to keep myself healthy and whole, and it’s so frustrating to stumble this way.
I debated about posting this here. I've set the parameters--this is a craft-focused blog, a happy and (hopefully) fun place--and this topic doesn't fit. But I decided to go ahead and do it anyway because it sounds so crazy, that eating the wrong thing could not only affect me physically but mentally and emotionally too. It's hard to maintain happy and fun when my brain starts misfiring, and I don't think there's much (any?) awareness in general of how this disease can affect mood and stability, nor of how wide-ranging the symptoms can be. So here's my little interlude; happy, fun, crafty posting as usual will return with the next post.