Given up gluten has, ostensibly, removed a toxin from my body that was probably causing a lot of internal inflammation and general unpleasantness, of which I wasn’t ever really aware. Yes, I tired easily and was fairly tense and anxious, but I wasn’t miserable. Those symptoms could have easily belonged to another set of maladies, too. Still, I thought giving up gluten would lift me up into some state of HOLY WOW, THIS IS GREAT!
Being somewhat educated in matters of the body, though, I knew things would likely get worse before they got better. My body needs to detox and start a recovery process. Not being sure how long I’ve been allergic to gluten, I’m not sure what the extent of the damage is, or for how long it’s been going on. I expected things like intestinal wonkiness (check,) skin problems (somewhat check,) perhaps even mood swings (definitely check.) What I didn’t expect, however, was being absolutely exhausted, All the Time.
I wake up exhausted, barely make it through the day without falling asleep, and come home exhausted. Before bedtime, I begin waking up just a bit, but I can usually fall asleep, anyhow. The exhaustion is bone-deep. I feel like something is sucking the life and the energy right out of me on a cellular level. Walking from the basement to the upper floor with a full armload of laundry? This is a Herculean task. Taking the compost out to the heap 300′ away from the snow in deep snow? Argh. Naptime halfway back to the house.
After we went to the butterfly house on Saturday, I seriously felt like I could sleep for days. We didn’t do anything more exerting than to wander slowly around through tropical gardens and take photos, but the 80-degree heat and matching humidity sapped me.
Barbara assures me this is temporary, and may clear up in as little as a couple of months. I believe her, and I even kind of understand the sorts of things my body is up to right now – clearing toxins, breaking a sort of addiciton. It’s not quite been a month yet (I stopped eating all gluten on February 5… at least knowingly – there may be trace amounts in things I have eaten.) Oh, and the fortune cookie I found in my drawer yesterday that I ate out of habit. It wasn’t until I looked at its companion today that I realized, “Oh shit. I ate one of those yesterday. Dammit!”
I haven’t felt like myself at all for about two weeks. Actually, I take that back. I feel like myself in the fall of 2005 when I became overwhelmingly depressed and despondent due to too many awful things happening in a short span of time. I lost my dream job, and with it, my home. I lost my next home after a roommate completely flaked out on me A few months later, my dog (who was more like my son… we were never apart) was violently killed and died a painful death as I tried to hold him.
Coming back from all that wasn’t easy, but I managed. Surely, this will be a comparative piece of cake (ah, ironic cake.) This, after all, is just ridding my body of something I’ve been pouring into it every day of my life. It’s just a matter of mustering some small amount of energy to keep going into work every day, and try to do something productive at home afterward, much as I’d rather just curl up into a useless ball and sleep for a month until this whole Feeling Like Ass Thing is closer to being over.
But enough whining!
Let me tell you about another product I’ve been using. Friends of mine have used them for years, and more recently, Jay at work started swearing by one, then Barbara mentioned she uses one, too. What the heck, I’ll give it a try. On the package, there is a picture of a smiling girl in the middle of using one – water pouring out of her nostril – but she is still a product model and still looks as though it is the most enjoyable experience in the world.
I tried it for the first time four or five days ago, completely uncertain of what to expect. Imaginary versions of Jay and Barbara reassured me it was going to be just fine, really. For the first few seconds, I forgot to open my mouth and the saline/baking soda water began flowing down my throat. Hurk! No thank you.
Once I remembered to open my mouth, everything went just fine. It was a bit of an odd sensation, the warm water flowing through my nasal cavities; not unpleasant, just… peculiar. I flipped my head over to do the other nostril, and once they both seemed to have sufficiently cleared out, blew my nose whilst bending over the sink.
Such gloop came out of my nose. Most of it was clear, fortunately, but it was a lot of thick mucous that would have otherwise been dripping down the back of my throat. I was pretty much sold from that moment on.
Mike Neir? Not so much. When he learned what the process involved, he said, “Oh, I don’t like that idea one little bit. Not at all.” After I did it, though, and said it wasn’t bad, he bravely gave it a try. He giggled a lot and said it tickled and was a little weird. He’s done it a couple of times since then, though, and at one point his sinuses were so clogged, the water couldn’t even flow through at first.
I’ve been neti’ing morning and night, and the headaches I’d been waking up with for months have largely abated. On days when the pot by itself isn’t enough, I use Nasacort to reduce inflammation.
If you’re curious what someone looks like while they’re using a neti pot, there’s a video here. No screaming or thrashing – it really is easy, once we get past that mental hump of “I hated swimming pool water up my nose…why is this going to be different?”
Well, it’s voluntary – you’re expecting it and controlling it, you’re not submerged in it. Also, the saline solution soothes your nasal membranes – chlorine and the other pool chemicals burned and irritated them.
Next up! Food allergies and addictions – why they are intertwined.