Sunday, February 10, 2013

Healthy Confession

Hi.  My name is Stephanie and I'm allergic to wheat, soy, cow's milk, and sugar.  

I'd like to say it doesn't suck, but it does.  I've been putting off blogging about this because it seems everyone has food allergies today.  And honestly, I get sick of listening to other people talk about it.  Just as I'm sure my friends are sick of listening to me.  I'm sick of listening to me, so why wouldn't they?!  But it sucks, so I tend to talk about it a lot in a positive light to cover up the fact that it really, really sucks.

I discovered I was allergic in August 2012.  I had been sick for almost a year.  I had terrible stomach cramps, intestinal distress, and a seemingly non-stop head cold.  Nothing seemed to help.  The better I ate an dieted, the sicker I got.  After the emergency NP at my doctor's office declared it was "ear wax," I decided to go see Ashley at the Riverview Wellness Center in Oswego.  A friend had urged me for months to go and I finally broke down and did it.  How much more stupid of a diagnosis could they give me than ear wax?

Ashley was amazing!  She spent over an hour with me (versus five minutes in a doctor's office with someone I'd never met) and performed a number of tests that seemed like voodoo, but they worked!  She informed me that my adrenals were under-performing, which was hurting my immune system and causing the never-ending cold.  Then she told me I have allergies to wheat, soy, cow's milk, sugar, and oats.  Actually, allergy isn't the word she used.  I'm intolerant.  My body just doesn't like it right now.  There was the possibility I'd get over these things after they got me straightened out.  But right now, those ingredients were hurting me.

I was so happy to have a diagnosis that wasn't ear wax (or related to being fat) that I cried.  I came home that day with some supplements to help me get back on track, and a very regimented meal plan to follow.

Three days later, I was better.

Yes, it happened that quickly.  No pain.  No cold.  No emergency trips to the bathroom.  I go to the bathroom a lot -- thanks to the gallon of water I drink everyday -- but at least I don't fear the trip now.

You might think, "Maybe it's just a coincidence."  Nope!  Because I haven't had a cold since.  Everyone around me has had the flu and all kinds of horrifying drippy diseases.  I have had none.  I'm seemingly immune.  In fact, at my month follow-up visit we discovered not only was my adrenals and immune system functioning perfectly healthy, but I could eat oats again.

The stomach pain?  I've had it a couple times since.  And all of those times occurred when I decided to eat something I wasn't supposed to.  Like last Wednesday night when I threw a bitter temper-tantrum and made a grilled cheese sandwich.  There's only three ingredients in a grilled cheese sandwich - bread, butter, cheese.  I can have none of those.  I ate it anyway because dammit!  I wanted it!

The next day I was at work when the pain hit.  Holy sh*t.  I had tears in my eyes.  It was the worst pain yet. I weathered through it and renewed my vow to never do that again!

So, that's my confession.  I decided to talk about it now because I've discovered some great new foods and recipes that I want to share.  I have since found friends and family with the same problem.  We like to share our allergy-free gourmet finds with each other.  I'll try not to whine about it too much.  It may suck, but feeling better is soooooooo worth it.

Oh, and I lost thirty pounds in the process too.  So, that's a nice little bonus.  :)

P.S.  I have to give a little shout-out to my hubby who has been unbelievably supportive.  When I had to tell him that my first batch of supplements cost as much as our car payment, his only response was, "Whatever it takes to make you feel better."  Yes, I had been that sick.  And he can testify first-hand how well it worked.  Thankfully I don't take as many supplements now and it doesn't cost nearly that much each month!  And the supplements were my decision.  They didn't force it upon me.  It was worth it.  It still is.