Monday, December 23, 2013

99 Problems...And Gluten Caused Them All?

Christmas came early for me this year.  December 12th, to be exact. 

That was the first day that I woke up without pain.  I couldn't figure out why at first; I thought it was just a REALLY good adjustment at the chiro the day before.  Why else would my hip and back suddenly hurt so little?!   I didn't tell anybody at first, for fear that it was either my imagination or I would jinx it.

A couple more days went by, and the wrenching abdominal pain I've endured for the past year disappeared.  As in gone. This had happened a couple of other times for a day or two when I completely eliminated grains from my diet, but I wasn't able to maintain that strict of eating for long because it still wasn't clear what specifically the problem food was.

Then I started looking closer at what had changed in my diet (frankly, that was pretty easy since there are so few things I can eat at this point).  I realized I had eaten some grains - amaranth, quinoa - but hadn't eaten so much as a cracker or a slice of bread in the past week.  Wheat?  Gluten?  Are you friggin' kidding me?! 

Mind you, I thought gluten wasn't even a possibility after blood testing for food intolerance showed only eggs and dairy to be the culprits, so I never even bothered eliminating it.  I've since come to learn that blood testing can yield false negatives.  I am also learning more and more about the role of gluten in joint pain, postnasal drip, chemical sensitivities, and other strange phenomenon I have been experiencing for quite some time. 

Still, I knew it was SOMETHING I was eating.  Your intestines shouldn't be twisted into knots day and night for no reason.  However, two chiropractors and my physical therapist had confirmed that my Ileocecal Valve was frequently out/spasming, so I had been cutting out seeds, nuts, spicy foods, and other supposed triggers for months on no avail. 

Then I came across two amazing interviews with Curt Chaffee and Aimee Shunney over at Fascia Freedom Fighters about the role of food in chronic pain.  Curt detailed several symptoms that were eerily similar  to my own recent shoulder problems, and I felt as though I may be on the verge of finding an answer....

Back in May I was rear-ended; no damage to my car, didn't think much of it.  Then I started having trouble lifting and typing, never making the connection.  I thought I had aggravated my shoulder lifting weights and doing side planks in physical therpay for my hip.  When things tipped over the edge in September and I could barely pull on a pair of pants or brush my teeth, I finally got some help from an awesome new physical therapist and chiropractor.  

It's been a long, slow journey gaining strength back in my dominant hand and shoulder.  My right hand continues to turn blue at times, but most of the rotator cuff issues and radiating pain down my arm have gone away.  Since the elimination of gluten, the constant achiness in my shoulder and other joints has gradually dissipated more and more.

How much of a role gluten has played in any or all of this remains to be determined with further testing. The transformation in two short weeks has been nothing short of incredible, however!

Plus...I can finally type a post without my shoulder spasming!  Yaay for small steps. 

For the first time in six years, I feel pure, unadulterated hope about the (seemingly more likely) possibility of getting my life back.  I honestly feared that I might be dealing with chronic pain for the rest of my life.  Maybe something will change and I'll be right back to that place, but for now I'm going to enjoy driving, lying down, walking, sitting, breathing, and sleeping without pain. 

As an added bonus, I'm down almost 60 pounds, back to my 2006 weight.  Thank you, gluten, for the inability to absorb nutrients!  I highly recommend intolerance-induced starvation as an effective dieting strategy.  Since there are only about 20 foods known to mankind that don't have either eggs, milk, or gluten, it shouldn't be much of a problem keeping it off.  Soon I shall closer to the ideal of a waif-like vegan, rather than the fat vegetarian I was a few short months ago, lol.  People literally thought I might have cancer, the lbs. were falling off so fast. 

So yeah.  You now know why I've fallen off the face of the earth for the past 6 months! 

Cheers and Merry Christmas=)