Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seasons of Change

I've been staring at this computer screen all morning.  As a pseudo-writer, I try to make what I write clever, interesting, and maybe just a bit funny. 

But sometimes I just can't muster up my mojo, like today. Well, all summer, actually.

There's a lot going down with the Bs.  As we speak, Mr. B is sitting through the first day of new teacher orientation. He has gone to part-time at the church to take a full time position as Choral Director at our high school.  I am so incredibly happy for him. Music really is his gift, and the more he can share it with, the merrier. 

I, too, am headed back to school on Monday, but not to my first grade classroom. I will be leaving the traditional classroom for a position in the library as a Media Specialist.  This is both exciting and bittersweet for me.  Although the job is a dream for me, it is not at the same building as Little B.  I won't be there to kiss her every day before lunch or make sure Mr. B made her comb her hair before school.  I won't be there for her first day of school. I've already cried about it, more times than I care to admit.

As if the vocational changes weren't enough, there's always our diets.

When we returned from visiting family in early July, I decided to do Kathy Freston's Quantum Wellness Cleanse.  I felt terrible after all the dinners out and late night desserts. I just wanted to get my body back on track. The cleanse included abstaining from animal products, dairy, and alcohol, which I already do, plus sugar, caffeine, and gluten. 

After the caffeine/sugar headache for the first couple of days, I felt really good. Better in fact, than I had felt in a really long time.  All of my vacation pimples cleared, my dark circles faded, and the fatigue that still plagues me when I over do it, did not rear its ugly head. 

Until the dinner debacle. 

I had fixed a simple meal of rice spaghetti and salad. At the end of the meal, I was overcome with sharp stabbing pains, so severe, I needed to lie down.  The next day, the fatigue hit, my scalp got itchy, my face broke out. 

I combed through the ingredients in each of the items I used.  Something made me feel this way, I was sure of it.  The only thing was that wasn't a whole food was the salad dressing, which had gluten. 

I mentioned it to Mr. B, but figured this surely had to be some coincidence.  I am a teacher, not an MD, so I really don't need to go around jumping to conclusions or self-diagnosis. I do have a BA in psychology, so been there, done that.

So eventually the symptoms abated and I returned to the conclusion of my fast.  Maybe a little paranoid (par for the course for me), but none worse for the wear.

Until I went off the cleanse. Ugh.

Returning to my morning cup of coffee was easy, and didn't even give me the jitters. It was less than I had been drinking at my sister's house. My mom had brought her Keurig and it ended up like Kentucky Starbucks.  It was a complete wonder that I didn't need hospitalization coming off caffeine after that week, but I digress...

I tried to keep away from straight up sugar, because it really has no nutritional value anyway. And no comments here about coffee - studies have shown a link to reduced chances of Alzheimer's. 

The crash came after muffins for breakfast.  By noon, I was in pain. I pushed my thoughts aside.  I ate a wrap for lunch. More pain, along with a brain fog.  I so wanted to lie down, but I kept at it all afternoon long.  Then the mood swung in a less-than-positive direction.  I fixed Lentil Joes in buns for dinner with onion rings.  Finally, I ended the day with some homemade chocolate chip cookies. 

Boy did I pay for that.

I can no longer think that the reintroduction of gluten did not affect me adversely.  I am afraid to try it again.  I even tried my hand at gluten-free pizza dough (meh) and chocolate chip cookies (amazing).

I've done a lot of reading over the last week, trying to find out more about gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, and wheat allergy.   What I have learned is both daunting and enlightening.  There are simply too many commonalities between my own health experiences and typical celiac symptoms for me to exclude it as a possibility. It is linked to unexplained infertility, chronic fatigue - two things I wish were not written in my medical file.  I fear that I will struggle to find a doctor to explore this possibility with me.  I worry for Little B, who still exhibits so many symptoms and still has to rely on medication to prevent intestinal duress. 

It takes the average American 11 years to be diagnosed with celiac disease.  Eleven YEARS.

This is a change I am not sure I am ready to bear, if it is even a change I need to make at all.  But after my two little experiments, I am both anxious and afraid to try it again. 

And to be honest, I feel a little crazy.  I am not normally a girl who doesn't know how to proceed, or least press onward. But for the first time in my life, I am almost frozen with uncertainty.

And I don't like it. Not one bit.


  1. Hi Jennifer. Let me preface by saying that I'm annoyed by all the people who are going off gluten as a dieting fad right now. But that said, I do know several people who have discovered that they are either allergic to gluten or have some kind of serious condition, like celiac disease. I think you should definitely talk to a specialist and try an elimination diet to see what you find. I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with an allergy she didn't realize she had, and she feels SO much better now that she's not eating gluten - because she's wildly allergic to it, it turns out. Good luck and lots of hugs!

    1. I am annoyed by that, too, which was one of the reason why I almost didn't post about it! Thanks for your encouragement - I appreciate it!

  2. I hope you get to feeling better soon!

    We will take care of Little B while you are at your fabulous new job :) Congratulations to Mr. B as well :)

    1. Thanks Robyn! Definitely snap a pic for me the first day of school!