Sans Wheat

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Big news. Not so much good news, and not necessarily bad news, but rather large important news for me personally, all the same.

I haven’t been feeling particularly well recently. For the past month or so I had been experiencing abdominal cramps, and serious digestive issues (I’ll leave the details out), and about a week ago I booked to see my doctor about it. After explaining my symptoms to my very lovely female GP, she poked around my tummy a little to ensure my liver wasn’t what was giving me the grief, and promptly announced that it felt fine. My immediate relief was evident. However, it meant that my ailment was still a mystery.

Back in the chair we discussed the problems a bit more and I was given a few ideas about what she thought it could be: either IBS or gluten sensitivity. A very handsome, young student doctor took my blood while I babbled like a nervous moron. Things sticking into my arm (needles removing fluids being a high contender) make me feel queasy, so I kept my eyes closed and focused on asking him personal questions about his future career prospects. He was very patient and very abiding. I’m sure he’ll make a wonderful doctor.

Anyway. Today I returned to my GP for the follow-up consultation, and I was told that I had both of what she suspected, but otherwise my blood was normal. Apparently, my small-intestine is unable to absorb the gluten protein found in wheat, barley and rye, and on inspection it’s in almost all processed foods including pasta, bread, and even canned soup. Now I have to learn to cook properly, or I’m going to be living on jaket-potatoes and boiled rice for the rest of my life. 

Where did it all go wrong wheat? We had so many good times – toast, cakes and pasta bakes, and yet now that all seems so hollow. At some point my intestine just couldn’t take gluten’s drama, and kicked him out, but of course gluten still hung around and that upset the small intestine and now I have had to seperate them so that my intestine can start to heal from their painful breakup. It’s a sad ending to a beautiful love affair, but they’ll both be better for it. Meanwhile, I have gieven away most of my food supplies and my money is a little too low for me to go out anad buy a good gluten-free cooking book. So, it’s stir-fried vegtables and rice for dinner at the moment. 

It hasn’t quite settled yet – the understanding that I have to give up many of the foods I love to remain healthy. Perhaps this feeling is the same as someone who must give up cigerettes to stifle a hacking cough. We become so addicted to the things in our lives even though they are never really a boon to our existance. No more cakes. That’s the worst one. Then of course there’s having to look at lables before I buy anything, and like I said, gluten has a habit of appearing where you least expect it – soy-source, and even chocolate. Why, I’m not sure, but that’s the way of the world I suppose. 

From now on I am going to be a writer-sans-wheat. These two things are probably the most defining influences in my life at this time – two large puzzle-pieces which construct the very bases of what my restrictions and abilities are. 

Most of the other residents of my building are currently in Brazil for a festival at the moment so the place is pretty quiet. I’m enjoying the freedom of being able to leave my washing up out overnight without any problems for anyone else, and I’ve also been blasting my music, because the only other girl who takes a room on my level is out with her boyfriend. In the quiet spaces, I have been writing, but the enthusiasm I had for my new work has ebbed and a period of rapid evaluation has begun. With the sudden change, I’m feeling a little less able to think about my words. 

I only have few days left to complete the short-story challenge my friend and I have concocted. So far, so good, at just over 1,000 words, and I plan for it to be no longer than 1,800. We’ll see.

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3 thoughts on “Sans Wheat

    rigsby1star said:
    February 16, 2012 at 01:38

    I think I also may be gluten intolerant and have as of today changed my diet, how long will it take to get back to “normal”, no stomach churning, flatulence etc. It is the sleep deprivation that is my biggest problem. That and as you say the food labeling that needs to be scrutinised.

      Alice Radwell responded:
      February 16, 2012 at 11:22

      Firstly, my friend, you should consult a GP about the discomfort you are experiencing, and get an official diagnosis. This is useful not only because it will eliminate any other possible problems causing your symptoms, but will also give you the golden ticket you need to begin life as a Celiac. After the dietary change, I would say it took about a month and a half to feel entirely normal again, but the sleepless nights, and the unbearable cramps disappeared within a week or so, taking with it the moodiness and anxiousness. Obviously, that’s my personal experience, but you may be different; again, this is something to talk to your doctor about. Adjusting does take time, but not nearly as long as you expect. There are on-line resources that can help, and you get used to picking up brands you know to be safe, saving on the label reading, as you go. Good luck my friend, be healthy.

        rigsby1star said:
        February 16, 2012 at 16:43

        Thanks for your reply, I am awaiting blood tests (next week) with the results about a week later. So I have decided to change my diet not, rather than wait. Looking forward to a proper night of sleep.

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