January 12, 2012

My Journey of Food

I told you already that I eliminated gluten from my diet, and at first it was a success.  I went about 2 weeks feeling better then I remember ever feeling.  Then one day, my gluten free self was taking the trash out and as I went to the trash can, my boot got caught on the door and down I went.  I ended up hitting the back of my head hard against the big metal trash can.  After that I started getting the headaches again.  I saw my doctor, he said I was fine, but he thinks the headaches are because of the trash can and the symptoms can last up to three months!  A month later, still getting headaches.

Let's go back a bit, or a lot.  I've always had problems.  I always felt that instead of getting anything serious, like an illness or something, I've always had lots of minor health issues instead.  The earliest I can remember are terrible ear aches, but I always loved the feeling of the warm oil and garlic mix my mom would put in my ear, and I would lie down on the same side, feeling the oil go down my ear, I was in pain, but it was satisfying.  After that, through my teens years, it was allergies.  Crazy allergies, using a box of kleenex a day.  I don't remember when the headaches began, I remember getting my first bad one at my cousin's house, when I was, I don't know 10?  It was so bad that I threw up.  I didn't have one of them that bad again until I moved to Seattle a year ago.  I also seemed to always be tired, I don't know if it was normal for a teenager or not, but I never had energy.  I never thought that food had anything to do with these problems, and I guess they were never bad enough that I felt I needed to do anything about that.  Doctors NEVER know what to tell you for headaches, they never have an answer.  So this whole thing started a year ago, we went over to our friend's house in Tacoma for a party.  We had just moved to Seattle so we were happy to go see some of our college friends.  Earlier that day we had taken our car in to get looked at so we had to take the bus, it was a bright sunny day and the bus was jerky, a lot of stops.  By the time we drove into Tacoma I had gotten a little head ache.  It got progressively worse throughout the night, but I ignored it.  I've done this before, I knew it would go away by the time I woke up anyway.

We left the party and as soon as I started walking out to the car I was feeling really bad.  We got in the car and started driving and within seconds I was in a world of pain.  My head had never hurt that bad, I told Seth to pull over to a gas station and I started throwing up, I was crying and couldn't think, the pain was so bad, I couldn't talk.  My head was just pounding so hard.  Driving was making it worse, I knew I wouldn't be able to make the 45 minute drive home.  So we had no choice but to stay in a hotel, which I don't know about you, but that's pretty crazy.  Who gets a hotel 45 minutes from home?  Well, that's how bad it was, and I hate spending money on hotels.  I threw up again as soon as I get to the hotel, Seth called my Dad who has horrific migraines (so I can thank him for these) and asked him what we should do.  He gave some tips, and I got into my twin bed.  Thankfully, they had two beds so Seth slept in the other one.  I was in so much pain that any movement, ANY, made my whole head spin and the pain much worse.  He covered up the little light that came from the ac unit, and I was able to relax enough to go to sleep.  When I woke up, I felt like I had a hangover or something, but I was fine, the pain was gone.

I have a scale for my headaches, that one was a 10.  I thought it was a migraine, but I'm not sure if it's that or just really bad tension headaches.  Of course none of the doctors I've talked to know.  I did end up seeing a doctor in Seattle and she gave me some pills, but they don't really help, she didn't help me with anything.  I got a few more pretty serious ones, one while we were camping, that was at a 9.5 or so, throwing up, the whole deal.  When I'm in that much pain, I go into a different state of mind, I don't move an inch, and I don't think straight, definitely can't talk straight either.  A few months ago I got another bad one, it slowly builds up so I just sat on the couch with my eyes covered and had Seth put on An Affair to Remember, so I could just listen to it.  I thought I was in the clear by the time I went to bed, it was only at a 8 or so, so I went to bed, and woke up a few hours later, and it was at a 10.  Nothing was helping, nothing does except sleep!  But this time the sleep had caused it.  I was in a panic, I didn't know what to do and I couldn't throw up, which seems to help.  So Seth took me to the ER.  We don't have health insurance.  Yeah...bad.  They shot me up with a bunch of pain killers and it took the pain away.  Then we got a bill for over $2000, which I'm praying we'll be able to bring down, working on that.  Advice: don't go to the ER without health insurance!  I had no idea it would be that much, these are the things you learn as an adult I guess.  

After I got that bill for the ER, I decided I had enough.  I saw the bill and just started crying, feeling like it was so unfair to Seth, that we have to pay this much for my stupid, stupid headaches.  I got so sick of it.  I made an appointment with Dr. Park, who I hadn't seen in about 4 years.  He's awesome, he's Chinese so he uses a lot of Chinese medicine, which I like.  I never thought the headaches had anything to do with my diet, since they were directly caused by harsh sunlight, windy roads, or traffic (lots of stopping).  But I kept hearing about more and more people going off gluten, some for migraines.  Then when I talked to Dr. Park he suggested I go off gluten, so I thought that was a good sign, and it worked!  Well, at first it worked really well, like I mentioned, then I hit my head and I've been getting the headaches frequently.  In fact, I don't know if I really go a day without one.  However, they never get worse than a 6 without the gluten.  Most of the time they are under a 3.  But I don't want them, none at all.  Not even a .5.  I'm trying to figure out why when I first went off gluten I felt so good, was it the head injury?  Was it the acupuncture my doctor gave me?  So I started experimenting.

The first thing I did was experiment with gluten, how sensitive was I?  One day we went out to a nice little restaurant in downtown zionsville, we ordered a cheese plate.  I decided I would have some bread with mine, which was crazy, I hadn't had actual bread in a couple months.  Seth was really against it, he didn't want me to get sick, but I did it anyway.  It felt very rebellious.  I had a bit, and I was okay.  I kept experimenting, and I figured out that I can have small amounts, sauces with gluten are fine, little bites here and there.  One day I had 3/4 of a cupcake and that was too much, though it didn't give me a bad headache, but I felt one right away.  Well then, I found something called Gluten Ease, which is a little pill for those with gluten intolerances (not celiacs, sadly) that you can take before a meal and eat gluten, without effects.  THANKFULLY, and I mean very thankfully, it worked!  The other day I had a full piece of pizza with my pill and it was glorious.  I felt it a little around my eyes but that's it!

Still though, not feeling 100%.  Adrea suggested we go on a juice fast, which is just fruit and veggie smoothies for 3 days.  So I did it, but only for 2 days.  It was tough, I felt pretty weak and sometimes pretty sick, but after I felt great!  So I started doing research on raw foods, and found that that can also help quite a bit with headaches, plus it's super healthy and awesome.  So I want to try it for a week, see how I feel. I found the gluten ease pills at a place in Zionsville, a locally owned place, that is pretty neat.  It offers acupuncture, message therapy, pre natal classes, cooking classes, and all kinds of healthy things.  I signed up for a raw cooking class this weekend and I'm pretty excited about it!  I really don't know much about raw cooking.  I'm also feeling better these last few days because I got some more acupuncture done, so I'm not sure if it was the juice fast or the acupuncture that's making me feel better, but it's just a matter of experimenting and figuring out what works and what doesn't.

I don't feel like it's too much to ask to feel 100% good, okay, how about 90%?  I'm just so sick of feeling like crap all the time, and I want to get it under control.  I think it's important to realize what your putting into your body, and the effects it has on you.  I'm convinced that diet has everything to do with the way I feel, which used to be a ludicrous idea to me.  I've stopped my intake of caffeine, and I'm pretty sure if I stopped having sugar and carbonation that would help too.  I've also kept up the exercising and the fitness pal, so with the juice fast I've lost 14 pounds!  Woohoo!  Also, if I get pregnant soon ish, I want to be healthy and have this all figured out.  I hope I will.  This was a long post, but I've been reading other people's experiences with food and health, and I found them to be interesting, sometimes inspiring.  So I am sorry if I bored you, but I congratulate you for reading this whole thing!  

For your health.

1 comment:

  1. Maddy - I am so happy that you are taking charge of what you can. I remember when you first moved out here, you seemed really discouraged about getting the headaches under control. But look - they are getting better. I know they aren't completely gone, but it is awesome that you are feeling better! Sister power! I will do another juice fast with you, sometime. It was interesting to see how foods affected me once I re-introduced them. That meat sandwich was SO heavy (but also so yummy), I felt like I had a bowling ball in my stomach.