Saturday, May 08, 2010

Illness to Wholeness

I'm sorry I've not posted in so long.

I've been struggling with feeling not well for probably three months now. I couldn't really figure out what was going on with me - headaches, extreme fatigue, feeling cold all the time. After many, many appointments with a family doctor, a cardiologist, hemotologist, GI specialist, and neurologist, and more blood drawn than I care to think about - I was diagnosed with celiac disease. This is what was causing my severe iron deficiency anemia (like a iron of 2 - worst my doctors have ever seen & hemogloben hovering around 8.5 to 9) & all of my crazy symptoms. The diagnosis came on April 20th, after a two day stint in the hospital with a unrelenting migraine & nausea, possibly caused by a five hour iron infusion earlier in the week to treat the anemia.

At first, I was pretty upset. You see, I love bread. I've been eating bread, pasta, and basically all things gluten for the last 29 years. But, when I realized the gluten was killing the insides of my small intestine & making me so sick, I knew giving it up would be worth feeling much better than I ever did in my whole life. So, I've been gluten-free since April 21st & feeling good. It's had its rough moments, especially when I had to clean out my cupboards & come to terms with giving up easy options for meals. This diagnosis has given me a reason to learn to cook for myself & make things from scratch, so I am sure they are safe for me to eat.

I had a follow up appt with my family doctor yesterday. She had some results of the latest blood work - great news! My iron has gone from 2 up to 62, hemogloben almost at 12, and the best news was that I've lost 10 pounds in the last two & half weeks. All of my clothes fit better, except my pants, so I think I need a new belt. I'm not needing to sleep 12 hours at night anymore, just to make it through the day. I wake up around 6:45am & ready for bed at a much more reasonable hour of 11:00pm. All in all, this gluten-free lifestyle is amazing.

That doesn't mean there won't be hard times - going out to eat is pretty tricky still. Plus, I need to make plans for having gluten-free communion bread for next month. But, I don't want to eat stuff that makes me sick anymore. The option is eat bad stuff & increase my risk for developing small bowel lymphoma or stick to the diet & live a healthy life. Cancer or life? Not a hard choice!

My church allowed me three weeks of medical leave to give my body a chance to adjust & begin the process of recovery. I'm really grateful & very much looking forward to stepping into the pulpit tomorrow morning. There is a lot going on with my church & some hard things ahead in our life together, but I think I've got the energy to face it head on. Thanks be to God!