Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Life Goes On

I'm pleased to report that I am pretty much back to "normal" as of the last couple of weeks.  I am certainly experiencing life from a new perspective, post-nervous-breakdown, and still making internal adjustments to the epiphanies that assaulted me violently from all sides during the past few months, but to the casual observer I would appear to be going about my business successfully. 

Physically, I feel good.  I'm sleeping well, eating well, and my energy levels are grand.  I am still trying to gain back the weight that I lost - all my pants are at least one size too big for me around the waist now, except the really stretchy ones - but hopefully it will come back given enough time and snacks.  I'm not skeletal, but I would say that I'm down to my modeling weight, meaning the lower end of the acceptable range.  There's a fine line between being slim and looking like you just finished a brutal course of chemotherapy, and I am trying hard to avoid crossing that line.

I'm still dealing with some fears around food, some of which are well-founded and some of which are silly and irrational.  Anytime I have to eat something that I have not prepared myself, I feel worried.  I watch the clock for two hours from the time the last bite goes into my mouth, and only feel safe once that time has elapsed.  (It was two hours after my last wheat-poisoned meal that the Total Gastric Devastation kicked in.)  I'm probably being more careful than I need to be, considering that I'm not nearly as sensitive to traces of wheat as, say, someone with celiac disease, but I'm eating as though I am.  Better safe than sorry, especially when it comes to restaurants.  My worst nightmare would be for TGD to catch up with me when I'm halfway home on the subway. :-p

My new policy is that I will no longer eat any food that I have not prepared myself if I cannot easily see exactly what all the ingredients are.  Steamed veggies are fine, as are salads with no dressing.  I will consume baked or boiled potatoes.  Hunks of grilled meat without sauce are acceptable.  That just about sums it up.  I am no longer willing to risk soups (often thickened with wheat), sauces (ditto), casseroles, stews, and especially not any "gluten-free" substitute for regular bread or baked goods.  My step-mom told about one time she went to a restaurant with gluten-free options on the menu.  She ordered gluten-free pasta and what did they serve her?  Of course, regular wheat pasta.  She didn't notice until she was a few bites in.  Fortunately I don't think she gets super-sick from wheat, but still.  It's just too easy for a mistake to be made in a busy kitchen.

(Another case in point: at our office Christmas party just last week, an employee who has celiac disease was served a dessert which looked like a chocolate-and-vanilla double-layered mousse, but the bottom layer was, in fact, cake.  He realized after he had swallowed the first bite.  The consequences for him of eating gluten are so dire that he had to go straight to the men's room and stick his finger down his throat to make himself throw up.  That was preferable to a week of severe abdominal pain.  Fun times at the Christmas party!  When the manager of the banquet hall was informed, he was more interested in defending his staff than apologizing for the mistake.  I'm just lucky I'm dairy-free as well as wheat-free or I would have ended up eating the dessert too.  Yikes.)

Anyway, aside from obsessing about food, life is going well.  I have been seeing a lot of friends and family, and feeling more connected to people in general.   I wasn't sure that I was going to make it through to the end of this year, but I'm almost there!  I hope 2012 is somewhat less eventful.


DarcKnyt said...

Oh, WELL -- no WAY can 2012 be LESS stressful. I mean, c'mon -- we've got the End of the World as We Know It coming on in December. You should've started worrying YEARS ago.


Glad you're doing better. I have to obsess about food MORE, actually. I have some stuff which needs addressing, but I'd love to reach my "modeling weight" sooner rather than later. (Okay, maybe just my Spark weight.) I don't know if any of my reasons are medical, but I certainly have to be aware of what and how much and when I eat, for sure.


Warped Mind of Ron said...

Hmmm... I think I could live with the diet of large chunks of meat and baked potatoes.... Glad you are doing better, but I think modelling weight is not the greatest. Keep on eating!

Owl Dancer said...

Hi Spark! I'm glad that you're doing better. Just be gentle with yourself about the food. Things will level out. You've been doing great and coming along really quickly so please give yourself credit :)

I want you to know that I will be physically deleting all old blogs in the very near future and starting something new, from scratch. I'm having an issue that I can only solve by pulling up stakes and moving, because blocking people isn't all it's cracked up to be. Maybe all of this is telling me that it's time to change. I sent a message through twitter, but those are so limited! I'll be keeping tabs here. When the new stuff is in place I'll send a link to you my PM at twitter :)

Lynn said...

This whole thing has been so eye opening - I had no idea before how debilitating that can be. I'm glad you are better - you sound good.

G said...

Congrats to being back on the road to normalcy.

As for the banquet manager, defending your staff instead apologizing to the guy who had to make himself vomit for making a mistake is simply unacceptable.

LL Cool Joe said...

It's great to read that you are feeling so much better and enjoying life more.

I really hope next year is a less eventful one for you!

Sparkling Red said...

DarcKnyt: I didn't believe that prediction, until all this crap started happening in my life and the lives of everyone around me. Now I'm starting to wonder if it really is just a big ol' prelude to The End of Times. (Only half-kidding here.)

Ron: I will! I has almonds and cherry-flavoured Craisins and Clif bars and gluten-free choco-chip cookies and sesame rice crackers and I'm eating as much as I can manage every time I feel hungry. *burp*

Owl Dancer: Thanks! It's good to get encouragement. It's so easy to focus on the few areas in which I'm still improving rather than on how far I've come.
I hope you find a new Blog Home soon because I'll miss you if you're gone for too long!

Lynn: Thanks. I wish I could teach everyone to have better allergy awareness. Please spread the word!

G: Yeah, it shocked me how little concern he had for the consequences of the mistake. He didn't seem even slightly perturbed by the concept that he was responsible for making someone very sick.

LL Cool Joe: Thanks. It had better be. Then again if not, there are always higher doses of Paxil available...

Jenski said...

Yay for "normality!" It is wonderful that your well-being has become so much more manageable.

DarcsFalcon said...

I am SO happy for you Spark, you have no idea. It feels like answers to prayer. :) To see you getting back to your upbeat and adventurous self is a wonderful thing to see.

As far as the restaurant thing, you know, when it boils down to it, that's probably smart for everyone, not just people with food issues. No one cares about our personal food prep like we do ourselves. I've often thought about taking a cooking course or something and maybe things like that are the way to go.

I'm continuing to pray for you. I know you've come so far and I'm so proud of you and happy for you, and now my prayers can be ones of thanksgiving. :) *hugs*

Granny Annie said...

I wish I had a solution to your eating concerns. It is a heavy burden for you to bear and my magic wand is waving but does not seem to help much.

This year I made peanut clusters to give as gifts and now I am wondering how many of the recipients might have food allergies of some sort.