New Developments

FAIR WARNING: This post contains highly personal health information.  If you’d not like to read about such things, by all means, back away from this post.

The radio silence around these parts has been due to a knock-down, drag-out fight between me and my intestines. Recently, my son got what seemed to be one of those 24-hour vomiting viruses.  He got sick twice, once in the car (my sweet husband earned a parenting stripe for that incident), and then the next day was bouncing off the walls in his usual way.  Textbook stomach bug.  Despite washing my hands twenty billion times during my son’s illness and subsequent hazmat clean-up, two days later, I woke before dawn with crippling stomach pain.  Now, my stomach woes always tend towards the other end of the body, rather than the vomiting, which (don’t get me wrong) I prefer, and yet, after 36 years of dealing with such issues on a weekly basis, I am so.  tired.  of it.

All that day, I stayed in bed, sleeping a ton and heading to the bathroom in between.  I had to work that evening, and I made it to the service, thankfully I didn’t have a lot of active ‘work’ to do, so I just dragged myself through it.  The next morning, I felt passable.  Not great, but good enough to say “Yeah, great idea” when husband suggested we hit the diner for breakfast.  I had two scrambled eggs, two sausage links, and three slices of tomato.  No coffee, just water.  All that day, I felt mildly off, but I took naps and breaks from cleaning the house, and it was okay.

The next morning was Easter, and when you work at a church, there is no missing Easter Sunday- not that I wanted to, or felt it was warranted, I actually felt a lot better when I got up that morning, on day 3.  We went to service, hunted eggs on the lawn, had all our friends over for lunch, and had a fun trip to the ER to give my son an albuterol treatment for his allergies (he’s fine).  On the way home from the hospital, I felt it.  That familiar acidic rumbling in my lower abdomen, coupled with the feeling of being trapped underwater.  It was coming back, and I was in the car for the next 20 minutes.  Would I make it?

(I did, you can stop worrying.  Thanks, though, you’re sweet.)

I say familiar, because for most of my life, I’ve been feeling this way every few weeks for a few days at a time.  I’ve learned to just power through, but it’s really awful.  I don’t know what happened this time, but something clicked in my head, and as I lay in bed the next day with a high fever, wondering how on earth this could possibly be the same virus my son had almost 5 days prior, I decided I was done with sucking it up.  I was going to get to the bottom of this, once and for all.

Starting around age 10, when I got my period, my stomach woes became a large part of my daily life.  I had (and still have, to some extent) really bad periods- terrible cramping, heavy bleeding, and, every single time it comes around, diarrhea.  This led my GYN in high school to posit that I may have Endometriosis.  Both my mother and older sister had been diagnosed with the condition as well, so it made sense.  A few years later, I would have exploratory surgery, with the intent of diagnosing the condition, and moving forward with treatment.  When they got in there, they found no sign of endometriosis.  Cysts, sure, and fibroids, they were having a nice party in there, but not the spots of tissue growth they had expected to find that would have explained my bowel issues.  I was diagnosed by my regular doctor as having IBS, and I was put on Levsin, which helped nothing.  I stopped taking it about a year later.

Flash forward to after my kids were born- Zander was three years old, and had just been diagnosed with autism.  I am lucky enough to have a dear friend who has dedicated her life to helping kids with autism, and she starts talking to me about dietary interventions.  “I have clients who seem to think it really helped their kids, and then others who swear it did nothing, but you’ve got to try.  As a mother, and not a trained therapist, this is really one of the only things you can do.”  I knew she was right.  Selfishly, I didn’t want to adopt the “autism diet”.  It seemed impossible, but I knew if it would help bring my son back out of his fog, I would do it.  We started the diet the week before Thanksgiving that year.  My son also had been dealing with his own intestinal issues, all very simliar to the ones I had struggled with my whole life.  He also had intense eczema and horrible diaper rash.  I met with some other local moms who were more practiced than I was, and we started cold turkey- we cut out gluten, dairy, soy, preservatives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors.  I realize that recently there’s been a lot of studies published that say dietary interventions don’t work for autism.  I guess for me, they just don’t matter.  For my kid, it was a miracle.  His language came back.  His eye contact came back.  His skin cleared up.  He started singing again.  He was my boy again, but still- he suffered from the bowel problems.  His diaper rash got mildy better, but never went away.

About two weeks into the new way of eating, my daughter and I had a large helping of all of the off-limits foods at a church dinner (I had packed my son’s dinner).  Lasagna, garlic bread, ranch salad dressing, croutons, parmesan cheese.  We were both sick for days and days.  It was like the flu, on crack.  I decided we must also have some sort of issue with these foods, and decided that the “cheating” wasn’t worth it.  My kids were so young when this happened (3 and 4), I just implemented the changes and didn’t look back.

The years passed, and my gut health remained about the same.  Usually, pretty good, and occasionally, really really bad.  I just sort of accepted this as my lot in life and trudged along.

Then, last year, I read The Primal Blueprint, by Mark Sisson.  I talk a lot about how that book changed my life in another post.  Sufficed to say, I was so moved by the arguments laid out in the book, I decided to take my family one step further down the path to total weirdness, and cut out all grains, sugars, beans, and processed foods.  My husband, after about a month, started shedding weight like it was going out of style (and still is).  After 6 months on the new plan, I had lost 6 pounds.  SIX.  I couldn’t believe that was it.  And while my digestive woes had seemed to have calmed down a bit, they were still there, lurking in the background, making their appearance when it was most inconvenient.

Then, the week prior to this week happened.  I got really sick, for almost a whole week.  I ate almost nothing (homemade bone broth, eggs, tea, and one banana).  Then, I stumbled upon this post, by  Peggy of The Primal Parent.  The title caught my eye, as “IBS” was once one of my labels.  Fructose Malabsorption.  Huh.  All the symptoms seemed to mirror what I’ve been struggling with all these years.  Peggy recounts how even after trying a million different tinkers (and i’ve been there, too- GAPS, SCD), she just didn’t feel like she was optimizing her health.  This is exactly how I’ve been feeling about eating Primally!

Yesterday, I decided to give it a go.  I was already eating bone broth, meat, and eggs, now I’d just have to resist temptation with the fruit in the house, and add in the vegetables that are safe- no fructans (onions, garlic, cabbage, and a bunch more), but most things were acceptable to eat on the FM eating plan.

Now, I’m not saying that I have this disorder (yet), but some of the things Peggy wrote in that post really rang true for me, and after 2 days of cutting out fructose and fructans, my intestines seem a whole lot happier than they have been for the past week.  Here’s hoping that during the next few weeks of experimentation, I’ll be able to nail this down, one way or another.

Here’s hoping.

2 Responses to “New Developments”

  1. Natural Healing For Eczema…

    […]New Developments « ask the sky[…]…

  2. […] remember all that stuff about my stomach being so out of whack, and putting my foot down about getting to the bottom of it […]

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