Saturday, December 31, 2011

Long Time, No Post

I seem to always be apologizing for my frequent neglect of this blog but there have been a few bumps in the road over the last month. 

A week after I posted my last update, my dear friend, Huston Jenkins, who played a prominent role in that post, suffered a stroke. This news and the resulting concern and worry for my friend occupied my mind and my life for several weeks. I'm happy to say that Huston is now home and appears to me to be improving quickly. He might be eighty-seven but he is a fighter and the strongest man that I know. Of course this means that I won't be taking Danny, my colt, out to Missouri to stay with Huston and be trained but it only means a change in plans since I plan to start Dan myself. Then, hopefully, in the Spring of 2012, if Huston has improved enough, I will take Dan to Missouri for a visit and perhaps a ride by Huston around the barn if nothing else. Both Huston and I are excited by the prospect of this visit in the Spring and I hope it will motivate him to keep fighting and keep healing.

Another epiphany of sorts occurred in my life just one short week ago. Althought I haven't said too much about it, I have had a miserable year where, despite having so many ideas and obligations and so much that needed to be done I wasn't accomplishing anything because I was constantly sick, constantly fatigued, and constantly achy and stiff in a way I've never been before. I was also quite often depressed which I attributed to the stress brought on by living with the other symptoms and their effect on my daily life and productivity which was nil. I hate having medical tests so I  tend to put off going to my doctor until I am absolutely desperate for answers. I finally conceded that I had to see my doctor. He ran all sorts of tests  because he thought, like I did, that there was something seriously wrong with me but thankfully the tests all came back with good results except for the fact that I was severely anemic. I lied to my doctor, telling him that I felt better and I thought that I must have had food poisoning. I did in fact feel a bit better when I first started taking iron for the anemia but then, for no apparent reason that I could find, the painful intestinal problems returned. I started watching what I ate, restricting anything that I thought might be contributing to my problem. I kept track of everything I ate. I cut out dairy, thinking that I might have become lactose intolerant. At first, that seemed to work but then I'd eat what I considered a harmless meal and within minutes, I was in excruciating pain. A friend suggested to me that I might be gluten intolerant but I said no because I never had been and I wasn't losing weight instead quite the opposite. Despite the constant sickness and not really eating that much, I seemed to be holding on to my weight and I often felt bloated. Then, on Christmas eve, I was busy trying to work around the house and finish up all of the things that needed doing. I was fighting my extreme fatigue every step of the way and I literally forgot to eat lunch. I'd actually been feeling pretty good that day except for feeling tired because I'd had none of my usual digestive track discomfort.  The only things I'd eaten that day were eggs, ham and fruit.  Then, late in the afternoon, I stopped working long enough to eat a sandwich and within ten to fifteen minutes, I was very sick. I had come to conclusion that my problems were a food sensitivity but nothing made sense until then. I went to the computer and checked celiac disease and suddenly realized that I had ALL of the symptoms including anemia. As for my inability to lose weight, while weight loss is more prevalent, those with this sensitivity to gluten can also have problems losing weight. That sandwich was my last consumption of wheat and within 24 hours, I felt like a new person. Not only had my energy returned but I was not longer sick, no longer experiencing the gut wrenching pain that I've been experiencing on a daily basis for at least the last nine months if not longer. I feel lighter and I'm actually losing weight already! I also have the energy to accomplish some of the things I've been putting off forever and I'm walking/hiking as much as three miles a day....up and down steep hills. I plan to add more exercise later and so far, I don't miss the wheat although I have discovered that gluten and wheat can show up in unexpected places so I have quickly become an avid label reader. It really hasn't been that difficult to follow this diet because unlike other carb restrictive diets like Atkins, you can still eat starchy foods like potatoes, rice and corn when you are gluten intolerant so I don't feel at all restricted and I haven't had any cravings. I do realize that some of my favorite foods have been eliminated from my diet which makes me a bit sad but this feeling of well being and the enormous amount of energy I've had is well worth the sacrifice.