Saturday, June 28, 2008

Am I an Idiot?

I got a lot of stuff that's wrong with me. Allergies. Nearsightedness. Gingivitis. Chronic Prepatellar Bursitis. Insomnia. Anxiety Disorder. IBS. Lactose Intolerance. This week chalked another one onto the list. I think I may be gluten intolerant too.

I started researching on Wednesday. After reading up on it, I went for a run. The list of symptoms circled through my head.

That damn weird metal taste!

Dry skin? Is that why I'm itchy all the time?

Poor tooth enamel! I did think it odd that I've been drinking coffee since the age of fourteen, but I didn't get stains until last year.

Fatigue? Hell yes. I drink 5 cups of green tea every morning. (Having cut the coffee 'cos of the tooth stains).

Back pain? Hmmm... birthday blog?

IBS. Lactose Intolerance. Decreased appetite. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Depression. Don't get me started.

All the while I'm thinking this, I'm chugging up this hill I've chugged up a million times over the past year, feeling like I'm going to die.


Oh. My. God. I stopped in my tracks.

Is that why I've been working out six days a week for the last three years, and barely shaved off five pounds?

So I decided to go gluten-free, just to see what would happen.

Now I know what you are thinking: Shouldn't you go to a doctor, Anney?

Wake up, people. This is America. I don't have health insurance.

For the past three years, I've self-diagnosed myself as a lot of things. Mostly all of these ailments could be fixed through diet. So I played with my diet. Then last year I went to a doctor, who certified that I had done good homework, that I was right with my assessments.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think I am fit to stand in for a doc. Lest I end up like Sylvia Plath's father, who mistakenly diagnosed his diabetes as cancer, and died of a gangrenous leg. I do plan to go to the doctor again. Once I finish my book. Once I get a job. Once I get insurance. Somehow. Somewhere. Someday.

I keep thinking though... Neither the doctor or I was able to correctly diagnose me, as I still have problems. It makes me wonder - is self-diagnosing valuable? Can we poor bastards use it to put off a costly visit, at least for a while? Or is it terribly dangerous and am I an idiot?

I'm going to have to wait and see.


Laurie said...

Well if you can't get to a doctor, then go with your instinct and see what happens. If you go GF and you start to notice improvements, then that could be answer enough for you. Celiac disease (and gluten-intolerance) is very hard to diagnose and see in patients b/c there is no one typical constellation of symptoms and it can look like so many other conditions. But if it is the answer for you, you may just find that it removes some of the other diagnoses you have because it resolves the symptoms that looked like them.

I noticed a huge change within days when I went totally GF. If you go for it, let me know--have lots of pointers and tips for GF eating :)

Laurie said...

PS--Per your question of danger, I guess you're right, there's always the chance you think it's this when it could be something more serious. But if you're willing to take the risk and it does help, going GF is the only "treatment" for it, anyway.

Only thing is, you usually can't get accurate tests for celiac disease once you remove gluten from your diet--you'd have to re-introduce it.

Saunar Buboy said...

Brilliant! Great talk that was extremely insightful and very entertaining. It's given me loads to think about.

Prudential Life