Well, I can do a whole spin class program and not fall down dead, so to me, that makes me a superstar! Considering when I did my first spin class, I couldn’t do the whole thing, and just 4 weeks later I can, I’d say that’s pretty darn spiffy! 🙂
I went to spin class Friday afternoon with friend Jenn, and even though I hadn’t had much sleep the night before (yet another family member taken to hospital and released in the wee small hours, keeping me awake most of the night whilst I sat at my sister’s house with her kids…everyone’s ok…no worries). But I went to class because I have to train for the Spin4Kids and I didn’t want to let my team down by not being able to complete a full program. And then after spin class, we went to a yoga class, which was strangely difficult! I thought yoga was supposed to be easy stretching and stuff! Wow, she made us work for it, and the room was all hot, having been warmed up by the spin class right beforehand! But I did it, and I felt like a superstar when I walked out of there. Even if my legs were a little jelly like 😉
Then Saturday I spent the entire day wandering around the Outdoor Adventure Show, and wonder of wonders, my back didn’t even get all sore from the slow meandering like it usually does! Life is great, and it’s just getting better. I have my awesome healthful diet to thank for it, and my team of amazing chiropractor and physical therapists at ActiveLife Rahab.
I just wanted you to see a few before photos, so you can see where I started from, and where I’m at now. I don’t have many photos of myself, I’m usually the one taking pictures of everyone else. But here are just a few, and I will try to put dates and timeline on them as well, as best I can.
This first one is July, 2007 taken in the garden of where I used to live in North Carolina. I think by now I’d got my Grave’s disease diagnosis, so was on medication for that, but not had found out yet that I have celiac disease. Even though the Grave’s disease was being treated, I still felt like crap, and was gaining weight rapidly. In the first 8 weeks that I was taking methimazole, I gained about 20 pounds. Working in the garden was exhausting, and recovery took days. My everything would hurt so that I could hardly move.
This next one is summer 2008, my Mum had come to visit North Carolina and we went to tour Biltmore Estate in Asheville. I was still taking methimazole, it was not yet in remission (that came in December of 2008). I was miserable. I had no energy, I was constantly in pain, I was depressed, and I was so constipated, I couldn’t have a bowel movement unless I took about 3 laxatives. The doctor kept telling me to “eat more whole wheat”. Yeah…not helpful. I had been trying every diet I could think of, to try and feel better, to lose some weight so that maybe my back and my knees wouldn’t feel so bad all the time. So that I could think more clearly. Nothing worked. I just kept getting fatter and sicker, even though the doctors said there was nothing they could find wrong with me. Other than Grave’s disease that is. With all my other symptoms, they really should have looked for celiac, but they didn’t.
I’m not saying that I think being thin or skinny is what healthy means. Actually quite the opposite. Slim is a side effect for me of getting healthy. All those years that I was sick, the only time I really cared about my weight was when I had to buy a whole new wardrobe and doctors couldn’t tell me why I just kept gaining weight. They couldn’t tell me why my brain didn’t work. They said my low fat, high carb diet was the thing to do. Just cut calories and fat, “you’ll be fine”. But I was far from fine.
By November of 2008 I was desperate. I just kept getting sicker, fatter, and more miserable. Every time I had a bowel movement (which wasn’t often!) it was such pain I cried, and I bled! One day at work I was sitting at my desk and I was so bloated I thought my jeans would snap me in half at the waist. I had to undo the button and the zipper, it was so humiliating. That, along with the noxious gas that was always coming out of me, I was waiting for someone to send me home for creating an unsafe work environment with all the fumes. Seriously, I was in pain, and I had really really smelly farts, All The Time!
I finally figured I had tried every other diet currently fadding at the time. I was either ready to die, or try Atkins (which if you listened to many doctors at the time, Atkins would kill you because of all the high fat and not enough whole grains :p ). Honest to gods, within days I felt 100 times better! The bloating was going away, the noxious gas was going away, the acid reflux, and I was even able to have a bowel movement without too much pain! I went to the Atkins community forum and asked what the f#@% is going on? Is this normal? A few members, and Colette Heimowitz replied it sounds like celiac disease.
It took nearly a year for various reasons for me to be able to get to a GI doctor on referral and even then I had to argue with her to get the test. In late October of 2009 I started the gluten challenge, and immediately thought I would die from pain (by this point I’d been largely gluten free since November of 2008 remember). Within 20 minutes of my first bite of gluteny food, I was in pain. And it stayed until a couple of weeks after I finished the challenge and had the endoscopy.
The rest of the details are in various other blog posts here already. I transitioned from Atkins to HFLC (which is basically Atkins, but whole foods, not manufactured diet foods, which are not gluten free). I moved back to Ontario in May of 2010, I had lost a few pounds by then, and was feeling a whole lot better than in 2008, but still not 100%. Turns out I had another autoimmune disease lurking, which I wouldn’t find out until 2014.
I transitioned a couple more times to new diets, first to Primal then to Paleo AIP. And the rest you know. Up until I went Primal, I still had all over body pain, I still had brain fog, I still had depression and mild anxiety. They were all 100 times better than before I’d found out I have celiac, but still, not as good as I am doing now. Even just this past summer I couldn’t participate in the Lughnassadh Summer Games with my Grove, because I was in such pain, I didn’t want to chance hurting my back. Now I can stay up all night long (wouldn’t recommend that though, it really isn’t good for ya!, it was just unavoidable), go to spin class and yoga class, and then the following day wander around all day on concrete floors looking at adventuring and camping stuff. And planning a whole bunch of trips I’ll maybe never get to take, but would dearly love to explore this whole planet!
This is me from early January this year. And getting better all the time.
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