I'm writing this mostly as a reminder to myself, about WHY I am as careful as I am. About WHY I need to listen to myself and not the people who think I'm paranoid because they don't have to deal with the consequences of my actions. Because seriously? It comes across that way.
So, back in February, I mentioned that I reacted to gluten, which was enough to give me some vertigo, among other things. This reaction? That was a mild one. No slurred words, vertigo was nasty and nausea inducing, but if I was still I could keep upright. So, small reaction to the thing I react the most to: gluten.
I couldn't drive for a week, week and a half after that reaction. And then the vertigo after that lasted until April 21st. It slowly improved, but I had to be cautious in my movements and was unable to do anything really energetic until it went away. Otherwise, if I turn just the wrong way and get hit with a dizzy spell, and I'm exercising when that happens, I get injured big time because I can't stop myself from falling.
It didn't really hit me at first just how long it took to recover. But looking at my calendar has been a great reminder of why I am SO FREAKING CAREFUL about avoiding gluten, even a trace of it. This low level reaction affected me for over two and a half MONTHS. A sixth of a year screwed up. And as I realized after writing the February post, there were actaully two things that could have made me react. Either it was touching something in my house that hadn't been washed and then NOT washing my hands before they touched my mouth, or it was eating something that had never made me react before but which every batch is not tested for gluten. It's a product that lots of celiacs eat without issue, that I HAVE eaten before without issue. But it was the only new thing I ate that day.
In either case, it's likely that the food would be considered gluten free by today's standards. I am so, SO careful that I really thought 'maybe it'll be okay.'
I don't allow gluten into my house. All my food aside from my salt and olive oil has to be able to be washed thoroughly with soap and water or it's not allowed into my house, either.
Even though this ISN'T an allergy, there's some similarities in avoidance. I have had to train myself to never touch my mouth or my food unless I've washed my hands thoroughly. The kids and I even wash our hands when we come in as one of the first things we do, so whatever we've picked up isn't contaminating the first few things we touch.
So the ONLY way I can react to gluten is to amounts so small you can't see them. And with all that caution, that 'paranoia,' I STILL reacted. And I don't know which of the two things that were 'risky,' if you can even call them that, was the one that cost me over two months of my health.
I just know I want to avoid getting sick like this again. So, yes, my precautions are extreme. But so are my reactions, and so are the levels of gluten I seem to react to. Because again, this was my MILD reaction. The serious one? That one takes months and months to recover from. I think it was at least 6 months last time, possibly 9, only it took so long I stopped paying attention and just noticed one day that I was finally free from vertigo.
So, Shauna, note to self. Whenever you're thinking of taking a risk with your food - even if that risk is not a big deal for most celiacs - ask yourself the following question:
Is this food worth a few months of your health?
If the answer is no, then make a better decision, Shauna. Be good to yourself, and your body, so you can live long and be good to your family and friends in return.