Tuesday, April 23, 2013
The Unkindest Cut
Too Much Information Alert: bodily functions discussed.
Two years ago I got the runs, the kind where you visit the commode 12 to 18 times a day. Machines thoroughly ransacked my innards for information. The doctor ruled out celiac disease. I remember being so glad as I couldn't imagine a life without wheat. He told me that celiac patients can not even use the same toaster as normal people because of cross-contamination.
The bad news was that I had lymphocytic colitis. The doctor told me I fit the disease's demographic. I guessed he meant old, white, overweight and female. He chuckled. Even worse news, there was no proscribed treatment. All he could offer was hand-me-down medicine. We'd pretend I had Crohn's Disease. Whooppee!
The treatment involved taking 3 steroids a day for a month, then 2 pills a day for a month and finally 1 pill a day for a month. The doctor said I could expect 3 to 4 attacks a year. That is 9 to 12 months of steroids a year. I've never known anyone to advise long time steroid use, but I had no choice. I did my first three month cycle, went steroid free for 6 whole days before I had to start another three month cycle. It was insane. The steroids made my voice squeaky. The slightest pressure on my arms would create angry, red, puffy bruises. Seeing my hands, people would look away quickly, embarrassed by my condition.
I tried to outsmart the colitis. I went to acupuncture. I drank vats of Aloe Juice. I meditated. I took Vitamin K to stop the bruising. I took Curcumin to reduce inflamation. I took dreadfully expensive pro-biotics. And still I had to take steroids. I played little games, shortening the cycle of the pills. I gave up fresh fruit. I gave up nuts. I gave up liquor. I gave up chocolate.
Then one day I gave up wheat. I almost hoped it wouldn't work. But it did. I may not have celiac disease but I am gluten intolerant. I have been off the steroids for two months but I still erupt in weird bruises. Is it too much to hope that long gloves come back in style?