Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Health - Part I

Every. Single. Happiness book I've picked up, says that the road to happiness is paved with healthy choices.

Exercise.  Sleep.  
Healthy eating habits.

But, I don't wanna exercise!!!  I don't like to sweat!!!

Okay.  I got that out of my system.  In recent years, a lot of my unhappiness has stemmed from poor health.  I had painful joints, painful muscles, and was exhausted.  Due to lack of sleep, I felt stupid waaaay too much of the time.  At first I attributed it to peri-menopause.  When I realized that I was falling asleep at red lights, and that my oldest daughter was living in terror that I was dying of cancer, I knew it was time to get some answers.

I went to my doctor.  He ran lots of tests and sent me for a sleep study.  I was diagnosed with mild sleep apnea and told to sleep on my side.  That helped a lot.  Later, after additional review of my sleep study, he said that I have restless leg syndrome and gave me medication for it.  I also was diagnosed with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, mild Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and depression.  My doctor checked me for Fibromyalgia, but didn't think I had enough symptoms for a diagnosis.  My gyno put me on low level hormone replacement because my levels were dropping.

I was taking lots of medications and feeling somewhat better, but I certainly didn't feel healthy.  As my marriage spiraled deeper and deeper into the pit, my depression worsened and symptoms of all of the above increased.  I went back to my doctor and he put me on a SECOND anti-depressant.

That second AD was what I needed more than anything.  It gave me emotional energy to look at my marriage realistically and see that it was over.

Even though I was happy to be ending a really bad marriage, many of my symptoms of poor health remained.  I realized that I was having tremendous muscle pain and knew that there had to be something more than just arthritis.

I kept researching the possibilities.  Over the past several years, a few of my friends have being diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which is an inability to digest gluten.  (Gluten is found in wheat, barley, and rye.)  On a whim, I decided to try going gluten free for a while to see if I felt any better.  Within just a few days, I felt like a new person.

That was about nine months ago.

I don't have an official diagnosis of Celiac Disease and probably never will.  With current testing protocols I'd have to go back on gluten for a several months before I could even be tested.  It's not worth it.  My doctor agrees and told me to stay on the GF diet.

The best thing about gluten intolerance/Celiac Disease is that the "cure" is to simply stop eating what's making you sick.  There's no drugs to take, no surgery to endure.  Stop the poison and you feel great.

The first step on my Happiness Project was identifying and treating my major health problem.  It's done and I'm much happier!

Unfortunately, to continue on the path to good health, I need to do more than just stop eating the bad stuff.  Coming soon:  More on health.

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