Worth it?

I’ve been in victim mode lately. I’ve been feeling really sorry for myself. I’m aware that my antibodies are still very actively attacking my thyroid and I want to save it. I don’t want it to collapse totally. And from what I learn online there are many people who have had to eliminate dairy and soy from their diets too – not just gluten. I think it’s the thought of further adjusting my diet that is creating this crisis for me. I’ve already lost so much through this illness. I lost my income, my health, my running, my father, my trade and identity. I’ve had to build myself up again from scratch. And now this. How much more do I have to lose before I get my body to stop attacking?

Worth it

I have a lot of resentment that my life is so difficult with this illness. I’m just starting to feel better and winter has arrived. Our house is very cold and we’re not turning on the heating so that we don’t eat into our savings even more than we already are. So I’m cold and I’m getting sick a lot and I’m miserable.

Yesterday I was in tears because I tried to take my kids to the movies and it was a disaster. I delayed going because I didn’t want to rush myself or them in order to keep my stress levels low. And then I mustered all of my strength feeling really weak and found there to be no seats left when we got there. The disappointment on my girls’ faces just pushed me over the edge. I’m not able to be the kind of mother I’d like to be until I’m well and I’m not sure I’ll ever get there. I’m losing hope and I just want to give up.

At first I was really upset about having to eliminate gluten but after a while I came to accept it. After a lot of research I understand how it important it is to eliminate gluten from your diet if you have an autoimmune disease. No, I’m not some gluten-hating zealot who wants to be difficult. I’m not some hippy weirdo trying to follow some health kick trend. I miss pastry, I miss eating out without worrying about every bite I put in my mouth. I miss being able to just kick back and relish food. I love food. I love eating out and sharing a meal with friends and loved ones.

But now it’s so DIFFICULT. Gluten is hidden, yes I say hidden, in all sorts of meals from fish to gravy to Milo and Lindt chocolates. To think that I’ll never again in my life eat a Mars bar or a croissant, is actually quite devastating to me.

I didn’t do this blindly or easily. I knew gluten was not good for me because I could tell that I became bloated after eating bread. I thought that a bit of intestinal discomfort was not a big deal. I only gave up gluten entirely when my endocrinologist insisted. And no, he’s not a tie dyed trend setter. He’s a doctor and one who has studied for a very long time. He’s intelligent, cautious and meticulous. He’s educating me and helping me to overcome this illness. I can’t help hating him a little bit for this piece of advice that has wrecked my meals ever since.

I see some of the people around me with the same illness as I have, and they are happily munching on gluten to their heart’s delight. And sure, if their thyroids have completely collapsed, they just take the pills. Easy, right? But there is still an autoimmune attack going on inside their bodies. Their body is still fighting itself and there is inflammation, and inflammation leads to other autoimmune illnesses. I certainly don’t want diabetes or arthritis and I want to get on top of this thing but boy, I’m struggling.

I don’t want to go to anyone’s house for dinner because it’s so hard. I am scared to eat out because I need to know all the ingredients of everything I’m eating. I don’t want to go away on holiday because I’m scared to be away from my pantry which is safely gluten free. I don’t like being ‘difficult’ by insisting that all meals are centered around my needs.

But what kind of existence is that? I don’t want to spend my life being hyper vigilant. Isn’t there another way? I’ve met people who are intentionally not taking their thyroid medication and they munch on cake regularly. What’s going to happen to them in future? Is their health going to deteriorate or am I the idiot living in misery for nothing?

And maybe I’m overdoing it or not resting enough and that’s why my antibodies are still high. But there is also only so much rest you can get as a mother of small children. We don’t have any support from family and I care for them every day, around the clock. Making juice, feeding them, caring for their colds and keeping them warm. It’s so hard to care for myself and for them at the same time. It doesn’t feel viable to create a new career and to get well. I don’t think I can do it.

I’ve done so much work on myself in the last eighteen months. I’ve healed many emotional traumas from the past. I’ve worked on so many aspects of myself. I’ve found flow and am aligning with my life purpose. And yet my body is still in attack. I don’t understand why. I’ve rested and frankly I don’t want to sleep every afternoon anymore. I’ve taken all my medication, supplements, vitamins and I’m eating healthy foods. I feel close to giving up on all the productive things because I’m not sure it’s worth it.

Worth it?

I am going to see an integrated medicine practitioner on Tuesday to get some advice. I’m concerned that he’ll put me on an elimination diet or tell me to eliminate eggs, dairy, sugar and soy in addition to gluten. I already live without alcohol, caffeine and gluten. I’m not sure this kind of existence is worth it. Perhaps it’s better to live to age fifty and eat a chocolate croissant everyday.

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I am a champion for living your passion. Writing is my passion, my destiny and my calling. I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a wife and live in Johannesburg, South Africa.

1 Comment

  1. I know few people who would preserve as much as you are. Well done for coming this far! They give up, you don’t. You see the future consequences if you don’t do anything now, while others don’t. Probably because they are feeling ‘ok’ right now or don’t understand the longterm affect on their bodies. Because you know how important you are to others – it’s worth it.

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