Monday, September 6, 2010

Gluten Gluttony

As I type this my time for eating before my upper endoscopy has expired.  I get to down some apple juice tomorrow before 6am, but that's it until after the biopsies are taken.  I guess I should start at the beginning.  Around 6 weeks ago my wife talked me into doing the C25K program.  I've always hated running and I had always prided myself on achieving a high level of physical fitness without it.  It probably all relates back to my Dad and watching all the injuries he went through due to running.  I used to feel man wasn't meant to run or at least not men over about 175lbs.  I started doing C25K more for her than for any other reason, as she is a great runner and I've always wanted to school her at it run with her.  I spent around 9 months of the last year on Fosamax and low impact rehab to repair a bone injury in my left kneecap where I am missing some cartilage from years of contact sports.  When I started the rehab, I couldn't even walk to the end of my street and back without my knee being sore and swollen for the next few weeks.

In the beginning of C25K I would carry an icepack in the car and immediately slap it on my knee as soon as we got done.  I would continue to ice my knee the rest of the night and this would help, but I was still having some pain in my knees and back.  I played around with trying to run CHI/POSE/barefoot style in my conventional running shoes, but it's hard to run properly with a heel to toe drop and a thick sole.  I finally decided to get some Vibram Five Fingers and make the switch.  My plan was to only use them once or twice a week but after a few runs in my conventional shoes I just couldn't make myself put them on anymore.  Running in my VFF KSO Treks I am forced to analyze my gait and focus on my foot placement.  This has resulted in dramatic changes in how I feel post run.  I don't have to ice my knee anymore.  My back doesn't hurt.  My calves are sore, but it's only muscle soreness as they adapt.  I am having some arch problems in my left foot, but I believe this is due to doing too much too soon and traditionally over-pronating on that side.  My left arch is lower than my right.  Ok, so to get back to where this is going.  I'll post more on my experiences with natural/barefoot running later.

My guts started hurting.  I thought it was the running.  It felt like I had swallowed a golf ball and it was poking out my left oblique.  That turn into my whole abdomen feeling painful and bloated.  I had no appetite, so I went to the doctor on 8/16 with no real idea on what to expect.  They took a bunch of blood samples and set me up with a CT Scan of my belly.  The belly scan didn't turn up anything, but one of the blood tests came back with a moderate to strong positive for Celiac disease.  My GP suggested I cut out gluten, so for about 10 days before my Gastro appointment I stopped eating gluten.  The change was nothing short of miraculous,  my guts felt fine, my joints stopped aching and it was like a fog was lifted from my mind.  I didn't realize I could feel that much better.  When you are used to functioning at a certain level all your life, you don't realize how much better you can feel.

I went to see the Gastro and she set me up with the upper endoscopy and had me start eating gluten again for the 5 days in between.  The first few days were horrible, but I think I've adapted to feeling cruddy again.  No matter what result I get, I will be cutting out the gluten again as soon as I can start eating after my upper endoscopy.  A positive biopsy will just keep me from ever cheating again.

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