Friday, 18 July 2014

It's been a while...

I've been busy. Like, super busy.
When I look back at the posts I wrote before this, it seems like longer than two years though, so much has happened. I got sick. Then I got worse, then better. I got married, I bought a house, moved in, made a garden. I did lots of paddling! I got a new car.
Mostly though, I became a new person. There are some things that change you so completely you don't quite recognise the person you used to be anymore. Since sometime in high school, though I don't know specifically when, I have been ill. That's a long time. Mostly it's been manageable, though there have been bad times. I got Leptospirosis, the more severe form of which is known as Wiles disease, in my fourth year at university and that was a bad time. Eventually I recovered back to my usual sickly self and life continued. I finished my degree and graduated, got a job. I coasted along for a while. I bought a house with my fiance, which was super exciting, but my health was getting really quite bad now. The doctors diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome and then with depression and anxiety disorder. Antidepressants helped level out my mood, stopped me from panicking every time I was too ill to go anywhere. Chronic Fatigue syndrome, also known by the more ominous name M.E., was suggested. I was severely anemic. My boss put me on a four day, then a three day contract, to try and alleviate the stress. In May 2013 I collapsed at work and my boss drove me home. That was the turning point.
When I was ill in high school my mum suggested it might be Coeliac disease, an auto-immune disorder triggered by eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. My mum has Coeliac disease, as does my cousin, so there is approximately a 1 in 10 chance that I would have it too. It took a while to convince the doctor to do a test and when it was done I now know, though it does me no good now, that it was done wrong. I have been tested for Coeliac disease a further three times since then, each one of them done wrong. The tests are notoriously unreliable as well which doesn't help.
In May 2013 I decided I was done with doctors telling me they didn't know what was wrong with me. I had all the classic symptoms of Coeliac disease and a very high chance (genetically) of having it. So I stopped eating gluten.
It took about a week to feel better than I had done in years. I was still fairly anemic, so I was put on a course of iron supplements. I started a course of cognitive behavioral therapy to cure my needle phobia, something I would never have thought possible before. By Christmas 2013 I was off anti depressants and set to go back to five days a week at work. In September 2013 I got married and had one of the best days of my life, complete with gluten free wedding dinner! I started to go paddling again, regularly, and signed up to go to the Alps with friends from uni. I discovered I am allergic to egg whites!
"It will get better, just give it time"
That's what someone said to me at the start of my gluten free life. It's been over a year now and I don't know why I ever thought living like I did was normal. Life is wonderful and so much fun and I have an incredible new appreciation for it.

Some photos of the time it took to get here (2012-2013):
Gardening, October 2012.

Meeting Tim Bailey, Olympic gold medalist, October 2012.
New boat! November 2012.

Canoeing in Glen Affric, May holiday 2013.
I was quite ill and spent a lot of time asleep!

Loch Awe paddling, March 2013.

Loch Awe paddling, March 2013

Spey paddling, June 2013

Steam train trip, June 2013

Paddling in Glen Roy with Staucc, September 2013

Married! September 2013

More married! September 2013

Posh hotel, September 2013

Honeymoon! October 2013

More honeymoon! October 2013.

Paddling in the Lakes with Staucc Alumni, November 2013

Upper Findhorn, December 2013

Nith in high water, December 2013

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