Pippi Lucille Gibbons. So let's shake things up; how about some good news on this fine autumn Saturday?
2016 has been an interesting year for health. I was looking at my MyChart account the other day and noticed I'm coming up on 1 year since my first upper endoscopy that put me on this EoE with IBD path. 365 days. Time flies when you're having fun!
If I took the time to add it all up I'm pretty sure I've amassed between $7 and $7 million in medical expenses since then across 8,456 doctor's appointments, tests, medications, and one very enlightening inpatient stay. Managing my health has literally been a part-time job; except I don't get paid.
This whole mess keeps evolving and blogging about it has helped me process it all. Plus, I'm keeping a record of my experiences that I can look back at when I'm 80. Thank you to anyone who reads these. I'm sure it's been enthralling for you. Like the first season of House of Cards. Or C-SPAN.
This morning I had the most amazing breakfast: Udi's gluten free bread, toasted, with REAL cream cheese and some cucumber slices. Whoa, right?
If I read that sentence a year ago I'd have thought the person writing it was a bit off. Gluten free bread? You mean a dried out brick made to look like bread? Surely you jest. Now cream cheese is a gift from the gods and cucumber is a staple of my diet. But even those I wouldn't deem amazing. This breakfast isn't showing up on the menu at Alinea. Or even Denny's.
Side note: If you've never heard of Alinea, a restaurant in Chicago, or the story of its chef, Grant Achatz, read this story in the New Yorker. Or any story about him: a chef that develops tongue cancer and how it propelled him to be one of the best in the world. Truly amazing.
So deprivation is a funny thing, psychologically.
When someone tells us we can't do something (or have something) we're inclined to want whatever is off limits even more. Suppressing thoughts or behaviors causes the brain to focus on them quite intensely, resulting in cravings or lying in bed at 3 am endlessly going over that one, possibly snarky comment our boss made in a meeting to us or what a Donald Trump presidency might be like.
The apocalypse. It will look like the apocalypse.
Then when we give give up on suppressing our behavior and go back to old ways, we tend to intensify that behavior - something we psychologists call the rebound effect. This is why the vast majority of diets for weight loss don't work and people often regain the weight plus 10-15 pounds. The coveted food probably tastes even better than it did before.
Hence my amazing breakfast this morning.
So the good news is I've put dairy, eggs, fish, and shellfish back into my diet. Eggs are a big deal because gluten free breads use them, and dairy means cream in my coffee. And butter, so eating out will be a bit less daunting. I also realized an error in my allergy testing report where I can, in fact, have buckwheat. You may be asking "what the hell has buckwheat in it other than buckwheat?" I'd have asked the same thing before but it's often used as a wheat flour substitute in prepared foods like snack bars or cake mixes. Pretty much anything made by Enjoy Life foods (which makes truly tasty stuff) contains buckwheat.
Not eating soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, barley, celery, sesame, and apricots doesn't even seem daunting to me at this point. Maybe the dairy/egg/fish/shellfish period was a good thing in that now the diet based off my allergy testing seems like cake. Amazing, gluten free, buckwheat-laden cake.