Okay, brace yourself:
There is something wrong with my butt.
I mean, there's something wrong inside my butt, or my gut, I don't know for sure.
I haven't wanted to tell you this for three big reasons, the first of which being: how could you possibly want to know? Then again, this is a tell-all blog. How can I not tell you?
I'm not in any pain, though sometimes there's a slight discomfort. What's most disturbing is what is coming out of me. Don't worry, I'll spare you the gory details,though I will tell you this: it's been happening for two years now. Or possibly more - I've been in denial. Which brings me to reason number two: I'm ashamed to admit I didn't do anything about this sooner. Please don't judge me. First of all, I haven't had dependable health insurance for very long. Nor a supportive partner. Nor the guts to face this on my own. (Oh, ha ha, no pun intended.) The point is, when it comes to medical stuff, I can be kind of a wimp.
My naturopath suggested I may have celiac disease. The digestive tract of a person with celiac disease (aka celiac sprue) is literally beaten up from the inside by gluten, a protein in wheat and several other grains. Therefore, digestion is compromised. This might account for my unmentionable symptoms, my uncommonly low iron stores (for someone who eats as well as I do), and the fact that I'm struggling to get and stay pregnant.
"I thought celiacs were always skinny!" I told my doctor. I've never in my life been skinny.
She wagged her head, emphatically. "Sometimes infertility is the only symptom!"
She (and another doctor I've seen) have run a battery of tests (so far, inconclusively) and prescribed an arsenal of supplements (which I take, conscientiously), and a gluten-free, dairy-free (just in case) diet. Since January, I've avoided the foods that might be causing my troubles, which is quite a few foods, actually, because, if you haven't noticed, wheat and its derivatives are in everything. "Modified food starch" for instance? Wheat. "Natural flavors" too. Even oats are off limits, unless I get them from Ireland, because in this country, oats are contaminated by wheat in the fields and in the mills. Don't even get my started on dairy products!
I've been increasingly vigilant about this, the incentive being: Which do I want more, a bagel? or a baby? Chinese food? -- there's wheat in the soy sauce -- Or maybe a child? Ice cream? Don't even think about it. The result: After two months, my symptoms actually cleared. I felt great, triumphant.
Then, I ate yogurt twice in a day, to see what would happen. Symptoms immediately returned. No more dairy for me. The ship righted itself. I haven't dared test gluten in this way.
My symptom-free period lasted two weeks. Then I went on my honeymoon, got sick from a Costa Rican parasite, recovered, was fine for a couple weeks. But now, and all of this week, to my dismay, I'm pretty much back where I started.
As it turn out, the almond milk I've been pouring over my gluten-free corn flakes had "natural flavors" as an additive. I knew this. At first, I avoided this brand. But somewhere along the line, I've gotten my brands inverted. Could this be the only reason? My naturopath says maybe, but wants me cut out corn and soy also.
Reason number three, next time.