I had an appointment with my rheumatologist in December of 2012. Things had been going okay and we talked about trying to taper down my steroids again. He wanted me to try and start tapering them down one milligram per week and see if that would work. Although my symptoms still weren’t fully under control, he was hoping the medication I was on would be sufficient to hold it at bay. He also mentioned something to me for the first time. He asked me if I had ever thought about eating gluten free. When I got done laughing at his question, I politely answered I had thought about it and had pretty well determined that would not be a path I would be taking. He informed me there were some studies that had been done indicating there might be a link between certain auto-immune disorders and gluten. He told me he would really like for me to try a gluten free diet. He felt it could possibly help with some of my symptoms and at worst it would do nothing and certainly do no harm. He suggested I read a book called “Wheat Belly”. I dutifully smiled, and said I would read the book. Honestly, I really didn’t think there was anyway I could make this happen, but I said I’d read the book.
I found myself perusing the shelves of Books-A-Million. I found the book fairly quickly and purchased it. I didn’t begin reading it immediately. It sat for a few days. There was one more catalyst I needed to get my thoughts really churning. Although I had, in a way, blown off what my rheumatologist had said, deep down I really felt there might be something to it. I wasn’t ready to face it though. I just wasn’t really sure I could go down the road of making more sacrifices again for naught.
A few days after the appointment I was browsing Facebook. A friend had posted a link to a video. The “amazing transformation” got my attention, and I decided to take a look. I was pretty sure it was going to be the same as lots of other “transformations” I had seen on the interwebs. Some ridiculous claim by some ridiculous person that if I just took this pill or drank this juice I could lose weight without even changing my lifestyle. The all too familiar promises of liars who are all too happy to swipe my card, take my money, and leave me feeling dejected when I fail once again with a new “miracle cure.”
Almost immediately I knew this video was different. This wasn’t about some miracle pill or awesome pre-packaged foods that cost hundreds of dollars a month. This was something different. I was intrigued by this “every day” guy who worked really hard to lose a lot of weight. I was moved to tears when he proved the doctors wrong and set himself free from a life of bondage to his unhealthy body. I cried as I watched him fall and fall and get back up again. I sobbed when I saw the man who had given up on ever feeling good again sprinted toward the camera. I was struck by his tenacity. I was awed by his courage. I wanted to be just like him. I wanted to make those changes. I wanted to feel good. I wanted to be free of my self created prison.
The unique thing about the way this video moved me is important. My initial thought was, “Man, if this guy can do it at 100 pounds more than I weigh, what the heck is my excuse???” He’s got a back brace, two knee braces, and walks with the assistance of crutches. Yeah, I have moments of pure physical pain and torture. For me, however, I at least get reprieves. I’m not stuck in that hell all day every day. Although my symptoms can persist for long periods of time, it’s not as though I never have days where I am relatively pain free. I had literally never seen anything like it. That video, that man, made me want to change the direction of my health. I also felt for the first time in longer than I could remember that it might actually be possible. I felt like I really could possibly make it happen.
I chewed on that video for a few days and decided it was time. I
So, there I was. I took my before pictures. I got my yoga mat and I was ready to work out. I had already been grocery shopping and was cutting gluten out of my diet. I was pumped. The only thing I needed at that point to turn from couch potato to a woman working out daily and going from carb addict to gluten-free eater was to hop on the unicorn in the back yard and go for a ride while waving my magic wand and sprinkling pixie dust all over my little universe. Right? I mean, seriously, how likely was I really to change 38 years of bad habits over night?
Good question. I was pumped. I mean really, really pumped. But could I make it happen? Arthur did. Could Stephanie do it? Was she fooling herself or was this really it? Would a little bit of pixie dust be required to get her flying?