A lifetime to go!
Back in May, I wrote about my Life with AS and the low starch diet I'd adopted to help manage the pain. The plan had always been to trial the diet for a few months to see if it made a significant difference. If not, I would have no choice but to go back to taking Celebrex (anti inflammatories).
Well, six months on, I'm pleased to report that the low starch diet has been a resounding success. Most days I'm relatively pain free. I can even indulge a little bit now and then without it causing too much of a problem (mmm Twisties!).
Throughout the journey, I've discovered that the diet wasn't the hell I was anticipating. I've learnt to be very organised as I've had to prepare meals in advance to going out. I've learnt to be considerate of others with strange diets. I've learnt patience as I've had to keep explaining my diet and the reasons for it over, and over...and OVER again to the same people (definitely still learning patience with that one).
"You're too young to have arthritis."...............It's not an old person's disease.
"I have a great recipe for a gluten free cake if you want it.".....................I'm not a coeliac. Gluten has no bearing whatsoever on my condition - it's starch. Gluten-free flour is still full of starch.
The hardest people to deal with are the ones where my explanation seems to go in one ear and out the other. I've had plenty of My Big Fat Greek Wedding moments. Those of you who have seen this movie will remember the scene where Toula brings her fiance, Ian, to meet her Greek extended family and explains to them, "Ian is a vegetarian. He doesn't eat meat." There is a horrified silence and then her auntie says, "Oh that's ok. We make lamb." I've had the same thing we're I've explained to people that I can't eat pasta and five seconds later they've said, "That's ok. We'll cook lasagne." Aaaaaargh!
Then there's the 'starch police' who have taken it upon themselves to watch me hawk-like at the table. I remember enjoying a couple of chips when someone said, "You're not supposed to eat those." Argh for goodness sake, just leave me alone. I know my limits. A few chips now and then is a treat for me now. Don't spoil it.
In hindsight I can see that God did this for my good. Suffering forces me to run to Him. I'm still far off learning this as my first response has been to jump on the internet for information, rather than kneeling before my God and asking for His wisdom. Really, God has just done what I've asked Him to do when He allowed me to have arthritis. I wanted time out, to be able to say no to things....He gave me the perfect excuse. :)
Some people have remarked that I seem so positive about it all. Well, I've had my days where I've felt far from positive...but those days were mostly at the beginning. Now it's just part of life and complaining won't help. I have moments where I'm just over it all and the amount of exercise I have to do just to stop the stiffness creeping into my lower back. During a visit to the chiropractor, he told me my back had about the half the range of flexibility as a normal back so now I have to do pilates or yoga every second or third day. Duncan and I bought a cross trainer for $80 at a garage sale a few months ago and it has been great to use it and watch TV at the same time (yay I can multitask). It's also tennis season again so I'm back to playing three times a week on average. I survived a season of netball, but the amount of hot showers and stretching I needed after each game and training session was a bit much. I have to keep teling myself, exercise is a GOOD thing. I mean, at least I haven't been told I need to eat poo or something!
Six months on, low starch is now just normal life. You know, even if I was suddenly healed I'm not sure I'd go back to my starchy diet again. It has made me eat healthier and take care of myself. What's so bad about that?
Having said that...YAY FOR CHOCOLATE!