Well, my friends, February is here. I’m happy because January was not kind to me. No sirree.
Not only did we have a miscarriage, but my whole family came down with the flu and I accidentally, majorly glutened myself at winter camp.
How did I manage to gluten myself after YEARS of being gluten free?
Let me set the stage for you. We were at winter camp. There were over 40 of us: middle schoolers, high schoolers, and youth leaders. The Lord was really doing some neat things in the hearts of some girls and I came out of a conversation trying to process everything that had just happened. We had missed lunch and so we convened in the kitchen and without even thinking about it, I picked up a plate with a hot dog on a hot dog bun and downed the whole thing while talking with another youth leader.
As soon as I swallowed the last bite I realized what I did.
A HOT DOG BUN ya’ll!
I mean, if I was going to choose to eat gluten, I think a hot dog bun would have been at the very end of the list of things I would have eaten. (Hello croissant!) But there it was. There was no going back.
The next day, like clock work, the migraine set in and three days later, like clock work, the mind-numbing fatigue.
Here’s the thing about fatigue. I have had a really hard time explaining it to people. It’s not being tired. I am a mom. I am very familiar with tired. But fatigue, for me, feels very similar to what I think depression may feel like. It feels like there’s a heavy blanket weighing me down, it’s hard to move and function. It’s hard to get out of bed. It’s hard to think critically.
During the worst of it I was falling asleep at 5:30 in the evening, sleeping 12 hours and waking up exhausted. When I am fatigued, simple chores seem like mountains I have to climb. When I’m fatigued, the thought of doing things actually hurts. When I’m fatigued, I sometimes wonder if I’m lazy or if it’s all in my head or if I will live to an old age if I can barely function now.
That’s what gluten does to me. There’s no stomach pain or GI symptoms, there’s no immediate reaction, but for about two weeks after the exposure I drag through the day in survival mode. That used to be my everyday!
It was quite funny to me that I had finally recovered from the hot dog bun when my kids all came down with the flu. I was up all night long with all of my kids, but my baby in particular – suctioning her nasal passages, nursing her, comforting her, praying over her (the flu is scary!) and yet I still had more energy and more pep in my step the next day than on the days I get a whole nights sleep after the hot dog bun fiasco.
And here’s the other thing. I am an idea person. I always have lots of ideas. I’m ambitious and motivated. I have dreams and goals. But fatigued me isn’t like that at all. Fatigued me just tries to get through the day. I guess I didn’t realize how far I had come and improved with my thyroid symptoms until that darned hot dog bun.
But God used that in my life.
Perspective is a funny thing isn’t it?
So while I don’t plan on ever consuming a hot dog bun again, thank you very much, I am grateful for that experience. It was a good reminder of where I used to be and how far I’ve come.
I also think there’s a lot of people out there like the fatigued me. I highly suggest you consider eliminating gluten (even trace amounts) for an extended period of time to see if it helps. Even if you have no digestive symptoms. I was not at all a believer in being gluten-free until my gluten experiment.
So that’s my story of the hot dog bun and what I’ve learned about fatigue.