The Plan

I had a pretty good day yesterday. The day started out with the drive to Tulsa with my mom, breakfast and coffee at Starbucks, and then my follow up appointment with the hematologist.  During the appointment, I found myself getting discouraged, because I wasn’t really getting a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan like I had hoped. Essentially, the doctor said that the tests he ran that were looking for specific blood disorders all came back negative. So, that’s good news, but it still doesn’t answer why my white found is elevated. He said that right now it’s only slightly elevated. If it were consistently higher, he would want to do a bone marrow biopsy, but he doesn’t think that’s warranted for right now. He wants to recheck everything in six weeks and see where it’s at then.

Additionally, he thinks I need to see a gastroenterologist. I’ve had some digestive issues for as long as I can remember, and it’s only in the last couple years that I realized they’re not really normal. In my research on fibromyalgia I learned that irritable bowels syndrome is a common fibro symptom, and I decided that was a pretty accurate description of what I experience, so I just started identifying that as something I have. But Dr Ruben (the hematologist) thinks I really need to have things checked out. He said there could be something going on that’s the source of chronic inflammation. He also suggested that it could be something as simple as lactose intolerance, so I’m the meantime he wants me to avoid dairy. As a lover of ice cream, yogurt, CHEESE, and the occasional glass of milk, I didn’t really accept this suggestion enthusiastically. But after I got home later I started doing some more research.
A couple of resources I found indicated that simply eliminating dairy alone may or may not reveal if it is really a food intolerance. If the digestive system is already in a state of chronic inflammation, it can take a considerable amount of time to heal. And there a number of other foods that could possibly be causing problems as well. So if I stop dairy but continue having trouble, it could mean that there is something else I’m eating that’s interfering.
This morning I got out a book I’ve had collecting dust for a while, “The Virgin Diet Cookbook,” written by JJ Virgin.  I had gotten it for free as part of some promotion one of my favorite bloggers was doing online, otherwise I’m certain it’s not something I would have bought. It’s the companion to her bestseller “The Virgin Diet”, but the cookbook seems to do a pretty good job of summing up the basics of her plan. In it she explores food intolerances and the foods that most commonly cause trouble (gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, peanuts and sugar – including artificial sweeteners). Her plan involves eliminating all seven of these foods for a period of three weeks, allowing your gut to heal. Then one at a time some of the foods can be reintroduced in order to determine which ones are problematic and which ones are tolerable. JJ’s books are really promoting a weight loss plan, but I am more interested in all of the other health benefits that are supposed to come along with healing digestive inflammation.
While the idea of trying to adopt such a restrictive lifestyle is rather intimidating, I like the idea that eliminating so many potential triggers at once can potentially bring healing and a sense of well-being much quicker. I am tired of feeling sick and tired, and if there is the possibility that I could start to see rapid improvement in the way I feel, then I want to explore it.  I don’t know if I’m going to jump into this all the way, try just a few changes, or if I’ll just stick to eliminating dairy alone. I’m praying about it, and I’m open to wise counsel from others.

So while it’s not what I expected, I guess I do have a treatment plan of sorts taking shape. And that’s what I’ve hoped for most of all, through all of the waiting.

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