Salicylate Intolerance Update: 4 months in

asa-toxSo I have been on my low to no salicylate diet since about the middle of January. I’m feeling pretty good. I don’t miss the things I can’t eat too much. I do slip a lot. Sometimes I just forget. Oh, one of the kids left a bag of cheetos on the table, I’ll just snag one. Well, that was a mistake. Oh, it’s been so long since I had a carrots (I have a ridiculous love of carrots), a few won’t hurt, I’ll just have 3 or 4 little slices. Wrong again, totally hurt.

I have started eating wheat again, just to add a little variety to my diet. I am allergic to wheat but it is low in salicylates, so I just lay off when I start to get sniffly or the pollen seems high.

It is so strange to me to really know what my body feels like at “normal.” Without headaches, chest pains, body aches, heart palpitations, dizziness. Don’t get me wrong, on any given day, even if my food is really clean and I eat nothing but rice and meat and oatmeal, I can still be dizzy and fatigued and disoriented by other things, but it is probable that I won’t feel like I’m coming down with the flu at any point during the day or have the shakes. And the chances of my food being completely clean are slim to none, so, there’s that. But there have been whole days, at least a few, where I have gone the whole day without feeling like I am ill. Before January, I think it had been ten years since I had any days when I could say, “I feel great except for allergies. And they’re not bad today.”

In some ways, it’s almost worse. I mean, there’s something to be said for just floating around between 30% and 70%. My system was so flooded with allergens and salicylates that I always felt bad, so I had to really load up on something to feel noticeably worse. So how much I got done had more to do with how much I could force myself to do through fatigue and fog. And I kind of had myself convinced that the biggest factor was my own mental attitude and if I wasn’t functioning as well as I wanted, it was probably – mostly – my own fault.  Now, like I said, 4 slices of carrot put me on my back for three hours with a headache, dizziness, chest pains, chills. And no positive attitude was making me feel good enough to do anything or make me able to focus on more than three written words in a row. So I guess it’s good to have confirmation that I’m not just making it up.

But with that comes the realization that I have a “condition,” something about me that makes my life harder than it otherwise would be, not because of my choices or anything that I do, but just because of my health. I have always had to be more careful than a lot of people about what I eat (though not as careful as some), but I have never had to avoid quite so many things, nor have so many things made me feel SO bad. It never seemed like that big a deal. I certainly never thought of myself as “chronically ill.” And yet, here I am.

And it’s not that I consider being chronically ill or disabled as being less than or a fate worse than death or whatever. But it does mean you have to think about things that other people never think about. I have to read food labels. When we go out, I have to think about if there’s anything I can eat there. The autism makes it so I have to consider my energy levels and plan for crashing days and in home days so that I can manage my activities. And that’s just never something that I thought I would have to do. I don’t think of myself as someone who has to be accommodated, either by myself or others. But here we are. I can’t help but feel like this is another attack on my idol of competence.

I guess everyone needs accommodations of some kind. No man is an island as they say. Some people need more than others, but it’s not a contest. No one should be keeping score.

All that being said, it’s pretty cool having most of the system at “baseline,” excluding my sinuses, which are never right because even in the winter, there is still dust.

I guess, if the question at hand is how I’m feeling about the new diet four months in. The answer is: when I think about it too much and think about certain things I can’t eat, it kind of sucks. But, if I don’t think about that, it’s pretty cool. It’s really awesome to figure out what is causing your issues and be able to do something about it. Even if the workaround is kind of a pain in the butt. =)