Friday, 11 March 2011

Rights of passage

We don't have many cultural markers for significant events in our lives.  We acquire and lose our fertility in secret, we lose family and friends without the outward markers Victorians had - the black armband served a real purpose.  The only real way society recognises our passage through time is with the onslaughts of immunisation and screening programmes.

These musing were prompted by my first mammogram. I expected the process to remind me of the tropical inoculations I got three decades ago before a student trip to India.  We lined up, buttocks exposed - jab, arms exposed - jab.  The breast screening clinic is a portacabin in a car park.  They are brisk and efficient but at least there are individual cubicles.  Sight is restricted though not sound or smell, and the air soon grew pungent with the stench of the heavy smoker who followed me.

What is the place of this in a blog about gluten?  Simply that they say it won't hurt much.  It didn't, but there was no suggestion that you could chose a time slot that would fit in with your menstrual cycle  Before I gave up gluten I have very painful breasts for about half of each month.  Regular massage with fennel oil helped, but if I had been compressed to that level then it would have made me want to scream, never mind the lack of auditory seclusion. Now I would still try to chose to avoid the few days before each period.

Gluten destroyed my joints, gave me migraines, made me feel despairing.  I was seriously thinking about how much worse I would have to get before I wouldn't be prepared to stay alive anymore.  I closed down my business, became a recluse, lost all my hobbies.  It's not just about painful guts, it's a painful life.

So, if you wonder why I do nothing but find ways of making great gluten free food and encouraging others to make visiting and joining in possible, remember, if I hadn't changed my diet I'd have been doing nothing at all.  Helping a few people to avoid those tribulations, or making it easier to feel a normal part of society is a worthwhile use of my time.


  1. What a beautiful post. Thank you for your blog and the writings you give us. I was first diagnosed with arthritis at the age of 43. I know that gluten is the cause of many ailments but do your think that my arthritis could have been caused by gluten?
    I know gluten caused daily headaches for me as they have mysteriously disappeared since being gluten free, within a few weeks!
    I love that you do all this to help us and we so appreciate it, especially newbies like me.

  2. I never got a diagnosis of arthritis but my joints were so bad I had to empty the dishwasher one dish at a time using both hands. I wore gold rings to try and help my sore fingers, I massaged my hands every day. All of these problems have resolved - joints are still a bit weak after years of malnutrition but I can paint a ceiling again!
    I hope your joints get better. It did take longer for my joint pain to go that the migraines.

  3. Interesting. I am at the stage that I am almost emptying the dishwasher the same way you were. I have just bought an arthritis thumb support to wear when I am driving as holding the steering wheel hurts the base of my thumb.
    Maybe I will start to get better. Fingers crossed.

  4. I have a whole load of wrist/thumb braces, from light weight neoprene to the kind that have metal bars and hold the wrist/thumb solid. I used to select the one I needed before each task. I wanted one the other day for some reason and couldn't remember where they were, but they used to be in a pouched storage system on the kitchen door to keep them handy. It is wonderful that it is so long since I needed them that they have vanished in the general melee of my house!
    Try driving gloves. They give a bit more grip so that the hand doesn't have to work so hard.
    Good luck.


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