I thought it probably made sense to start from the beginning right?
I was born lactose intolerant but I’ve always been a pretty stubborn person. Adamant to be able to eat ice cream and cheese, like every other 8 year old, meant that I just would. I wouldn’t be very well, but as I got older I built up a bit of a tolerance. Although it worked for me, I wouldn’t recommend doing that.
As a result, I’ve probably put a lot of the symptoms down to just being normal for me. Who isn’t lathargic most of the time? Who isn’t bloated constantly?
I’ve always suffered from pretty frustrating eczema. Unlike the more traditional “in the crook of your elbow or behind your knees” type eczema, mine would typically present on the opposite, so the outsides of my elbows resulting in my being unable to rest them on a table. Or completely down the back of my ear, causing them to split and bleed constantly. I’d wake up with my hair stuck in the resulting wounds and the only way to get it out was to go in hot showers to literally soften the skin enough that I could break my hair free… I used to cry so much, because I was nearly always in some sort of pain.
When I was older, I started wearing acrylic nails to stop from breaking my own skin. I’d wake in the mornings having hacked at my legs and arms at night and my parents had grown an acute sense of hearing to the sound of my scratching, something that I’m rarely aware that I’m even doing.
Sometimes, it didn’t even show the traditional symptoms – or so I thought. For as long as I could remember I have had permanently itchy shins and calves. I thought it was totally normal, it wasn’t. When I was 19/20 I was finally diagnosed with having psoriasis.
Suddenly, a number of things made sense. My eczema wasn’t always showing symptoms because sometimes it wasn’t eczema at all. Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease is weird because there is initially a sense of relief, but then there’s the “what next” thought.
Of all of the autoimmune diseases out there, and there is a lot, psoriasis is one of the few I’d say really isn’t that bad. I say that not from the experience of others, but because when you look at autoimmune diseases like Primary biliary cholangitis (PBC), Lyme disease (chronic) or Behçet’s disease, I can cope with the flare ups of psoriasis and they’re much less symptomatic than others, but more on that another day.
When you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease you get to researching and one of the things that comes up, particularly with psoriasis, is to cut out gluten. Honestly, like most people, gluten probably isn’t really the best for me anyway, but given my reluctance to give up dairy and lactose, who knows.
So, with all of that combined, I decided that it’s time to make a bit of a lifestyle shift. I’ve been looking into how to go gluten and dairy free for some time and honestly, it’s a minefield. There’s so much information out there, but I wanted something that will not only keep my accountable but hopefully help other people who find this just as confusing and stressful as me.
Who knows how I’ll do. I love cheese. I love pasta. But, let’s see… There are so many alternatives out there that I’m bound to find a dairy free milk that I actually like in a latte, or find gluten free alternatives that are truly just as good. I hope so anyway.