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The Fear of Gluten

September 1, 2011

It’s time for me to move on, to take the next step in my series of gluten experiments, but I’m procrastinating.

I guess I realized last week that this is real. For the first time in almost five years, there is a strong possibility that I’ll be able to eat gluten again.

When I went gluten free all those years ago, I trained myself to see it as the enemy. My allergy was so intense, so scary, I could not afford to make a mistake. An accidental crumb of gluten passing my lips meant the next day would be lost to pain, neuropathy, miserable depression.

The neuropathy was the worst of it. I couldn’t help imagining gluten damaging my nerves, eating holes in my brain. It’s a hard picture to shake out of my head.

These days, I wonder if I’m making the right choice, going back on gluten because I’m symptom free. What if it’s poisoning me anyway? What if the damage it’s doing is subtle and cumulative? What if my nerves get eroded away, and one day I look up to find that I can’t move my arm, that all the gluten I ate reached a critical mass…

No wait, hold on. I’ve got the wrong poison by the tail. That pattern isn’t gluten, it’s mercury. That’s the heavy metal pattern, silently infiltrating the body in teeny doses. Eating away at the nervous system until one day you look up and you’re trapped in a toxic hell, sicker that you ever could have imagined.

I guess it’s understandable, given all I’ve been through, to be a little traumatized by my poisoning experience. I’ve got to give myself time to process and catch up with my new reality.

Time to take some deep breaths. The mercury is gone. I’m safe now. I really am safe.

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