Sarah Weisters

God bless you

2/3/18 | “And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not people.” – Romans 2:29

I am not coeliac.

After hearing these results, I genuinely wanted to – was going to – take my own life.  I had staked so much on it, expected it, believed it, never really considered that I might not be.  Gluten was the problem – wasn’t it?  Milk then – surely?  And yet the week before the endoscopy I spent binging on crackers and cream cheese, my symptoms actually improved somewhat.  The week of my endoscopy, I spent binging on granola mixed with yoghurt and I started to sweat, my hives burst out worse than ever and I would not stop itching.  Dairy then – it must be.

Then I remembered.  The oat cakes.  The oat milk.  The flapjacks, both homemade and shop-bought.  Even gluten-free hobnobs and oats.  Oats.  Every instance in which I consumed one of these products, my symptoms included stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhoea and extreme eczema.  One of the symptoms is ‘redness around the mouth’; ever since I was very small, I have had an “unexplainable” redness around my mouth because we had porridge all the time.  Another sign of an oat allergy is “inflamed skin” with “intolerable itching”, “sleeping issues” and “flushing of the skin”.  Asthma – it can cause asthma, which I have been suffering from for as long as I can remember.

The list goes on and on and it makes the most sense.  It’s the only thing that seems to make sense.  I have no damaged gut to recover, it’s all dermatological.

I had to walk home from the hospital this afternoon – a journey of nearly two miles – in the literally freezing cold, reawakening the old injury in my right hip and giving me a blister on the sole of my left foot.  I have also endured two bouts of hiccoughing, much to my annoyance.

Why is it that I so readily believe in and accept the existence of vampires, werewolves and faeries?

I am continually of the opinion that perhaps I should forfeit my college education this year, considering how much I have missed since falling so ill, and try again another year when I am in better health.


1/3/18 | “Your soul is very, very dear to God.” – St. Alphonsus Liguori

I have noticed that when I need to relieve myself, my mind tends to focus on the more passionate daydreams.  I can imagine why this is but would prefer a more scientific explanation  than a mere guess could feasibly offer.

It is still extremely cold; perhaps the coldest winter I’ve heard tell of since 1963.  Though while it is clear and sunny here, snow blankets the rest of the country.  The Isle of Wight harbour as frozen over and blizzards choke the motorways.  Three of my family are unwell; I imagine I am soon to follow.  I do not foolishly wish for it now, I simply expect it.

I must go in search of food.

My return home has once again been delayed due to the outbreak of cold, my sister desiring not to catch it.  In addition to this, the fact that she has been far too busy with work to do any housework, so the flat is not in the most welcoming of states and won’t be until Sunday when both she and her fiancé have a blessed day off.

I feel like I should draw more.

28/2/18 | “In Christ alone, my hope is found; He is my light, my strength, my song.”

I do believe I have reached that stage in my life where I can’t imagine sharing it with anyone anymore.  This revelation makes me neither sad nor uncomfortable.  If anything, it makes me feel glad.  I no longer feel lonely.

It is bitterly cold today.  Sitting in my bedroom, wearing many layers, it feels as though somebody has left a window open somewhere nearby.  The water trough for the chickens has frozen an inch thick.  My father broke it this morning and the chunks still lie frozen solid where he left them on the patio.  The trough has even begun to freeze over again.  It is supposed to get even colder.  Currently, it is so cold that even with my radiator on, I can no longer tell the difference.

27/2/18 |”And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9

It is a stranged and yet not unexpected cycle where, after a night of profuse sweating, my skin invariably improves a little more.  However, I am of the opinion that a foible of my own may be contributing to these bouts.  According to the coeliac disease rules, given the enhanced difficulty of digesting gluten, I have much of the stuff still sitting in my gut and it may take weeks, or months, to clear.  I have evidently been suffering from an overload in the run up to the endoscopy, hence the expulsion of toxins through my sweat glands.

But back to my foible: I am, and have been for some time, particularly taken with a certain brand of flapjack sold at my local general goods shop.  Wholebake.  Now, it is stamped ‘gluten-free’ and certainly contains no milk (I checked), but the primary ingredient to flapjacks are oats and, even when designated safe for coeliacs, I have read time and again that the consumption of gluten-free oats in any product is to be introduced slowly into the diet of anyone newly diagnosed (or new to the diet) and, more importantly, to first and foremost get the advice of your dietician beforehand.  I have done neither of these things but have eaten three of those flapjacks in the last week, potentially resulting in the worsening of my condition.  I have one left and have decided to keep it, not only to preserve my own health but too use as reference when I see my dietician on Friday.

Today I have learnt the hard lesson that there is a big difference between almond milk and almond drink.  In terms of drinks, overall, I am living almost entirely off decaffeinated coffee because both tea and cocoa with any kind of milk alternative taste terrible, whereas the flavour of coffee is strong enough to mask the other.  I only choose decaffeinated simply due to my history of being something of a caffeine junkie, having my coffee so strong that it badly affected my sleep cycle – understandably one of the last things I need right now.

My mother has caught a cold and a foolish part of me almost hopes that I will catch it from her as I haven’t had a cold in over a year now and I’ve quite forgotten what it’s like.  That said, after just witnessing her suffer through a horrific coughing fit, it’s possible I may have changed my mind.  There’s nothing quite like coming face-to-face with your parents’ mortality (I am aware that a common cold is not life-threatening).  It is a blessing that those who employ her, after five years of abusing her kindness and strength by taking advantage of it, have granted her request to reduce her hours to part-time permanently.

My days are disappearing and I don’t know where they’re going.  I’ve already forgotten how I spent much of January and yet my memories of the previous year are still so fresh.  The one thing I regret in all of this is how much college I am missing and how badly my absences may affect my chances when I come to sit my exams.

Although I know it to be a sign of improving health, I wish I wasn’t so hungry all the time.

25/2/18 | “Faith is the art of holding onto things in spite of your changing moods and circumstances.” – C.S. Lewis

I have now been on the gluten-free diet for eleven days and the dairy-free diet for eight days.  Naturally, things got worse before they got better, but now they are definitively getting better.  My rash has gone down exponentially, although the shedding of dead skin is proving to be problematic in terms of laundry and dusting, and the sweating has decreased but not yet ceased.  I return home on Friday, most likely on the late afternoon bus as my sleeping patterns have yet to normalise.  That said, despite lingering itchings, I am now sleeping at night.

What with the breakage of my headset and ample consequent research, I have decided to extend the length of my videos to upwards of 20-30 minutes as it seems to be the popular thing.  Truth be told, I have been acting thus far based on principles now seven years old.  However, in light of my imminent departure at the end of March for a much-needed holiday, I have opted to spend the intevening period recording and editing but not publishing.  That will come upon my return on 4th April.  A fresh start, with God’s blessing.  I will finish ‘The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim’ and ‘Freelancer’.  I will play ‘Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure’ and ‘Dishonored’ – on “high chaos, of course.  I will play ‘Bioshock: Infinite’, ‘Betrayer’ and so much more.  I will not stop.

Unfortunately, in my illness I have fallen very far behind with my college work and that is what inhabits my anxiety at present.  I am due to attend a meeting my lecturers this week in order to ascertain how I might best catch up.  At the very least, I have been able to finish reading ‘Frankenstein’.

I read through the booklet on coeliac that my mother gave me and I was not surprised to discover that I qualify for every single symptom listed.  I know I should wait for genuine confirmation, except I’ve been aware of my condition for over five years now.  Having watched my father suffer from it, it wasn’t difficult to recognise the same signs within myself.  The fatigue, above all, has been most prevalent over the years and, according to the booklet, it could take up to two years before I fully recover.

16/2/18 | “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

I passed the night extremely ill, soaking through with sweat three towels and several items of clothing, and waking up to such dry skin on my back and arms that it proved painful to move much at all.  Mother procured me some dry clothes for me made from materials more suited to delicate skin, which I had to alternate wearing every 3 hours or so.

I passed the day quietly and solemnly, weeping some and praying often for the good Lord’s love to envelop me and blanket all else from my awareness for a time.  I attempted to install ‘Halo: Combat Evolved’ but it is an old game while my laptop and OS are new, so it did not work.  As consequence, I down;loaded and attempted to play ‘Ephemerid: A Musical Adventure’ (which I have played before and greatly enjoyed) for my channel, except then it transpired that the headset I packed must’ve been damaged in transit for I could hear nothing through them at all.

I conversed with my brothers for a time in the kitchen before dinner, then made much progress with my naturalist’s journal.  I have the tremendous fear that my pen will soon expire and I currently have none to replace it with.  My eczema has improved in some areas, worsened in others and I have undertaken to give up dairy for some weeks in order to take note of any possible improvements.  In place of tea and coffee, I will take regular cups of orange juice with hot water (two parts hot water, one part orange juice) – as such, I am keeping hydrated as much as possible.

Even suffering the tremors was more endurable than this.

In spire of these hardships or, perhaps, because of them, I thank the Lord heartily for the week’s reprieve and relief He granted me before.  I will not attempt to sleep this night but simply allow it to take me when the time comes.  There have been moments of respire but when there has no been sweating, there has been itching.

Time means very little to me at this juncture.

15/2/18 | “How sweet the gospel sounds to ears like mine.” – Beautiful Eulogy

I started the day at six o’ clock in the morning in order to catch the bus at seven which would get me and my father to the hospital in time for my appointment at eight, although I didn’t actually go in for the procedure until nearer ten.  I had toothache but it was not problematic.  The bus journey was surprisingly soothing with a wonderful quality of blue-grey light suffusing the bleak landscaped.  Waiting for the bus proved an astonishingly pleasant experience, despite the driving wind and rain, as we took shelter beside the post office and made humorous conversation.

The pre-op procedures were simple but painful in a way I shall explain in a moment.  On account of a previous endoscopy, undertaken four years ago in January 2013, failing due to the happenstance of my anaesthetised self attempting to pull the scope out mid-procedure, the doctor was unable to procure the necessary biopsy, rendering the entire trip (I was flown to Glasgow for it) redundant.  In light of this, I was today offered sedation in addition to the mandatory throat spray and optional local anaesthetic – which I accepted gladly.

The aforementioned pain came with the attempted insertion of the cannula.  Due to the extent of my eczema, it was difficult for the attending nurse to locate a suitable vein: she first attempted one on the back of my right hand but was unsuccessful and I know bear a small scab; the second was one my left wrist and was not only unsuccessful but extraordinarily painful (I uttered several prayers throughout the ordeal).  It was at this stage that the nurse sought assistance from a colleague and she attempted to locate a vein in my left forearm, close to my tattoo, and this one was even more painful than the last.  Both have left bruises.  Eventually, they chose the inside of my left elbow, initially overlooked because only three weeks prior, after undergoing a blood test, I developed an infection at the injection site that persisted for several agonising days – a lump had risen and it became excruciating to move my arm at all.  Fortunately, twas not the case on this occasion.

In the theatre, they administered the throat spray which transpired to be a terrifying experience as it numbs the whole throat fairly rapidly and I was fearful of my continued ability to breathe.  Shamefully, my last memory before consciousness left me is myself panicking and attempting to fight off my attendants, albeit feebly – hence, the panic, I should imagine; the memory is hazy but sure.

I was under for altogether about an hour and spent the time until the two-thirty bus napping or reading my naturalist’s journal – but mostly napping.  I had a meal of gluten-free toast spread with blackcurrent jam and a cup of tea.  The staff were all-around extremely kind and understanding, and a part of me wishes I could go back for another procedure tomorrow just to see them again – but, at the same time, no; one procedure, for the time being, is more than enough.

Once at home again, I had a quick wash that proved the endoscopy was not the end of these troubles but, rather, the beginning of the end.

Regardless of my newfound, “gluten freedom” (as I have dubbed it), I am never eating granola again, for reasons to gruesome to warrant explaining.

14/2/18 | “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called ye out of darkness into His marvellous light.”

Our recycling bin got blown over last night in such strong winds that still prevail.  When I went out to retrieve it, it was nowhere to be seen, perhaps blowm away, never to be seen again or simply rescued by some passerby.  Someone else’s black bin had fallen across our front path and it was a trial to remove it from the wind’s ferocious pull.

As a result of the wind, the noise of rubbish blowing around in the street outside and an unfortunate boout of excessive swearing due to a rash I have been suffering from for some time, it was a largely sleepless night spent.

Now that I’ve started having these breakfasts of granola (not bran, as I mistakenly presumed, even though ‘granola’ was written clearly on the packet) with yoghurt, my bedroom now constantly smells of yoghurt.  Fortunately, I am going to spend the next few days at my parents’ house, giving ample opportunity to air my room.

I detest this state of being, this seemingly endless cycle of itchiness and sleeplessness – and thus, I fall so easily into the trap of self-pity.  It be only permanent for one more day and what, really is such a trial in the grand scheme of things?  Tomorrow I undergo an endoscopy and lo, the necessity to consume gluten will be at an end.  My only real fear is that it will not work, that my weakness along the way will prove my downfall, that I will have to go through the process all over again.  That is what I fear.  But I trust the Lord’s will and, whatever it is for me, I will go towards it with open arms.

“Lord Jesus, I realise I have lived my life far from You and I see now how my sin has separated me from You.  Please come into my life – my heart, mind and spirit – and make me the person You want me to be.  Forgive me for living away from You all these years and help me to turn from my old ways to Your new and righteous ways.  I invite You to be the Lord of my life and thank You for the different You will make.  Amen.”

It is only half-past four and I am at a loss.

I shouldn’t have gone out tonight; I am in no fit state to socialise in any acceptable capacity.  I am being quite severely tested, though the severity is relative as I have suffered truly little in my meagre almost-24 years.  I do not wish I was dead but asleep and tomorrow I shall be, not a second too soon.

Why does my father’s tendency to pontificate irritate me so?  Perhaps because I can’t seem to hear it as anything other than pontification.  This needs prayer.  Why did my mother have to remind me, in front of others who know not the story, the theft of my manuscript?  This also needs prayer.

Self-deprecation is one of the basest forms of selfishness.

I want to go back to writing screenplays.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all.

13/2/18 | “If God be for us, who can be against us.” – Romans 8:31

More snowfall, which looks like it’s sticking to the ground, but then it keeps coming and going.  Perhaps one of these days, it’ll come and never go – a permanent winter.  Or it’ll go and never come back, which is not to say we’d have no more winter.  I’ve only recently moved to this area from a locale in which I spent 12 winters and only 2 or 3 were white.  Otherwise, it was wet, windy and stormy, and certainly no other season than winter.

One thing I have never understood and will never understand is the immediate assumption that God and Heaven do not exist after the loss of a loved one.  While it is true that I have not experienced such a loss – with exception to my paternal grandfather (affectionately known as ‘Grandpoppet’) who was in the throes of endstage cancer from before I was born to his death when I was 10 – I can’t imagine ever accepting such a belief that would insinuate my never seeing that loved one again.  Is not the idea of being reunited with the one you love in eternity so much more a welcome reality than the notion that there is nothing after death but emptiness and dust?  Though I am in possession of a particularly vivid imagination, perhaps I simply do not understand, cannot and will not until I experience such a loss for myself.

I have lost the pen which goes with my day-to-day diary which is a shame, considering it was an extremely efficient pen which just so happened to make my handwriting look much prettier than usual.

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