Tuesday, April 27, 2010

So long Gluten, I won't miss ya

I have a story to tell you. It's kind of long... but then, I am long-winded. I like to tell stories from the beginning.

In the beginning, God... (oops, you probably know that part) let me skip ahead a little...

About 7 months after having Brittany, I started experiencing excruciating pain in my hips and extreme weakness in my hands and ankles. After some testing, the doctor diagnosed me with Rheumatoid Arthritis and put me on medicine to help me. After the medicine ate a hole in my stomach, doctors determined I shouldn't be on it anymore and were trying to figure out how to help me. Somewhere around this time, my mom said I should look into food allergies. I researched and decided to do an elimination diet to see if that was the issue. Soon I was able to figure out that wheat was the culprit. I had a test for celiac disease and came up with what they considered a borderline case of celiac. I stopped having gluten for a while and my symptoms all disappeared, including some bonus symptoms like eczema and acne.

At some point, my doctor thought it was okay to try gluten again so I added it back in and didn't experience symptoms. I thought I was home-free.

Fast forward a few years. Once again, I was having the same symptoms so I, again, cut out gluten. After a few months I started eating regularly again. I repeated this pattern one or two more times. I wasn't seeing the same doctor anymore because I had moved to a different state. I was not consulting with a new doctor about it because, honestly, I thought I had it all under control. I didn't do much research into it (which is unusual for me) but, as far as I could tell, my system was working....there wasn't anything to fix.

That is, besides a persistent pain in my left side. (I have a funny story about that. I will have to tell you later.) Anyway, I have been tested for thing after thing after thing and they even took my gall bladder out but the pain never went away.

Now we are up to the present. Since my fall off a ladder in June, I haven't quite been the same. I have had a whole myriad of lovely things happening: everything from horrendous headaches to muscle spasms to stomach problems. My doctor said it would take "quite a while" for my body to get back to "normal." Recently things having been going even more awry! Terrible acne, pain in my stomach so bad I haven't wanted to eat, problems with elimination (won't gross you out with THAT story), and I gained about 20 pounds in a month, all round my belly. Craziness. Couldn't figure out what was going wrong. Then, my darling husband said a magic word...."celiac?"

DUH!!! (Sorry for the "bad word" as my kids call it, but really...where WAS my brain??)

I went gluten free about 3 weeks ago. What an improvement! ALL of my symptoms have gotten better! ALL OF THEM! The headaches, muscles aches, stomach problems, acne, eczema, etc etc. Now I am not 100% cured. I understand it will take awhile. However, I am doing SO much better. And researching. Researching like crazy.

I WILL NOT add gluten back in. I can't even tell you how much I WANT to stay away from it now. I DO NOT want the pain and the symptoms. My darling oldest daughter made Michael a beautiful Pioneer Woman Chocolate Sheet Cake for his birthday yesterday and I was NOT EVEN TEMPTED to taste it! instead I had the (naturally gluten free) frosting over some sliced bananas and was happy as a lark. :-)

So I am beginning an old/new journey. Old because I have been on it before. New because I am not thinking about it as a small vacation from gluten but a "So long, goodbye, don't let the door hit you in the butt" absolute break-up.

And my tummy agrees. I have gotten trace elements of gluten a few times in the last 3 weeks and my tummy has IMMEDIATELY let me know. Brittany says I am now a human radar for gluten. I think my body finally had enough. It has gone into full out rebellion and I am finally listening.

I am sorry body.
Please forgive me.
I will treat you better.

I will feed you things like this:
Polenta Vegetable Lasagna

And we will be very happy.


Malia said...

Great post. After we are finished with David's elimination diet, I am sure there are some things we will be saying "so long" to as well. It will be worth it, because HE is worth it! YOU are most definately worth it!

Shirley said...

I'm glad that you aren't having any issues with temptation!! I'm also very glad that you are feeling better and better!