Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Life As A Celiac

Warning: this blog entry goes into some details. Do not read if you have a weak stomach! 

I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2001 when I was just 10 years old. My story is a bit different then others who have been diagnosed with Celiac. I never got super sick, I never got sick at all actually. The University of Utah was doing research on Celiac Disease to see how it comes about. My grandma has it, so my mom and all her siblings were tested. Out of 7 kids my mom was the only one to come back positive. So me and my siblings were tested and 3 out of 6 of us came back positive. We all got tested with a blood test. It was the worst thing ever! I HATE needles. And they did it oldest to youngest, so the suspense built up for a very long time. Hahaha
Being only 10 years old, I still went through the denial stage. I never got sick after eating anything with gluten in it. So I really thought I didn't have it. I didn't go on a gluten free diet until a year later, when I did start getting an upset stomach after eating something with gluten in it. Although I didn't go cold turkey on my diet. Eating lunch at school a the most difficult thing, salad gets old very fast! Plus I never could give up my Oreos! Eventually I went on a completely gluten free diet. My mom was very supportive all the way thru.

My senior year of high school. I went to this doctor who had a 'cure' for Celiac Disease. After thinking a long time about this treatment and talking to my mom about it I decided to go through with it. I did his treatment thing... I hope I can explain this short and brief but you can still get the idea.
So he had me lay down on the table and I had my left arm down to my side with my palm facing up with my other arm straight up in the air. The doctor put his hand over each organ in my body and then he pushed down on my arm that was in the air. If my arm restrained his push then it meant that that organ in my body was working well. But if it didn't restrained he did his thing with waving his hand above that organ and then tested it again and my arm always restrained the push. Then he put little capsules of different things in my left hand and he pushed my right arm. If my arm restrained that meant that I wasn't allergic to it. Well when we got to the wheat capsule I could not restrain it at all. So he did his thing and we did the restraint test again and it worked. So he said well the only way to see if it worked was to eat gluten. So I waited until Friday to eat my first gluten full food. I wanted to do it on the weekend just in case I got sick. So that Friday I ate a slice of pizza at lunch, pretty much the whole lunch room was watching me. Kuz no one has ever seen me eat pizza. Hahaha but I had none of my normal side effects of skin rash or upset stomach. I didn't wanna over do myself so I just ate one gluten thing a day. I definitely looked forward to that every day! But after a week of eating gluten, I got very ill. My stomach hurt so very bad that I felt paralyzed, I couldn't move. So I spent the night in bed and the next morning I woke up and felt fine. I decided to stop eating gluten for the next week. The next Friday night I was on a date about 30 minutes from home and I started having the pain like I had the week before but much much worse. Well that night I ended up in the ER. After lots of tests and x-rays I found out that I didn't have a bowel movement for 3 or so weeks!! And not to mention from eating all of the gluten it messed up my monthly cycle. Celiac Disease is a DISEASE not an allergy. I didn't know he had cures for allergies not celiac even though he said straight up that he had a cure for CELIAC!!
This happened 4 years ago and I am still having side effects from it. Although I must say that going through all of that has made me realize eating gluten is not worth the side effects.
Every so often I am in to much pain from being backed up so much that I have to be cleaned out with laxative which takes you out for a couple of days. And for it to work you have to drink the whole bottle and that stuff is so gross!!
I have recently found a new product that I have been using for the last week and I swear by it! I have never found anything so great to help with this problem! I use Digestive Advantage probiotic gummies. They also have it in a pill form but on the packaging it says it takes longer to start working kuz it has to break down. This really aren't that bad tasting and they work so well and relieve my pain so much that I actually REMEMBER to take them EVERYDAY!! I never remember to medication ever. Totally worth it!

You definitely have to be super careful about eating out. We have about 5 different restaurants we eat at. I have had many bad experiences with some restaurants even if they offer a gluten free menu. I have had some restaurants refuse to serve me because for their safety kuz most restaurants have cross contamination in their kitchens. I have asked many restaurants to clean a certain part of their grills just for me. I don't like eating out much just kuz I feel like its a hassle more than anything.
But I do wanna share one story about eating out. So before I was married I lived in Texas with my brother and his family. This brother doesn't have Celiac. So one time I went out on a date to The Olive Garden. I heard they had a gluten free menu and I wanted to try it out. So we went there and I ordered off the gluten free menu and the pasta entree I ordered didn't come with meat and so I asked the server what kind of meat I could get with it. Since I ordered off the gluten free menu I thought she was telling me my gluten free meat options. At this time I never cooked and didn't know anything about cooking. Well one of the options she gave me was meat balls. So I ordered the meat balls not thinking anything of it. Later that night I started having a really bad reaction. Probably the worse one I have ever had. My temperature shot through the roof, my whole body broke out in rash and was super red, and my air ways started shutting off. At this time I was at my brothers house, my brother was at work but his wife was there and she has never dealt with this before. Both her and my date tried to get me to go to the ER but I didn't have insurance. So I coughed enough to keep my air ways open, got a priesthood blessing, and slept through it. That was the worst reaction I have ever had besides the ER incidence. So if you eat out triple check to make sure things are gluten free.
I always make sure it's gluten free when they bring me out the food and before eating it. Better to be safe than sorry!
I did a huge science project in 9th grade on Celiac Disease. And I must say pretty much everything I taught to my class then is different than the things they know about celiac now a days. I am so glad celiac is a more aware disease. And has come such a long way.

Gluten free food is not always gross. Even my husband often says that something's that I cook that are gluten free are better than normal things.
Eating gluten free is so much easier with having support from family and friends. There are even Celiac support groups that meet often all over the United States. Check it out in your local area.
I am grateful for my husband, family, and friends support. Without it I couldn't do this gluten free thing!!
If you have any questions leave me a comment and ill get back to you.