Monday, February 9, 2015

Remember that time....Celiac Disease

Remember that time….when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease?

I am enlisting a new series to my blog, to try and keep me motivated and honest about how much I say I am going to post. I am calling it, “Remember that time….” The only thing is, not many people remember that time. It’s me sharing my thoughts about how ridiculous and traumatizing that event may be. In this case, remember that time….when I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease?

In fourth grade, I remember driving to the lake house in Mt. Vernon, Ohio. I had just eaten some ice cream and we were going up and down the rolling hills of Ohio to get there. I did not feel well. I opened up the window and threw up all of the side of the car. My grandma self-diagnosed me as Lactose Intolerant. I have been since then. Not too sad about it, there’s a one a day pill for it.

In seventh grade I found out that I was allergic to citric acid as a preservative. I was very unhappy with that verdict. It meant that I could no longer eat fried food, eat processed food, or go out to eat at restaurants. It meant that I could no longer drink PowerAde, Gatorade, Fruit20 or any other sports drink that athletes drink while competing. It was a big problem, I cried a lot but then my view changed and I thought I could change my eating habits and become a healthier person. It’s a preservative, so why not eat all homemade, homegrown, organic healthy options. It was great.

In my freshman year of college, I found out that I was allergic to sodium nitrite and nitrates. If you know anything about these, you will know that I can no longer eat bacon or packaged lunch meat. Not entirely true. I can eat the above, but the cost is about double, nearly triple, the cost of its unhealthier counterpart. Big deal? Not so much. I’ll eat healthier lunch options, I thought.

Six months after my twenty-first birthday, I found out that I was allergic to sulphites, a naturally occurring preservative in preserved fruit and wine. Well, I thought, there goes my chance to find a wine that I like! I wasn’t too disheartened by the allergy, just meant I couldn’t drink wine and some overly priced packaged and preserved fruit.

Sometime when I was a junior in college, I found out that I was allergic to some kinds of aged cheese. That’s all I know. I know I eat cheese and I don’t get sick. As long as I stay away from weird, smelly, moldy cheese, I think I’m okay. No sadness for that one.

So you can see, my life has been crazy. Reading labels, convincing myself that I am doing this because I’m healthy, and I was! I joked around with my sister that by the time I was thirty, I would be allergic to every preservative, forcing me to eat totally organic, unprocessed food. No problem with that, except a social worker doesn’t make enough money for that, so thus the jokes about me marrying an engineer, who could support my weird eating habits came in.

I had never thought about what allergy might come next….but it did. For four months I was so sick. I was tired, my skin itched and itched and I would scratch until skin came off, I had night sweats, I couldn’t sleep at night, my body ached all the time. It may sound ridiculous, but I thought I had cancer. I went to the doctor and they ran every lab test they could think of. Everything was negative. Great that I don’t have cancer, but why did I still feel like shit? So, I went to the allergist. All of my allergies to this point have been self diagnosed. So I knew something had to be wrong. I stated my symptoms, got the back pricked and was negative. He drew blood. Two weeks later, sitting in our lodge at Snowbird Resort in Utah, I recruit my pharmacist sister to decode my results. She laughs and says I have celiac’s disease. I won’t accept the answer until I hear from the doctor. 

Four days later I receive the phone call. I’m devastated. How am I supposed to eat no grains with six other preservative allergies. I still can’t tell you the answer.
Within one week of my diagnosis, I lost 8 pounds. Eight pounds that I didn’t have to lose. Four of those have come back, it’s been three weeks. It helps having a best friend with celiac and her mother who works at Trader Joes, but this isn’t a lifestyle I can support. I’m hungry all the time and don’t have an answer on what to eat. I’m a busy woman, don’t have too much time to make GF meals. But I need to sit down and learn. I need to be healthy, take this disease by its reigns and stop it before 1) I kill myself or 2) I lose a lot of weight. If you didn’t know…Celiac disease kills your insides, so when I eat gluten I’m killing myself. That’s not the way I am meant to go.

I’m learning and this weekend I am going to bake my first ever GF creation…banana bread.

So, remember that time….when I was diagnosed with Celiac disease? It’s a great one…

No comments:

Post a Comment