Monday, September 21, 2009
Getting Over the Shock
So, I figured I would share the story on how we discovered the illustrator has celiac disease. You can find out tons of information here. A lot of people have asked us what the symptoms are and how he got to the point where he thought he needed to be tested. So, I am going to share the short version. The question is...where to start. It is always hard to go back and think about where it all started. This story may jump around a little, but it will explain how we got here...

About 9 years ago, the illustrator was having problems with what he thought was heartburn. He went to the doctor and was diagnosed with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease). He was put on a prescription medication and told to lower his stress (easier said than done) and eat a list of recommended foods. He took the medicine and did what he was told to do. So, when things seemed to get better, the doctor recommended an over-the-counter medicine and things seemed fine for awhile. The past few years, he has been noticing some problems that include migranes (which he has had ever since I have known him, so over 16 years), joint pain (he is like an old man-he can tell me when the rain is coming), numbness in his ring and pinky fingers, extreme bloating, gas, abdomenal pain, neck pain (which I think is associated with the joint pain), extreme fatigue and and memory loss. These are all symptoms that come with age, so we really did not think much about it. The stomach problems started to get worse again so we started to really watch what foods may be triggering some of the problems. In the meantime, the illustrator's sister was diagnosed with celiac disease. We are not new to this disease because my grandmother was diagnosed a few years ago. So, I started to get worried. His chances of having celiac were just heightened by his sister's diagnosis. He wasn't suffering or in horrible pain, but we could both see that he was not feeling well and that we needed to find out why. So, after talking about it and watching things...I convinced him that is was time to get tested. It was better for him to know than to live in the dark and cause horrible problems for himself later on in life! We have enough health issues going on here that we have learned it is so much better to be proactive when it comes to our health. So, after a weekend of gluten overload, he went in to get his blood drawn. He was so positive during our week of the point that he was a little irritated with me that I was not so positive (I guess I just had a weird feeling about this one since I have had my food dreams crushed a couple of times now). My heart wanted them to say no, but things were adding up so much that my head was saying yes. We waited a week to get the results back and the inevitable was true. The illustrator has celiac disease.
(These are the Mi Del ginger snaps. They have dairy in them, so I can't eat them, but the illustrator liked them with his afternoon cup of coffee. We are taking baby steps into this because the cost of flours and ingredients are quite a bit more expensive than normal wheat flour baking ingredients.)

So, we have now added another level to the food allergies in our home. I will still be focusing on dairy free food here, but I will now be expanding into soy allergies (me) and now wheat allergies (the illustrator). This should be fun because even though I have used gluten free things from time to time, now I have to make it completely clean from any wheat at all. So, I will show my failures and successes so we can all learn together. Food allergies are not easy to live with, but it is possible to enjoy food even if you have to start eliminating some of the ones you love. Besides, I don't want my best friend to have to live without!

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posted by Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen @ 2:49 PM  
  • At September 21, 2009 at 9:18 PM, Anonymous Alisa - Frugal Foodie said…

    "These are all symptoms that come with age..." - okay, the illustrator is way too young for all of those symptoms, that is some serious age you are talking about! :)

    I am happy for both of you that he has a diagnosis. Though adapting to new diets is hard, not knowing and suffering is far worse. We are mostly grain-free here, and my husband likes it, so if you need any ideas, just let me know!

  • At September 23, 2009 at 12:24 AM, Blogger Amy said…

    I am glad he has a diagnosis, although sad that it means another food to be avoided (I can empathize with avoiding multiple foods!).

    Best of luck with the experimentation. I spent a fair amount of time a few times gluten free and while I had some wonderful successes, I also had some terrible failures!! (Gluten free oat "glue" rolls anyone? :P)

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Sarena Shasteen - The Non-Dairy Queen
Home: Atlanta, GA, United States
About Me: Lactose Challenged
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