Monday, January 21, 2019

My Gluten Dilemma and advice for other's in my shoes

For a long time now, it's been suspected that I may have a problem with gluten. I've had a doctor in the past bring it up, but when I moved I never thought about bringing it up with my new doctor. Now that I'm getting older and my symptoms are getting more obvious, I'm kicking myself for not doing anything sooner. Now because my symptoms are more obvious, I'm ready to get tested for both celiacs, and gluten sensitivity, at least that's my goal, I have to talk to the doctor about it first. 

My Symptoms
If I could have sat the younger me down years ago, when the doctor told me that I may have a problem with gluten, I would have listened. I was young and I felt fine. I didn't feel too abnormal, I was just really tired all the time, I had PCOS, a problem with GERD and asthma. Nothing too abnormal. Most people go through GERD, PCOS, and asthma.

But it wasn't until little a year and a half ago thing's started getting bad. I'd have intestinal cramps, migraines, my fibromyalgia would flare so bad, that all I could do is lay around, the tiredness got crazier than it's ever done. But it was one of my severe bouts of GERD that made me realize that there had to be something else. I did all the reach I could then, and everything kept popping up as either celiacs or a gluten allergy. All of the little symptoms that had nowhere else to fit, before were all snuggled under the list of gluten intolerance.

The Assesment and The Check List of Doom
Once it all started falling into place, I found out that the Celiac Society had an assessment tool. It felt weird checking off boxes, that asked me if I had problems with migraines, anxiety, irritability, brain fog, weight gain, and lactose intolerance. Things that I wouldn't have even thought about being related to celiacs. But when I got to the end of the assessment and urged me to see my doctor. I almost sighed, a sigh of relief. Things were making more sense.

It wasn't until this week, I saw what I call the checklist of doom. I call it the checklist of doom because I never once read a checklist like this one. It gives the 9 clear signs of a gluten allergy, when I read fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, food allergies, joint pain, digestive issues, and even auto-immune disorders. My dad had auto-immune disorders, and I've been highly suspected to have an auto-immune disorder for a while now!

The Gluten Free Test
Last month I started my gluten-free test! It was a self-test to see what would happen if I went gluten-free. I heard many stories about people being in less pain once they went gluten-free, then after reading the assessment I did, I knew I needed to change. I had to cut gluten out completely.

Because I'm one of those types of people, I was sure I wouldn't notice anything different after cutting out gluten. I was wrong. The only thing that was immediate was my weight loss, I lost 10 pounds in two weeks! But at week three I was in less pain, I didn't need my Maxalt for my headaches, and I didn't need Promethazine to get rid of my nausea or even lidocaine to numb my stomach at least for a little while. I even wanted to start exercising again! It was amazing. I was human oh and the best part was not wanting to take Bentyl for my stomach pain! Bentyl took away my pain and made me a zombie. I'm not dead! 

A Week Back
I started back on gluten a week ago, to prepare for the blood test, and to see how my body would tolerate gluten. The way my body reacted was awful. I was extremely tired, nauseated, my sinuses got really inflamed, my stomach felt like I was getting stabbed, and my migraines were back with a vengeance. While it might not seem like the worst symptom out there, the one symptom that bothered me the most was the unrelenting itching.

So while I want to get tested for a problem with gluten. I don't want to go through the symptoms of being attacked by gluten anymore. I want to be pain-free, I want to be wide awake, and ready to go. Maybe sometime in the future, I'll revisit the idea of getting the test for a black and white answer, but for right now, I'm fine how I am. 

My advice for others unsure of a having a gluten sensitivity or celiacs?
If you notice your symptoms seem to have no rhyme or reason and if the doctor can't give you many answers, and you think that you may have a gluten problem. Stop your gluten intake for a few weeks, write down how you feel, how you slept during the during the week and so forth. If you're feeling better you have one of two options, 1) Stay gluten-free and don't tell the doctor 2)get back on gluten for a few weeks to get tested for celiacs and gluten allergies. Getting tested is not a worthless endeavor, you'll know what you're dealing with.

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