Who Am I?

Two Months Gluten Free

Posted: June 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Celiac | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Two Months Gluten Free

It’s now been roughly two months since my diagnosis of celiac and thus two months attempting to eat and live free of gluten. It’s definitely continued to be a learning experience. I’m still not certain how well I’ve done in my efforts. But I think I’ve done pretty well. We’re still learning how to avoid cross-contamination, the art of reading labels, and techniques for dealing with restaurants (though I have not gone out to eat very much since my diagnosis). I’ve certainly not intentionally ingested any gluten. And I am getting more proficient at this life each day.

It seems most of the short-term benefits were the ones I experienced in the first month. There have been no dramatic or even noticeable additional improvements this past month. I suppose I’ve now settled into the long haul of healing and recovery where progress is measured in months rather than days or weeks. I can live with that.

I met with the dietitian and in addition to outlining the types of food I need to be certain to eat, the frequency with which I need to eat something as my intestines recover, and similar advice, she has me taking a lot of vitamin supplements (and refrigerated probiotics capsules) to try to compensate for my damaged small intestine over this interim period. That too is beginning to settle into a routine, though I’ll be glad when I don’t have to take so many pills every day.

I’m not yet finished with my rounds of new specialists, though. While the results from my bone density scan weren’t horrible, they did show some osteoporosis in my lumbar spine (lower back). So the gastroenterologist is referring me to another specialist. (I believe she’s an endocrinologist.) I think (or at least hope) that we’re done discovering the various things that are wrong with me as a result of celiac disease and can move on toward the part where I start getting better.


One Month Gluten Free

Posted: May 11th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Celiac | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on One Month Gluten Free

It’s been more or less one month since my EGD and since I began working to be gluten free. With the help of my wonderful wife, I think I’ve been mostly successful at it. It’s been quite the crash course learning curve. I thought I would pause for a moment to compare the state of my physical health, or at least the things I’ve noticed so far.

Like many of those with celiac, I did not have major digestive symptoms or any intestinal pain. My intestines and nutrient deficiencies will take more than a month to heal, so nothing major on that front. I do think now that some of the things with my digestion that I had considered normal may have been related. I’m certainly adapting to a radically changed diet! Time will tell the rest here.

The place of biggest surprise, though, are in the improvements I have felt in a host of other areas unrelated to digestion. Celiac is an autoimmune disease, so its impact and symptoms are not limited to the digestive tract. I’ve been gradually learning some of these other symptoms and its in these areas that I’ve seen dramatic change.

My hands and feet no longer go numb and tingly frequently and easily. I just thought they went to sleep easily, but it turns out this is a neurological symptom. And its mostly stopped for me. I can lean on my arm or elbow without my hand ‘going to sleep’. Same with my feet when sitting crosslegged or in a chair with one leg curled up. It might seem very minor, but it’s so nice.

I’ve almost stopped having sharp, shooting muscle pains. I didn’t realize how bad these had gotten until I went skating with my daughter again. Right before my diagnosis, it had gotten so bad that when she went as fast as we go in the rink, my back and side and leg hurt enough that I couldn’t even come close to keeping up. A week ago? I was going as fast as she was and had no pain at all. No limping. No sudden back pain. I guess I thought I was out of shape or getting old or something similar. They didn’t cripple me. They just hurt enough to slow me down. And they are almost gone.

I used to almost constantly have canker sores inside my mouth. After the ones I had at the time of my EGD healed, I’ve had only one.

My mind has been noticeably less ‘foggy’. And my overall mood has been greatly improved. I simply have more energy. I’ve been recovering little things I thought lost forever. This past week, for instance, I’ve started waking up again many days a few minutes before the alarm goes off. I used to do that all the time and haven’t in a very long time.

It’s only been a month and already the change has been greater than I ever expected. This autoimmune stuff is nasty.