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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Diseased in D.C

Hmmm...not quite as romantic as Sleepless in Seattle, but it's kinda got a ring to it... :)


So, I'm really not the type to broadcast my health problems. Generally, if there's something wrong with me, few people know it. I'm just not the type that likes people worrying, or babying me, or announcing my life story from the pulpit... :) But as my close friends and family, I think you need to be in the loop on this one because it might slightly affect you and/or our relationship. Well, at least our eating relationship...and since I'm quite the food person...:)

ANYWAY, for 8 years I've been dealing with bloating, tummy pains, and other crazy symptoms that you really don't want to know anything about...promise. :) I was diagnosed with IBS, and have just gotten used to discomfort. But after a routine physical last month, and some tests, and a specialist, I've been diagnosed with Celiac Sprue Disease. With WHAT? Celiac Sprue. I'm still learning myself, but apparently it's an autoimmune disease where eating even trace amounts of gluten causes your body to attack itself. The main victim is the small intestine...it gets swollen, and the little finger-like villi that transport nutrients get destroyed, and so your body doesn't get the nutrients it needs. Apparently it not only causes all the digestive problems and headaches I've been dealing with for so long, but it can also cause other nasty things if left untreated, like osteoporosis, anemia, arthritis, colon cancer...etc...etc. Fun, right? :) No biggie, we'll treat it. But here's the kicker. The only treatment is to change over to a permanent "gluten-free lifestyle" (don't you love the word "lifestyle"...makes it so much more FUN than a "diet" :)) Gluten is pretty much wheat, meaning I will no longer be able to eat... 70% of what you find at a grocery store :) I quizzed the doctor hard, asking how strict I needed to be, and if the diet was just to control symptoms--let's be honest, any way out I would've taken it. But apparently it's important, and even tiny amounts of gluten can cause a damaging flare-up that lasts for months. The really, really hard part for me is not giving up the junk food...it's the cooking. Cooking is something I LOVE and something that I feel like I'm somewhat talented at. I LOVE whipping up tasty new concoctions. But, recipes just aren't quite the same without...flour? :) Ah well...no pity party here. I'll just be busy testing alternative flours, and altering recipes, and astounding everyone with my gluten-free goodness. :) I'll be needing testers for my experiments of course... :)
It honestly could be a lot worse, and I just keep reminding myself of that. I feel blessed that I had a doctor sharp enough to find the problem before it causes...problems. :)

Anyway, I appreciate your love and support. It'll be an interesting transition. But the real reason I'm telling you this is so that you're not offended if we're hanging out and I don't eat something, or if I ask you to list off every tiny ingredient in something you made, or if I order something really weird when we "do lunch", or other such craziness. I think I'm going to start the diet March 1st (assuming I can meet with a good dietitian by then). In the meantime, you can find me on the Dorito and junk food aisle of each and every supermarket in the area! :)
OH and if any of you know anyone who has Celiac and has yummy recipes, tips, tricks... all would be greatly appreciated! :)

12 comments:

Aly Goalen said...

Yuck! I've heard of that. My uncle has that too. Bummer! But I know once he changed his diet, he felt SO much better...more energy and happier. So, I hope that helps you!

Anonymous said...

No fun, but I am so glad that you got it diagnsed correctly. I think that can be the most frustrating part of the "illness". My husband had crohns disease so we dealt with a lot of the same type of things. No fun, but at least there are some stores that have gluten free sections where they food is actaully pretty good. Two of my students had IBS and then they finally were diagnosed with celiac...once they changed their diet they spent a lot more time in the classroom and a lot less time at the GI's office. Good luck, hopefully the lifestyle change won't be too difficult because I am sure it will be worth feeling 100% again!

emily and nate said...

Oh no! Your body is attacking itself? Tell it to stop!!! I have heared of that disease, and I think Sarah, my little niece, has it, or had it...but not so much anymore (I don't know)...That is poopy for sure, but at least it is something treatable...I never want to loose my ooga booga!!!

Alisa said...

So he said you have it? Well, as a "life style" changer myself I feel for you. I am more than willing to test your concoctions! Oh ya. Matthew Palmer's sister has Celiacs, and I know that she is doing really well with the lifestyle. Talk to Alisha and maybe she can give you her number. Love you andl let me know if you need help with anything!

Cutrights said...

Hey Amber, I am glad that you know what it is. I was just talking to my sister-in law who has something similar. She suggests to get the cookbook "The Feel Good Cook Book" by Janelle West Francis, it has a lot of Gluten Free receipes in it that are yummy!! She had some other ideas as well, I will email you. I hope you start to feel better.

Val said...

Crud! I just wrote a super long comment and the page errored. Doh!

Val said...

Hey friend. This is a HUUUUGE discovery! It wonderful that they were able to pinpoint the cause and you'll be feeling better soon (if only the docs could've been 8 years faster, right?)
I know two delicious gluten-free treats we could bring you: caramel popcorn & no-bake cookies (made with the Irish oats because the other kind has traces of gluten. Did you know Celiac is much more prevalent in Ireland? Apparently the Irish are very gluten considerate.)
Anne in the ward has Celiac disease and I remember her saying once that a good rice grinder allows to to have the flour recipes that you used to eat. I know she'd love to talk with you. All our love during this transition. Hooray for answers!

Val said...

If it's not too personal...how exactly did they diagnose you? Did it start with a blood test? I've heard that there are 2 genes and a way to rule out Celiac is if both genes are absent. How long ago did you find out?
You have had SO much going on in your life the last week or two! I'm making cookies can I bring you some before you start the lifestyle but wouldn't that action be hurting you?

Zach and Car said...

Oh my soon to be gluten free sister. Sometimes I worry that with all the retarded illnesses in our family I have to have something bizarre going on in me that hasn't been found yet. BUT on the bright side... I've been talking to a lot of people about this and you can get Gluten free flour! So bake on little woman, bake on! Love you!

The Manns said...

Glad the doctors could find it the problem. We've loved the treats! You ARE a good cook. Cooking with alternatives will be a challenge! - Poor Brian! You guys will figure it out. We love you and want to support you. Let us know if there is ever anything you need.

Charlie & Robin (and Eliza)

Moore Family said...

Amber! So sorry! No fun- you are such a sweetheart- never a complaint from you. Jeff has an aunt that can't eat gluten- I'll ask for tips. I miss you!

Michelle said...

Hey if you run out of ideas, I can always ask Jeff. This is actually a pretty common request in the restaurant. I know a lot of the baked Utah goodness is an issue, but there really is a lot of gluten free food--take care, and let me know if I can help!