Monday, June 27, 2011


My wrist is bruised from where the IV was in. It was really sore yesterday. I have my follow-up with the GI docs tomorrow so I’ll ask them about that. I never did get a call about the biopsy results so theoretically I’ll find that out tomorrow, too.

We’re starting slow with the gluten-free foods. Our usual grocery store has a small section in the hippie aisle. We taste-tested two different spaghettis, one was quinoa/corn and the other was corn/rice. The whole family liked both, which was a relief. It definitely cooked differently than regular semolina wheat spaghetti, and the texture of the leftover noodles is different, but in both cases it wasn’t bad, merely not what I’m used to.

I’m not ready to dive headlong into gluten-free baking. The idea that I’m going to need a half dozen different flours and combine them in various ways with xanthum gum and other stuff is just too daunting. I’ve got a loaf of gf bread and we’ll see how that tastes. I’m planning on mostly rice and potatoes for starches for meals this week. And there’s always corn tortillas.

So far, I’m just winging it. Cutting out the obvious wheat/rye/barley. And I’m staying away from oats until my system is cleared, then I’ll try them to see if they affect me or not. I’m not worrying about the celluloses and glutamates and dextroses and maltoses and whatnot. I know some are wheat based and some are corn based and frankly the internet is just overwhelming. I’m meeting with a nutritionist next week. I’ll ask for a list of what’s OK and what’s bad then. I figure the trace amounts of gluten in various derivatives isn’t going to be enough to set me off since I’m not 100% gluten-free yet. I know some people can get sick from one crumb but I haven’t been at this for even a full week yet. And I cheated last Friday, having one last sandwich from the deli at work, just to say goodbye. *sniff* I’ll miss you, delicious deli sammiches.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Last week I had my first appointment with the GI specialist. The doctor was handsome, very smart, and eager. He put together my history, like the flu in February and unexplained anemia since I was a teenager. The senior fellow came in (it’s the University so it’s a teaching hospital; I just thought it was funny that the “learner” himself is a full-fledged MD) and praised handsome doc for the job he did with the background analysis. Essentially they think I’ve pretty much always been celiac. In 10-15% of cases the only symptom that ever manifests is anemia so if I hadn’t had the triggering event of the viral infection, I possibly would never have known. Senior doc thought it was irresponsible of my past doctors to not look deeper but hey, it was over 20 years ago and they assumed it was puberty and starting to menstruate and all that and I’ve been taking iron for so long I just never think about it. He thinks that the mal-absorption of iron will go away with the other dietary changes, so that’ll be interesting. I wasn’t supposed to eliminate gluten yet though; they wanted me to wait until after the endoscopy. They expect that I’ll notice improvement in things I never noticed were affecting me before, like energy levels. When he asked if I’m often tired I joked that I have young kids, of course I’m tired!

I had my endoscopy yesterday. Because of a series of stupid events, I was over two hours early. (And hungry. I couldn’t eat anything after 7am.) I was fine in the waiting room but when they took me in to the prep room I started to freak out. The prep nurse explained to me step by step everything they were going to do and when she left to let me change into my hospital gown, I started crying. Yes, it’s PMS week so my emotions are nuts but I was still in tears. She came in and tried to help soothe me a bit and put in the IV shunt, which never felt right the entire time. I don’t remember it being so uncomfortable when I had them in for labor. But then again, I was in labor so a bit distracted. I had some time to read and text so that helped to keep my mind off of it but not completely.

Then they came to get me to the procedure room. There was a different nurse for that one and she was amazing. She tried to re-settle my IV and wrapped me up in hot blankets and did a fantastic job of helping to calm me. But I was still on the verge of bawling the whole time. They had warned me that the same senior doctor was always 15 minutes late. He ended up being an hour late. I just tried to close my eyes and doze off. It’s hard to actually sleep when there’s so much hustling and bustling in the hall outside and when your nerves are so on edge. Doctor finally got there and he’s a Tasmanian devil of humor and activity so I didn’t have time to freak out. He went through what they were going to do again and then he sprayed the back of my throat with basically just that lidocaine stuff the dentist uses; I had to swallow it though to get it down as far as possible. Meanwhile the nurse was injecting the narcotics and something else into my IV shunt. They hit me so fast. I felt woozy, like that spot *just before* you get the spins when you’re lying down after too many drinks. But it never got to the spins thankfully. I got another dose of the spray and another dose of the hippie drugs and they had me lying on my left side. Then I had to bite onto this circular bite guard thing and the doctor stuck the hose in my mouth. I had my eyes closed so I wouldn’t accidentally see it or the view screens from the camera. I had to swallow it and that was the hardest part. My gag reflex was tamed from the numbing spray but I still had to swallow three times to get it past. Then it was basically like being at the dentist, with the doctor giving the nurse instructions that meant nothing to me and she was doing stuff I couldn’t see and also rubbing my back and telling me how good I was doing and reminding me to breathe through my nose. Then the doctor said he was done and pulled the thing out. It took about 4 minutes. Then I had to spit out all the collected spittle (which obviously I couldn’t swallow with the thing down my throat) and they wheeled me to the recovery area to come down from the drugs.

My sister came in and I could barely follow along with her usual pace of things. The recovery nurse had me drink some water to make sure I could swallow. I was super loopy from the “conscious sedation”, which they do because otherwise they’d have to have you on the breathing machine if you were knocked out fully. All I cared about was getting the dang IV thing removed because it was so uncomfortable. I can definitely understand why they don’t want you driving but I would have been able to take the bus by myself. But they don’t have any way of knowing that I’m an expert bus taker. So. I was mostly down from the drugs by the time we got home and then I was just starving and tired. I went to bed at 8:30 last night.

The doctor came in while I was in recovery to talk about what he saw. He took biopsies of a couple different spots, in my stomach and duodenum, and will call me tomorrow with the results. But he said that if it’s not positive for celiac then he’s a liar. Which is why I have to start my new diet right away. I have to make an appointment with the nutritionist, too. We haven’t done any gluten-free shopping yet, and can’t until pay day, so I’m making due with what’s on hand. Which is mainly corn tortillas.