After years of building health issues, I finally got some answers about a month ago. I was diagnosed with Celiac disease through blood tests.
I was also diagnosed at the same time with several other allergies, the two most severe being birch and dog. I won't even touch on the rest of them
as their effect is only minor. The allergies to my dog and the birch are directly affecting the quality of life in my household, not to mention the
complete diet change due to the celiac.
I was also found to be severely anemic and having malfunctioning adrenal glands. I am currently undergoing several different treatments for all of the
My reasons for posting this are to bring awareness to Celiac disease and severe allergies, as well as the fact that I seem to have hit a wall. My
system was essentially in the process of shutting itself down. Things had progressed so far that I was becoming malnourished to the point of the
anemia being so severe that I need weekly shots for months as well as the pile of daily supplements.
A permanent change of diet is the only treatment for celiac. A diet without even a trace of gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and
barley, as well as many other products such as oats that are cross contaminated along the trip from field to home. A person with celiac is not only
unable to digest these proteins, but they actually destroy the villi in the intestines so that a person is unable to absorb much of anything at all at
The symptoms are vague and easily blown off or attributed to something else. Fatigue, joint pain, irritability, abdominal bloating and pain, weakness,
depression and headaches are only a handful of symptoms related to the disease. I personally have had many of theses symptoms on and off for years
and years, but I was always able to explain them away. For instance, the joint aches must be from old snowboarding and horseback riding accidents. The
weakness and fatigue must be from a long week taking care of my home and family. Even the shortness of breath I was having was from the anemia, I
just knew it was because I had been smoking for 15 years, though I did quit because of it, so it's not too bad right.
Celiac is often a genetic disease. It can be diagnosed with a simple blood test, it is often reconfirmed with more invasive methods, but the blood
testing is getting better making a biopsy often unnecessary. It runs strongly in a family and may be worth being tested for if a person has symptoms
and a family member with it.
A change in diet has meant a complete purging of most gluten products from my home, the only exceptions being a few treats for my boys when mama's not
around, which isn't often. We gave away enough food to feed several families and helped stock our local food bank right before Christmas, and that
helped immensely. It was a cleansing deed that helped a lot. We have been slowly building some appropriate foods back up in the house and I am
having to relearn how to cook. Ironically enough my husband got me a bread maker for Christmas before we even knew what the problem was.
been a lifesaver. It also highlighted that fact that I need to start reoutfitting my kitchen from scratch. I finally got a new toaster oven this past
weekend, my old one is off limits after it cross contaminated my toast and made me sick. It is serious enough that I literally cannot have a crumb
contaminate my food, and now that I have eliminated the gluten from my diet, I seem to react to the slightest amount.
Thank goodness for a freezer full of fish and another full of berries. I am still searching for a decent gluten free bread recipe though, my son is
refusing to eat any bread at the moment because of a couple of failed attempts. Gluten free bread tends to work better as a door stop, though that is
a food science issue that I am sure I will eventually overcome. If anyone has a GF bread recipe that doesn't weigh ten pounds, please share!
Some days I feel at my wits end and some days I feel 100% better than I have in years. Here is where it gets hard though. Two of my other four major
allergies just happen to be to my beloved beast of a dog, and to birch. I live in a birch forest, I burn birch wood in my wood stove to heat my home,
I have mulched my flower gardens with decomposed birch wood from the woods surrounding my house. We spend the first half of our summer hauling and
splitting and stacking cords upon cords of birch wood for the coming winters, only the gardens take up more energy in the summer months. I'm sure some
will suggest moving, but that is absolutely not an option as I would have to leave Alaska entirely or move so far north that they won't grow anymore.
Neither is a viable option. We have finally found our dream home and have been building and improving it for over 8 years. I refuse to leave. We are
relying on our gas heat at the moment, rather than the wood stove.
I also stubbornly refuse to get rid of the dog. He is truly part of the family and fits us perfectly, except that I'm so allergic. It has gotten to
the point that I can't be anywhere in my home without itching and sneezing severely, except my bedroom. I also homeschool and have two young boys at
home, so hiding in my room is obviously out of the question. I feel terrible about this because it now falls on my husband's shoulders to keep the
house as clean of allergens as possible. I'm not supposed to stir it up,and he already works so hard to take care of us that I hate asking him to do
so much more. He's always been willing to help around the house, but this is putting a fair bulk of my chores on his shoulders. It's not fair and I
just really don't know what to do.
This is taking a huge emotional and financial toll on my entire family. I know I sound like a huge whiner. I am just at my wits end. One friend
actually told me to " relax, it's only temporary" but it's not. The diet in particular is a lifelong fix to the problem. There are hopes that in time
some of the other issues fade into the background when my system is healthy, we will wait and see.
People should be aware that this is no fad diet, it is a serious health condition for many people. I can handle relearning how to cook, I don't know
if I can handle the loss of the few friends that I have over it. We had to cancel our New Year's Eve plans because of it, and I still have not heard
back from that friend. Please don't take offense over others illnesses. I would never expect a friend or even family member to change their anything
in their life to accommodate this, but I should be able to still count on them as a friend in a difficult time. I am exceedingly grateful that my
husband has willingly joined me in the fight. Support is all anyone can ask for under the circumstances. If you can be that for somebody, please do.
It amazing how little things make a huge difference in people's lives.
Thank you for taking the time to read through this. If it needs to be moved to rants, I understand. I just needed to get it off my chest. It's very
frustrating to have your life flipped upside down.
edit on 13-1-2014 by woodsmom because: Typo