Friday, January 14, 2011

This gluten thing...

As I mentioned in my catch-up entry, I found out last summer that my body has some sort of issue with gluten. I haven't actually seen a doctor yet, so I don't know for sure what it is.

I first noticed that there was a problem when I went for a normal three mile run. I was almost near the end of the run when my palms and feet started getting really itchy. Then I started feeling nauseous and the itchiness spread. I made it home just in time--there was some major rumbling going on--to make it to the bathroom. And then I called my mom to find out what was going on. The itchiness so bad that I almost wanted to cry, there was nothing I could do to make it stop. She told me that I might have what my dad and aunt (his sister) have--an exercise-induced wheat allergy. I had had two sandwiches that day for lunch, so I decided that from now on, I'd make sure to avoid eating wheat for a few hours before a run.

Unfortunately, the symptoms accelerated and I started having problems earlier in my runs and even when I wasn't running. I started doing some research and found that the symptoms of celiac sounded familiar. While it's comforting to think that a lot of "issues" that I have could go away by avoiding certain foods, I'm trying hard to not self-diagnose. I went completely gluten-free from Thanksgiving to Christmas, mainly so that I'd actually feel good for the holidays.

After Christmas, I decided to go back to gluten. It wasn't that I was having these crazy cravings for then, those cravings had gone. But I want to go to a doctor and get tested for celiac. And to do that, I need to be eating gluten. It certainly doesn't make me feel good, but I have reasons for wanting to get tested--1) I want to know whether having a beer every now and then will just upset my stomach, or damage my body, and 2) I want my family to know their true family history. My family isn't very good about talking about health issues, which has made it difficult in the past to talk to doctors about my digestive problems. If anyone in my family starts having these same symptoms, I want them to be able to say, "well, someone in my family has been diagnosed with this". I plan on seeing a doctor sometime next month and going from there...

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