Sunday, September 03, 2006

Boring Medical Crap Alert

Once again... Blog-stymied. This time it's a triple threat.
  1. New health problems. Rather, an unexpected diagnosis of a problem I have been having.
  2. My blogging time has been sucked down by Googling and processing info on new diagnosis-illness-treatment (it was suggested by my Doctor so shut it)
  3. Indecision on how much/what I want to share with the Internets.
Right-o then. Here it is in a nut shell. Auto immune disorders run happy rampant through my family on my Mom's side (Yo Ma!). Fun things like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis and various funky permutations of such. Also, or possibly in cahoots with these auto immune befunkifications come food allergies and intolerance's, the most diagnosable of which being Celiac Sprue. Celiacs are folks who lack an important enzyme that allows them to digest gluten, this lack causes a slow destruction of the guts and the sufferer dies a rather horrid death... eventually from, for lack of a better way to put it, malnutrition and the trots. As a matter of fact, some pretty important genealogical breakthroughs have been made in my family by checking the cause of death on the person of record. If they died from diarrhea? Then look at them closer, they may well be related. If you were wondering? Gluten is found in wheat, oats, barley and MOST standard western used grains. Notable exceptions are rice and corn.

I have Hashimotos. Diagnosed at age 13, on meds for it since then and for the rest of my life. It adds an all new level of fun to my pregnancies, as the second trimester (the fun trimester) my thyroid levels take a nosedive and it's a scamble to get me evened out but not over the proper level. When I am over, I look like this from my scalp to the soles of my feet. I have also got food... mmmm... issues. Lactose intolerance, and I'm allergic to tree nuts.

A few weeks ago I hit the doctor's office with a few concerns. I have been lactose intolerant for a decade and a half... all that time I could eat cheese in moderation without having any problems. A serving of Lasagna? Sure. A few slices of pizza? No problem. It was just straight milk, ice cream, cottage cheese, yogurt and the like that gave me... problems. Tree nuts. All my life I've had to stay away from pecans, walnuts, almonds UNLESS they were cooked. Something about cooking them altered their chemistry enough so I could enjoy a pecan tartlet, a banana nut muffin. Not any more. I have already documented the disappearance of oatmeal from my list of loves, only....

...something is still wrong.

Now my doctor is a bit of a windfall, I was referred to him by a local Midwife as a doc with a rep for not being knife happy when it comes to squeezing out babies. We started seeing him over five years ago when Birdie was just a wee yolk in my tum. He doesn't actually deliver babies that much any more but he promised to be there for mine. In any case, he is a Doctor with a liberal side of hippy-de-la-holistic to him. I call him Dr. J, PhD, HiPpy, or Dr. J for short. So he takes me for serious when I tell him of my family background and orders up a whole slew of blood tests. Yay.

The nurse asks if I have an arm of preference and I show her my left. "Just go for the bulls eye right there," I tell her, indicating the indentation surrounded by scar tissue in the crook of my arm, and as per usual... paydirt.

I did not test positive for Celiac, and I am very likely am not a Celiac (although it is certainly not a guarantee). I am very likely gluten sensitive, however. This means that I get to EAT like a freaking Celiac for an extended period of time just to find out if I AM. Gluten Free diet equal NO FUN, and MORE WORK. Did you know that virtually every prepackaged or processed food has gluten in it? There is a @&*$! list as long as my arm of ingredient label type terms that mean "gluten" or "probably gluten" or even "maybe gluten." Distilled Vinegar? Yeah baby, bye bye condiments. I am angry and resentful about this business. How the flippity-doo-dah will I feed myself and my family. I already have a lousy attitude about coming up with three relatively nutritious meals for my small and diverse hoard. If you now my family, you are already aware of some of the dietary quirks we've got going. Bread-foods and pastas made up the bulk of the common ground we had going. HAD... past tense.

Crap. This has been a behemoth nut shell.

On top of it all, something screwy is going on with my insulin... yeah, that kinda crap runs in the fam-damly too. So a new round of meds right there. Put it all together my friends and....
  1. No gluten, wheat, processed foods or prepackaged foods.
  2. No oatmeal
  3. No pasta, breads
  4. No dairy
  5. No tree nuts
  6. No sugar (thankfully not yet but I see it on the horizon)
  7. Can I just kill myself now and be done?

Soooooo, the upshot of deciding to tell all y'all about this is I am scared and this is why.... diets suck. Even diets that give you immediate happy pay-offs like losing weight, looking svelter and getting new clothes that fit better... even those diets I SUCK at. How am I going to do a diet that takes several months to pay off in terms of feeling better and holy sweet mayonnaise what if it doesn't fix a crapping THING!?? I have a good girlfriend who was diagnosed with full blown Celiac almost two years ago and has recently had a baby and even she has not been able to stick to it very well. Like, she eats all the things she isn't supposed to and lives with being overall sickish.

I am not looking to you for accountability. Frankly, I'm not really sure that kinda thing works... weight loss blogs and quit smoking blogs. They can be funny, but folks don't really seem to get much of anywhere... at least on the blogs I've read. I DO hope that you will wade through some of this new territory with me... it's gonna be a big, annoying, frustrating part of my life for the next while and if I don't give myself permission to blog about it now I may stop blogging altogether. Can't afford to do that folks, I feel isolated enough as it is.

Tomorrow starts my all-new rice-o-rama lifestyle... my struggle to find a way to accept the possible loss forever of toast, crackers and eating out. Eeek, I'm starting to cry right now with the self-pity of it all... and if I find out that I also have to give up my beloved Diet Dr. Pepper? My little sis will be able to hear my screams all the way in Maryland. Gahgk! Hold me now.


Nobody said...

No, you cannot kill yourself. And you cannot stop blogging, either.

Diets can be hard. I'm supposed to be on a low sugar and fat diet, and it went pretty well for quite a while, then it started to slip.

Hopefully you can find things that you enjoy eating and will make you feel better. Being sick is no fun at all.

Hang in there. We're all here for you, even if only as an outlet for your frustrations.

Blogarita said...

I agree with Nobody. You must keep blogging.

I, too, have hypothyroidism. (Graves' Disease first, then a thyroid ablation, resulting in little or no thyroid function). It took about three years for my doc and I to get the meds right, and even now I still have days when things just "aren't quite right".

If I'd known about blogging when that was going on, it would have been such a help and stress reliever. Sometimes venting really can make you feel better.

Post as much as you want...or need to...about your conditions and your dieting endeavors. It will be good for you, and you never know when your info and experiences might help someone else who's reading.

Keep writing; we aren't going anywhere.

Fantastagirl said...

I'm with Blogartia and Nobody - you can't kill yourself, and you have to keep blogging. I wish I had some wonderful words of wisdom to say do this, this and this and all is fine - but if you ask Mr. Incredible I am the worst person in the world when it comes to following a diet.

I would see if Dr. J could refer you to a dietician, and I think your state has extension officies - I would see if their food specialist would be able to provide you with some great receipes etc. Good luck!

DadGuy said...

If you even think about ending your own life, you better watch out -- I'll kill you!

Oh wait...

Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

Rice at Sam's Club is like six bucks for a 20 lb bag! We eat a lot of that... has a good thyroid forum if you are interested.

Jello hasn't got much gluten right? You can have a nice green jello like always.

Nobody said...

Speaking of green jello... Is it true that folks in Utah eat lots of green jello? I heard that somewhere. On PBS I think. Green jello is the worst kind. Yuck.

bon said...

tee hee! Yup... green jello, that's what I heard. As for it's veracity? Heck, it was on PBS that's good enough for me. Being a native NEW MEXICAN, I cannot say from personal experience.

Mama D said...

That all sounds horrible and crappy and I'm never going to complain about anything ever again.

We are here for you. Blog about the horrors of it all and we will gladly listen and nod sympathetically.

Don't quit. Not allowed.

DadGuy said...

I've had green jello about 3 times in my life and I grew up in Utah.

Though when I was in michigan I heard of people FROM Utah eating jello mixed with tuna fish.

I just about lost my lunch when I heard that.

Nobody said...

I guess I won't have that snack now. I lost my appetite thinking about tuna in jello.

I'm sure it was on PBS that I heard about the jello, but I think they specifically mentioned SLC. Or maybe it was just a big joke, I think it was part of a Red Green Show contest or something.

Mommygoth said...

Holy moley, batman! YUCK! I'm so sorry, Bon - that's totally lousy.

Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

I'm from Utah and I've eaten a TON of green jello with canned fruit salad in it.

My mom mixed it with cabbage. Don't ask.

I think it's green has gone by the wayside with red being preferred now. Or at least blue with goldfish crackers on it.

Nancy said...

Ugh, Bon. So sorry to hear about all this.

Take care and keep us posted.

Anonymous said...

OK. I hope that after the shock of it all simmers down you can look at all you CAN eat. All the fruits and vegetables and meats and fish and poultry and stuff like that. Splenda tastes pretty good in place of sugar. Look at CSA-USA site and learn some name brands of glutten free goodies to keep you felling less deprived. You know what is weird?? I went to Paris and ate tons of good (white) bread for a week and not once did I have a "gastric problem". I get home to my whole grain spelt bread and don't stand between me and the bathroom! Maybe there is something about the bran coating and not the glutin???Ask Dr J, K? Chin up, kid, you'll work this out. Love you, Mom

Mom of Three said...

I've been a vegetarian since 1990 and then with two of my pregnancies I was diabetic to boot, so I feel for you, bigtime! What a hassle! On the other hand, I have to say, because there was hardly ever anything but a salad to eat at fast food places, we hardly ever go to those. I mean months can go by and I think that's a good thing. I look at the commercials and now the stuff looks gross to me. Once you start eating food that sort of resembles its original form you sort of realign what you think edible looks like. Your palate also gets more subtle, by the way, allowing you to enjoy really great food.

On a day-to-day basis, in this society? It's a pain. If you're out and about and are starving, let Subway (minus the bread) be your friend.

LynAnne said...

You might want to check some of the autism boards for hints on gluten-free recipes and menus. We did the gluten and casein (milk protein)-free diet when my son was first diagnosed. For it to work, we couldn't even have gluten or milk products in the house. Yeah, lot's of fun. That was quite a few years ago. I noticed now even mainstream grocery stores are starting to carry many G/C-free products. If yours doesn't you might want to contact a local autism-support group to see if you can get enough people to show interest for them to be special ordered. You can also buy cereals and such online but gets more pricey.

Take heart, its a major pain in the bum to follow a special diet to begin with but once you've done it for a while, it gets to be routine. Plus, you will probably feel so much better that it will be worth the little extra effort.

Good luck!!

anne nahm said...

First of all, I object to the hateration of the lime green jello. Yum! Especially in jiggler form.

Second, gah! sounds suckerific to be on that diet. Atkins boards might help you out on some food tips or recipes if no one has mentioned that yet.

If you don't have a rice cooker and you like to cook, I highly recommend. Throw rice in that puppy, walk away, and come back to yummy rice. Or brown rice! Or wild rice if you are feeling down with the craziness.

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

sadly, you may be reduced to a bodybuilder's diet (read: my diet):

spinach salad
chicken breast
brown rice

rinse, repeat.