Glad To Be Gluten-Gone

In the middle of my life, I found I was CELIAC, Thank heavens. What I’d been was sick which got worse and worse. I’d be bumbling along in my life and WHAMO! I’d get pains like lightning hit my stomach. Rolling around on the bathroom floor. They would last about a day, weak for a week after.
Every fall in the hospital for two weeks, Great family doctor setting aside an afternoon appointment nearly daily during the bad times. It was official. I was a sickie.
After a lot of hoo-hah, gastrontologists at the hospital said I had Crohn’s Disease. Except I wasn’t skinny like all the other Chronnies. Lots of times I could digest anything and then, WHAMO!
I’d go to Crohn’s clinic and get sidelong looks as though I was a doctor groupie. The gastro’s would ask me if my marriage was okay and was I under stress? Well, yeah, when I’m trying to get some work done but I get this stomach pain and the backdoor trots out of the blue. Did some part of me secretly WANT to be sick but wasn’t letting on?
Finally, after the usual two weeks in the hospital, my family doctor, Nick Cristoveanu, volunteered to let me abandon the clinic and take over looking after the WHAMO’S himself. Buoyed by his confidence in me and desperate for answers, I went to the net and began to research.
Bingo! One of the Crohns sites I was on suggested that Crohns and Celiac Disease, whatever that was, were often linked. It meant not eating wheat-oats-barley-rye and cutting out milk. It meant you had to read the labels on anything you ate that hadn’t come out of the ground, from a tree or an animal.
Well all rightie then. I cut all that stuff out immediately, then sat and waited for the WHAMO! as it was fall and I had my little bag ready for the hospital. But nothing happened. The pain didn’t come along to greet me,( as the raindrops song in the Sundance movie says the blues do). Week after week, and no pain, except a couple sharp jabs once following a bakery cookie mistake.
I went to Nick Cristoveanu with my new diet. “Isn’t it hard to follow?” he asked.
“When I’m pain free? I’d do anything to keep the pain away.”
“Early days yet,” he said, but I could see he had his fingers crossed. Still all the gastros at the clinic would’ve demanded I get back on the meds, which I’d stopped taking. In fact I wasn’t on anything at all. Nick supported whatever I thought I had to do. He had noticed I wasn’t coming in sobbing in the afternoons anymore.
There was a short time out when I decided I probably didn’t have Crohns at all and ate some popcorn which resulted in a blocked bowel and an ostmy. “The gastros are bald,” I told him when got out. “Their hair is falling out because they haven’t got any cures for the pain.”
“They’re not ALL bald,” he said. “Your diet’s really working?”
“No pain,” I said. “By now it’s been nearly three years.”
He said he should’ve thought of it himself and I said it was his believing my pain was real and supporting me that gave me the courage to do the research and besides, NONE OF THE GASTROS EVER SUGGESTED IT MIGHT BE DIET!
The clincher had been overhearing a head gastro talking to a bunch of medical students out in the hall when they were doing rounds. The ward was filled with middle-aged women patients, whom he suggested were ‘bed blockers,’ women with other than medical problems who enjoyed being the centre of attention in the hospital, as though we didn’t have rich full lives and families to get back to.
I never wanted to leave a place so badly in all my life. I wished them all bald and I knew I’d do anything to keep from going back in. Even live the rest of my life without wheat-oats-rye and barley, read every word in every tiny label on anything before I bought it. Even eat the laughable rice flour bread still touted to Celiacs as ‘just as good as wheat.’ It isn’t. I keep expecting to see ‘gravel’ listed as an ingredient.
So here I am, seven years into this thing and going strong. Yeah, you have to fight off all the fabulous Celiac desserts made by those who feel sorry for poor deprived us: Squishy lemon squares with flaky pie crust base, peanut butter squares with Belgian chocolate tops, the long, long list of replacement treats.
If they can make sweets this good, why can’t they make real bread? But with breakthrough diagnosis’s on every hand, Celiac products are going mainstream so it won’t be long before hot buttered toast that actually crunches, is a reality. (It doesn’t exist, not where I am in Canada, anyway. There’s some that slithers…)
At any rate, thank heavens for the net and all the generous people who share their stories as honestly as I am doing now.

1 Comment

  1. terrific story Rose.
    A good one to post around
    various locales where other
    celiac krohns people can
    tweak to your excellent
    discovery. And splendidly told,
    as well, as always.

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