10 Apr The Challenge of a Gluten Challenge
The Challenge of a Gluten Challenge
“…encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.”
I Thessalonians 5:14 ESV
In another post, I’ve mentioned a bit of how I learned my body did not react well to gluten. Well, my journey with being gluten free did not end with this discovery. In the summer of 2016, I went for a regular check-up. I had discussed with the doctor how I had done a food elimination process and realized gluten affected me negatively. Now, I did not have any official diagnosis at this point because I could not afford any more tests or doctor visits the year prior.. This doctor decided to do some blood work to make sure all was well. Hmmm…not everything came back looking good. They did a test on me for the ANA factor (If I’m not mistaken, this is a test for determining if an individual has rheumatoid arthritis and/or lupus). That test came back positive. I was referred to a rheumatologist. She did all the necessary testings and blood work on me. Everything came back normal. This doctor did not want to put me on any medication until she was sure she knew what was going on in my body (I’m so grateful for that). Well, she realized that my issues with gluten may be the culprit, once again. She encouraged me to see a gastroenterologist.
After much persuasion, I decided to make an appointment. At this visit, I felt relief and apprehension. Relief to hear that my muscle symptoms were common with celiac disease and were not a figment of my imagination. Apprehension that I would need to go on a “gluten challenge” to rule this out. After 1 ½ year of being gluten free, I had to go back on for at least 8 weeks to make sure the tests would come back accurately.
My husband and I had discussed making the best of this predicament. We figured I would try to enjoy this process and have foods I had missed eating. I was especially looking forward to a nice slice of pizza!
Believe me when I tell you that I’d rather go through 5 labor/delivery episodes (without epidural) in a row than ever go through what I did when I went back on gluten. The strongest symptom I had experienced before I went gluten free was NOTHING compared to what followed. By week 3, I could not stand upright. I was in so much pain. I could not hold the food down at this point, either. My GI decided to expedite the testings, as a result.
I will never know if the endoscopy and blood work were as accurate as they could be if I had waited it out for the full 8 weeks. Whether it is an allergy, a sensitivity or celiac disease itself, all I know is that I could not be exposed to gluten anymore. I am hoping for the sake of all suffering with gluten issues, that the testing process will become easier and more accurate.
Of course, God spoke to me through this process. I learned to depend on my husband for help in a way I don’t think I ever had. My control issues could not be a priority during this time. I was forced to rest and admit my shortcomings. I could not depend on myself. I had to rely on others. When there is a need, support isn’t a bad thing. A healthy reliance on others doesn’t make you weak. We were not put on this earth to be lone rangers. We cannot do it all. And when we are put in a position where we have no choice but to stop all that we are doing, we should have a strong support system to get us back into the motion of things.