It’s All In Your Head

As I write this, I am plagued by yet another migraine. I feel mildly better in the cold, dark corner of my desk at home or even my cubicle at work. I find myself driven to more research, grasping for any bit of information that may lead to some relief. I cannot wait until medical marijuana is legalized in MN.

The more forums and articles I read about gluten intolerance and Celiac Disease and those that suffer from it, the more resolved I am to try a gluten free diet without giving the tests a second thought. The symptoms vary greatly among the afflicted. Some have serious, debilitating symptoms that are clearly Celiac and nothing else, some are misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, others have few, isolated symptoms never piece-mealed together as a larger issue, and others still have no symptoms whatsoever. It is now believed that 1 in 133 Americans suffers from Celiac, and that only about 45% are diagnosed. The average time from onset to diagnosis is about 10 years.

Furthermore, the tests are inconclusive. With as much as 60% of those with early stages of the disease not showing significant levels of antibodies or villi damage, both the blood test and the (terribly invasive) biopsy are unreliable testing methods that give far too many false negatives unless you are “lucky”(?) enough to be advanced to the point of being significantly ill. I can’t blame doctors for being baffled, but I have read far too many accounts of individuals asking for tests and being condescended by their doctors that I’m just not interested. “I’m sure it’s not that, that diet is too hard.” Really. I had my fair share of “It’s all in your head,” before receiving a proper migraine diagnosis after suffering for over 10 years.

(On a side note, my former employer used biometric tests to determine how much money they contributed to each employee’s HSA. I hadn’t smoked a cigarette in over 2 years, and was never around smokers, but had a false positive from poor handling by the technicians, along with 6 other employees and spouses. Just a little more fuel on the fire that leads me away from relying too heavily upon the medical community.)

My life-long list of symptoms and failed or partial treatments:

  • Chronic Bloody Noses (since at least age 5) – Cauterization (age 5, 15, mostly better, few recurrences), Allergy Medication (age 14, made it worse)
  • Easy Bruising – “inherited”
  • Poor Coordination – Ataxia, or “Klutzy” and accident proned, the source of many of those unknown bruises!
  • Pale Skin – “inherited” but questionable due to half Hispanic ancestry
  • Slow Clotting – “inherited”
  • Curved Finger and Toe Nails
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Canker Soars
  • Angular Chelitis – (Dr didn’t tell me what it was, just sent me off with a prescription)
  • Poor Circulation in Hands, always cold, cramping joints
  • Chronic Sinus Infections – Poor immunity – (I used to get every cold that came around, including 4 in 1 month in high school)
  • Low Weight – Before going on the birth control pill, which made me gain weight, I weighed 110 lbs and could not gain weight no matter how much I ate.
  • Joint and Muscle Weakness
  • Chronic Vomiting – as a teenager I had to wait at least 3 hours after waking to eat breakfast because, food or not, I was going to throw up within an hour of waking.
  • Irregular Menstrual Cycles (everywhere from 15-65 days in between), Severe Cramping, Long, Heavy Bleeding – ObGyn was unconcerned.
  • Migraines – propranolol decreased frequency and severity, caused depression; soy & MSG avoidance diet reduced migraines from 3x’s per week to 2x’s per month
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (usually before, during, after migraine)
  • Night Sweats
  • Bruxism – Teeth grinding, often due to stress and diet (physical stress due to food is a type of stress)
  • Recurring UTI’s
  • Head Fog, Irritability, Fainting, Hypoglycemic Symptoms without low-enough blood sugar in tests
  • Throat clearing due excessive phlegm, Intestinal upset, the big D, lots of gas, EVERY time I eat out. Initially thought it was mild food poisoning, but no one else that ate with me got sick.
  • Short Pinky Finger (you can’t make this shit up!)
  • Short Stature (yes, I’m going to blame being 5’2″ ever since I was 13 years old on a disease.)

Gluten & Glutamate – Neurological Disease

All of these are known symptoms of Gluten Intolerance and MSG sensitivity, or deeper symptoms of malabsorption caused by Celiac. Furthermore, I have a family history of Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac are both diseases caused by the autoimmune system attacking the body. Many people with one are at higher risk of the other, and both are genetically predisposed, so it would only make that much more sense that I would be genetically predisposed to Celiac.

Wrap it up and stick a nice little bow on it. I’ll let you know how the gluten-free diet goes.


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