Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I had an absolutely lovely Easter with my family: made gfdf chocolate chip pancakes (Bob's Red Mill) with a side of bacon for breakfast, had a turkey sandwich (Udi's whole grain bread) with veggies for lunch with my dad's side of the family, and had a fruit smoothie (mixed by my younger sister) and lamb, asparagus, fruit salad, and spinach salad with my mom's side of the family. Everything I ate was delicious and I survived another holiday without a gluten reaction! (I got sick somehow during Thanksgiving.) I was riding my wave of confidence with the food and made myself a single serving of leftovers to take to work the next day for lunch.

Someone once told me that I was lucky that I was gluten intolerant and didn't have Celiac disease - my reactions were less serious, she said.

I happily ate my spinach salad with lamb for lunch (I'm currently addicted to spinach...). About fifteen minutes after I finished eating (so about forty five minutes after my first bite), I started getting cramps. A few minutes later I started overheating and ran to the bathroom. I kept trying to convince myself it was only cramps, but then an onslaught of my classic gluten symptoms came back: dizziness, overheating, abdominal pain, "bathroom issues", nausea, chest pain, extreme body pain and fatigue, loss of color in my face, and more. I told my bosses I was going home. The simple "gluten" reasoning paired with my change in appearance sufficed. When glutenized, it is really easy to look at me and see something is horribly wrong -
I barely even recognize myself in the mirror. I somehow managed to gather my things and hail a cab. The whole ride home, I was writhing in pain. I was so uncomfortable in my skin and was debating just getting out of the cab because of the pain, but an ounce of common sense kicked in and decided that being miles from home on Lake Shore Drive was a bad idea. I was blacking out and fading in and out during my ride home. After somehow managing to get to my room (my arms started tingling like they fell asleep), I curled in a ball and was nearly crying from the pain. I eventually uncurled and took some ibuprofen and tried to make myself comfortable with a heating pad in an upright position. My body temperature couldn't regulate, so I was alternating between two pairs of socks and wrapped in a blanket to pushing the blanket away and rolling up my pajama pants. About ten tall glasses of water, many trips to the bathroom, and several bad daytime tv shows and movies later, I was feeling better. My appetite was gone and I felt dehydrated, but my gluten hangover symptoms were showing signs of fading and I was asleep by 8:30.

I had a horrible and violent reaction. Without eating gluten. I somehow fell victim probably the smallest trace amount of cross-contamination from my leftovers.

At times, I crave wheat. I think it won't be so bad - I could survive the pain. But every reaction I have had since going gluten-free, the reactions are more severe than ever before.

Last year, I had a few similar situations. It took me a while to put together that all the days I stopped for a bagel for breakfast, I made the familiar trip into my boss's office to say I was going home sick. Not eating breakfast was always able to get me through the day back then. Nowadays, a few of my co-workers only know me gluten-free. They never saw me with the drained face or the pained and panicked expression that was all too common before. Obviously, they were concerned. The next day, I was back to my go-get-em self and felt alive. My appetite still isn't back, so I am trying to listen to my body and whatever it craves (gluten and dairy free, of course), it gets.

I'm extremely thankful to be gluten free, but I could really do without the reminders of how drastically my life has changed since a year ago when my gluten reactions were at their most severe!

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