Monday, March 11, 2013

Gluten...Who needs it, anyway?

My house is about 90% gluten-free these days after Blaine received the diagnosis of Celiac Disease (click this link for more information) in December.  When my friend was diagnosed with Celiac Disease about a year and a half ago, she told me that one of the symptoms of it is the inability to absorb iron.  Blaine has been anemic his whole life.  He had a colonoscopy when he was a teenager as they looked for an internal bleed or something to explain his anemia.  No blood found and no explanation either.  20 years ago, medicine didn't know a whole lot about Celiac Disease.  Frankly, the medical community is still VERY under-educated about it today, even though it is estimated that more than 1 in 100 people have the disease.  

Blaine started receiving iron infusions about 2 years ago to treat his inability to absorb iron, and yet still the doctors did not explore Celiac as a possible cause.  Feeling very frustrated one day in December, I made him an appointment to have the simple blood-work done.  Sure enough, his levels came back very high and an internal scope was then needed to confirm the disease.  

Becoming Iron-Man...Hopefully these iron infusions will become a thing of the past.
Ready for his scope to confirm Celiac Disease
His GI doctor, who is also a specialist in Celiac Disease, told him that he has one of the most severe cases she has ever seen and he has likely been Celiac for most of his life.  She kept apologizing that nobody found this earlier in his life.  One of the major risks of Celiac Disease going untreated is stated on  If a person with the disorder continues to eat gluten, studies have shown that he or she will increase their chances of gastrointestinal cancer by a factor of 40 to 100 times that of the normal population.

Well, we can't go back and change the fact that he has been eating gluten for decades, but we are going to do our best to ensure that going forward, he is gluten-free and his body has a chance to heal and absorb everything that it has been deficient in for so many years.  We need and want this guy around for many, many more years to come.  He and I have big plans to grow old together.  I'm more than willing to give up my "glutenous" ways for him.  

This means ALOT of changes for our family but it isn't anything we can't handle.  The reason we are only 90% gluten free is because I am keeping a few kid-snacks around such as goldfish crackers but everything that I cook or bake is now gluten-free.  Cross-contamination can be a big problem.  To avoid it, Blaine has his own peanut butter, butter, mayo, and jelly jars now.  He has his own toaster.    To avoid flour powder floating up and settling on something he could potentially eat or use to eat with,  I have gotten rid of all of my flour.   We will be eating out a lot less, although PF Changs seems to be very good with caring for food issues, which is great since that is our favorite restaurant.  The doctor reinforced the fact that we need to be VERY careful.  Gluten or wheat is hidden in so many things that you don't even think about such as soy sauce and chicken broth.  I am becoming very proficient at reading labels and locating the hidden possibilities for gluten such as modified food starch  (which could be from wheat) or vinegar that could be distilled from malt, wheat, barley, or rye...all guilty culprits if you have Celiac disease.  Seem a little extreme?  Yes.  But, this is how serious the doctor told us to be and we are willing to be 100% compliant to take care of his health.  I am just so grateful that there are so many gluten-free products out there now.  We CAN do this!!!  
Off to his job taking care of kids at The Children's Hospital.

Dancing with Cali


Playing Perfection with the kids

His last burger the day before his scope.  Even though he can no longer eat traditional favorites such as pizza, hamburgers, burritos, subways, etc., he has had an amazing attitude and has confronted it like a champ.  

Very yummy gluten-free peanut butter cookies...recipe below.
Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup peanut butter (I used chunky), 3/4 cup sugar, 1 egg, and 1 teaspoon baking soda.
Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.


chanel said...

You're the bomb wife, and I can see why, you have a wonderful man. And you guys will now be super trendy- GF is all the rage. ;)

Jo's Corner said...

I'm always amazed ay how I come across new blogs and find a post that I NEED to read! I actually saw a link to your blog on Waiting For Malia, a family member's blog? The word Gluten caught my eye, so I came to read.
I too have severe CD and an fairly new with the diagnosis. Sadly, after a 2 year battle fighting a non-healing wound, I had my left leg amputated. And, I've been through several rounds of cancer. All related to no diagnosis/life long effects of gluten. It IS tough, but you are a lovely young family and doing it together will become easier. I found that eating no carbs or Adkins was best for me and it is pretty much GF. I'll bookmark your blog and check in to see how you all do.
Oh, and I use that same recipe! I use the splenda blend brown sugar and miniature choc. chips, too. Take care and know that I'll pray for your family! Jo

Melanie said...

You are awesome, Tirsa! One of my former students had/has it and I remember how hard it was for her. But, to keep your hubby healthy--what's there to think about?! Good job!