22 August 2012

The journey continues.....{to a Gluten Free Me}

So I know that some of you have been so kind as to have journeyed with me on this road of discovery with the various random health issues I've been experiencing these past months.

It started out as an ache in my sides back in May, which didn't show up anything on X-ray or scan (back when the doctors thought it could have been a kidney infection or gall stone or the like).

That was swiftly followed by the worst episode of reflux I've ever known which had me at A&E at 5am in the morning to get some medical assistance due to the incredible pain and difficulty I had breathing.

Things eased off gradually after taking ranitidine for the reflux, and things went (kind of) back to normal for nearly 2 months.

Then in late July, having noticed an increase again in the reflux, one day I suddenly got stabbing sharp side pain up under my left rib. This lasted for nearly a week but then disappeared when I took some penicillin for a sore throat (possibly a coincidence). In the meantime, I was sent off to get an appointment with a gastroenterology specialist which I duly did.

So, a couple of weeks ago I had a gastroscopy which showed up mild reflux but not much else at the time. However, a week later my GP told me that the biopsy that was taken during the gastroscopy had showed up some abnormalities in the small intestine, with the possibility it might be signs of early Coeliac disease.

The doctor recommended increasing my gluten intake over 4-5 days by eating loads of bread and then do a Coeliac blood test, which I did. Golly me, within 2 days of eating loads of bread and scones, the stabbing side pain was back with a vengeance and continued over the weekend as well as the feeling of being incredibly 'blocked up' - need I say more?!

First thing Monday, I took the blood test and stopped eating all that bread...phew! Over the course of the past two days, the pain has started to ease off a bit, and things have started to 'move' a little better thanks to taking some Normacol as well.

And so, today the results came back....negative for Coeliac disease. Which on one hand I'm relieved about, but I know that the blood test on it's own isn't particularly reliable. But I have decided anyway that based on my body's quite noticeable response to that additional wheat/gluten over those days, I am going gluten free for the next 3 months to see how that feels before seeing if I am able to gradually reintroduce, or whether I'm in this for the long haul. I'm really hoping that I will see some positive benefits within a week or so from cutting it out altogether.

And bless my hubby's little cotton socks for going out and getting me some gluten free pasta and gluten free flour, both of which I already used tonight! I ate the pasta (didn't notice much difference to normal) for dinner, and used the gluten-free baking mix to make an equivalent batch of the double dark chocolate cookies I made on the weekend. And they were JUST as good as the full-flour version. Yay. OK so we won't talk about how darn expensive the baking mix was (ok, $10 since you asked) or the pasta (ok, $4 a box)...but at the moment I'd pay whatever it cost to feel my normal self!

I guess by doing the baking wanted to prove to myself that it's not the 'end of the world' as I know it, just some relatively small adjustments that will hopefully make a big difference to me.

I'd also like to acknowledge the wonderful support of Leonie (this wonderful lady has to deal with Coealiacs and other allergies on a daily basis). She's been so supportive of my various requests for advice and has been so encouraging - not minding me emailing her at random times to ask all manner of weird questions.

Also lovely bloggers like dear Ange who sent me chocolate and ongoing well wishes, Remaliah who has been emailing regularly, and several other lovelies who have left such positive and encouraging comments over the past few months, you all know who you are!

And you know - the best thing to come out of all this? It has deepened my relationship with God - and I feel closer to Him through all this happening. I have this amazing sense of peace that is not really aligned with my circumstances, so I know it is peace that comes from Him. Having to lean on Jesus for answers and comfort has been just the reminder I needed not to try and go through this in my own strength, but to trust in His goodness, and the good plans He has for my life.

And whether that's a gluten-free life or not, I still trust Him. Completely.

Jeremiah 29 v 11
For I know the plans I have you for you. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Romans 8 v 28
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

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