Monday, January 25, 2016

A Diagnosis...

Let's just say.. I am not the healthiest person out there.  I don't think I am the LEAST healthy, but I am definitely not healthy.  Seeing as how I am pretty happy with life and would like it to go on for awhile, I've started making some changes to be a little healthier.  One of those changes was going to see my doctor for my yearly physical.  I have missed this for a few years (like, all of them) so I was really worried she was going to tell me that I had some super horrible disease and that I'd be dead in, like, a week.  My overall visit went really well, and she didn't tell me anything I wasn't expecting.  She told me she was going to request some blood work, and we'd see how that all came back just to make sure I was good.  I had a thought pop in to my head, and before I really thought it through, I asked her if she could throw in a test for Celiac's disease while she was at it.  She stopped for a sec, and asked me if I was showing any symptoms I hadn't told her about.  Nope, I had absolutely no reason for requesting the test.  So why did I feel like I needed it?

Celiac's disease runs rampant in my family.  I have quite a few sisters who have it, nieces and nephews who have it, and my son has it.  Aunts and uncles also, but I wasn't as worried about them.  I told her that in all of their cases, they didn't know they had it until it had already started causing health issues and other problems, and then their bodies had to work to recover from the damage that the disease had done.  I figured if I had it, I wanted to know before it caused issues so I could start eating the way I needed to and hopefully prevent any issues from happening.  She asked me if I thought it was an issue, why I didn't just start eating gluten free as a preventative.  Well, you see, I like food.  And I especially like gluteny foods.  Bagels, bread, pasta, cake, cupcakes, cookies.. yeah.. I love it all.  I didn't want to have to give it up foods I loved if there wasn't an issue.  I know it would be healthier, but.. food..

So, she ordered the Celiac test as part of my blood work, and we waited.  I convinced myself that I was stupid for asking, and if there was an issue I would be showing symptoms.  I had NO symptoms.  I felt just fine.  She called me about a week later, and told me my abnormal cell count that is caused by Celiac's disease was about six times the normal level.  There was no doubt.. I had Celiac's disease.  She told me the next step was to meet with a GI specialist, and not to change anything in my diet until I had a chance to meet with him.

I met with him a week later, and he explained to me a whole bunch of stuff about Celiac's disease, and what it's effects are and the long term damage it can do to your body when you don't follow a gluten free diet.  He said before we did anything else, he needed to do an endoscopy and some more thorough blood work to get a read on how much damage had already been done.  He told me not to eat gluten free until after the endoscopy so they could really see what it was doing to my body, and then he wanted to talk to me after the endoscopy about what the plan was.

Cory and I set out to eat everything gluteny we could get our hands on.  Everything we were going to miss when we started eating gluten free.  My sister had talked to us about how I could get gluten through him if he wasn't eating gluten free, so he was going gluten free to support me.  We ate our way through everything we could think of.  We decided we would go gluten free after the holidays were over, and after the first of the year.  I had my endoscopy at the end of the year, and the doctor said that for someone with Celiac's disease, it actually looked really good.  There was almost no damage, just a few areas where he could tell it was starting to do damage.  That was relieving to hear.

So.. now we had a diagnosis.  I started to regret asking for the stupid test now that I realized what it meant we'd have to do.  I told Cory I was so sorry that I was putting us through this change, and that this was something we were going to have to deal with for the rest of my life.  He told me that he didn't understand why I had asked for it in the first place, but that didn't change the fact that I had it.  It was a change we were going to need to make anyway, and he was glad we caught it before it did any damage.  He was amazingly understanding, as always.  We had the why.. now we just needed to figure out the how.