So if you know me, you know I’ve been avoiding Gluten like the plague for about 10 years now. There were several reasons. The First being a Celiac diagnoses from a Naturopath. The second being the physical and excruciatingly painful angioedema that would follow post-consumption.
It got so bad at one point that I couldn’t even consume food that was prepared on or near where Gluten containing items had previously been prepared. This is called Cross-Contamination. I couldn’t even have french fries that were fried in the same oil as breaded items.
Okay so you get it – Gluten made me super sick and I was very sensitive to it.
So what gives? Why on earth am I eating it again and how am I alive?!?!!
So, here is the full story.
I’ve been seeing my Family Doctor recently to try to get to the bottom of WHY the angioedema is STILL occurring even in the absence of Gluten. It was getting bad, guys, like really really bad. I was getting the same reaction after consuming products containing Gums, Carageenan, MSG, Yeast Extract (another name for MSG), Caramel Colouring, Barley/Malt Extracts and anything Carbonated. So basically, even certified 100% GLUTEN FREE items were making me sick.
How confusing is that? Very – but most of all incessantly infuriating. There were times I would barely eat for fear of setting off another “flare up”.
I was afraid of food and angry that something so simple as EATING could make me want to honestly stop living. No exaggerations here.
With the help of my Doctor. I’ve been seeing a specialist – Gastroenterologist to be exact – who has sent me for Genetic testing for a rare disease called “Hereditary Angioedema” as well as setting me up for an appointment with an Immunologist in April of this year.
The best part though – was her recommendation for a Gastroscopy to determine IgE factors. Meaning, let’s shove a tube down my throat and explore my stomach and small bowel. While we’re down there, let’s take a biopsy to test for Immunoglobulin E (IgE) which are antibodies produced by the immune system relating to food allergies.
What are we looking for first? Celiac! How do we test for that? You have to consume 2 servings of GLUTEN and WHEAT based products, 3 times a day, every single day, for 8 WEEKS.
EIGHT WEEKS of purposefully making myself sick.
My first thought? I must be insane. The Gastroenterologist must be insane.
So here I am, currently halfway through this #FoodChallenge – I got through the panic attacks while staring at my plates of PURE EVIL. Moments that reminded me of the countless nightmares I have had over the years of accidentally consuming “real bread”.
But nothing bad happened.
You read that right. Nothing bad has happened yet. No flare ups. NO FLARE UPS. WHAT IN THE ACTUAL F?!
I am currently bewildered by my ability to digest gluten and wheat based products…. that at this point I now have absolutely no idea what triggers my angioedema. There doesn’t seem to be a concrete rhyme or reason.
This journey is a never-ending battle that I am trying to stay positive through. I’m just going to take this one day at a time, go to my appointments, willingly let people assault my orifices with exploratory tools, and hope that at the end of it all – I will finally have an answer.