My celiac tests came back negative. So did my IgA or IgG AGAs (these could be exactly the same as a celiac test but I do not know all the lingo and thus, I remain clueless). The basic gist is that my body seems to have no trouble at all with gluten.
Except that it totally does.
I don’t know exactly when it started, but I’d say about eight months ago. That’s when the first nondescript symptoms came into play. My weight went up a little bit, despite the same amount of exercise and generally eating the same mostly-healthy foods. My stomach wasn’t upset so much as a little uneasy, and my abdomen felt slightly tender after some meals … and other times without any known catalyst at all.
But I’m not good at keeping track of when things “start to change.” The only way I knew that my weight was changing was because my clothes fit a little bit differently. My blood sugars were fine, and my overall health seemed fine. The decline into “not so fine” wasn’t fast, but really slow and subtle until all of a sudden, I was like, “WAIT. Just a frigging second. Why do I feel sick all the time?”
In the last three months, I’ve been acutely aware of not feeling well, and the list of noticeable symptoms grew week by week. I was exhausted – falling asleep on the couch and having trouble maintaining my normal vampire hours. I was moody and grouchy, especially later in the day. (And I’ll just offer this up because I know you’re thinking it: I’m not pregnant.) My hands, on some mornings, were tingly and pins-and-needlesish. And my stomach was angry, but in a really passive-aggressive way. I had sharp pains in my stomach, but not all the time. I had wicked bloating, but not intensely all the time. I just had a permanent belly ache, and it was becoming the norm.
And I was permanently belly aching about it. The only thing that alleviated symptoms was to cut out gluten, but I didn’t do it consistently enough or in a dedicated enough fashion to really assess if going gluten-free helped. (Sadly lazy, but true.) On the whole, our family is about 80% gluten-free, but apparently the 20% was enough to leave a trail of blargh.
Thankfully, my endocrinologist is thorough, so when I saw her a few weeks ago, she ran all the appropriate tests to rule out different this’s and that’s and to help establish certain baselines and other fancy doctor/patient discussion things. My thyroid function is fine. My A1C is fine. My blood pressure is fine. Nothing came back flagged as an issue. (Except the whole diabetes thing.) Which made me feel weird, because the absence of a concrete YES YOU HAVE A GLUTEN SENSITIVITY made me feel a little powerless, like I was just grasping at straws.
In efforts to take some definitive steps towards actually doing something, I talked with Sara(aah) about this issue, and she and I compared symptoms until I felt confident that, even if the tests didn’t flag an issue, there still could be some kind of correlation. Whether gluten is the root cause or just a trigger, its absence makes me feel much better. I can’t dispute that fast-becoming-a-fact.
So for the last week, I’ve been running my own gluten-free tests. And fortunately for my body, it seems to help. (Unfortunately for my preferences, though, because I love Italian bread and all that jazz.) It’s been almost a full week now without a whisper of a symptom. It’s been months since I’ve gone more than a few hours without a sore belly, so this is a step in the right direction.
My plan is to continue to go with my gut and do what makes my body feel better. If I go against the grain, I’ll feel better. It’s a diet omnivorous about sticking to, but I know it’s best in the long run.
… more gluten-free puns once I cook them up. For now, you’ll have to wheat.