November 5, 2010

well, it's official...

No I'm not pregnant. (Although that would be kind of cool for Max to have a buddy so close in age...) But I am gluten intolerant. The test results just came back yesterday - confirming something I have been suspecting for a while and finally giving me the answers I have been looking for for years.

It was about 2 months ago when I woke up and realized that the things my body was going through wasn't normal - extreme fatigue (no, not just new mommy fatigue - like must crawl to the couch at 2PM every day or I'm going to die, fatigue), digestion issues, my legs falling asleep all the time, brain fogginess, the inability to lose weight, and depression symptoms - and I decided to get some answers, once and for all.

After going to see my doctor we determined that it could be one of two things: Postpartum Depression (again) or a gluten intolerance. But after doing tons and tons of research on this issue and finding out that depression is a symptom of gluten intolerance I almost immediately knew I had my answer. I went through the tests, started eliminating gluten on my own, and got my results back to confirm my suspicions.

And good thing, too, because my results indicated that my body had some pretty extreme malabsorption issues - meaning my intestines were being damaged and my body wasn't absorbing the nutrients from my food. Thus the reason for my legs falling asleep (a symptom of malabsorption), the depression (90% of the "happy hormone" serotonin is found in the digestive system), and the inability to lose weight (my body held onto food because it didn't think it was getting any).

For those who don't know what gluten is, it is a binder that keeps food together and it is found in wheat, barley, and rye, not to mention other additives such as modified food starch and some "natural flavors" for example. Which means, you guessed it, all of the above is now off limits, forever. That means no more Guinness with my husband (insert tear) or Red Robin french fries or wheat bread or marshmallows. But you know what, that's OK. Because after being "gluten-free" for a little over 2 weeks now, I have never felt this good in my entire life.

My digestion issues have almost completely gone away (except for the occasional flare up when I accidentally eat something with gluten in it). I feel my mood is getting a lot happier in general. I have energy! My brain is a lot less foggy. (I can have a normal conversation with people without blanking out.) I lost 10 pounds in 2 weeks (bye bye baby weight I have been fighting to get rid of since Avila was born). And you know what the best part is, because my mind is clear, I feel like I can write again - an outlet that is a prayer and a connection to our Lord and, for me, is like breathing.

I write about all of this here to not only lend a supportive voice to all you GF'ers out there, but also to say that God will give us revelations and crosses when we least expect it. I am so happy I finally have some answers (looking back I think I have been dealing with this since, at least, high school) but at the same time I have to accept that this new way of life may sometimes be a cross that I have to carry. Sure, I can wallow and be sad for all of the things that I must give up (again, I will miss my Guinness). But at the same time I can rejoice in the fact that God will give me strength to handle whatever He throws my way. I can take the lifetime sacrifice I must make and offer it for the health of my husband and my children. I can take the sacrifice and offer it for those who go without food. I can take my sacrifice and be grateful that God chose me because, hopefully, He sees me as a trustworthy servant.

So, Lord, this one's for you. Take me and use me. And if it means that graham crackers must go, then so be it.

"If anyone wishes to come after me", he said, "he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me" Luke 9:23


Bill, Amelia and Jack said...

Wow, Kris!!! That never even crossed my glad you figured it out! I miss you- let's talk sooooon!
Much love!

Bridget said...

Great news... so glad you found out now!
Your mommy days are going to be even more blessed by your improved health and wellness.

God bless you all!

Shannon said...

So, what CAN you eat? It seems like just about everything has wheat and natural flavors?!

jen said...

I'm actually a friend of Shelleys, so you don't know me, but my husband is gluten intolerant as well. We have been gluten free for 3 years now and it gets easier! The hardest thing to adjust to was bread for him and we just in the last month found a really good GF bread. It is Udi's and we have only found it at H&L produce and Whole Foods on 27th and Mildred in Tacoma, sort of behind the Starbucks that is in the shopping center on the corner. The #1 advice I got, because I love to cook, is while GF cookbooks are great it is just as easy to take your fave cookbooks and adjust the meals so they are gluten free. Asian food is really easy to do and believe it or not Italian...there is some great gf pastas out there! You probably already figured this out, but read every label! Things that you would not think have gluten in them, like soy sauce! Beer was hard for him as well, but Fred Meyer has a really good hard cider and Tacoma Boys has some ok gf beer. Oh one last thing...Corina's bakery in Tacoma has THE BEST gf baked goods if you ever need a b-day cake or what not. We have found some good gf stuff through trial and error...shelley knows how to reach me if you ever whant to email/chat. I'm happy to share what we have learned.

Michael and Kristine said...

Yes, I, too, am so glad I have answers! Shannon - I eat lots of veggies, fruit, meats, cheese, I make GF bread in my breadmaker and tailor our dinners to not have any gluten. The hardest part is not cross-contaminating with Avila and Mike's food - I use separate PB jars, etc.

Jen, thanks for all that great info! I will for sure check out that bakery. The only thing I'm finding hard is I need something crunchy and sweet! But maybe it's good I haven't found anything like that otherwise I would eat it all :) I will definitely contact you if I have any ??'s.