Thursday, February 11, 2016

Celiacs Disease and Osteopenia

A long time ago (senior year in high school) in a faraway place (also known as Colorado) I was diagnosed with Celiac's Disease. For those not familiar with it, basically it means I can't eat products with gluten in them - wheat, barley, whey ...etc. Which, doesn't sound like much until you realize everything they are in!

To make a long story short, every doctor I ever met said that if I wasn't symptomatic then I didn't need to worry about it and I should just keep living my life like normal. I liked that answer so I went with it. Fast forward to 6 months or so ago. I was clearly becoming symptomatic. I was a bit in denial so I went the doctor and we still ran a LOT of tests to see if it could be anything else. No such luck. BUT we did discover that my gluten test came back so high it was un-quantifiable. Super exciting :)!

In other words, Celiacs caught up with me. My GI doctor was upset that no other doctor thought to tell me the damage it was doing to my system ... and recommended a bone scan (and a lot of continual blood work ... good thing I don't mind needles!). It turns out when your body doesn't absorb nutrients you can end up with Osteopenia. Which, basically means my bones are less dense than they should be. Thankfully it isn't Osteoperosis (yet) but something I need to work on to keep away from that. Lots of vitamins and exercise (especially lifting weights!) in my future!

I don't say all this to be negative, at all, actually the process has been a really good one, and I'm grateful to know where we need to go from here!

Jeff, as always, has been incredibly supportive and jumped on board to help our family transition certain things to being gluten free for all of us (pasta, pancake mix), get my vitamins filled (lots of those!), and champion my eating changes. The kids have already started asking what is gluten free and are becoming more and more aware of what mommy can and can't eat. And I have so many family members and friends here to offer advice, buy me gluten free treats, one went GF with me for the first month, and in general be incredibly accommodating with restaurants we go out to with them, what they serve when we come over, etc.

The change actually hasn't been as hard as I anticipated (in part because of the wonderful people in my life), and overall I feel so much better it's worth the extra expense and effort. Truthfully, there can be so many worse things that could be happening I'm really grateful. There can be more difficult "side effects" of Celiacs, but so far, I'm not dealing with those.

And in general, life can be so, so much harder than just not eating gluten, taking vitamins and working out, so I have spent quite a bit of time reflecting on how much I have to be thankful for. Sometimes it takes looking at these things and realizing that blessings are all around us and this is no more than a blip on the radar of life!