A concern from my endocrinologist during my appointment at the beginning of the summer sent me on a wild medical goose chase that ultimately sent me to clues from more than 20 years ago, but I think I am finally nearing a resolution.
Earlier this summer, during his VERY thorough exam, the doctor noticed what he believed was a problem with my thyroid. He scheduled an appointment for an ultrasound and ordered more lab work than I think I’ve ever seen in my life.
The ultrasound did not show anything emergent. According to my lab work, my thyroid is normal and I do not have celiac disease. At the same time all of this medical testing was happening, I went to Friends for Life. I only made it to one session (other than my own) because of You Can Do This Project responsibilities, but I heard a lot about the sessions with Dr. Fasano (the celiac expert) where he also talked about allergies and gut issues.
Those conversations around the pool eventually inspired the flashback. When I was little, I had what they called “prize fighter eyes.” I was congested all the time and my eyes looked like I had gone a few rounds in the kindergarten boxing ring. After traditional treatments, the doctor told my mom that she could try to exclude wheat from my diet to see if that would help.
I don’t remember much from that time – I know I was younger than 6 – but I do remember a lot of rice cakes. A lot of rice cakes. Eventually, we incorporated wheat and gluten back into my diet. It was significantly more difficult to avoid gluten in the late 1980s than it is now (especially for a extremely picky child).
For the past month I have been gluten free. I feel healthier. Again, I don’t have celiac disease but I think the signs have been there for quite some time that there is some sort of allergic/immune trigger occurring in my body. It will be interesting to hear what the endocrinologist thinks about my decision at my next appointment in a few months.
I am thankful for the people in the diabetes online community who are gluten free who have let me pester them with questions and text them photos of confusing nutritional labels. I am also thankful for all the options out there today that are not rice cakes.