Okay - right off the bat I'm going to tell you that I will be talking about annoying and potentially gross bodily functions. If you can't handle it, close this page now. Really.
Last chance ....
So for the past several months I've had diarrhea - urgent and almost instant. Almost constantly - well, every time I needed to go - so once or twice a day. Before 4 weeks ago I'd had about 3 somewhat normal bowel movements in nearly 1/2 a year. And it was sticky - it stuck to the bowl. This is not the first time I've had troubles. I've had Irritable Bowel my whole life, and for the past 10 years or more I've had moments when my digestive system acted up - bloating, pain, terribly smelly gas, etc. (which I've also been experiencing lately, and which is really, really, terribly, embarrassing - the smell anyhow). I've also been gaining weight.
I came across something on the Internet that suggested to me that I might have a problem with gluten. So I cut gluten out of my diet. And instead of diarrhea being the norm, it became rare - once or twice a week - and only when I had accidentally ingested gluten. There was (now here's a gross part) quite a bit of mucus in my stool, but the rest was fairly normal. After about two weeks, I went on vacation for a week. We went to a friend's house - someone whose father had Celiac disease, so they were very careful, and I ate only foods that were obviously gluten free (eggs, meat, veg, fruit) or packaged food labelled gluten free. And then we went to Disneyland. And Disney is amazing where diet is concerned. They have an allergy menu and they keep the allergy food separate from the other foods. So aside from one time when I had two bites from a Rice Krispy square (Rice Krispies have barley malt in them), I had a very successful trip.
I've been home for a few days and have found that being here is harder than Disney - I've had a couple of bad days. I bought some Ghirardelli chocolates when we were away and it turns out that although the ingredient list has no gluten-containing items, they are made in a facility that uses some gluten, so they can be cross-contaminated. As well, one must clean the cutting boards and knives, etc. very well to avoid cross-contamination. And just because gluten-free deli meat is sold at Safeway, it does not mean that it's not cross-contaminated if you get it at the deli counter. So packaged processed meats only for me.
Now, let me be VERY clear. I HAVE NOT been diagnosed with Celiac disease - although I'm thinking it's a very good possibility. But whatever is going on, I'm having a serious reaction to gluten.
Of course, I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor until the end of November, and after that it will likely be a while until I can have tests done, but I thought I'd write about this because it is very, very stressful. And depressing (gluten can cause depression in those sensitive to it). And I figure if I've been dealing with this for so long without any help - there must be others. So I'll take you on this journey with me, and we'll see what happens.
Updates will be forthcoming.