Monday, April 26, 2010

When Reality Sinks In.

This is my son, Beckett. He's six years old now, and just lost his first tooth. He loves Legos, dressing up in costume, but most of all, he loves ME. I am his mother. I am the person that scratches his back at night and pushes his hair back behind his ears just the way he likes it, so that he will fall asleep with a smile on his face. I am the person he comes to when he's proud of a drawing, and wants to tell me all about it. I'm the person he comes to when he scrapes his knee, and needs to cry. I am the person he comes to when he's hungry, and wants a snack. His father and I are his everything. We get up in the morning, and turn on the sun for him, and we wave our magic fingers to bring stars into his night sky.

This morning I was so tired, I couldn't get out of bed. Everything ached. I didn't know what day it was, what time it was, and Basil scooped Beckett out of bed and got him off to school. I woke up around 11, feeling more human, but still in pain. I remembered the two pieces of pizza I ate yesterday, and how I had to get up in the middle of the night to take heartburn medication. And I knew I'd be in pain all day because of those two stupid pieces of pizza. It was hockey night. The Red Wings were playing at the Joe. Let's just order a pizza in tonight. That's what normal people can do once in a while on a rainy Sunday night during the playoffs. Why can't I remember that I'm NOT a normal person.

I have never gotten a doctor to give me a formal diagnosis, but I know that I have Celiac Disease. I know because I've experienced it, and what gluten can do to my body. I know because I've gone gluten free, and had periods of amazing relief, and clarity. After I woke up this morning, I grabbed the blood work I had done recently, and went to find more information online about Celiac Disease and C Reactive Protein. The normal range for CRP is 0-3. Anything over 4 puts you at greater risk of a cardiovascular event. Anything over 10 puts you at risk of that first cardiac event being fatal. Mine is 18.9.

Whenever I eat gluten, and I freely confess that I eat it a lot, my immune system attacks the gluten protein as if it were a virus or foreign invader in the body. It causes extreme systemic inflammation in my blood vessels and arteries. That inflammation is indicated in my CRP levels. I feel an ache in my elbows. I feel a twinge of pain in my back. I can't feel the silent cardiac event or stroke that could erupt out of the inflammation caused by those two pieces of stupid pizza. I am playing Russian roulette with the life of my child's mother. And it's right there in black and white on my results from LabCorp.

My immune system also fights the gluten molecules that make it to my small intestine. They wind up killing the villi that are vital in absorbing the nutrients in my food. Because I continue to eat gluten, I'm sure certain areas of the villi are completely dead. Which means my body is malnourished. Which explains why my Vitamin D levels are low, considering that it cannot be absorbed. Because of the malnourishment, my body thinks I am starving. It craves more food, and stores the food I give it as fat to keep me alive. 40% of Celiac patients are obese on diagnosis. Doctors dismiss obese Celiac sufferers, because their textbooks tell them that a Celiac patient will be wasting away, and have chronic diarrhea. Those textbooks are outdated.

I had a long heart to heart with Basil. I told him how depressed and scared I am about not having somebody working with me to address these very real issues that I know are quietly taking time off of my life. I told him that I want a diagnosis. I want to know, so that all of the pieces of the puzzle can come together, and I can work with a professional that I trust to monitor my CRP levels regularly. I don't want to die of a sudden cardiac event caused by a food allergy. I want to KNOW what we're dealing with here. And I want to know NOW.

I'm not taking no for an answer any more when it comes to get tested for Celiac Disease. I'm not going to just "cut out gluten" because I "think" I might have Celiac. That sort of namby pambiness is not working for me anymore. Reality is sinking in, and I need to get serious about changing my life. I've spent all morning with Dr. Google reading about Celiac and Insulin Resistance. Celiac and Vitamin D deficiencies, Celiac, and C Reative Protein. If I'm wrong, I need to know it. If I'm wrong about the gluten, then I need to know why my body isn't working, and I need to know how to fix it.

This is my year. I am going to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of this. I'm going to do whatever it takes to take back control of my body. I am going to fight like hell, and be my own advocate. My family deserves that, and so do I. Whatever it takes, I'm there.

I will not be dismissed because I am overweight. I am Geeked Up about living a quality life. And I want that quality life to start RIGHT NOW.