Why I'm a Glutard

My journey as a glutard began in the Fall of 2008. I was 29 and tired, grumpy and felt horrible. I had a sore throat and my glands were swollen. I'd eat my sandwich everyday at lunch and spent my afternoons trying to concentrate through the fugue and headaches. I'd go home each night and melt into the couch in front of the television and snap at Dave and Chaos the dog.

I started paying attention and googled my swollen glands and sore throat. The results were varied but among the leaders was "wheat allergy". I began noting when I felt the onset and made the connection to my ciabatta bread. I've always hated going to the doctor so decided to test it for myself and cut all wheat out of my life for four days. I felt great and had a ton more energy. I hit the wheat again and bam... my glands were swollen and I reacted. Work got busy and I avoided most wheat but didn't go back to 100% wheat free.

Ski season had begun my ski conditioning class had made my muscles ready but my joints felt 50 years old. I had a bad day on the mountain and realized it was time to learn more about this.  It was the day after Thanksgiving I made an appointment and hit the medical center. About an hour before my visit I ate a hot dog with a glutenous bun, by the time I walked into the office an hour later, I felt horrid. My mood had plummeted and my glands were swollen. Before the vampires took my blood it was noted that I was having a reaction and I was offered an epi-pen which I refused. "Regardless of what your blood test says, it's obvious that you are having a reaction to wheat." said my PA. They sent my blood off and I gave up wheat forever.

A lot of my issues cleared up and I started reading blogs. I learned how to live wheat free and not feel funny about it. I tried a lot of products and started eating more real, whole food. During the summer of 2009 I began questioning my "diagnosis" and researching going 100% gluten free. Being Glutarded is hard but getting diagnosed is almost harder. My first blood test in November of 2008 didn't come back positive for celiac so I thought I was safe just being wheat free. The more I learned the more I wanted to know if I was glutarded or not. I started having issues with dairy and went back to the medical center. My PA told me "If it's bothering you; just don't eat it." I had felt like I'd given up so much already that I wanted real answers. I needed to know. I had a few options, I could go back on gluten for a few months (and possibly do more damage to my body) or I could do a DNA test which could tell me if I had the genes. Realizing that my relationship, friendships and job may not survive if I hit gluten again I opted for the DNA test.

I learned that I have the DQ2 Alleles (DQA1*05/DQB1*02) given this and my vast array of symptoms it confirmed that I have a big problem with gluten. Since I wasn't officially diagnosed as a Celiac I call myself  glutared. I've learned that Doctors aren't always experts and it's necessary to be your own advocate if you suspect you have a problem.  I know that I'm doing myself a big favor by sticking to my gluten free life and embracing my glutard status.

My energy has skyrocketed from 2008 and I'm functioning like a normal person. I come home from work and can't wait to play with my dog- in fact we adopted a second puppy in March of 2010 and now have a bit of Mayhem to add to our almost six year old Chaos Monster. Mayhem's arrival gave Chaos a fresh outlook on life as much as my quitting gluten has for me. I enjoy life a great deal more and also have rekindled my love of skiing since I no longer have the joints of a 50 year old.

 i love about reading blogs and learning about other people and their triumphs and struggles with food and life. Since that fateful day when the doctor looked at me and told me I couldn't eat wheat then ultimately gluten I've learned a lot. I've become so much more in tune with how food effects me. Gluten makes me crazy- all the things that have improved since I quit amaze me. I wouldn't touch gluten again and go back to my old life of daily headaches, low to no energy, blisters from every shoe, a constant feeling of bloatedness, joint pain, an Eeyore cloud and so much more.


Nicolette @ Momnivore's Dilemma said...

Did Insurance cover your DNA? I am looking into this for my sons b/c we are GFCF for the past year...

camper said...

Yes! They covered a good portion of it. I had a note from my Doctor which may have helped.
I used Kimball Labs in Colorado and it was a cheek swab. The Lab will say that if you have the gene it does not mean you are celiac but for me the genes meant that I was on the right track and combined with my symptoms it meant that I need to lead a gluten free life.

Shamoon said...

How long did the test results take?

Also, I recently blogged about my own Gluten affliction and mentioned your blog: http://persist.at/post/33845074263/how-a-gluten-allergy-saved-my-life