Thursday, July 28, 2011

My gluten free story, Part 1

In case you didn't know, I'm gluten free! In January of this year I discovered that I have a gluten intolerance, and I've been gluten free ever since. Today I'm going to share my gluten free story with you!

My story begins almost 3 years ago, about 9 months after Hayden was born. I'd never struggled with any kind of medical issues before, but around that time I started having some pretty serious digestive issues. TMI ALERT!!! I started having diarrhea every day. Then I started to have blood in my stool. I was seriously freaked out! I'm no expert, but I knew that blood in the stool definitely wasn't something to just ignore. I was having a lot of discomfort as well. I didn't know then what I know now about diet and natural healing methods, so the first thing I did was get a recommendation for a GI doctor. Even though we didn't have insurance at the time, my issues were serious enough that we knew I needed to be seen anyway.

The initial doctor visit was very confusing. She asked several questions and I tried to explain my issues as best as I could. I asked her what she thought could be causing my problems, and why they would have come on like they did. She said that she wouldn't know without some testing, and that she wanted to do a colonoscopy to see what it would find. Then she explained that my issues were probably related to my pregnancy, and that some women have gastrointestinal issues as a result of the changes of pregnancy.

That didn't make sense to me at all! Hayden was already 9 months old. I didn't have any problems during my pregnancy, or even in the first few months afterwards. It didn't seem realistic to me that these issues could be linked to my pregnancy. I was totally freaked out about the colonoscopy! I felt like I had this huge medical weight on my shoulders, and I hadn't even been diagnosed with anything yet. I knew I didn't want to live with a chronic condition, and I definitely didn't want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I was pretty nervous about it, but I didn't know of any other options to find help! 

A couple of weeks later, the colonoscopy date came around. The day before, we picked up the colon clearing drink that I was supposed to take, and I called the clinic just to double check that it was ok for me to drink it while I was nursing. While I had the nurse on the phone, I double checked with her that I was going to be able to nurse right after the procedure the next day. The doctor had told me initially that it would be fine to nurse after I woke up from the anesthesia. But this nurse told me that no, I was going to have to wait 24 hours after the anesthesia to begin nursing again. I started to panic. The nurse told me, "Oh, just pump some milk and have it on hand for her to drink."(And this is just another example of the majority of medical personell being completely incompetent when it comes to breastfeeding. It would have been impossible for me to pump the amount of milk that she'd need in just the 12 hours before the procedure.) So pumping was out, and formula wasn't an option in my mind. I'd nursed Hayden for 9 months without a drop of formula, and I certainly wasn't going to give her any now! I knew that I needed help with my issues, but I wasn't willing to sacrifice my nursing relationship for it. I got off the phone and talked things over with Thad, and we decided to cancel the colonoscopy.

The next year and a half to two years were very hard on me. I tried to learn to live with the issues as best as I could. There were good days and bad days, but on the bad days I was in a lot of pain and it was hard for me to even leave the house. And on top of all that, I got pregnant again just a few months after the canceled colonoscopy. If we didn't have money to spend on doctors before, we certainly didn't now! We were struggling just to pay my midwife. I shared with her about my issues, and she suggested a probiotic. It was a good idea, but didn't help at all. I was disappointed, but just focused on getting through the pregnancy and birth. I'd try to find a solution after I got through that. 

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