Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gluten Attacks

I am on the third day of pain. Last Saturday my daughter and I helped man a booth for a VBS outreach at a local child safety event. The place it was held is about a mile and a quarter away, so we walked there. It was terribly pleasant. Their was a light, but steady rain that was very refreshing and the time spent with my daughter was pure delight.

When we got to the event, people were eating assorted foods that were being offered for free. There were french fries, hot dogs, soda pop, and ice cream. I avoided all of it, figuring it was easier to do so than to have to go through the gluten inquiries (I wouldn't even consider the hot dogs and I don't drink pop; the questions would be, Is this fryer/oil now or has it ever been used to cook corn dogs, tater tots, chicken parts, etc. containing gluten in them? and Does this ice cream contain any forms whatsoever of wheat, rye, oats, or barley? These questions are a pain and the second one, in particular, usually requires the knowledge of someone in the chemistry department of the responsible company. This is why at most restaurants I just order apple juice.

As the time progressed (and the rain increased, not important to my story, but adds flavor to the day), I realized that I was having a serious sugar drop (hypoglycemia as well as gluten intolerance runs through my veins) and about that time the Schwan's man came up and offered an ice cream. I looked at it as I mentally observed the increase in shakiness and then asked the most surface question, Does it have gluten in it? He informed me that he didn't know, that the company is in the process now of searching that out. We looked at the label. No overt sources, but there were a couple of red-flag ingredients. Finally, in spite of thle anti-gluten missiles which were exploding in my brain, I decided to risk it--weighing the needs of the moment with the possible problem of the future.

And now, I am on the third day of pain. My dilemma? I don't know if it came from the ice cream or not. Before I figured out that gluten was my enemy, I would sometimes notice the pain within 20 minutes of eating, but since that time, I have found out that it can also take up to three days to cause pain. Because I was eating gluten all the time before, I realize that it could have sometimes taken that long to affect me back then.

Other possible sources? No clue. It would have to be a cross-contamination issue, but since gluten doesn't glow flourescent orange, I can't tell where it might be lurking; there are other people living in this home who do not have to heed the glutendeath warnings on the labels of life.

In the mean time, I have to ride it out. The pain is constant and awful, but I have stuff to do. I am careful what I eat, as my body isn't digesting so well during this time, and frankly - I'm not really hungry anyway. Fasting is out of the question though, I still have that nasty hypoglycemia to watch out for. Note to self: always pack gluten-free food with you.

P.S. What I want you to understand is that I am grateful to God that I experience pain when I get gluten; it makes me more careful. Many people, whose bodies know that gluten is an enemy, have no discernible symptoms when they eat it. Without the pain, they assume the food is no problem and continue to eat it. Unfortunately, the body is still damaged.


Jennifer Marshall said...

Hang in there, Becky. I'm praying for you!

Sanstrom Seven said...

Goodness, dear friend. I love your sweet, joyful spirit. Just think, someday you will be able to eat wonderful things without fear.

"When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be. When we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory!"