Suspicions? I have some. Actually, I don’t know what to think. At Christmas we were at the home of friends, and I decided I wasn’t going to panic about potential cross-contamination problems. I have heard everything from one molecule is all it takes to set you off to the equivalent of one crumb of bread’s worth of gluten is an acceptable amount in a day for Celiacs. I have studied it all, but I don’t know what the deal is for me, so I decided to test the waters a little. I haven’t done that. I have only researched and obeyed what was suggested.
What I know for sure:
- I have pain beyond gluten intolerance. Times when I have in no way possible had gluten, yet I hurt.
- I do not digest foods well since my gallbladder was taken out, and when I don’t get the right digestive enzymes, I have pain.
- Sometimes I have pain that makes no sense at all. I have no idea where it is from, but it really pulls me down. It can last from a few hours to a few days, and then it goes away. No clue. No. clue. I can literally eat the same food on one day and have pain and then eat it the next day and have none.
Because of these things, I feel I have only one thing that I can definitely point to that will indicate for sure I have accidentally gotten gluten somewhere, and that is when I get canker sores in my mouth. Just before I stopped eating gluten six years ago, my mouth was full of them. It was horrible. I have had problems with them pretty much my whole life, but there would be one or two from time to time, usually worse during high stress situations. A bad bout would see me with three. I hated those things; the pain of them is still fresh and familiar to me; they would last for several miserable days. As my dreaded gluten year progressed, they became more frequent, reaching that horrendous level in December/January. Their near elimination from my life has been a big deal to me. They were such an ugly part of it for so many years, and although the gluten death year was really, really terrible, it was just one year of pain. (Does that make sense to anybody else?) Now, when I do somehow get hidden gluten, the ulcers are not as bad as they used to be. Not only that, but before The Great Gluten Escape, if I had any type of injury to the inside of my cheeks or lips, it meant an automatic canker sore but not now. I actually bit my cheek a few days ago and at the time thought, that is going to be a sore, and it never did manifest.
So. When we were at my friends’ home at Christmas, I got nothing. No pain. No sores. No nothing. What is up with that? They have flour in their home. We all cooked around each other (though they were not baking or cooking with flour). I didn’t ask them to cut my vegies on a gluten-free cutting board. I ate foods that they fixed. (It was a rather unsettling thing to do after six years. :) I also have gone into a new coffee shop tha tis owned by some friends and hung out with them twice. The shop is located in the same shop as a bakery, and they bake every morning, so there is absolutely flour in the air there. Anyway, I haven’t had a mouth sore since sometime in the fall. I don’t know if this means I am no longer gluten intolerant, or I am less sensitive, or what. I just started a new job (my first job outside of the home since we got married thirty years ago!), and I don’t think this would be a good time to do a gluten challenge. How can I even know? I guess I am just living a mystery for a while. I’m not going to eat gluten, but I am not going to panic about cross contamination either (well…I will try not to anyway).
Update: Chalk this up to famous last words. I don't know if it takes time for things to build up or what, but not long after I wrote this post, I started having a lot of canker sores—several at once, back to back. I went back to being meticulous about cross contamination. Not having them now.