All my spoons are in all the right places, if you know what I'm talkin' about...
I’ve been reading a lot about Gluten intolerance lately, because, well…
Hold up. Let’s start over.
When I was 14, along with being diagnosed with Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Raynaud’s Phenomenon (oo00oo0o0o0o!), I was also diagnosed with a Gluten Intolerance. My doctor (as I mentioned before, she is a brilliant woman and I am so grateful) decided to test me for food allergies after my diagnosis to kick start her plan to turn my life and my health around. I came back as having some mild allergies to certain nuts, and other things here and there. But I had a strong allergic reaction to Gluten.
There is a disease, Celiac Sprue, that is a serious disease that involves a severe deteriation of the digestive tract as a reaction to Gluten consumption. It is hereditary, and is not just a food allergy or symptom of something else. I did NOT have Celiac. I have known others who were diagnosed with Celiac and went through unnecessary worry and treatment when what they really had was a Gluten intolerance. Point being, Gluten allergies and Celiac are two very misunderstood and confused conditions.
Hence this post.
Basically, my first point is do not be afraid to question your doctor (as always) when it comes to frequently misdiagnosed ailments such as Celiac and Gluten Intolerance. Stand up for yourself, it is the information age and Doctors are just people.
Since I was lucky enough to have a questioning doctor, she looked into the differences between Celiac and Gluten Intolerance and we came up with a treatment plan. With Celiac, consuming Gluten products adds more and more permanent damage to your digestive tract. There’s no miracle pill. There’s no cure. But an intolerance is just that. So we decided to play with my diet and build up a tolerance.
For a few years, I detoxed. I cut all gluten from my diet entirely. I was in high school at the time and believe me, it was the Pitts, in combination with all my other new medical restrictions. Then after a few years, once my health had stabilized (Lupus symptoms subsided, and my digestive tract was no longer on fire), we introduced Gluten slowly back into my diet. First, I would have a small portion every week. Maybe a sandwich or something. Then a few months down the line, I’d have it twice a week. A few months later, three times. Eventually, after a long while of this I was eating Gluten normally. And we retested my allergies and Gluten wasn’t even on the list. I haven’t had a problem (related to the allergy) in over four years.
*This will NOT work for patients of Celiac Disease*
I bring this up because a friend of mine just told me she was retested by a new doctor who questioned her old diagnosis for Celiac. She was diagnosed almost eight years ago. And now she has learned that she doesn’t have Celiac at all, but a Gluten Intolerance. On one hand, this is a huge relief. But…she is frustrated with all the worry she has wasted over the last years.
So this is what inspired me to sit down and read up a little bit on Lupus, Gluten Intolerance and Celiac and see if things have progressed at all.
And then I see this article. The article is about new research showing that some cases of SLE diagnosis might be the cause of a Gluten Intolerance. Thus explaining the rare cases where someone is diagnosed with Lupus and then are retested and it’s miraculously gone. Honestly this is great research because it allows some new insight into new approaches to treating Lupus and other chronic illness by testing to see if allergens are aggravating your symptoms. Honestly, it’s something I’ve been saying from the beginning but it’s about time the rest of medical science caught up, don’t you think?
That being said, I wanted to put this out there before this kind of news starts to circulate. This news does not mean that anyone with Lupus can now just go ahead and chalk it up to a Gluten Intolerance. We don’t want to hear people saying things like,
“Oh, you know what, you just need to cut Gluten out of your diet, that’s probably what’s causing all of this.”
To those who may say this in the future I’d like to reply, “Go to Hell, misinformed hippies.”
SLE is still a disease, and while researching Gluten Intolerance and the effect it has on symptoms, diagnosis and treatment is very enlightening and important, I am weary of this being an excuse for the medical community to dismiss us.