Thursday, June 10, 2010

Gluten-free Hives

Apparently gluten was the only thing keeping my skin on my body.  Who knew?

Two weeks ago I decided to go gluten-free.  There were no intestinal problems or obvious links, but after reading that gluten intolerance could be causing the tingling and burning continuously bothering my feet since December, I decided to try.  (I could complain about my other symptoms too, but we'll just stop with the feet.)  The other options for diagnosis aren't so great.  And my doctors are fairly convinced (but haven't convinced me) about what IS causing it, and they never mentioned gluten. 

It was a quick decision, after a lot of suggestions from people to do just this, and me ignoring them. I read that because I have a 1st order relative with Celiac's, I have an increased likelihood that gluten is causing me problems.  And suddenly, I thought: hey, if this works, it'll be good.  And gosh, it's cheaper than another MRI and the lab is getting sick of checking me for diabetes. 

I'm not sure how this gluten thing works however.  They say that for those who are intolerant gluten flattens the cilia in your colon and they can't absorb the nutrients.  All my nutrient levels are fine.

It's an experiment and we'll see where it goes.  What could be the harm? 
Well, on the first grocery trip Blue -my giant, stoic 9 year old- crumpled to tears in the grocery aisle.  "Pancakes, waffles, cake, muffins.  Why? oh Why are you doing this mom?!"  Literally crying. 

Gluten-free isn't exactly the cheapest diet I've ever seen. And I'm not even doing much direct substitution (one dollar for a Tablespoon of a grody, dry granola bar!!).  Just more potato chips, rice cakes, and corn tortillas.  Being a vegetarian as well means a lot of salads and chips and bananas.  And did I mention the potato chips?  Still on the menu!  And I'm loosing weight anyway, which was not my goal. 

This week I started shedding skin fast and furious. It's coming off in balls and I find myself showering and scrubbing it off several times a day. Is this a sign that gluten was my problem?  But could gluten possibly be the problem if it is the only thing holding me together, like a pinata?  Will I eventually have no skin?  It would save on sunscreen, I guess.

I volunteered at Coyote's school this week: the final cleaning.  His teacher and her sister were there, and I just love those older ladies.  They've got the statistical knowledge of six or so decades and they've seen everything.  When a cinnamon roll appeared and I declined, EVERYONE needed to know why.  And so I said.  And then I mentioned that I was shedding skin like a nervous snake, several times a day.  They'd known lots of gluten-free beginners.  And here's their warning.  First, they said, the skin will go, leaving you still fully covered, thankfully.  Then they said I could experience severe thirst.  AND THEN, once the cilia are free to absorb everything, I might discover food allergies I had no idea I had.

Enter the hives.  I have never had hives before.  And now I do.  At first, it just seemed like a few mosquito bites.  Then I thought I'd suddenly caught a mad case of fleas.  There aren't fleas on this side of the state, usually, but the winter was apparently mild (for those not milking cows at the crack of dawn).  And now these lumps are all over.  Massive itching.  ACK!!!!  I'm wishing all my skin would just go away after all!

And now I get to guess at what I'm allergic to!  I think it's the microwave popcorn I tried yesterday while volunteering at Blue's school.  Why? Well... it would be very convenient. I hate that stuff and I don't have a microwave.  But what if it's strawberries? Milk? Eggs?  Cheese? Wine?  Gin and Tonic?  Cornflakes?  Bleu cheese?  Oh god.  I just couldn't live.  Maybe gluten is for me after-all as this is all starting look like starvation dominoes o'misery. 

Maybe the MRI would be less trouble.

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