Thursday, August 29, 2013

Health Updates

That was quite a little cliffhanger I created earlier this summer with Meg and her endoscopy, hm? (Posts here and here.) I do apologize to anyone who's been anxiously waiting for news of Meg's diagnosis and hasn't heard from us personally.

Meg does indeed have celiac disease, so this summer we've been taking steps to move from a mostly-wheat-free diet to a strict gluten-free diet. In fact, yesterday we met with a nutritionist who helped to answer some of our questions and navigate us through some of the tricky waters of cross-contamination sources. This is very important in a household like ours, where not everyone eats gluten free. For example, I can't toast the kids' GF bread in the same toaster slots where I toast Dave and Graham's wheat bread. I can't make GF and normal sandwiches on the same cutting board. I can't use the same containers of butter, peanut butter, jelly, etc. for Meg that I use for everyone else--there may be little gluten-containing crumbs in there that could spread to Meg's food. Every time I ask Meg to hand Graham an animal cracker, she needs to wash her hands afterwards.

This kind of thing sounds crazy if you're unfamiliar with celiac, I know. But for Meg, even ingesting the dust from a product made with gluten causes her body to go on the war path. Fortunately, her case is not yet so advanced that we've seen major reactions from that kind of "minor" cross-contamination scenario. But to keep her disease from progressing, that's how serious we need to be.

Of course, we would love it if Meg didn't have celiac disease--it's a lifelong limitation for her; it's inconvenient for those around her, etc. But I am so very grateful that she has this clear diagnosis at age seven. Many people with celiac go well into their adult years with vague or mysterious symptoms that go untreated and undiagnosed until they are very ill. For us, it's been a few stomach aches, and... bingo, here's what it is. And it's completely treatable with diet! No expensive meds, no hospitalizations... as health issues go, this one could be an awful lot worse.

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On a largely unrelated note, I managed to overdose on caffeine last night. Talk about a stupid mistake! I'm not a habitual coffee/tea/soda drinker, but I have learned that caffeine is the one thing that helps with my bad monthly headaches. So yesterday when the headache started and I couldn't find my bottle of Midol (which contains caffeine), I brewed a pot of coffee and downed a great big mug. Then, maybe an hour later, I did find my Midol, and without thinking too much about it, tossed back a couple of those. This was all early evening time as I was prepping dinner, so my stomach was basically empty.

Well, by the time I got dinner on the table, I was shaking all over and feeling terribly weak. As soon as I had eaten a little bit, I lay down and stayed horizontal for the rest of the night. And it was a doozy of a night--I trembled, I was nauseous, I threw up, I had rapid breathing, my heart was pounding, my TMJ flared up. In short, I was a mess. Finally, around 4:00 this morning, my body had metabolized/purged enough that I was able to sleep.

Moral of the story:  Don't be an idiot. A headache (even one that lasts for three days, as some of mine do), is better than an overdose. Medicate wisely.

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