Sunday, September 16, 2007

Finally a Bit of Progress

"How's your tummy?" I asked Eric after dinner.
"It hurts a (muttered word here that sounds like 'tot'"
"It hurts a lot?" I ask Eric, because a stomach ache generally means we've made a mistake.
"It hurts a DOT." He said pleased with the description.
"Like only a little dot of your tummy hurts?"

Believe me, after three months of a gluten free diet, this is real progress. The best answer I've gotten to that question in that last few months is "It got a little bit better."

And he's putting a couple of foods back into his diet that he hasn't eaten for years. It's just peaches and bananas at the moment. But last May he had rejected them completely. And today he at least tasted some yogurt. At the beginning of the summer this would NOT have happened.

He's gained four pounds since June. He's never put on weight that fast. This isn't necessarily a good thing long term. But for now, it's showing that we're on the right track.

The weirdest thing about this disease is how little it takes to cause a reaction. With a regular food allergy, (not an anaphylactic one) most people can tolerate microscopic amounts of their allergens before they have their reaction. I have a friend with a wheat allergy and she can eat 'normal' oats without a reaction. Oats are grown in rotation with wheat, and stored in the same silos. Hence, they are not generally considered a safe food for celiacs, even though oats have no gluten on their own. So most celiacs can not have regular oats without reacting. There are special oats just for celiacs, grown in separate fields and stored in dedicated silos. But they cost like $10 per pound.

So, a gluten free diet is not too hard once you get used to it. But it's so easy to get tripped out when food is consumed outside of our house. If we get him a drink at Au Bon Pain, is there gluten on the gloves of the server that could to cause a reaction? You really have to think about this stuff. And sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith that it's going to be OK.

That's the exhausting part. That's why I'm hoping there is a cure for this in the next ten years. There's really great substitutes for ALL gluteny food. But in those instances where you try to be super vigilant and you get sick anyhow, I wish there was something he could take to ease the reaction. Just something to make this a little easier to be out in the world. But for now, this is and will always be his safe place to eat.

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