WHEAT= GLUTEN ! A Life Threatening Combination For Me and Many Others.
Diagnosis is everything.
This is Hub No 269 for me ! Many of my previous Hubs have featured my personal struggle with a perforated bowel which allowed surgeons, via an emergency operation to repair it, to detect a peripheral growth on my liver and having initially saved my life, passed me on to others to complete a biopsy on the removed tumour, to confirm that I was also suffering from Non Hodgkins Disease.
The full story of that, the Lymphoma and the dedicated work of the Oncology team who successfully released me from the disease to a state of remission from the Cancer, still ongoing today 3 years and 9 months later on, is covered, as it actually happened, by the many Hubs I wrote as we battled through the treatment of Chemotherapy etc. They remain in place for the reading, so no further details are required here.
My story and struggle against a mystery illness started at a young age
As a young child, I was diagnosed with pernicious anaemia, as a teenager I developed a debilitating illness that no Doctor diagnosed but which, after 24 months seemed to resolve itself.
Later in my middle 30"s it struck again and diagnosed as Folic Acid deficiency it again seemed to clear away miraculously after a couple of years. No further problems were met till my mid 50"s when I was severly struck down but happily sent by my GP to a fine Consultant, who diagnosed, and explained to me for the first time that I was a CEOLIAC.
NEVER HAVING HEARD OF THE WORD, LET ALONE THE DISEASE, i LATER MARVELLED AT THE WORDS OF THE NUTRITIONIST HE REFERRED ME TO, SHE EXPLAINED TO ME THAT THE PROBLEM WOULD VANISH IF I AVOIDED ALL WHEAT AND THE GLUTEN IN IT. Nothing more, nothing less.
No drugs, no surgery, just a control on what was eaten and within 14 days I was a fit man once more as there was no Gluten irritating my bowel walls causing them to bloat and fail to do their digestive function in tandem to the walls of my stomach.
Back then in the 1980"s GLUTEN FREE products were not easy to come by, so diet became bland and boring and eating out a lottery. No wonder then that, feeling fitter as time went on, my diet discipline slipped and the dreaded wheat including gluten was once more consumed.
2010 BROUGHT THAT TO A SWIFT END. 14 DAYS DISCOMFORT IN TURKEY, FOLLOWED BY JUST 2 DAYS AT HOME BROUGHT MATTERS TO A PAINFUL HEAD ONCE MORE LEADING TO THAT VITAL EMERGENCY OPERATION.
In medicine ,diagnosis is everything and thankfully my Doctor"s diagnosed correctly on all fronts and since that time, aided by my eagle-eyed wife, I have managed to keep clear of wheat and thus gluten, to beat Cancer and enjoy a full life once more.
I am far from unique and now many more people are diagnosed with Ceoliacs Disease and follow the same path to recovery and beyond.
Not all those suffering from wheat intolerance develop Cancer but even so find their lives blighted by the effects of Gluten. One such person was UK TV Presenter GABY ROSLIN who told her own story via the news media recently.
As a child she had runny nose problems, sneezing difficulties, stomach aches and sleep deprivation as a result. However, not prpred to suffer silently, she sought help from outside direct medical opinion and visited a NATUROPATH. I must confess to not knowing the exact area of expertise of such people, but clearly they must exhibit commonsense ! Gaby actually told the healer that she thought she was intolerant to wheat and was thus advised to steer clear of it for a 2 week trial.
GABY STATES THAT HER MOTIVATION FOR TAKING ACTION WAS BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED WAS HER PARENT"S SUFFERING FROM CANCER.
Her father was diagnosed with bowel cancer 19 years ago. He is now happily recovered but her mother sadly died of lung cancer 18 years ago, a key factor in Gaby giving up smoking.
Results in Gaby"s action to shun wheat were fast. Within a week she was not blocked up,her bloat was reduced, and she found herself thankfully devoid of stomach ache. The 2 week trial over, she resumed eating wheat once more and found herself soon to be in a very bad way. She reported, sickness, asthmatic symptoms and greater pain than before.
Now whilst that was distressing, the silver lining was that she was now sure that her diagnosis was correct. The singular cause of her physical illnesses as decribed, was WHEAT. Progress was now a possibility.
Like with me, from that point, life changed, mostly for the better. True, eating out was difficult and you learned not to trust any waiting person or chef. They tended to tell you what you wanted to hear but having eaten , you soon knew whether they had told the truth or not.
All the time wheat attacked your insides it also affected the immune system, which increase, if unchecked, the range of allergy within the sufferer.
Nowadays, Gacy bakes her own bread. I get mine on prescription. It makes great toast ! Thus, the two of us, like other ceoliacs have become experts in finding our own solutions to avoiding wheat but still eating well.
Greater Choice and Greater Freedom.
Since the 1980"s awareness in all quarters of Wheat Intolerance and Ceoliac issues has galloped forward. We must remember that Ceoliac"s was only diagnosed in World War 2 in Holland, where there was so little normal food, that children especially foraged in the bulb fields to eat. Medics noted a dramatic drop in stomach related cases and thus, the research was mounted to clearly identify Wheat as the main cause. Once wheat was unavailable, recoveries were fast and new cases stalled all together. Game, Set and Match !
Nowadays, Supermarkets have "GLUTEN FREE" or "FREE FROM" aisles which improve and extend with each passing year though they still have far to go. Decent Restaurants now advertise "GLUTEN FREE" on Menus, whilst even some good fish and chip shops advertise "GLUTEN FREE BATTER" for their fish.
However, ethic restaurants like Chinese and Indian as well as other S E Asian outlets have been slow to embrace the need fot Guten Free and they are not alone. Even so, the advances made to date are amazing when one thinks back to the 1980"s.
The greater choice and freedom this affords people like myself and Gaby is warmly welcomed, though we are both very wary of buffet lunches as items almost exclusively use wheat and must thus, be avoided.
All in all life, for those of us who have a big problem with wheat intolerance is much brighter and we would all say to others yet to be diagnosed, take control yourself. Give up wheat and wheat based products for 14 days and note changes. If they are positive, go and tell your GP and ask him to build on what you now know and help you to avoid having a perforated bowel or Cancer at some point in your future.
It really is a no brainer. Give up wheat for 14 days. Take note then advise your GP.
A THREE STEP PLAN THAT MAY NOT ONLY SAVE YOU SUFFERING BUT COULD ADD YEARS TO YOUR LIFE.