Some problems caused by celiac that, coincidentally, I have:
Sjogren's, arthritis, osteoporosis, antithyroid antibodies, ANA + (indicator of heading toward lupus or other autoimmune issues), psoriasis, menstrual irregularities, bad intestinal issues that I don't talk about a lot, the liver issues, neurological symptoms, brain fog and memory issues, anemia, menstrual issues, vitamin deficiencies that I should not have given my diet (magnesium), chronic fatigue, extreme hunger after I touch anything with wheat.
The first rheumatologist gave me the blood test for it five years ago, before I had any of these problems except the orthopedic ones, I guess to see if that caused my fragile bones. I thought celiac was something people had at birth or not and didn't realize people could get it at any time.
I kept getting sicker and sicker over the course of the last month or two. We brought our grocery budget for a family of 4 under $100 a week by shopping for what's on sale and planning menus around that. That also means buying cereal that's on sale and that we can use triple coupons on (50 cents for Raisin Bran) rather than Rice Chex or oatmeal cereals I often ate. We are eating healthy but almost all grains were from wheat.
I can't afford the copay on a biopsy; the blood test is often inaccurate. I am going completely gluten free. I can't know for sure whether I have celiac or just a complex of interrelated autoimmune symptoms. But, frankly, it seems irresponsible to not try a gluten free diet. Apparently people can get really, really ill from celiac and I do have symptoms that match up. It's worth a try and I'm glad to do what I can and excited that it may work.
When I eat as wheat free as possible, I feel better overall, with more energy--I feel smarter and that my brain will work. I was noticing that I still would feel bad after eating a rice cake, though--cross contamination, maybe, because of the flavorings on it.
The cost is a concern and is the main reason I had not tried gluten-free more before. Now WalMart now offers a gluten-free pasta for under $2.00 and Chex has a good cereal that is cinnamon flavor and far more tasty than Rice Chex. Corn chips and corn tortillas that aren't contaminated are good options. Too much corn will also me itchy, so I need to find some other options too. I found about Bob's Red Mill from Gluten Free Girl, so we can make some things far more cheaply ourselves. I can't afford a lot of the gluten free cereals, crackers, granola, etc. on a regular basis, but I'm sure I'll get some on occasion. It would be nice to have some convenience foods on occasion, though I don't normally think of bread or pizza dough as a convenience food!
Between my daughter's violin camp, my son's Scouting day camp, and trying to get some other things done I have not had a chance to go to the specialty stores yet, so I've had a lot of rice this week, sweet potatoes, and small baked potatoes--I need some carbs. We're out of quinoa! We need to get that too.
I don't have a lot of physical energy from pain so the idea of making my own breadcrumbs is daunting even though I used to love to concoct new recipes. I'm having a few food cravings but also enjoying some really good food--my husband made eggplant Parmesan this weekend. The eggplant is not breaded--it's baked with balsamic vinegar in the oven before layering it with cheese and homemade chunky tomato sauce (hardly a sauce because the tomato retains its texture). We've had a lot of free tomatoes this year from some of my parents' customers who sell at the Farmer's Market--tastes so good on grilled cheese sandwiches (have got to get the gluten free bread mix, not an option now) or chopped up and cooked with basil, Vidalia onion, a touch of sugar, a mix of Italian spices and a touch of white wine. Incredible flavor!
I only just now found out you can acquire it at any time, that it's not something you're only born with. I did wheat free for a while as much as I could and felt better but slid off; I'd been tested a long time ago and didn't have it then--before all of these other things. I got really sick the past few weeks from eating as we have but feel excited that there may be some pretty simple solution to most of it; I doubt it will cure the arthritis completely but it may help some.
Still not sure on the wheelchair cushion--I do have Katja's extra one. Goodness, my hip is hurting me all the time, and my sacrum and I'm wondering if I could sit up very much even in a wheelchair with a good cushion. I don't want to invest lots of time and energy and insurance money on something that won't work better.