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Why Don’t I Seem To Have Symptoms?

January 14, 2012

What’s with my symptoms?  Or lack thereof?  When I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease I couldn’t believe it.  My nephew’s wife had Celiac, but I really knew nothing about it beyond the fact that she couldn’t have wheat.  And to be totally honest, I’d have to say I thought it was probably a bunch of malarkey.  Did I mention I’m cynical?

So then they told me I had it.  But I, seriously, have never exhibited a single symptom for which Celiac is known.  No digestive problems, no anemia, no nothing.  Until one day, I’m deathly ill and it turns up.  So as hard as I find it to believe, the fact is that as soon as I stopped ingesting gluten, I got well.  Well, other than the stricture that developed in my small intestine.  But to be fair, I’d only been off the poison for a few days.

And I am conscientious about it.  Thinking you may be dying and not knowing why, not being able to eat for months and losing 75 lbs…those kinds of things will make you conscientious.  But what also makes me conscientious is the fact that my body doesn’t seem to tell me when I have ingested the stuff.

Discerning where the poison is lurking is not so easy, so you get on the internet and try to determine what is safe.  I bought an iPhone just for this purpose…standing in the aisle at the grocery looking at my phone and asking “is it safe” like the nazi in Marathon Man.  And finding things in forums like “I’ve eaten it with no problem”.  Well, that statement applies to everything I’ve eaten.  I never have a problem.  Does that mean I haven’t, in two years, accidentally gotten, as they say in the biz, glutened?  If so, I need to go to Vegas.

I mean, it would be much easier if I got some feedback.  My nephew’s wife tells me she feels a tightness in her chest.  That would be nice.  I mean, I don’t want to end up in the ER with a Dilaudid IV (ahhhhhhh….)….  Oh, I mean, really I don’t.  But a little chest tightness would be ok.  Just a little something to say “Don’t do that again”.  That’s why I don’t eat oats.  There are g-free oats out there now.  The problem was that they were all processed in the same mills that handled wheat and were therefore subject to cross-contamination, but now there are dedicated facilities.  But I’ve also read that even though they don’t contain the poison, some Celiacs can’t tolerate oats.  So with no warning signs to let me know one way or the other and not uhhhh really wanting any more Dilaudid, I refrain.

And on top of all this, the doctors know nothing.  And don’t care.  To a doctor you’re either a sick person or a well person.  And if you are a well person they don’t care about you.  That’s where the old adage of the guy going to the doc and saying “It hurts when I do this” and the doc saying “Then don’t do that” comes from.  Problem solved.  Now leave.  So I ask….”If I have Celiac, why don’t I have any symptoms?  Why have I never exhibited any symptoms?  Are the two attacks of Pancreatitis I’ve suffered in the last year related?  Are you a doctor or do you just play one?”…and I get shrugs.

So, though I must admit that the intermittent spats of heartburn I used to have that forced me to make sure I had a few Rolaids around have all but disappeared, I still don’t get it.  But, the old adage rings in my head…”When I do this, I seem to end up in the ER.  Maybe I won’t do that”.  So, I guess I’ll just do without the oatmeal.  And the Dilaudid.


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