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jelefr

Am I going in the right direction?

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Good afternoon! I am new to this board and fairly new to researching Celiac Disease, although I had a general idea what it was. My health has become a huge mystery to me, and it's one that I am desperate to solve. The biggest issue right now is horrible, life affecting fatigue. I have been dealing with it for several years now- as many as 5 to 6. It has gotten progressively worse, and nothing at all helps. Sleep apnea has been ruled out. Intestinal issues are something I have dealt with for almost two decades. I'm 45, but I've already had two colonoscopies as well as two endoscopies. My first endoscopy was as a child for persistent, severe stomach pain. My last colonoscopy and endoscopy was two years ago. The only thing that has come from those is an Irritable Bowel type condition and GERD, which is pretty bad. My bowel movements have always been crazy. They can be very normal and healthy to completely crazy. I've had periods of persistent diarrhea to occasional constipation, which is a fairly new thing within the last year. Last week, I went from having diarrhea that morning to hard, round balls of stool by that evening. My most common stools here lately, though, are not quite diarrhea, but more fluffy, large piles. Gas is an ongoing, daily issue for me. I have copious amounts of gas every day no matter what I eat or drink. Most of the gas in non-odorous but it can be very loud.

I am currently on a total of 60 mg of Ritalin per day just to function. I often add energy pills, purchased from places such as GNC, because the Ritalin isn't working. Yesterday, I took both doses of Ritalin and two energy pills, and I passed out on the couch after work. I work from 7:30am to 3:30pm, and my work day is nothing too crazy. I try to keep very consistent sleep hours and could easily sleep to 1:00pm or longer if I don't have to get up for something. I sometimes have short periods of energy in the mornings, but that is usually over by noon. The quality of my life is greatly affected. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything because I am way too tired. I'm trying to keep up with my exercising, but that is also a struggle. 

I have a history of clinical depression for practically all my adulthood, but it has been very well managed for the last four years. The fatigue is currently causing a great deal of depression, but it is very different from the clinical depression that I use to deal with. When I don't feel sleepy and tired, I don't feel depressed. When the fatigue sets in, I feel very irritable and sad. I realize that the stimulants can cause irritability, but I don't feel irritable or sad when I'm not feeling fatigued. 

I've only recently began to explore that the fatigue and the intestinal issues could be related. I have always accepted that I have a sensitive, cooky digestive track. The increasing, unrelenting fatigue is what has lead me to exploring the possibility that everything could be related. I did have blood work last November. My doctor did not test for anything Celiac Disease specific, but she did do a Vitamin D, ferritin level and overall metabolic panel. All of that is normal. My thyroid level is also normal, and I do take thyroid hormone because I had half of my thyroid removed 11 years ago due to what turned out to be a benign thyroid tumor. 

I just saw my doctor two weeks ago, and she increased the dosage of my Ritalin. That has not helped at all. She has never mentioned Celiac Disease to me before. I made an appointment for this Friday afternoon to talk about it, but I keep wondering if I'm even heading in a direction that makes sense. I decided to post here for some guidance. I'm sorry this has been so long. I'm not really into cutting something totally out of my diet just to see what happens. I also feel like that if I have something that is poisoning my system, I need a real clinical diagnosis of that. I feel like maybe I'm grasping at straws now and imagining a correlation that isn't there. I am not looking for a quick fix, but right now I have no idea what needs to be fixed. I am open to any information and/or suggestions. Thanks so much!

 

Jennifer

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First of all, welcome to the forum! it's good to have you here.

Secondly, I can really relate to the fatigue portion.  it really hadn't affected me until everything hit the ceiling medically for me.  I was constantly tired all the time, and waking feeling rested in the morning. Prone to depression and anxiety, definitely.  It drove me nuts for those first few weeks.  That's when I decided to try going off the gluten to see what happened.  I still dealt with the depression, anxiety at crazy levels, and inability to focus/concentrate, but it had gotten progressively better.  The anxiety got so bad I would have panic attacks in public areas which only ramped up the anxiety because people saw what was happening.  I would encourage you and your doctor to do a full Celiac panel before you decide to try the gluten free diet.  I had my blood work done after I was off gluten for about two months or so.  Thankfully, my levels were still high to register at least a gluten sensitivity. 

Since going off gluten for almost a year now, things have started to finally appear "normal".  Whatever normal means for me now. :) As I am healing from the 30 years of glutenizing, I combined both natural methods with the medical methods.  If you are interested in the different avenues of natural methods, I would be willing to share with you. 

I will be praying for you as you go through this journey. Let me assure you, you are not alone in this journey.  Depending on family dynamics, they can be a great source of support.  This forum is also a great place to bounce thoughts or concerns off of.  Good luck.

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I think it's absolutely worth exploring the possibility of celiac disease. Your PCP can order the tests -- any doctor can.

This is the full, current serum panel and you must be eating a gluten diet, not a gluten light diet or a gluten free diet or you will get false negatives.

Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgA
Anti-Gliadin (AGA) IgG
Anti-Endomysial (EMA) IgA
Anti-Tissue Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA
Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG
Total Serum IgA 

 


Also can be termed this way:

Endomysial Antibody IgA
Tissue Transglutaminase IgA 
GLIADIN IgG
GLIADIN IgA
Total Serum IgA 
Deamidated Gliadin Peptide (DGP) IgA and IgG

Get copies of your results when they come in. If any are positive, then you would move on to an endoscopy and you need to just keep eating gluten until that is done or again, you will get a false negative.

My husband was on Ritalin for years due to his fatigue (before dx). He used to complain to the docs that he felt like all the blood had been sucked out of his body. He hasn't been on the Ritalin for years now & he no longer feels the overwhelming fatigue.

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19 minutes ago, jelefr said:

Thank you guys SO much for responding! I feel like I have been living in a prison for so long. 

Just don't give up.  Good luck and best wishes to you. :) Let me know how it's going for you.  Been there, done this.  It ain't fun.

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