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I'm Back - Diagnosis Is Confirmed

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Hi,

I posted here a few weeks ago after my doctor told me that blood tests revealed Celiac Disease. I didn't even know he was testing me (I haven't had any of the normal symptoms) so it came as quite a shock. The reason he did the test is that I have a complicated medical history: Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (dx 2006), Thyroid Cancer (dx last month - total thyroidectomy done last Friday), virtually no Vitamin D, severe anemia . . . and I'm only 35. So my doctor (who is fabulous) went looking around and discovered the celiac. I went to the gastroenterologist and he said there was really no chance of it being a false positive (the levels were too high) but that a biopsy would be a good idea.

Anyway, the endoscopy was last week and I got the call yesterday that the biopsy "clearly confirmed" celiac. And so I am now gluten free. I've known this was coming, but I'm struggling. Part of it is because I've been symptom free - it's hard to appreciate the seriousness of this when I didn't even realize there was a problem.

Ultimately, though, it just seems so HARD. So I guess I'm looking for some short cuts - what are the "must read" posts here to help newbies get started. I'm sitting at home right now recovering from the thyroid surgery, and am feeling so hungry because I don't cook really well and can only think of popcorn!

Thanks for reading all of this - starting help would be MUCH appreciated!

Jess

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I'm curious what your blood numbers were. I was just positive myself and turn 37 shortly. Mine seemed high but I don't have any reference to someone else with celiac. I'm trying to determine if a biopsy is even worth the time and money.

Good luck as I just went gluten-free last week!

Hi,

I posted here a few weeks ago after my doctor told me that blood tests revealed Celiac Disease. I didn't even know he was testing me (I haven't had any of the normal symptoms) so it came as quite a shock. The reason he did the test is that I have a complicated medical history: Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (dx 2006), Thyroid Cancer (dx last month - total thyroidectomy done last Friday), virtually no Vitamin D, severe anemia . . . and I'm only 35. So my doctor (who is fabulous) went looking around and discovered the celiac. I went to the gastroenterologist and he said there was really no chance of it being a false positive (the levels were too high) but that a biopsy would be a good idea.

Anyway, the endoscopy was last week and I got the call yesterday that the biopsy "clearly confirmed" celiac. And so I am now gluten free. I've known this was coming, but I'm struggling. Part of it is because I've been symptom free - it's hard to appreciate the seriousness of this when I didn't even realize there was a problem.

Ultimately, though, it just seems so HARD. So I guess I'm looking for some short cuts - what are the "must read" posts here to help newbies get started. I'm sitting at home right now recovering from the thyroid surgery, and am feeling so hungry because I don't cook really well and can only think of popcorn!

Thanks for reading all of this - starting help would be MUCH appreciated!

Jess

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Well, popcorn's good. B)

Wow, what a week you have had !

Welcome to the world of compulsive label reading !

There are natural gluten free foods, like in the produce aisles, that are fairly straightforwardly, obviously gluten free. Those are your friends.

Fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs, eggs (chickenfruit ;) ... )

... and the plain meat case. Chicken, fish, beef, pork, anything that has not had anything added to it.

Plain rice is good, and Lundberg makes gluten free rice cakes, too. Rice cakes are great bases for toppings.

Extra virgin olive oil and pure apple cider vinegar are your friends, too, as they are used in many recipes, as well as for making your own sauces/dressings.

Most plain canned vegetables are gluten free. Pumpkin puree is a vegetable, for example, that is great in soups and stews and chile as a thickener, and often overlooked. Besides that, pumpkin and coconut milk and eggs can be easily baked into a very tasty custard, either with sugar or sugar substitutes. Canned, drained, rinsed beans are another great vegetable that can be a good source of both fiber, protein, and starch. Some beans, with green salsa on a gluten-free corn tortilla with some cheese, is a very easy meal.

And then there are manufactured foods. You are looking for confirmation of its gluten free status. Some brands are good at calling out that, and will mark their regular packages gluten free. For example, Hormel makes gluten free pepperoni and gluten-free turkey pepperoni, and it says it right on the package. They also make Naturals gluten free lunchmeat. Buddig also has its lunch meat marked "gluten free." Best Foods marks its mayonnaise gluten free, but it has soy. I just found a jar of Spectrum brand Soy Free Gluten Free mayonnaise in the store, with canola oil, for those trying to avoid both.

Other brands are not so straightforward. But you are now gearing your shopping towards that gluten free label, especially for baked goods or items made with grain products, where the potential for gluten contamination is highest.

Say you want to find out if your brand of peanut butter is gluten free, you can search 'gluten free brandXXX peanut butter' and see what comes up. Some information on the web is dated, so you will need to check to see if the status is current.

You need a shopping list. I was looking at this store's website (they are moving into my area of CA later this year) and they had a gluten free list of everything in the store, which I bookmarked thinking that somebody could use it. Voila, as many of the items are name brand gluten free in other stores.

pdf of Fresh and Easy gluten free items

http://freshandeasy.com/Content/pdfs/QualityYouCanTrust/gluten_aware_list.pdf

This is just one store. Many other grocery chains have the same sorts of lists, and you can find them by googling 'gluten free name of store,' like 'gluten free Trader Joes,' or 'gluten free Whole Foods,' or 'gluten free Raleys'

And they will have a pdf or printout. You can make a grocery list off of that, because these brands tend to be in more than one store.

You can also google 'gluten free name of your town health food store' and get the locations of any smaller health food stores in the area, which may also be great places to pick up gluten free items.

So if you are wanting to just have an easy breakfast of gluten free cereal and some sort of liquid on it for breakfast, you have a lot of options. For "milk" if you are not doing regular dairy, there are nut and rice and hemp milks, or you can thin out yogurt with some water.

For lunch, think meat/vegetable/fruit and maybe some rice or tortilla or corn in some variation, or some gluten free bread. There are also gluten free soups that come in aseptic boxes, like Imagine brand. (read the labels) And there is always that peanut butter.

For dinner, you can do that again, meat/vegetable/fruit/starch. Big baked potatoes with toppings are good. Chef's salads are good.

For spaghetti and macaroni, there are gluten free rice and corn pastas. There are also gluten-free pasta sauces, if you don't want to used canned tomato puree and make your own.

Skillet dinner. Fry meat in olive oil, add liquid and instant rice and can of vegetables, seasonings, cook until rice is done and heated thru. Very basic, easy. 4 servings. Leftovers for next night.

For pizza, you can use a pre baked corn or rice tortilla as a base, or a pre made gluten free pizza crust, purchased or homemade, and then top it with tomato paste, olive oil, spices and cheese and pepperoni, and you have pizza. (Yes, there are also vegan gluten free cheeses on the market for those avoiding all dairy.)

Bread. Many people like the Udi's. But if you think you're not a baker, you can always learn. You can make single or double serving quick breads, right in the microwave, in a bowl, which are fresh, fast, and easy. Crack the egg, beat with water and vinegar and oil, add the flour or nut meal and the leavening, two minutes later there's a bun. This is a great way to try out new mixtures without blowing up the effort on an entire loaf and an hour in the regular oven. The trick to gluten free baking is to always test the result before declaring it "done," because baking times ALWAYS vary. This means you poke the top to see if it springs back and is solid, then stick a knife in it to see if it comes back clean. Gluten free flours do not behave like regular flour, they bake at slower temperatures for longer times. The commercial standard is for rice/tapioca type blends, but if you don't care for that, you can make bread out of almost anything.

Hopefully this will have given you some ideas on how to get started !

p.s. you will need a new toaster, cutting board, and anything plastic that can hold gluten residue should be recycled or donated.

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I'm curious what your blood numbers were. I was just positive myself and turn 37 shortly. Mine seemed high but I don't have any reference to someone else with celiac. I'm trying to determine if a biopsy is even worth the time and money.

Good luck as I just went gluten-free last week!

These were my numbers:

Deamidated Gliadin Abs, IgA . . . 15

Deamidated Gliadin Abs, IgG . . . 33 High

t-Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA . . . 16 High

t-Transglutaminase (tTG) IgA . . . 12 High

Endomysial Antibody IgA . . . Positive Abnormal

Immunoglobulin A, Qn, Serum . . . 216

DQ2 . . . Positive

DQ8 . . . Negative

Good luck to you too!

Tekala . . . THANK YOU so much for all of the info - definitely a lot of great tips to start. One wrinkle that I forgot to mention was that I try to eat a vegetarian/vegan diet as much as possible. And I'm realizing that may be harder than ever now!

Thanks again!

Jess

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Hi,

I posted here a few weeks ago after my doctor told me that blood tests revealed Celiac Disease. I didn't even know he was testing me (I haven't had any of the normal symptoms) so it came as quite a shock. The reason he did the test is that I have a complicated medical history: Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma (dx 2006), Thyroid Cancer (dx last month - total thyroidectomy done last Friday), virtually no Vitamin D, severe anemia . . . and I'm only 35. So my doctor (who is fabulous) went looking around and discovered the celiac. I went to the gastroenterologist and he said there was really no chance of it being a false positive (the levels were too high) but that a biopsy would be a good idea.

Anyway, the endoscopy was last week and I got the call yesterday that the biopsy "clearly confirmed" celiac. And so I am now gluten free. I've known this was coming, but I'm struggling. Part of it is because I've been symptom free - it's hard to appreciate the seriousness of this when I didn't even realize there was a problem.

Ultimately, though, it just seems so HARD. So I guess I'm looking for some short cuts - what are the "must read" posts here to help newbies get started. I'm sitting at home right now recovering from the thyroid surgery, and am feeling so hungry because I don't cook really well and can only think of popcorn!

Thanks for reading all of this - starting help would be MUCH appreciated!

Jess

Jess, you state: "Part of it is because I've been symptom free - it's hard to appreciate the seriousness of this when I didn't even realize there was a problem." Low vit d, lymphoma and low vit D are all potential "symptoms" of untreated/undiagnosed celiac. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you go gluten-free.

As far as short cuts, I suggest the primer on the Gluten Free Goddess's blog: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/p/how-to-go-gluten-free.html

Good luck and welcome!

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Jess, you state: "Part of it is because I've been symptom free - it's hard to appreciate the seriousness of this when I didn't even realize there was a problem." Low vit d, lymphoma and low vit D are all potential "symptoms" of untreated/undiagnosed celiac. You might be surprised at how much better you feel when you go gluten-free.

As far as short cuts, I suggest the primer on the Gluten Free Goddess's blog: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/p/how-to-go-gluten-free.html

Good luck and welcome!

Thanks! I agree that I likely have different symptoms than most would associate with. Celiac. I tried the link but it didn't work - can you resend? Thanks!!!

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