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mike10217

Deployed In Afghan With Celiac

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Hi... I have been doing a lot of research lately on celiac disease.. I havent been officially diagnosed with it but I am currently in afghanistan with only 2 months left of the deployment. For the last 5 years my stomach has been super sensitive to food and never really thought about why. 2 years ago my cousin found out he was intolerant to gluten and suggested that maybe i am too. I kind of just ignored the rules and kept eating whatever was in my way.. Now about 2 months ago after eating gluten because there is no other choice here in afghanistan, my stomach is become EXTREMELY senstive to any food I eat. For the last week i have tried eating gluten free and doesn't seem to help, now I know it probably takes more than a week so I am going to continue with this diet but I was hoping for some suggestions maybe. My symptoms are : Extreme dizziness, feeling weak,just not thinking straight, diariahh after almost every meal.Thanks for any help anyone has to give!

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Have you reported this to your medical team or commanding officer ( however you're supposed to report an illness). Not thinking straight and needing a bathroom often probably isn't safe in Afghanistan - for you or the others around you. I would think they would want everyone at their best.

Sometimes the dizziness & fuzzy thinking can be the result of vitamin deficiencies caused by Celiac. Those will take awhile to get better. Getting enough fiber without gluten may be hard with your limited food choices.

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I would most definitely suggest that you see the doctor asap!

I can't imagine how difficult it is for you on base to try to eat gluten free, especially if you're eating in the community mess hall, where everything touches everything in the kitchen.

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I agree with karen, you should report this asap. While it does sound like gluten intolerance it could also be some type of infection you picked up there in Afganistan. Giradia is one that comes to mind that causes symptoms similar to gluten intolerance but it is a a parasite found in contaminated water. If it is an infection you need antibioitcs. Don't wait until your deployment is over to try to get medical help.

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I would think that there is MAJOR cross contamination over there! Even something gluten free that is made in the same oil...I'm not talking about the basket...it could be a bran new basket but same oil will make me sick for days! Plus it can take some people over a year to have the sympotms go away :( After you have finsihed your service, you may want to use this as your launching ground. This way you can choose the products you want. Gluten is everywhere! It's hard to escape. That might be a better test for you.

Thank you for your service for our country!

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Thanks for the reply, I was home on Leave and went to a civilian hospital actually, and they thought I had the parasite called guaradia, or however its spelled. I was on antibiotics for 2 weeks for it and nothing happened. So I am assuming its either intolerant to gluten or the celiac disease, because I have had this problem for about 5 years now, but its gotten so bad the last 2 months now , i've lost 15 pounds in the last 2 months from whatever this is. I have been to the medic here about this problem, they want me to come back on the 26th after eating gluten free for a couple weeks to see if it helps, but its near impossible to eat gluten free here other than salads ... haha

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Thanks for the reply, I was home on Leave and went to a civilian hospital actually, and they thought I had the parasite called guaradia, or however its spelled. I was on antibiotics for 2 weeks for it and nothing happened. So I am assuming its either intolerant to gluten or the celiac disease, because I have had this problem for about 5 years now, but its gotten so bad the last 2 months now , i've lost 15 pounds in the last 2 months from whatever this is. I have been to the medic here about this problem, they want me to come back on the 26th after eating gluten free for a couple weeks to see if it helps, but its near impossible to eat gluten free here other than salads ... haha

Did you ask them how to eat gluten-free? Can they help you get some food accommodations? Can you get peanut butter? You could put it on apples or something or just eat it with a spoon.

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You need to be eating gluten for a celiac blood test to be accurate. Did you ask them to run a celiac panel? Might be a good idea before you try gluten free. Once you go gluten free, you'll react even worse to it when you reintroduce it into your diet if gluten really is causing your problems. Makes it hard for those who are gluten-free to eat it again in order to get an official diagnosis.

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Right, if you want to be tested for celiac you need to keep eating it. The tests check for anti-bodies in your blood or damage to your intestine via an endoscopy. The antibodies decline after going gluten-free so those tests won't be any good. Not that they are perfectly accurate anyway. Same with the endoscopy, you should continue to eat gluten until it is done, if you want to have one. Positive blood antibodies are enough to convince me there is a problem, but doctors often want an endoscopy.

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I bet that in Afghanastan, they aren't doing Celiac blood tests or elective endoscopies. They probably just want to see if they are on the right track before they send him home.

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Thanks guys for all the replies,im going to the medic today, i had a lot of blood drawn a couple weeks ago, hopefully they tested for celiac disease, I doubt they did though.. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this and figure it all out, because this really sucks!

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I hope you get some answers soon. But yes, stay on gluten until you're tested, or you may get a false negative result. If they took a lot of blood for testing, maybe they could still request a celiac panel be done? It's worth checking out. Good luck and keep us posted!

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Do stay on gluten until after your tested. I hope they can get to the bottom of this soon. Be sure to let them know you have celiac in your family as it is a genetic disease. As a parent of a young man who was in the Army before diagnosis I know how hard things must be for you. He had extreme problems just on routine manuvers and I can't imagine what it must be like to have this and be deployed. My son recieved a medical discharge and there is a possibility you may also. You have my prayers and my gratitude for your service.

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Well guys thanks so much for the concern and all the replies, I went to the medic today and sounds like I will be going to germany in 3-5 days or so , im not sure the wording for it but they are going to be putting a camera inside my stomach to check some things out. I am going to continue eating gluten , seems like thats what everyone is saying to do so it shows up on any tests. Once again thank you all for the help :). Oh by the way germany is where people who are deployed go for serious injuries,ect so should be able to find out whats going on there.

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Just a word of advice...you have to have gluten in your system for a month or more to get an accurate reading. Just a week or two would give you an invalid test. It takes awhile. Also, there are a lot of false negatives. Hope you find some answers! It's miserable not know what is wrong with yourself.

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Thank you for your brave service for our country.

There is a long list of things that present with the same symptoms. If your scoping starts at the top it is called an endoscopy with biopsy. (biopsies need to be taken from "normal" appearing tissue. This rule in or out a lot of things. The smples then need to be evualated by a pathologist. (Who better screen for an eosinophil count too.)

Our family's prayers and thoughts will be with you. God Bless!

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Make sure you ask them to take 8-11 biopsies to maximize your chances of a diagnosis. It's possible to miss the affected areas with only a couple of samples taken. I'm glad you're going for further testing and are being taken seriously. Eat at least 4 slices of bread (or the equivalent gluten laden food) to keep your gluten levels up in the meantime.

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Well guys thanks so much for the concern and all the replies, I went to the medic today and sounds like I will be going to germany in 3-5 days or so , im not sure the wording for it but they are going to be putting a camera inside my stomach to check some things out. I am going to continue eating gluten , seems like thats what everyone is saying to do so it shows up on any tests. Once again thank you all for the help :). Oh by the way germany is where people who are deployed go for serious injuries,ect so should be able to find out whats going on there.

The test your going to have is an endoscopy. You will likely be in what is called a twilight sedation state and you won't feel or remember anything. I hope all goes well and they get you there soon. Do let us know how things turn out and how your doing. Wishing you the best and that you come home safe and sound.

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take 8-11 biopsies

You might want to write that on your forehead.

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While you're there, you might ask to be tested for vitamin deficiencies. Your symptoms sound a lot like a number of Vitamin B deficiencies (especially B12, which is a common deficiency in people with celiac). If you ARE deficient in B12, ask for B12 injections. Good luck!

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Thank you for your service!!

Best of luck with the biopsies. If they're negative, do consider going gluten-free if you can as soon as you're able. Lots of folks have negative tests but their symptoms still improve on a gluten-free diet. (that's my case.) I hope you find some answers and relief soon! It sure sounds like it could be gluten making you ill.

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Ok so here is an update on what has been going on, I was denied to go to germany for medical attention, I went to the doctors here at the FOB Im staying at , they wanted me to go to germany because there was nothing they can do for me here, I waited about a week for my chain of command to deny me.. So I decided to try going gluten free myself, I have been gluten free for about a week and a half now, and all of my symptoms have gone away BUT ONE , brain fog is sticking with me pretty bad, I am forgetting things easily and just feel stupid. I am not sure if this is a symptom of celiac disease, but if it is how long should it take to go away? Its really annoying... thanks

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It can take a while, butsounds like you're on the right track. You also may be getting glutened inadvertently, especially in your situation.

Try to stay away from the obvious gluten, eat whole foods -plain meats, fruits, veggies, as much as possible. Stay away from sauces. Can anyone send you care package with gluten-free goodies like energy bars, etc. where you are stationed?

If you eat off a cafateria line try to get there first or when they switch containers to avoid cc.

Tabasco is gluten-free, btw, if you need a packaged seasoning...as well as plain salt and pepper.

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My aunt has been sending me gluten free packages, like gluten free bread,peanut butter and jelly, just stuff like that, and I have bene eating salads, and meats mainly , I only have a month left here in afghanistan so im not to far away from home, I just really want this brain fog to go away it sucks! Everything else feels amazing, I have never felt so good and its only been a week and a half, if it wasnt for this brain fog I would feel perfect. Just wanted to see if it was part of the celiac disease.Also I know a lot of people are wondering if its possible to be in the military and deploy with celiac disease... and I strongly suggest finding another career path, military does not cater to celiac at ALL...

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My aunt has been sending me gluten free packages, like gluten free bread,peanut butter and jelly, just stuff like that, and I have bene eating salads, and meats mainly , I only have a month left here in afghanistan so im not to far away from home, I just really want this brain fog to go away it sucks! Everything else feels amazing, I have never felt so good and its only been a week and a half, if it wasnt for

this brain fog I would feel perfect. Just wanted to see if it was part of the celiac disease.Also I know a lot of people are wondering if its possible to be in the military and deploy with celiac disease... and I strongly suggest finding another career path, military does not cater to celiac at ALL...

Yep. Brain fog is definitely a part of it. Mine went away in apx. 1 week; however, everyone is different. You may also have some thyroid damage from prolonged gluten exposure, and that can contribute to brain fog. Definitely get all of this checked out when you get home.

Stay safe and give your aunt a big kiss when you get home.

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