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Let me start by saying I've never had hives and, to the best of my knowledge, never had food allergies. I'll be 65 in October. Two years ago my dr diagnosed me with mild GERD and a daily Prilosec usually stopped the heartburn and night time vomiting, unless I ate too late or the wrong foods, etc. But basically the GERD was under control.

Then the bloating started after eating a buttered roll every night as I did computer work. I had never heard of gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease until the bloating scared me into doing some research. And then,the bloating, along with symptoms I've had since I was a child, began to make sense. I 'played' with a gluten-free diet, not wanting to see my dr yet, because I started to think the GERD diagnosis was wrong, and I decided to test myself and then discuss my reaction with my dr. Within a week 3 major symptoms, among them the bloating, STOPPED!!. Then I glutened myself again (not so much to test my theory but honestly because I fell off the wagon) and the symptoms started again.

For about a month I was a yo-yo dieter .. gluten free .. gluten .. gluten free, etc. In addition, I started ordering gluten free meals from restaurants, only to get mild reactions after eating them. Further talks with the restaurants uncovered the fact that there may be small amounts of gluten in sauces, etc. but they assured me they didn't add any gluten. Well, duh!! They just don't get it.

About a month ago the top of my right arm, from wrist to elbow (top only) became severely, ridiculously itchy and eventually broke out in hives. I don't believe it's DH because the little bumps swell to inch round, ridiculously itchy hive like things. No liquid comes out of the welts. Also, the skin on my arms changes and looks very leathery. Then this itchy condition spread to my left arm and two huge hives appeared on the back of my neck. The hives on the back of my neck eventually went away and I'm left with two extremely itchy arms (tops only) and the hives come and go.

I thought this might be related to my dog licking my arms, but I stopped him from doing that and the hives still come and go. So, although I don't know exactly what they are (DH, hives, or something else) I'm convinced they are yet another sign that 'gluten has entered the building'.

At this point I do not plan to go through the pain of eating gluten again just to be tested. I'm seeing my gastroenterologist next month for a yearly check up. I have pictures of the hive like things, lists of my symptoms and when they stopped and I'll discuss a plan of action going forward.

I am very grateful to be responding to a gluten-free diet, and I'm very grateful to have delicious gluten-free food, certified gluten-free bread, rolls, coconut milk desserts that are mouth watering and fill all my cravings (company is called 'So Delicious' and it's dairy free, cultured coconut milk. The raspberry is truly incredible).

No more eating out for awhile. If I have to for business I'll have fresh fruit or veggie salads. I have a big reunion coming up next week. As hard as it will be to avoid the foods everyone else will be eating, the thought of the pain, the intestinal damage and those huge, red, itchy disgusting hives will get me through it.

Sorry for the long post and thanks for the support.

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