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School of Hard Knocks

March 28th, 2010

Well I have spent the past month attempting to follow a strict gluten-free diet, and I feel like I have been on a roller coaster, physically and emotionally. This past week I hit rick bottom. I should have been celebrating my health and the birthday of my three year old son, but instead I found myself sitting on the porcelain throne hugging a trash can, thinking “Oh God when will this stop? What did I do to deserve this?” I finally told my husband that I needed to go to the emergency room because the stomach pain and nausea were so terrible I just didn’t know what else to do.

After being given anti-nausea medication, pain medication, and fluids the hospital released me. I went home and threw up at least one more time. After managing to finally fall asleep, I woke up stiffer than I had been in about a month. The next day, my husband started feeling nauseous, but the flu didn’t hit him quite so hard. He only tossed his cookies once; I threw up three times (not counting the dry heaving). It has been almost a full week and I am still moving slowly, feeling pain and muscle stiffness. James didn’t even have to go to the doctor. It only took him about 3 days to be back to 100% functional. Why would he recover so much more quickly than me, besides the fact that I am a wimp?

Birthday Barn Cake
A few days before my trip to the ER, I was happily baking a cake for my son Corbin’s birthday. I made a regular chocolate cake for the family, and made gluten-free cupcakes for myself. I almost licked the chocolate cake batter, but I caught myself and washed my hands. After mixing the chocolate cake, I noticed flour everywhere and the “Gluten Headache” setting-in. My hands started turning deep splotchy red. I’m not sure if Benadryl helps or not, but I took some since my hands were splotchy and called it a night.

On Sunday, I was constipated, but felt well enough to host a family birthday party for Corbin. We went out to eat at Monical’s Pizza where I had salad and a gluten-free pizza. Monday morning I woke up feeling nauseous, but thought it was probably because of being constipated. I went to work and made it through the day, but got really sick later that night. I didn’t really eat much until Wednesday when I had a banana.

On Thursday I had a lunch meeting at a Mexican restaurant where I learned that cross contamination is hard to avoid in this type of restaurant. No corn chips for me because they fry everything in the same oil. I must stress that I did not eat even one delicious freshly fried corn chip with the yummy salsa. Instead I ordered beans, rice and eggs and still got a Gluten headache. I assume this is from the fact that they make quesadillas on their grill.

At lunchtime on Friday I ordered a baked potato from the students in the life skills class. Of course I had to ask if the butter and sour cream were gluten free. The teacher of the class was just diagnosed with Celiac’s, so I felt confident that they would be able to answer the question. The butter and sour cream were brought on the side and I was told that the container for the sour cream said, “May contain trace amounts of wheat.” Now I know this is really stupid, but by this point in the week I was starving, and I just wanted sour cream on my potato….so I ate it anyway. The day before I managed to deny myself fresh chips and salsa, but I couldn’t pass on a little sour cream. Big mistake.

So today is Sunday, and I am hoping to get back to more normal bowel movements soon. Maybe in a few days the muscle pain will leave again. It has been a rough week, but sometimes we learn best through the school of hard knocks.

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  1. Anne
    March 28th, 2010 at 16:32 | #1

    There is a learning curve to living gluten free – don’t worry, it will get easier with time.

    As far as baking with wheat flour, most people, myself included, don’t do that. The flour gets into the air, you breathe it in and swallow some too. It coats everything in the kitchen as it settles down during the following 24 hours. Now all your kitchen surfaces are contaminated.

    There are some wonderful GF cakes that even the gluten eaters in your life would love. I am sure they would much happier knowing you were not getting sick from making cake for them.

    Hang in there, it is worth the effort.

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