Friday, September 13, 2013

Three Things Friday: Celiac Awareness Day

This special Three Things is brought to you on Friday (the thirteenth, eek!) to celebrate Celiac Awareness Day. I hope everyone is rocking their green today - I know I am.

1. It seems fitting to end National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week with Celiac Awareness Day, because that jerk celiac can be pretty tricky to catch. So tricky, in fact, it's estimated that more than 80 percent of people with celiac haven't been diagnosed yet.With a list of symptoms ranging from digestive to neurological and back again, celiac is hard to pinpoint because there is no such thing as a textbook case.

2. I've said it before, and I'll say it again and again and again: THERE IS NO CURE FOR CELIAC DISEASE. Nope. Not one. The only treatment is a life-long gluten-free diet. But I'm sure you already knew that. So if you're a celiac, and anyone is trying to peddle you pills that will allow you to mow down Pizza Hut again, just keep walking.

3. It can take years for your body to heal once you take gluten out of your diet, and it's not unusual for us wacky celiackies to have nutritional deficiencies up the wazoo. Which is why it's incredibly important to have a healthy, varied diet and take supplements if you need to.

Feel like making a donation to help research a cure? Visit University of Chicago's Celiac Disease Center, the  National Foundation for Celiac Awareness or the Celiac Disease Foundation.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

How to Dump a Doc in 20 Years


Break-ups are hard. Even when you know they're coming, and it's your call to end the relationship, it can still feel like a sucker-punch to the gut.

I woke up yesterday to my annual fall sinus-splosion. I'm hoping to stave off a full-blown infection, but it got me thinking that there is an inevitable trip to the doctor in my future. I remembered the request my new general practitioner made of me when I saw her in the spring, so this morning, I did a chore I'd been avoiding for, like, two years.

Today I did the doctor-patient equivalent of handing back a cardboard box of my ex's CDs and sweatshirts. I requested my medical records be transferred, and that I no longer be considered a patient in my old general practitioner's office.

I didn't think I would be this emotional about it, because it's been over for about two years, but a serious, long-term relationship is ending. And that really, really sucks.

I'd been seeing my doctor for as long as I can remember, and basically as long as she'd had her own practice. She did all my school physicals, hooked me up with free samples of meds I needed so I wouldn't have to pay for prescriptions, and once had to flush my ear canals, which brought us to a new level of intimacy. I was often in the office once per month or more, and we joked that she would name one of the exam rooms after me. (Spoiler alert: This should have indicated a problem. Healthy people don't have medical files that read like War & Peace).

But I had seen the signs for a while. The loss of interest. The change in tone. Knowing that I had too much baggage. As her practice grew, it got harder and harder to get in to see her, and when I did make it past the Fort Knox front desk staff, she was more abrupt. At my last appointment with her, as I checked off concern after concern on  my laundry list of health complaints, she looked me in the eye and told me there was nothing physically wrong with me, and that I should consider counseling to work through my hypochondria issues. Yikes. I'm pretty sure that falls under the heading "What NOT to tell patients" in Bedside Manner 101.

I avoided her for a long time, just because I didn't want to hear more of the same garbage, to walk in, be handed a script for antibiotics and a dose of condescension. I started going to the walk-in clinics in Walgreens for allergy and sinus things, and promised myself I would find a new GP.

A few months go by. I still consider myself her patient, still write her name on all my "In Case of Emergency" forms. I danced around finding a new doctor for a while. I knew I wanted to find a closer practice, one affiliated with the hospital within eyesight of my house. I just never got around to it. Building a good doctor-patient relationship is hard, and it takes time, and I just didn't have it in me to hear that I was crazy from yet another medical professional.

In the winter of 2012, my (unknown to me) celiac was flaring so badly that my husband took the figurative bull by the horns and scheduled me an appointment with a new-to-the-area gastro, and presto changeo, I get the diagnosis that likely saved my life. In the almost two years since then, I've assembled a new team of doctors, including a new GP who understands my illness and respects me as a patient. That makes me feel sort of awesome.

What doesn't make me feel awesome is that I've been holding a grudge. I'm not saying I blame my old doc for my celiac, but I do, kind of. I know it's not personal, that she never had some ulterior motive of letting me slowly disintegrate from the inside out. And yet ... I feel like I deserve an apology, but it's one I will never get.


In a way, losing faith in a trusted doctor is like being a kid and catching your mom with her hand under your pillow, trading a baby molar for a crumpled single. It ruins the illusion, breaks the trust.

Today, I took a step toward closure. I feel more than a little stupid for letting it upset me, but then again, I cried for a week after I saw Titanic for the first time, so I guess I'm just a delicate little flower.

I know I'm better off. Just the same, I think I will spend the rest of the day eating ice cream straight out of the carton and listening to Bryan Adams.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Three Things Thursday

All right, I'm calling it. We're officially into September now, so I hereby decree that it's totally okay to start getting our fall on. I busted out my Fryes on Tuesday, because boots, and I've compiled a list of my fall must-haves for this week's Three Things.

1. Because Starbucks likes to play games with my emotions, I've had a really hard time confirming that their Pumpkin Spice Lattes are on the up and up for those of us with wacky celiacky, and rather than let my beloved PSL send me on a fun-filled trip to the ER, I looked for reasonable alternatives. Enter Amoretti. I blogged about how much I love their Pumpkin Spice syrup last year, but let me re-iterate it: It's amazeballs. You can buy it on Amazon for about $12 (and it qualifies for free shipping if you are Prime, which you should be, because it's worth it). It's gluten free, has no artificial colors or flavors, and is Kosher, if you're into that. I put it in regular coffee usually, but it's perfect for DIY lattes, too.

2. I'm probably the only person born after 1950 who has an addiction to candy corn, but for anyone else out there who can't get enough, my gluten-free fave is Jelly Belly's candy corn. While candy corn SHOULD naturally be GF, the bigger companies (I'm looking at you, Brach's) puts the warning out that it's processed on the same lines as wheat, which in my book makes it a no-no. The bad thing about the Jelly Belly stuff is that it's both expensive and hard to find, unless you order it online, but I've also found it at places like HomeGoods and TJ Maxx, so keep an eye out there.

2. This has nothing to do with gluten, but it does have to do with fall, so bear with me - if you are a boot junkie, you probably already worship the artistry that is the Frye Boot Company. But if you can't imagine paying $300-$600 for boots, 6pm.com is running a sale on their Fryes right now. They still aren't cheap, but if you're in the market for a well-made, high-quality boot, you can't go wrong. I got a pair on super-duper sale a few years ago as a present for myself when I finished grad school, and I *still* think they might be the best investment I've ever made, fashion or otherwise. If the hubs and I weren't taking a trip next month, these bad boys would be en route to my house right now. As someone who pretty much lives in leggings and dresses during the fall, I'm always happy to share the boot love.

Anyone looking forward to anything else about the fall?