It’s 2 am on September 3rd, 2012 and I am wide awake with a horrific stomach ache. It started after my lunch out today at a local restaurant known for having a “gluten free” menu. My review is coming up this week but if you have celiac or severe gluten intolerance I would avoid it at all costs.
Gluten poisoning. What to say about gluten poisoning? It is awful. Just dreadful. Miserable.
Imagine having a stomach virus that gives you diarrhea along with a brick like feeling in your belly without being able to think or sleep. Eating gluten frequently causes a “brain fog” which is similar to having lack of focus. Primarily for me its because I just keep thinking about the horrible pain in my belly. It’s crippling.
The longer I go without gluten in my system, the worse the symptoms are when I do consume the little jerk. I can feel it in my joints. As I type this email, my fingers are throbbing. I can feel my heart beating in my stomach. My head pulsed all day from a low level headache and now I’m wide awake with insomnia from my stormy gut. My stomach is so bloated I look like I’m 4-5 months pregnant.
This is an allergy. My husband is allergic to tree nuts and swells up with hives and could die. My allergy is a slow painful death. Celiac causes tons of other problems for people including hypertension, hypothyroidism, heart complications, behavioral problems, sleeplessness and even cancer. For years I’ve lived with numerous under lying symptoms of celiac but because I ate it every day, my body was in a constant state of turmoil which apparently I just came to adjust to and go on with my life.
Gluten poisoning is different. Instead of a little stomach ache all the time, this is one big, giant, crippling stomach ache that lasts for 2-3 days.
Several weeks ago we went to a Cincinnati Bengals game and kept walking by the concessions with the fresh, hot soft pretzels. My total weakness. My favorite food. I could eat them every single day.
I rationalized eating one that we usually go to 2-3 games per year and if I just let myself eat 1 pretzel at the games, I would satisfy my craving of foods I’ve been forced to deprive myself of for months now.
I ate the pretzel. It seemed like the most delicious pretzel I’ve ever consumed. I ate it in the most miniscule bites to make it last what seemed like forever. It was so good.
An hour later, I was fine.
2 hours later, I was fine.
This was exciting. I beat the system! I could enjoy a pretzel every once in a while and be fine.
Boy was I wrong…..
3 hours later we were about 10 minutes from home and I could feel it. My stomach started to gurgle. My head started to sweat and my heart started pounding. I know that feeling and we had to get home quick. I ran in the house from the driveway to use the restroom. Just like old times I thought to myself. Oh well, I can handle it. I lived with it for 15 years.
Little did I know what was going to happen that week. Friday night was the game. Saturday I felt like a freight train hit me. My fingers were totally swollen and my joints ached. I was exhausted and had a horrible stomach ache. Sunday was just as bad. Monday, Tuesday Wednesday – by FRIDAY I started to feel better. It took me a full week to feel back to normal. I ate fruit bars for almost the whole week. No appetite. Frequent restroom trips. It was just awful.
This was the first time I purposefully ate gluten since February. I’d gone 6 months without consuming a large amount of gluten. I’m sure I’ve had some in the mean time with cross contamination but nothing like this.
The only thing that seems to make my stomach feel better is the natural sierra mist. There is no amount of medicine, vitamins or foods that make your stomach feel better after being poisoned. You just have to stop eating gluten again and wait for your body to heal. Just take it one day at a time. If you have to rest, you have to rest. It’s very similar to having the flu. Your body will tell you when it is time to get back to the normal routine.
I’ve been reading all these things on the internet in blog posts and random other websites. They don’t work. Waiting it out and resting works. Drinking soothing tea might ease your stomach ache but it won’t heal your belly or the damage done to your intestines. Have you ever tried to sleep with a horrible stomach ache? It’s nearly impossible. When I eventually get to bed tonight, I will inevitably lay there tossing and turning until I have to get up in the morning.
Things will get better. I will get smarter about food choices and be more careful about going out to eat. It’s very difficult to trust that restaurants can fully protect you and understand the severity of gluten poisoning. It’s ultimately my responsibility to protect myself and in the future I’ll do a little more research before heading out to eat just because they have a gluten free menu. You live and you learn. The most mistakes I make, the more educated I become on this topic!
The Pretty Little Celiac