Blog Archives

Itchy Mistakes

20130504-191555.jpg

We have switched our sun screens to more natural options.
Gluten free. Of course.
We got
Spritz bottles and creams and lots of options for our vacation, which was to involve a lot of pool time!
So after day of spritzing and wiping on sunscreen for 8 kids and 2 adults… An event that took 30 minutes plus…
I buckled.

I missed my spray on sunscreen.
We had been wearing gluten-free sunscreen last year. Just not natural brands. (Business idea for someone?)

I tried to remember which brands we used. In my haste I grabbed Neutrogena SPF spray for the pool for kids and ones for adults.
Looking back. We only used the specific one for the face that was specified gluten-free. We used banana boat brand aerosol sunscreen.
Whoops.
Just like with my strange delayed auto immune response… My kids are similar.
When they ingest gluten, the rash shows up on their hands, feet, knees, elbows, etc. bi-laterally. (Matching, both sides of their bodies.). The older the child is, and closer to puberty, the worse the rash seems to be.

It isn’t something immediate, which is unfortunate, as I had applied it later one afternoon and the following morning before they started complaining… later that evening.
Ugh.
You know those moments you just really dislike a shortcut you took?
That was me. Major regret.
The kids have been so forgiving.
I, however, have a hard time forgiving myself!(especially when they are scratching so many days later!). My oldest daughter is covered everywhere but her face and where her swimsuit was. She drew the adorable picture on her iPod for me.

Thankful for our Lord and Savior and His new mercies each day. I will get this right one day…

20130504-191717.jpg

Dermatitis herpetiformis is different than hives. Similar to my armpit rash from a few months ago, these are like blisters and don’t show up immediately like an allergy. Itching makes it worse, and it takes a few weeks to subside.

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

Psalm 103:8-12

Anxiety – What Is It?

Colored by my daughter, to symbolize how thankful she is – that God helped us figure this out! ūüôā Praise be to Him!

You or someone you know many struggle with anxiety.¬† Often times it’s a genetic thing, which is why you may find you tend to worry or act like aunt¬†Martha, or your (gasp) your father.¬† Many people are on medicines for their anxiety, because¬†it can spiral them into a depression – if left to its own irrational devices.¬† I’m sure there are many more – but these are the top ones I hear about the most – and perhaps are the ones most people consider when they think of people with anxiety.

Well there are lots of things that incubus¬†“ANXIETY”…¬†but if it’s genetic, as far as how God¬†designed someone to have more anxiety over someone else, then¬†He also created a way through Him to have¬†everlasting peace, and a calm soul.¬† Obviously environment helps to mold and encourage or diffuse that anxiety disorder.

If this isn’t a struggle of yours, read this anyway – while¬†considering how frustrating to control it would be,¬†for those who do.¬† Not all anxiety requires medication, but some of it has been fueled by very real things.

A general anxiety disorder – or GAD has the following “symptoms”

– Difficulty concentrating

– Fatigue

– Irritability

– Problems falling or staying asleep, and sleep that is often restless and unsatisfying

– Restlessness, and often becoming startled very easily

Some people have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Which is an anxiety disorder¬†recognized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). With obsessive-compulsive disorder, you may realize that your obsessions aren’t reasonable, and you may try to ignore them or stop them. But that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts in an effort to ease your stressful feelings.¬† {This is me.¬† I call it task master – but… it’s OCD. ūüôā }

Then there is a social anxiety disorder or social phobia (this is definitely NOT me, but I know people with this.)

– Blushing

– Difficulty talking

– Nausea

– Profuse sweating

– Trembling

I had some major¬†OCD type of issues, more so –¬†before having 8 children – and having to let a lot go….¬† so I’m going to guess I didn’t have that genuine condition, or God knocked the wind out of that for me.

Truthfully I think much of the anxiety I have had¬†– is fueled by outside stress vs. unrealistic things.¬† {If only staying home was the option – but I do love getting out and about.}¬† My¬†CD was always much worse when I was stressed by an outside trigger.¬† Being¬†in a new place, and not knowing where the bathroom is, being¬†around stressful people or situations that constantly¬†question¬†– anything I could internalize – would make me sick… and add in a few of the probabilities – new place, and stressful people…¬† *ugh*¬† Not. Good.

I remember having a lot of anxiety, was while carrying my first child.  It was a lot of pressure, and a new situation.  So many unknowns.

…and then .. there was the PUPPS rash I had with my first pregnancy… (Chicago University Celiac Center has confirmed this is tied to Dermatitis¬†Herpetiformis, the¬†skin type of celiac disease¬†– get a skin biopsy – you have celiac disease, yes – for real.)

In about my 8th month, this horrid, crazy, itching rash that took over my stomach.

Nothing would touch these hives.¬† I mean nothing.¬† Thankfully they were only on my belly.¬† My Dr. explained it as a hormonally induced rash – from pregnancy, essentially stress on your system from the hormones.¬† I was told,¬† “you might get it once, but never again.”¬† (I had it multiple times BTW, but never THIS bad)…¬† Once the baby is born,¬† it’s supposed to go away.¬† She said.

After labor, mine BLEW UP.

I mean – it was EVERYWHERE.

ALL over my body.¬† Every fold, and crevice¬†–¬†and it itched something TERRIBLE.

The Dr. on call, visited the following day to check me out… When she pulled back the sheet – she gasped and said, “WHAT is that?”¬† I cried inside thinking… aren’t YOU supposed to know?¬† I chalked it up to my ‘one in a million girl” status.¬† Again.

So imagine that.¬† 22 hours of labor.¬† First child, and grandchild…. and did I mention we came home Christmas Eve?

No pressure.

I was an itchy,¬†hormonal¬†mess – and anxiety was high. ūüė¶

They gave me steroids to diffuse it, and eventually it worked, a month later.  But not before drying out my milk supply and causing hallucinations, anxiety and depression beyond belief.

However,¬†NOW that¬†I’ve read how¬†PUPPS is also¬†tied to celiac disease¬†as well…¬† and I think – WOW.¬† How many times was this missed throughout my lifetime?

No.  Really?

Have a beautiful Friday!  Do all you can to ward off anxiety by keeping your stress level low in all ways you can, working out and eating right!! Do all you can to be healthy for Him!

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity,

but a spirit of power,

of love and of self-discipline.”

2 Tim. 1:7

I’ve Lost It

Nature’s “Energy Bar”… eat more fruit!

I’ve gone bananas.¬† Yes, it’s true.

I’m officially a gluten-intolerance crazed person.

Not a news flash you say?

Well if it’s possible, I’ve taken it to a new level.

I am now, not above talking to complete strangers about gluten intolerance.

Uh oh.

Yep.¬† I know…

We went to the pool this weekend, and during¬†our normal “everyone goes potty before we step foot into the pool area…” I see this mother, with her child…

and the rash on her elbows was UNmistakable.

My heart sank…

“I wonder if she knows….”¬† I thought.

She walked out, and I gathered my 4 bathing beauties and headed out to relax and have fun.

I settled into my chair… minutes went by… then an hour.¬† I saw that lady… again, and again.

The Holy Spirit kept tugging on me.

Sara… what if she has a gluten intolerance and has no idea?

Sara…¬† what if you’re the person who needs to talk to her?

Sara… are you going to just NOT say anything… and let her struggle… when you could maybe help point her in that direction?

Do you ever wonder where that button is to shut off that conversation in your head?¬† Well, we don’t really want to shut off the Holy Spirit, but sometimes we do try to avoid the conversation.

When it’s something I don’t like doing (like talking to complete strangers…)…¬† I really would have rather NOT spoken up, and that’s how I know –¬†it’s not of me.¬† I would have stayed in my chair.

I’ll never see that woman again… I reasoned.

But I knew, God knew…

How could I NOT say anything?

Sara… I’m here with you…

OK.  We can do this.

As I got up, and walked over to this woman…I prayed… “Lord, help me have the words to say – to just mention this… Lord please help this woman to seek more answers for her health.¬† In Jesus name, Amen.”

“Excuse me,” I said.

“Yes….” the woman turned around.

“I couldn’t help but notice that rash on your elbows…” I started.

“Oh the psoriasis?” she answered, then crossing her arms in defense.

“Well, I noticed it, because my son had that… and well…¬†we found out it’s more than that, and it’s from¬†a gluten intolerance, and often goes with psoriasis,” I studdered to get the information out.

“Is it bothering you?” she touted back, still with her arms crossed.

“Oh no…no, it’s not bothering me.¬†¬†Not in the least.¬† Like I said, my son had that… and several of our children actually… ” I comforted.¬† “We had been treating it topically and searching for an answer as to what was causing it, and some other problems.¬† It never seemed to go away.”

“What did you say it was again?” she inquired.

“Dermatitis herpatiformis,” I repeated.¬† “It’s very itchy, and gets worse when stressed, and the ingestion of gluten is the cause.”

She nodded.

I continued to tell her about other symptoms caused and related… and she patiently listened, as did her husband, as he also nodded – wide eyed.¬† She started to share other symptoms she had in line with the things I spoke of.

She shared that only one time the bumps had gone away, when her doctor put painful¬†shots in them.¬† But within a month, they were back.¬† She also said that her doctor just recently ordered another, more powerful drug for her to get rid of it… that nothing was helping, but she was “so sick” in so many ways.

I share with her that my children’s rashes, AND my husband’s psoriasis went away after we went gluten-free.¬† As in, gone.

She just stared at me in amazement… “So what did you say the medicine was again?”

“No medicine,” I restated.¬† “Just avoiding gluten in all food, products and medicines…”

“Wow,” she said, standing in shock and turning to her husband.¬† “Wouldn’t THAT be something, if this was all caused by gluten.”

“Just look into it,” I prodded her.¬† “It might be worth your time.”

“I will…” she said.¬† “I definitely will… thank you.”

I apologized for interrupting her day, but I felt at peace knowing I did the right thing.¬† She seemed genuinely appreciative.¬† I’ve been praying for answers for her – and for an open-minded doctor who will listen, and truly help her get lasting help.

I’ve been telling my husband that I need a card for weeks (and no, NOT for my blog… ) But something I can give people to point them in the right direction when it comes up in conversation… because amazingly it seems to keep “finding me” – and I want to be prepared.¬† I don’t believe that’s chance.

The best part of the conversation was when she looked down while I was talking and mid-sentence said, “I like your necklace.”

(It was the necklace I usually wear… a brushed silver rectangluar shaped charm¬†with a cross shape cut out of the rectangle.)

I just pray God will use this situation in a way that brings Himself glory.

Did I mention I can’t believe I did that?¬† Oh wait… it’s because I didn’t.

Thank you God for the strength to do the impossible.  Not my will but Yours.

“Everyone who believes that¬† Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and¬† everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of Him.¬†¬† By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments.¬†¬† For¬†this is the love of God, that we¬†keep His commandments. ¬†And¬†His commandments are not burdensome.¬†¬† For¬†everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world.¬† And this is the victory that has overcome the world‚ÄĒ our faith.¬†¬† Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

1 John 1-5

What Is In That Cloud?

Several of the products that went out the door.

My hair is pretty important to me. Not that it’s some wonderful thing, but perhaps because I always struggled with making it tame when I was younger. When it came “in style” to wear it straight, I knew I was in for some serious challenges.

My hair is fine, dry, and curly… and there is LOTS of it – so it’s THICK. My brother’s used to call me Medusa on any given morning, at the breakfast table.

Yes. It can get ca-razy.

I was blessed after college, with a great hair dresser in the city. It was 2 hours to visit her, but before kids – this was my every-other-month shopping trip and girl time. I loved how my hair felt and how my stylist understood my needs… and my hair.

Then came the children… and going to the city, was… no longer a practical option. Thankfully I was blessed again with a wonderfully talented friend, named Melissa. Melissa understood my hair too, and again my hair was happy. I got the right products, the right cut, 12 years later – I’m still very happy!

Melissa’s great. But the last time I saw her, I didn’t think to mention celiac disease and what I was going through. I didn’t really want to talk about it on my “hour to relax”… I was tired of thinking about it frankly. That didn’t seem like a big deal…

Until this past week.

When I realized my favorite hair products probably worked so well, because they had WHEAT PROTEIN in them.

And I was right.

Unfortunately – they were making me ill and not helping my cause. I was very, very sad. Many people said that because you’re not ingesting hair products, it shouldn’t be a problem… But I read enough other information which made a good case that explained how *I* had been feeling. I wondered why I always got bad headaches while getting ready to go somewhere, and rashes from different deodorants and soaps I tried. Yes, the gluten-filled products had to leave.

My GIANT bottle of Kenra… which I dearly love – was recently kicked to the curb… along with a lot of other products.

“Now WHAT?” I thought. This is insane! What CAN I use that will work and not make me sick?

It didn’t help that this week’s weather has my hair on HIGH FRIZZ alert.

Suddenly my hair felt dry, out of control and just YUCKY.

We began looking at all of our cosmetics… the body wash, shampoos, our nail polishes and deodorants… and slowly weeding everything out that could potentially irritate rashes, or be ingested.

A little sad – but knowing, “Ok, this isn’t making me sick”, is very comforting. We’re still on the search for the perfect products to tame this beast, but we’ll get there! Today is better than yesterday, and that’s all I can ask for.

We really DO need to be checking out all of these products these major companies are selling us. It’s CRAZY what is in some of them… and obviously we’re abosorbing it into our systems.

Not. Good.

I ordered some Zoya nail polish, which is gluten-free and comes dermatologist recommended… and I’m excited to try that! Toxins – BE GONE!

“He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

Psalm 62:6

Mommy, My Tummy Hurts.

My daughter shared her drawing with me this week. She told me that gluten makes her feel sick – so these are her enemies.

It’s never a good thing, when a child tells you their stomach hurts. Most moms might think, great – a stomach bug is coming on – bring on the barf pails and Lysol.

At our house, it’s been a regularly occurring saying for quite some time. Years actually.

I’ve just assumed most of it was in their heads… After all, my stomach hurt most of the time – that’s pretty normal in my mind. Just relax, pray, think of something else.

All the while – I realize, it’s not like pushing the “easy” button when something is going on inside your body that you can’t control.

Last year I thought my daughter had really started stressing out more, having more anxiety, and I was just SURE she had inherited my digestive system… I figured it was hormones. When my 5-year-old son started in with the “my tummy” hurts (and he’s had GI issues, since age 1), and refusing some snacks recently… I really started thinking something could be going on.

But what?

Little did I know in a few short months, we’d be connecting the dots for our family…

That rash my oldest 4 children get, that seems to never go away… is more than just eczema. The tummy aches, head aches, asthma and behavioral issues REALLY could be all connected.

My 12-year-old son’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbow.

My daughter’s dermatitis herpetiformis – elbows, knees, hands. Yes, it itches something terrible.

When I inquired about it being a celiac rash (dermatitis herpetiformis) last month at the Dr’s office, I was about 100% positive that’s what it was. Even when my daughter’s blood test for celiac disease came back negative, I<already knew differently.

Apparently, again, the blood test doesn’t allow for what a skin test would show. Her body was saying, “Stop feeding me gluten!”

I’m happy to report, after only one week off of gluten – there has been much improvement at our house. My children with the rashes have almost NO burning, itching rash … which is the first time in YEARS.

Yes, that confirms what I suspected…celiac disease. But I’m happy to have an answer, and way to help them. As my friend said – our food IS our medicine.

All of the children have been so happy to feel well, and have been great about all of the changes. Personally I just want to cry with joy, I’m so thankful to have all of the puzzle pieces fit and KNOW how to help my kids, and myself.

Yes, they may be living without some things, according to the world of indulgence. However, the gift of health will be worth SO much more.

Praise God.

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

1 Peter 5:7

What Gluten Intolerance Looks & Feels Like

After reading on celiac disease, I honestly wish I would have known a sliver of the information before my first question to my doctor about how I was feeling. ¬†I wish I hadn’t discounted much of how I was feeling, and symptoms I had… especially as they worsened. ¬†I think if I would have, he would have tied them together much sooner.

Would have, could have, should have…

It doesn’t change the now factor. ¬†It happened the way God wanted it to, in His time.

When you’re a busy, tired parent, it’s easy to excuse some of your symptoms as normal… ¬†you may assume you’re just stressed, or tired, perhaps you have a little bug. ¬†My allergies were really bad this spring, and I had just stopped nursing the baby. ¬†It was hard to know what was going on with my hormones, I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the past 12 years.

I can totally see why people end up treating every other ailment, completely missing the very cause of what is continuing to make them sick – day after day, meal after meal.

NOW that I look back – it’s much easier to see the path of destruction – but in the middle of it, it’s very difficult.

I thought celiac disease meant people couldn’t have breads. ¬†I knew it was deeper than that, but that was the main thing I thought. ¬†I grew up on wheat bread. ¬†The IBS I had was sporadic, so I knew it couldn’t be that… ¬†and although several times my mom said, “it must be some preservative that is making you sick,” when I was in high school… ¬†I knew it would be a needle in haystack, so I thought I’d just deal with that symptom for the rest of my life.

Again, I always thought my fingernails were just weak.  I never thought that it was a lack of vitamin absorption.

The bloating… as it worsened, I knew something was wrong. ¬†I just didn’t know what. ¬†It wasn’t a normal, “wow, I’m full” feeling. ¬†It was more of someone taking an air pump and blowing up my stomach until it was just plain painful, and hard to the touch. ¬†Sitting hurt – and my left side and rib always felt bruised afterwards.

On the left, normal me - on the right, 15 minutes after ingesting 2 bites of wheat bread.  My stomach would get hard - like I was pregnant and it hurt.

About that same time, I got a rash on my back. ¬†I never had back acne or issues like that – so I couldn’t figure out what it was. ¬†It was like little blisters, and it itched like crazy. ¬†After reading more, I realized it was probably a celiac rash – I’ve finally connected that it would have been worth it to mention it to the Dr! ¬†Write weird symptoms down.

Since there are over 300 symptoms, and they vary for everyone – it can be really hard to tell, ¬†especially if you’re just used to some of the symptoms. ¬†You accept them as “normal for you.”

Now I can totally attach the toe cramping/charlie horses I would get Рto when I would ingest the most gluten (1 piece of bread, and 1/2 cookie).  The day after that I would feel hung over from a major brain fog and mouth sores.

With symptoms coming and going, waxing and waning … and not realizing what all GLUTEN was in, it’s not a wonder most people can’t figure out what is going on. ¬†Not to mention the brain fog makes you so confused! ¬†I would forget how to type, or talk – and thinking straight with focus was a challenge.

I read so many stories of people who went for YEARS with symptoms, and no answers… ¬†testing negative, only to test positive 2-5 years later. ¬†I would read those stories of people who had similar symptoms to mine and cry.

I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE ME and I can’t stand feeling like this. ¬†Please God, let us find out what is wrong.

I wanted to share my pictures, because when I found pictures like this, it solidified my suspicious feelings on just what was occurring within my digestive system. ¬†Hoping someone else can be helped like I was! ¬†Remember, not everyone has GI issues or symptoms at all, so even if you don’t have the symptoms I do – that doesn’t mean you can rule out celiac disease.

The bottom line is – you know your body, you know what is normal for you – and when you feel sick, or you know something is wrong – it’s important to take note. ¬†You may not think different symptoms are related – but you never know, they could be! ¬†I’ve never wanted to be the patient that came in for everything – so I had a really hard time calling and pestering my Dr’s office for test results, even at my sickest point. ¬†I just kept updating the nurses when they would report to me that yet another test came back that, “everything looks normal”… ¬†However, I did myself an injustice by not being more bold. ¬†I think I had become too weak to fight…

While everyone was comforting me that it was as blessing nothing major was wrong – and I half-heartedly agreed, I knew in my heart there was INDEED something majorly wrong, we just hadn’t found it yet. ¬†Something FOR SURE¬†wasn’t right.

Praise be to God that I’m on the road to better health. ¬†It was a long 3 months – (especially for anyone who had to listen to me rack my scrambled brain for what was making me sick!), but I’m so very thankful for all of you who have helped me, and who continue to be encouraging on this new path we’re traveling. ¬†I thank God for you!

“The LORD is good,¬†a refuge in times of trouble.¬†
He cares for those who trust in Him,”

Nahum 1:7

%d bloggers like this: