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May 22, 2011

Whatever you do, never self-diagnose.

I know doctors are expensive and you’re almost 100% sure you’re gluten intolerant, but almost 100% is not 100%. There’s still a chance you’re wrong.  And since you don’t have a medical degree (even if your father happens to have one) that chance isn’t as small as you’d like to think. You’re desperate to solve the problem so you accept the first solution that comes along because it kind of seems to fit. Don’t be impatient and impulsive. It may seem to fit, but there could be a better fit.

And that’s the conversation I should have had with myself 8 months ago.

Turns out I’m not gluten intolerant.

Shut the front door!

Yeah, I know, it threw me for a loop.

For the past 3 months I’ve been getting sick again. Me on my super strict gluten free diet. Upper and lower digestive tract problems, the worst being heartburn like you wouldn’t believe.

I was fed up.

You think you’ve found a solution to years of problems, you change your diet, lose weight, totally immerse yourself in something wonderful, and then your body puts the breaks on.

It’s weird how at one point in your life things make sense one way, yet if you go back and look again, you realise what they actually mean. And you feel pretty darn stupid for not seeing it in the first place.

I have GERD.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease. It’s a big word and it looks complicated but it’s not as bad as it looks. I came across it on the internet (where else?) and brought it to my dad, who does happen to have a medical degree. He explained that it occurs when a person has a hiatus hernia which allows stomach acid to come up into the oesophagus and cause damage. The acid effectively burns the oesophagus which can result in oesophageal spasm and a number of other symptoms.

As he was explaining it I was checking things off in my head. That is exactly what happens to me. Last year I was rushed to the hospital in the middle of the night after waking up to an extremely painful spasm in my chest and throwing up blood. They found the hernia and the spasm and a tiny tear in my oesophagus. They found all of this, but they didn’t diagnose me or give it a name.

Over the next few months I had a number of similar episodes and was left feeling worried and frustrated.

So, without being given a concrete diagnosis and with me being slightly obsessive, I set out to diagnose myself. I needed a solution.

Looking back now I can see where I went wrong, but at the time I was reading a lot of gluten free blogs and I guess I just latched on. I do suffer from lower GI Tract problems and so I put the two sets of symptoms together and in my mind I came up with gluten intolerance.

Why did I get better on a gluten free diet if that wasn’t the problem?

Turns out it was because I lost a bunch of weight. Putting on a lot of weight over a short period of time is what caused my hernia in the first place. So losing the weight relieved the pressure on my stomach and so relieved the symptoms.

I recently put on a little weight again and the symptoms began to flare up. It has created havoc with my health but at least there is a bonus. I have my own built in weight management mechanism. Oh, and I can eat bread again. *sigh* I have come to love gluten free but I really missed gluten-full bread.

It leaves me with a dilemma though. What do I do with Chocswirl?

It didn’t start as a gluten free blog, but I have come to love gluten free baking and all of the gluten free friends I’ve made. On the other hand I’m also excited about baking with gluten again.

What do you think?

Would you mind a bit of both?

This little guy knows quite a bit about change. Or should I say adaption. I could learn a thing or two from him.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 22, 2011 12:53 pm

    I can identify with the health issues. And am glad that you know the diagnosis. It’s not always good to self diagnose ;) I think a little bit of both GF and non will be a good balance. All the best and hugs xx

    • May 22, 2011 4:12 pm

      Hey Col, yeah I’m so relieved! I think doing a balance is the answer to, thanks for your opinion! :)

  2. May 22, 2011 5:15 pm

    Robin, I’m really glad you found the cause of your health issues, nothing worse than some weird symptoms and a good internet connection..! I’m pretty sure no one will mind some baking with gluten recipes (and if someone does, you can send them to me to sort out ;) )

  3. May 25, 2011 1:25 am

    Just because you don’t have to eat gluten free does not mean that you can’t keep baking gluten free. Apart from the bread in yesterdays breakfast, I spent the whole day being gf.

    I agree with Jessica. If someone has an issue with you posting gluten items then send them my way. I can set them straight……

  4. mom permalink
    May 31, 2011 5:29 pm

    and I don’t have to read everything when I go grocery shopping! Yay! Love u Robs!

  5. Cakes 'n' Bakes permalink
    June 16, 2011 2:31 am

    I was so excited to discover your blog today! All of your gluten-free recipes look absolutely amazing, and I cannot wait to try some of them out. I am so glad that you found out the cause of your health problems, but I certainly hope that you will continue your gluten-free baking! Best of luck!

    • June 16, 2011 4:00 pm

      Thanks! :) I will definitely keep baking gluten free, glad to have you reading :)

  6. June 21, 2011 5:57 pm

    I think a bit of both is absolutely fine – variety being the spice of life and all that…! So glad you finally got a diagnosis :)

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