Saturday, December 4, 2010

Diagnosis: Celiac Disease, Prognosis: Hopeful

Friday night I got a call from my doctor... I have Celiac Disease. My aunt was diagnosed with it about a month ago, and so I had bloodwork done over Thanksgiving break. And the results are in, Celiac Disease. Apparently, my intestines cannot tolerate gluten -- primarily wheat products. One of the symptoms is fatigue. But that seemed pretty easy to attribute to other things: marathon training and being a full-time PhD student. That would explain it, right? Even when I get enough sleep, it doesn't always feel like enough. Perhaps this was why.
I cried a bit when I first found out. I kept thinking of things that I won't be able to enjoy: beer, donuts, pizza, cinnamon buns. Now, I hear there are some substitutions that can be made on some of this. But still - no more Blue Moon? Dunkin Donuts? But time for a reality check too. That was not the worst thing I could get a phone call about from the doctor. Holding onto that, and grateful that it wasn't anything else.
I have 2 weeks before I go home, and at this point, they say to just keep eating gluten, so that they can get an honest assessment of what things are like. So, I am not going to lie: time to drink and eat up. Might as well enjoy the last hurrah!
The American 10k Olympian Amy Yoder Begley has Celiac Disease. I just read an interesting article about her from Running Times. She was diagnosed in 2006, and she says that since she has found out, it has made a big difference. Her training has improved as she has learned what foods work best for her. And she also says the restaurant options for CD are growing (Outback Steakhouse - guess I know where I'm going). She said she has more energy now that she is not eating foods that are breaking down her body. "I’ve actually found that energy levels are much better during the day. I’m not having a lot of lows any more and I feel better,” Begley says. I think I have a new role model in the running world.
That is something to be really hopeful about. Have I only been operating on partial capacity the past few years? This is what I need to focus on (and not what foods I have to give up). Maybe things will improve a bit when I drop the gluten - more energy, new PRs? This is what I am holding onto.
As I learn more about this, I will continue to write about it - what foods are going out, what new things work. I would also love to hear from anyone who has made the switch - what foods become your go-tos during training?
Yesterday, I ran 3 miles in 25mph winds. That sums it up right now: fighting to move forward. Between the end of the semester, the diagnosis, and a knee that is still not feeling 100%, that was all I could do. But I still got out there.
And maybe I had 2 donuts this morning...

1 comment:

  1. If Celiac's keeps you off the rubbish American processed food diet, you are going to be a whole lot healthier - grains are an artifact of modern living and probably unsuitable for everyone.

    Celiacs are just the canary in the coalmine.

    Mr. Natural