A Letter to Julia

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Chapter 17

A “Get out of Prison Free” Card

May 13, 2013:Mary found out today that she has Celiac Disease!Normally this news would be not a reason for relief, but Mary’s special circumstances make it that way. Mary was forced to change doctors earlier in the year due to the ever changing array of health insurance providers from her husband’s company where he works.Normally this process is fraught with stress, but this time it actually was very beneficial.However, it was not her new doctor that got her thinking about Celiac Disease, but her sister Megan.Megan was talking to a friend at work and the friend mentioned that she was Gluten intolerant and also had Celiac Disease.Megan’s friend’s symptoms were very similar to what Mary has been experiencing and what doctors had diagnosed as Lupus.

Mary’s new doctor was very receptive to having Mary first tested for Gluten Intolerance.Gluten Intolerance is not universally accepted among doctors so we were glad that the new doctor was agreeable to having the blood test done.The blood test came back positive.The next step was to have a biopsy done on the small intestine to confirm or rule out Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is where the gluten damages the villi in the small intestine due to an autoimmune reaction.This damage makes it difficult to properly digest food and can cause all the symptoms Mary has experienced most of her adult life.

For Mary this was like finding out, after being imprisoned for most of her life, she is found innocent and set free.I don’t know how Mary is able to handle this news along with all her financial problems caused by Mirapex and her continuing health problems.Of course an issue is whether Mary also could have Lupus along with Celiac Disease, if such a cruel thing could be possible.Hasn’t she suffered enough?

All of her tests for Lupus have been border-line for that chronic illness.Having been a scientist for so many years I certainly realize that some issues will never be satisfactorily resolved with the evidence in hand.Mary’s doctor thought that she should give a gluten-free diet six months before they worry about the possibility of Lupus also being a problem.

Once we heard the diagnoses some things started to make sense to us.Mary loved hamburgers as a teenager, but started preferring only having the hamburger patty without the bun.Mary also stopped eating pasta soon after being diagnosed with Lupus.We thought it was just a quirk or “something to do with Lupus.After all, Mary still enjoyed the cookies I made and the gravies made with flower.Now we know she stopped eating those items because of the gluten in them.Our bodies can tell us things without actually speaking to us in words, but I wish our bodies could really speak to us in words.That would make this type of problem easier to solve.On Thanksgiving this year I’ll bake two turkeys with two kinds of dressing.Mary has already been avoiding gluten before this definitive test for Celiac Disease and she has been feeling better.

How ironic that this whole Mirapex train wreck might have been avoided if she had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease as a teenager.However in fairness to her doctors at that time Gluten Intolerance and Celiac Disease were not well known or considered.We or Mary have never blamed her doctors for not catching the Mirapex train wreck, or the misguided attempt of her doctor to medicate her for Central Nervous System Lupus, nor for not catching Celiac.Most doctors are overworked with patients and need the help of the research from pharmaceuticals and their adequate warnings about drugs to help them.We only hold those accountable, like the pharmaceuticals that purposely hold back information for their own selfish gains.

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