The Celiac Kryptonite: Unexpected Exposures

You could say things were going so well.  I don’t remember the last time I was really glutened.  By “really” glutened, I mean with symptoms more than just the little head rush from something small.  I’m 25 weeks pregnant and hadn’t thrown up once this pregnancy.

My biggest gluten worry at this point had been the gluten free Cheerios we were trialing in the house (more on that in another post to come!).

This past Saturday, we found out about Han’s German Deli and went to check it out.  My husband, being in the states for the last 5 years now, squealed like a kid finding out about Christmas for the first time.  Apfelschole, Mettwurst, Butter kase, pommes sauce, Apfel Wein, imported Haribo flavors… german chocolates…

It’s amazing that we didn’t spend more.  We spent a little time in Germany since being gluten free and are quite familiar with the German words for wheat.  Germans seem to hide wheat into their chocolates.  He said he was reading all the ingredients… and I trusted him.

Have you noticed that, the farther away you get from an exposure, the more your symptoms change?  On Saturday, he had given me two little pieces of chocolate.  I immediately had hot flashes, felt like the room was tunneled and it hit me like a ‘woosh’.  I don’t even know what that means… just what it feels like.  Of course, I blamed it on my Haribo candies (which were fine) and we didn’t even examine the chocolate culprit.

He’d been eating so much more of that chocolate than I had and was fine.  Until Monday.  He had nearly finished the whole package when I had two more small pieces of chocolate.  I immediately started with a headache and fell asleep.  I didn’t think much of it at the time because we had gone hiking that morning.  Until he started with the diarrhea… and the diarrhea… and the… well, you get the point.  It was then that he read the package and saw…

the dreaded wheat starch.

The change in symptoms thing?  Monday, I had the headache and felt blah.  I thought that was the end of it.  Not too bad, right?

When I first got diagnosed, I had known only one other person with celiac disease.  She once said to me that she never knew right away when she had been glutened… she only found out after the next meal.  I didn’t understand that until yesterday.

Tuesday morning, I eat breakfast.  Some benign gluten free cereal that I’ve never had problems with.  I thought I felt okay.  We use lactaid since he’s dairy sensitive too.  I had a yogurt.  Within the hour, I had thrown up for the first time since getting pregnant.  #fail.

The vast amount of symptoms to celiac disease is incredible to me.  I worked with food allergy kids in research and nearly all of them would say that they could tell the moment they ate something they shouldn’t have.  I’ve always been like that with some neurological involvement.

My husband?  He’s always making the bathroom trip and complaining of GI symptoms within an hour or so of eating a contaminated meal.  He’s not as careful with his exposures, though – and I frequently wonder if he has more immediate symptoms because he is exposed more often.  Less healing time.

Even when I was diagnosed, my complaints were never  about all the insane diarrhea.  I was puking.  I was puking ice chips. Man, talk about thinking you could be pregnant…

The immune system is an amazing thing.  The body is an amazing thing – creating so many types of reactions to one little pseudo-invader is simply incredible.  It’s complicating for physicians but when the body has decided it doesn’t like gluten any more… it’s hard to know what’s going to happen.

Day Two.  I’m already regretting having eaten breakfast this morning.  #recoveryphase.


What are your symptoms? Is it the same every time? Can you tell right away?

Want to read more on weird potentially filled gluten outings?  Check out Gluten Dude’s new post: Celiac Twilight Zone.

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