Friday, September 30, 2011

The Journey

Well, I guess everyone who has gone gluten-free has their own story.  It usually is not by choice.  I mean who really wants to give up croissants and pie crusts if they really don't have to.  Here is our story.

Beside me, Paprika and Cinnamon are the other gf members of our family.  Becoming gf, or discovering our new lifestyle, was purely a miracle, because I wasn't really looking for a diagnosis; we already had one.  When Paprika was six she was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.  What began as a single affected area became head to toe arthritis over the next nine years.  It seems at one point or another she has had flare ups in all her joints: her jaw, back, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, feet, and toes.  I really do mean everywhere.  We were on the two month visiting schedule at Children's Hospital and each visit seemed to bring a new challenge.  Her condition seemed to change all the time.  We were always testing for something new when a different symptom showed up indicating another disease other than just the JRA.  The wierd thing was, although the signs were there, she never tested positive for them.  We just kept searching for the cause.  We kept looking for answers anywhere we could find them 

Over the past nine years there wasn't a week that went by that Paprika wasn't in pain.  We tried naturopaths, chiropractors, and medication after medication, trying to help. Nothing worked.   She was heavily medicated to try and control both the pain and the arthritis symptoms.  Between the pills and the supplements, last summer she was taking 77 pills a week and I was giving her two injections on top of it.   Today, she is down to a single shot at half the dose and has had little or no pain over the last year.  The prognosis is great and within the next six months we are hoping to have her off all medication! 

So, what made all the difference?  Going gluten-free.  That is the only thing we changed.  Last summer I met an angel: my dear, sweet friend, Sarah.  Her entire family was gluten-free and I was curious, so I listened to her talk about her family's symptoms and how they discovered they were gluten intollerant.  I thought, that sounds like me and symptoms I could never explain.  I began to read up on it and within days thought, what if I just try this.  After a week or so some of my symptoms were gone, especially the extreme fatigue.  I kept reading and discovered that so many of the symptoms Paprika had been tested for were symptoms explained by problems with gluten.   So we tried it.  After several weeks, things started to change.  So much so, that her doctor told us not to start eating gluten again just so that we could officially test it.  It seemed so obvious.

A year later here we are!  There have been some times, although we are very dilligent, that we have been glutened and within a week Paprika can feel a flare up in her joints.  We even discovered, quite by accident, that if she touches flour, she will break out in a rash.  Needless to say, we are very careful.  We just feel so blessed to have found something to really help her!  We thank God each day for His hand upon our family. 

Becoming gluten free has been a challenge, but a miracle all at the same time.  It has definitely been, and still is, a journey.


  1. Hi Shelia
    Look forward to hearing your journey and reading your recipes. We are grain free, well mostly for all but def. for one teen. You've caught my interest regards cutting the budget. I know what you mean. Visiting from Sarah:)

  2. Hi Sheila. I've come here from Sarah's too. I'm really looking forward to reading your ideas about recipes and the budget. We have been gluten and dairy free for about 6 months, mainly because all of our family members have eczema (except me). My daughter also has juvenile arthritis. I really struggle with food ideas, so we cheat a bit too often and I am so sick of the horrible packaged foods. Add to that some really fussy eaters and I am just stuck (and broke).


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