Saturday, December 3, 2011

Functional Medicine & Gluten Free

Attempting to keep this short. Anything in bold/ colored text is a link that you can click on to begin learning more if interested.

It's been several years since Playmaker was preliminary diagosed with a potentially very serious medical condition (JDMS). In our passionate quest for answers, we met with many well respected doctors at prestigious medical facilities and she underwent numerous tests with the use of amazing technology. At that time we chose/went the "western" (by that I mean traditional/American) medicine route as opposed to taking a more holistic/homeopathic approach. In our society the two really are VeRy different approaches to health care and patients essentially have to choose between them. And, at the risk of getting ahead of myself, I'll just interject here to say that I think that's really unfortunate - and insurance companies often cover little, if any, holistic treatment  -  which I also think is very unfortunate.  But, I digress.  Fortunately most "news" back then and the most recent diagnosis  were encouraging, essentially ruled out JDMS (Praise God!) and seemed at the time to make sense. Yet, even still, all that passionate search really yielded us in "the end" was a ton of information yet few solid answers - but I will say that I personally learned some valuable lessons in the absence of answers on that leg of our journey.

Fast forward to the past few months. A friend & fellow blogger's post introduced me, if you will, to a profession I had never heard of. That being Functional Medicine which seems to blend and therefore balance the two rather extreme approaches to health care/medicine better than any other medical profession that I'm aware of.  (Edit/Note:  This "profession" does still lean heavily on the homeopathic "side" (or maybe a better word is naturopathic..honestly I'm not sure what the difference is -  but anyhow the "balance" I found was in some very specific/pretty simple tests used to first rule out/identify personal nutritional deficiencies - I don't remember me or any of my children ever having one of these -  and another for  allergies/intolerances to nearly 100 different things, etc. - and the "prescription" in our case was some healthy/very specific (key word here) supplements and diet changes ... so - really - what's to lose? - other than out of pocket money bc many insurance companies don't cover much...but - really - which is worth more?...your money? - or your health?.  Sad - tho' that we often have to chose between the two. Especially - those of us who a pay a lot of money for health insurance already. Thankfully our insurance did cover some of it - but I think that's about to change.... :/ )  I found a Functional Medicine Doctor in our area and made an appointment for our daughter. In retrospect, I am so glad I did.  Our experience has been similar to my friend's. Bottom line in Playmaker's case ... we learned that she is very low/deficient and in high need of three particular nutrients (CoQ10, Vitamin B6 & Zinc)  - all of which can be easily supplemented, as well as consumed more naturally by eating certain foods. Pretty simple "treatment" that could have a significant affect on her day to day health and well being. That's the good news.

The "bad" news is something I'm choosing to look at as more of a mixed blessing. Tests that tested for nearly 100 different allergies &/or sensitivities revealed a strong positive reaction to Gluten :/    Not necessarily a full blown allergy - but a high sensitivity to it.  This was new/previously unknown news to us! You'd think that something she is so highly sensitive to would be obvious in daily life but the kicker here is that with her particular type of sensitivity, often reactions are delayed hours or even days after particular foods are consumed and therefore it is difficult to pinpoint the culprit without testing for it. This high sensitivity to gluten is also quite consistent with several of Playmaker's mysterious, intermittent symptoms  and it could very likely trigger them. I see it as a mixed blessing in that I'm so thankful that it is not Celiac disease (the extreme allergy to Gluten) and it is far cry from her original/preliminary diagnosis (much less serious). But - gluten is extremely difficult to avoid. It's in wheat, rye, oats (via cross contamination), barley, etc.   - and our food supply is permeated with it ...bread, cereal, pasta, gravies, salad dressing, sauces, etc.   But it is getting easier all the time to deal with gluten issues because so many people are struggling with them so many more/new Gluten Free products are now available for purchase.  Dealing with it will require a major lifestyle adjustment - but - it is something that we can manage and do something about - and Playmaker will likely enjoy some very positive health benefits & better quality of life by doing so, therefore I believe it is very worthwhile to embark on this new Gluten Free leg of our journey. 

On another note, Playmaker also tested "strong positive" to dust mites (we'll be purchasing special bedding and likely an air purifier for her room) - and, of all things, Oregano! Not sure yet how this particular piece fits into the puzzle?! 

ALL of this was new/news to us! - and when you consider where we've been, who we've seen & what we've done and even how much money was spent trying to find some answers for her ...well, I just find it interesting and rather perplexing that only/finally the more holistic approach revealed this new information and offered some healthy means of dealing with it (specific/diet changes) as opposed to drugs/medicine to address (mask?!) the symptoms. Which reminds me of what one medical (not homeopathic!) doctor whom I highly respect once told me in so many words:

Medicine is essentially a poison that is taken to gain a desired effect. 

Anyhow - from all of this I've learned another valuable lesson and so from here on out I intend to take a much more balanced approach when seeking and obtaining health care advice for me - and for my family. 

Indeed, life is a journey...


Pat said...

So happy you are finding answers and help for your child's condition. I have just read the book Wheat Belly by William David, MD. It's a real eye opener and I Highly recommend it to all. Over the generations, wheat grains have been genetically altered and as a result causing much havoc in humans that consume it.

MyStory of HiStory said...

Hi. Thanks for mentioning the book. My "child" will be 18 years old soon - and this all "began" back when she was probably about 10yrs year as I recall some pretty major headaches as early as first grade. If indeed this is a/the major trigger it will be well worth doing what we need to do to eliminate it from her diet & evenso if only to find out if it helps - or not. The sad part tho' is that all it would have taken to figure this stuff out was the tests she only recently had administered at this Functional Medicine Dr's office. Either way, I wish I had a more open mind about homeopathic consult loooong ago -- but - I do now :)

Re: genetically engineered food... what I've heard along this line about our food supply (not just wheat) is quite concerning.

Susan said...

I'm so glad you got some answers. We have many friends dealing with gluten intolerance. you are right, it is easier to deal with now than it used to be with so many products available now. There are some really great blogs too. I needed to try it once to see if one of my girls dealt with that too and started a blog. turns out we didn't need it but there are a few links in the sidebar of other great blogs I found.

MyStory of HiStory said...

Thanks, Susan! Yah - so much information out there - ... which is a bit frustrating in a way as I find things on some lists that "qualify" as GF - and on other lists that don't (ie. MSG) - so one minute I'm assuming something is off limits - only to change my mind the next. I guess it's a learning process - and as always .. the truth is the treasure I'm after :)

GlassMelts said...

Wow, it's interesting after all this time that new things are coming to light. I hope that this new approach will give her some relief and more answers.

MyStory of HiStory said...

ooops... just realized my reply above didn't make much sense. Should've said this all began when she was about 10yrs old...but mb even earlier ... I remember some migraine like headaches & symptoms even back in 1st grade.

Hi Glassmelts. yah - I know. I hope so too.

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