Jun 26, 2014

Testing, testing…. 1, 2, 3.

hello fit friends!
i'm so happy to be back on dry land after our cruise and posting today.

now that we are all back to reality, i've decided to type up a post about a subject that i get asked about almost daily. 

this being, how i went about getting my girls and myself tested for Celiac disease, autoimmune issues, dairy intolerance and more. 

many of you ask me how i knew that i needed to get my girls and myself tested. 
well, i really didn't.  i only did because my sister maggie was diagnosed with Celiac disease after being so sick for months.  if it wasn't for her getting sick, i would never have had any of us tested. 

in a way, she saved our health and lives.  
which is so incredible because it's so difficult to get doctors to help. 
most doctors didn't learn about the negative impact of modern foods on our health.
they didn't really learn about food sensitivities or Celiac disease in med-school. 

when i asked my pediatrician to test my girls he looked at me strangely. 
he thought it was a bit drastic.  well, good thing i didn't listen to him.

and this is why i'm writing this today. 
don't allow anyone to come between you and finding answers about what is going on in your child's body or your own.  you are in charge of your family and yourself.  no one else. 

to prevent this from being a novel, i'll give a quick time-table of events that now, looking back, i realize were symptoms and issues that totally indicated autoimmune issues were at play. 
but, no one told me. 
i didn't know better.  
i didn't know what an autoimmune issue was!

let's start with me-  i ate processed foods my entire life. corn dogs, frozen pizza, you name it. 
in high school i remember trying to be "healthy" and would eat fat free pretzels, a fat free nutri-grain bar and water daily for lunch.  about this same time i became very puffy.  not chubby, but puffy.  i also had severe acne.  this impacted me tremendously in regards my to my self-esteem, happiness, willingness to be outgoing and more.  i became so shy and self-conscious. my acne was so bad that i was put on acetone which is a pretty big deal.  i had to get blood tests often to make sure it wasn't hurting my liver or other organs.  all for acne.  if someone would have told me that i just needed to stop eating grains and my face would heal itself, i would have done it in a heart beat.  but no one told me. 
i didn't know better.

going through college i struggled again with acne. 
had to go back on another round of acutane. 
my diet was horrible in college filled with nothing but processed junk, beer and sugar.  
i rarely ate real foods- and my body was screaming for help. 
i had horrible back pain, acne, and even had nerve damage in my throwing arm (i played softball in college) that prevented me from throwing for weeks.  no one knew why.  
of course, they just gave me pills to take (Celebrex) for the weird random nerve issues in my arm.

no one mentioned a thing about my diet.

moving forward, after college i started eating better.

i ate a low-carb diet and got married feeling the best i ever had. 
looking back eliminating grains was the best thing i could have done!
i was no longer puffy.  i felt great and looked great. 
i still, however, didn't put the puzzle pieces together.  

fast forward to three children in less than four years.

something changed. 
my body said no more. 

i couldn't recover from my final pregnancy like i did with the others. 
i felt exhausted all the time. 
i had depression, brain fog, anxiety, puffiness, bloating and more. 

but still, never thought anything of it. 
just said to myself, you are almost 30 now. you are getting older.
this is what it feels like to be a busy mom. 
boy was i wrong. 

i lived with "symptoms" for about five years. 
nothing super severe.  but i knew i wasn't the same. 
i would trip running up the stairs- my balance was off.
i would have major mood swings. 
i felt overwhelmed often. 
but i pushed on.  
i didn't really talk to anyone about these "symptoms" because i didn't know how to explain it.  

finally after four years or so i started researching.  
it seemed i had every symptom of hypothyroidism. 
so i went to my doctor and had her test my thyroid.  it was fine.  

about this time, my sister maggie was diagnosed with Celiac disease so i had my doctor test me as well. 
well, i have learned a lot since then.  i have learned most doctors will just run a gluten antibody test, which isn't very accurate.  it was have a lot of false negatives--- meaning it will say you are not showing an immune response to gluten but truly you are.  

i tested positive.  (thank God!)
so i knew in that moment, i would never touch wheat or gluten again if i wanted to live a healthy happy life.  

i then had my girls all tested by their pediatrician and he just tested them for the gluten antibodies……

*let me back track a bit here: my oldest, mia was diagnosed with an immune deficiency when she was five after getting back to back strep, ear infections and sinus infections in kindergarten. 

this experience drained me.  having a sick child for a year straight was one of my lowest points. 
i felt like a failure.  
i became a germ-a-phob wanting to shield my child from any speck of bacteria that may cause her get sick.  

her immunologist just said to us, she has low levels of IgG antibodies which defend her from bacterias that cause infections like strep, ear and sinus infections and prescribed her antibiotics.  
that was it.  no explanation as to why she may have low levels of IgG. 
nothing about her diet or Celiac or anything. 

for five years straight she had to take a daily dose of antibiotics to stay healthy and infection free. 
however, one day i said enough.  i took her off of the antibiotics to see what would happen. 
she had been gluten free for a year now so i was anxious to see if that impacted her IgG levels at all. 

sure enough, it did! 
her IgG levels were coming up! 
she no longer needed the medicine.  

changing her diet was her medicine. 
her body was healing. 

my brain was exploding! 
things were making a bit more sense. 
maybe all along, her immune system issues were the result of what she was eating. 

i thought, every mom in America needs to know this. 
if eating wheat and grains can do this to my child, what else can it be doing to other children?

so, back to the Celiac testing after i tested positive…..i had all the girls tested and their pediatrician tested them for gluten antibodies. however, only one of my three girls tested positive.  
sophie- she was in the 150's and anything above 4 is not good. 

i couldn't believe it. 

i decided to go ahead and take all three girls off gluten/wheat just to be safe. 
i was sure the test was wrong given that mia had so many immune issues.  
and gracie was so tiny.  i was sure that her smallness was a result of gluten. 

so we did it. 
we all went off wheat/gluten for a year. 
mia and gracie had amazing changes even though they tested "negative." 
gracie's feet grew three sizes! 
mia's stomachaches went away. 
and sophie's hair was finally growing and getting thick. 

we were on the right path! 

then Dr. Rebecca Furlano enters our lives. 
she first helped my sister maggie heal after being so sick so we all went to her for help.  

i was still having some issues even after being gluten free for a year and i wanted her to check my blood work, and as well, evaluate all of my girls.  

maggie nicknamed her a wizard doctor, and it's so true! 
she has helped us so much in the past few months. 

she ran my bloodwork first and discovered i was having an immune response to casein, which is the protein in dairy,  had high glucose,  and was deficient in vitamin D. 

i highly recommend all of you having your blood work analyzed.  
i never would have known i was causing an immune response when i ate dairy or that i had high glucose if it wasn't for this blood test.  these issues, if undetected, lead to much more severe issues down the road.  

for me, Dr. Furlano ran a lipid panel, comprehensive metabolic panel (glucose), casein IgG, vitamin D and some other basic tests for iron, vitamin a, hormones etc. 

for my girls she checked their vitamin D (which all were deficient in) casein IgG (which all were positive for!) lipid panel, comprehensive metabolic panel (glucose), and other vitamin levels. 

what she recommends for gluten/celiac testing are the following

*HLA Genotyping for Celiacs disease* 
(this is what Mia tested positive for even though last year she was NEGATIVE for the gluten antibodies.  CRAZY!!!) 

*Casein IgG*

and if your child is not already on a gluten free diet, then also have them tested with this:
*Cyrex labs to test for gluten AB*

if you would like to have yourself or your children tested, and you live in the St. Louis area, i highly recommend Dr. Rebecca Furlano.  
her Facebook page is: HERE where you can personal message her.
you can make appointments with her by calling her office at 636-356-5557.

if you are not local, she does Skype appointments! 
so you can talk with her via Skype and then she will determine what blood tests to run based on your symptoms and issues that you discuss. 

i think it's so empowering knowing your body. 
we should all know what's going on inside of us.  
denial does nothing but cause more problems down the road.  

be proactive so you aren't sitting in a doctor's office in 15 years with major issues or complications.

please let me know if you have any questions at all about our family's journey or the testing we had done.  i'm here to help in any way.  if i can prevent one child from going through what my girls had to go through to get to this point, i will feel so happy.  

if i can prevent one mommy from going through all the sadness and stress that i endured for years of not knowing what was going on with my children, then it will have all been worth it. 

take good care! 
XOXO, Marta

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