Healthy Obsessions The Adventures of a Mild Obsessive Compulsive

Slightly Better Sleep

Tried a different CPAP mask last night and, according to my fitbit, slept slightly better.

Slight improvement with different mask.

Still not great. I should be around 95% sleep efficiency, ideally. And I ought to have more full sleep cycles in there; most people need a full 90 minutes to have a complete sleep cycle. It looks like I had two blocks that were long enough. I really would like to have three full cycles a night.

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Fitbit: Tracking My Sleep, and My Sleep Does Not Look Good

I am tired.

Very, very tired.

Not sound sleep.

This was last night. 18 times awakened. Bah. And this isn’t even bad in comparison to the last few weeks. For this same night, my CPAP tells me I was averaging 12 hypopneas an hour. This is not good. But it’s better than the 25 I got a few days ago, which, according to the fitbit, translated into 38 times awakened during that night:

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How Long Did it Take to Get Diagnosed with Celiac?

The honest answer is, I don’t know.

Celiac Disease: A Hidden Epidemic says that on average in the US it takes 9 years from the onset of symptoms to a diagnosis. I’m pretty sure it’s taken at least that long for me. Probably longer.

I have what would be termed silent celiac. I didn’t have the traditional intestinal symptoms of diarrhea, rapid weight loss, obvious malnutrition. If I had, I expect I would have been diagnosed a lot earlier. I had hormonal irregularities. The summer before I left for college, my father started having me tested to see why I had such irregular periods. They’d started when I was around 14 or so, but never regularized. I once skipped an entire year.

I had elevated prolactin levels. But that was all anyone found. I suspect that was the first sign we missed.

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Celiac and Sleep Disorders

Interesting study on the correlation between sleeping disorders and celiac disease. I haven’t read through the whole article yet (I will, after work) but the gist of it is that sleeping disorders occur more frequently in people with celiac disease, whether they’re on a gluten free diet or not. This article traces the sleep disorders to anxiety and depression, which are also higher in the celiac population.

Of course, I am a biased audience. I want to believe that my sleeping disorders and my celiac disease are connected.

F*** Cancer

This year has been a tough one health wise for me and mine, which you can probably figure out from my other entries. Two of the big-big ones are cancer.

My mother has breast cancer, and is currently finishing her third out of four months of chemo . And my friend Jay, upon finishing six months of chemo for colon cancer, was told that he had a new tumor in his liver. It would require surgery and then another six months of very harsh chemo (as if any chemo isn’t harsh). Not good odds.

The day I found that out, I just started crying. Sitting in my cubicle at work. I kept cycling through fear of losing Jay, and not wanting to tell my mom. Who, I knew, would ask. And who, I knew, would be able to hear the lie in my voice.

I lied. She figured it out. If not right then, over the next several weeks. And Jay… well, I’m sure you can guess how those weeks felt for him. He documented the whole experience.

But today… Today I got to call my mom and tell her that Jay doesn’t have cancer. That his biopsy was negative, and he doesn’t have to go back on chemo. That his odds are a great deal better.

Cancer isn’t the sort of thing that just goes away. It lurks around the edges. It comes back when it can. But for today, for right now — my mom has just one month of chemo left. And Jay does not have cancer. And I am sitting in my cubicle again and crying, but things are so much better. So very, very much better.

What Celiac Blood Test Results Look Like

Crazy busy at work (which I love since I’m getting to work on character development and standardizing regional dialects). But. I’d meant to include some screencaps of my celiac test results in my last post and forgot to.

Here are my celiac panel results after three months back on gluten:

After three months on gluten.

The tTG is the one I consider most important, and I had a score of 37; anything above 8 is considered positive. I don’t know which one my doctor considers most important, but since two are clearly positive that’s not really a problem. As positive test results go, these are not particularly high.

For comparison, here’s what my test results looked like when I’d been off of gluten for a year:

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Getting Tested for Celiac Disease

A lot of friends have been asking me about the whole process of getting tested for celiac disease. Enough by now that I’m figuring I ought to do a full write-up instead of typing up a new answer each time. So, without further ado:

The Tests Themselves

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Maps of Bay Area Gluten Free Restaurants

I’ve taken to using Yelp to find local gluten free restaurants, and then Google Maps to mark them and make notes. So far I’ve got San Francisco:

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&gl=us&ie=UTF8&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=107339414846109450979.00048f73d0666690161a5&ll=37.774956,-122.43809&spn=0.064349,0.092889&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

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How to Feed a Celiac

 

Wooden cookware can retain gluten, even after thorough washing.

 

First, a thank you. To everyone who has fed me and dealt with my dietary limitations. In particular mom and wshaffer. You are heroes of the revolution.

Now, an apology to anyone I’ve driven crazy by minutely examining their kitchen, or not eating the food they prepared, or whose trash can I’ve sifted through to find food wrappers. It’s not personal.

Feeding a celiac guest is hard. There are a lot of things that aren’t initially obvious. I made lots of mistakes in the early days. I’m probably still making some.

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What Celiac Disease Does to Your Intestines

First, I’m going to show you a few pictures. These are healthy villi; they line the insides of your intestine:

Healthy Intestinal Villi

Distance View of Healthy Villi

Normal Villi

Remember, this is what your intestines are supposed to look like. Kinda like a fuzzy blanket. Or coral.

The villi are what absorb nutrients from food. You need them. If they’re damaged, your entire body suffers. You develop vitamin deficiencies. You may always be hungry, because your body isn’t getting the nutrients it needs. Any condition that can be caused by malnutrition… you’re at risk. If your villi aren’t working correctly.

Now, let’s take a look at the intestines of someone with Celiac Disease. Read more →