Welcome to the first “Gluten Free Friday” post on Food Marriage!! I thought I would start off this new segment with sharing our story of why we are going Gluten Free!
My husband, Pat, was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis about four years ago. It took several months to actually get it the correct diagnosis. While trying to reduce swelling and pain in the very beginning before they got it right, the doctors put him on high levels of Prednisone. We believe that these high levels of steroids for an extended period of time then lead to more issues a couple years down the road.
Once the Psoriatic Arthritis diagnosis was given, Pat was put on a combination of Methotrexate and Enbrel. Methotrexate is a VERY heavy duty drug which he knew he did not want to be on long-term so after some time, he got off it and tried to see if just the Enbrel would work. Around this time, we started looking into some books that talked about changing your diet to eliminate arthritis pain. However, this was around the busy time of wedding planning for us, so a healthy diet got put on the back burner.
Pat’s pain got progressively worse, especially in his hip flexor area. It hurt to walk, go up stairs, bend down to get something….anything. Literally, two weeks before our wedding, he was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis of his hips. For all the non-medical people out there, it means his hip bones were dying because of a lack of blood flow to the area. There was no specific cause given, but we were told that high levels of steroids can cause this horrible side effect. The first doctor we went to threatened that his hips could collapse at any moment and that he should immediately start using crutches.
Again – this was two weeks before our wedding – we thought “What do we Do!? Have him crutch down the aisle? Should we cancel our honeymoon!? We immediately sought out a second opinion, and they assured us it wasn’t that bad – Pat can still walk (and dance at our wedding) and as long as he can tolerate the pain he will be okay and his hip will not collapse. They put him on Fosamax and told him to check back in three months.
|Dancing at our wedding despite the pain.|
So yes, Pat got to walk dance at our wedding. He danced through the pain and wasn’t going to let it keep him down. We went on our honeymoon to beautiful Riviera Maya, Mexico and the pain got even worse. As soon as we got home, we scheduled to meet with the doctors again. They suggested he try a procedure called a Core Decompression where they drilled holes in each of his hip bones. The idea was to re-introduce blood flow and cause new growth in the area.
Sadly, after the surgery and long recovery time, it was determined to have been unsuccessful and the avascular necrosis continued to get worse. Pat was then scheduled for a total hip replacement at the age of 26. He had both hips replaced at the same time and began on another recovery journey. We certainly took the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows seriously!!!
|Pat staying positive after the surgeries. Nice hospital bed set up
in our living room for recovery!!
A couple months later, he started walking and doing physical therapy again. In most cases, a hip replacement patient would be able to return to normal activity. However, this was not the case for Pat. Now, a little over a year after this surgery, he still has severe pain in his hip area. We’ve gotten second opinions, seen new specialists and everyone is giving us the same answers. The replacement went well, the hardware is good, and nothing is torn. The only thing they can see is some tendonitis in the area and atrophy of some of the muscles from favoring one side over the other.
After a recent visit with his rheumatologist and signs that the Psoriatic Arthritis was flaring up again, Pat switched from Enbrel to Humira to see if a different medication would help. There is a possibility that some of this hip pain could also be due to the fact that the arthritis is not fully under control. The arthritis is still attaching his tendons, joints, and tissues. With no way to fully relieve the pain, we started to research again on how diet can affect arthritis.
With time off of work around the holidays, I watched a lot of TV. I just happened to catch Dr. Oz one day when he had on Dr. William Davis, a cardiologist and author of the book “Wheat Belly.” Dr. Davis shared how wheat is very inflammatory and can cause many adverse health effects like diabetes, heart disease, as well as immune and neurological disorders like celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia. Completely eliminating wheat from one’s diet has been proven to show substantial improvement and even total relief from arthritis and many other diseases!!!
I was intrigued immediately and declared that starting January 1, 2013 we would eliminate wheat through a gluten free diet! And here our gluten-free story begins…
If anyone out there has tried the “Wheat Belly” diet or a gluten free diet, please let us know if you have seen any health improvements! Especially if you suffer from a disease like Psoriatic Arthritis. We appreciate any feedback and/or advice!