About Me

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I'm a glass-half-full type of girl. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010 and life-altering allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with dis-ease. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Dis-ease is expensive, so I live a frugal yet healthy lifestyle. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Two Diets, One Life: Managing Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes.

Today is my 1-year anniversary for Celiac Disease. One whole year! Wow, did that go by fast. One year ago today, my celiac disease diagnosis was confirmed with an intestinal biopsy. I had 100% villous atrophy, Marsh stage 4 celiac disease, meaning maximum damage to my small intestines and immune system. I began juggling two diets beginning that day- diabetic and celiac. It's been one full year since I've had real pizza, bread, fast food, pasta, cake, cereal (including my beloved Cream of Wheat and Lucky Charms) or anything from Starbucks. Sigh. I can't believe it's been a year.

Adding celiac disease to a 5-month old type 1 diabetes diagnosis was incredibly overwhelming. It added an entirely new element of management to an already-difficult diabetes diagnosis. You see, when you ingest any trace amount of gluten (even teeny amounts from cross-contamination), it damages the small intestines, which in turn messes with the amount of insulin you need daily because your body cannot absorb nutrients from your food or insulin. For example, because your body did not absorb the 50 carbs of food you just bolused for, you end up with extremely low blood sugar as a result. As the intestines heal, your insulin needs change. It makes managing your t1 diabetes difficult, like a moving target. And it makes avoiding gluten crucial- right down to making sure your waitress doesn't touch bread with her hands then touch the straw that she's now putting in your drink.

In the Summer 2011 edition of Delight Gluten Free magazine, there is an article entitled Two Diets, One Life: Managing Celiac Disease and Type 1 Diabetes. Finally! An article for peeps like me! This article is written in an upbeat, inspiring fashion. In case you can't tell from the picture, it's a chick looking into an empty fridge. That's definitely how you feel sometimes. One paragraph reads: "So how does a patient keep up with the demands of both diseases? Here are three major tips for a happy and healthy gluten-free and diabetic-friendly lifestyle." I was so excited to see this article and read the happy and healthy tips that I didn't mind paying $5.20 for it at Barnes & Noble.

I've been counting down to today for a long time. It's the final one-year anniversary mark for my disease diagnoses. T1 diabetes: 2/6/10, Grave's disease 4/10/10, Celiac disease 7/13/10. I can move on now.

Wish me luck- I get my A1c checked tomorrow, 2pm. Not sure what it's going to be. Last one was 6.0 in March, but that was with a strict, daily diet regimen. I mean, I have worked hard overall to keep it lower, but you know, you have those days that you just bomb out and give up. Since my last A1c I've had 3 holidays (Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July) and my birthday, all excuses to eat horribly. You think of every one of those incidents the night before your A1c test. I know that my A1c shouldn't determine my level of self-esteem, but I'm only human. A higher A1c will feel like a failure. A failure of that magnitude with stress me out and make me crave chocolate, which in turn with spike my bg. Do you see the hopeless cycle here?????

Well, time to go. I'm going to continue watching my dog trying to attack a moth on the other side of the window...


  1. Great post!

    I too manage coeliac and diabetes, I didn't know about how the two affect eachother. I've had my coeliac disease since a young age but diabetes at 16 - which compared to most cases I have found to be a little backwards.

    The only thing I ever remember are crumpets, well that makes me sound incredibly british!

    When you say anything from starbucks do you also mean drinks? I didn't know this. I know they do fab gluten free sandwiches and cakes :)

  2. Hi Liz! Yes, unfortunately Starbucks Headquarters have repeatedly stated that they do not operate a gluten free facility and therefore, nothing in their coffee shops- their foods, nor their drinks, are considered gluten free. Even their frappuccino-in-a-bottle is not considered gluten free because it was made on the same lines as glutened products. I was on the phone (again) with Starbucks last month for a long time trying to sort it out and beg them to change their practices. No such luck at this time. The customer service rep stated that they have been advised to respond to gluten-free inquiries by stating that nothing in their shop is considered gluten free and if you are a person who must avoid gluten, then this is not a safe option for you. BOO!!!!!