Sunday, September 9, 2012

National Celiac Awareness Day

We have a lot to smile about, even though it's been a hard year we've made some great strides...

Although this post isn't about any early season geese or the upcoming Maine junior duck hunting day, it's worth mentioning that my life certainly has been changed by the advent of Celiac disease and how I have opted to live a productive life without regret.

A little over a year ago, I discovered that an autoimmune disease had begun to win a long war against someone who didn't even know about celiac sprue and gluten intolerance.  All I knew is that I was deathly sick and as I told my doctor, "I can not will my illness away".

For those that don't know, Celiac disease is when the body reacts abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. When someone with Celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, that person's immune system causes an inflammatory response in the small intestine, which damages the tissues and results in impaired ability to absorb nutrients from foods.  Since the body's own immune system causes the damage, Celiac disease is classified as an autoimmune disorder.  In other words, my body can't filter gluten so my body reacts.

Fortunately, my now great friend John had an inside angle concerning my ailments (far too many to scare the average person) and immediately ordered blood work.  I then began the waiting game self-diagnosing myself via the internet as having oral cancer, lyme disease, and IBS all in one.  Honestly, I called my life insurance agent just to make sure things were in order.

Then John called me about this celiac panel he had ordered and sure enough, my white blood cells were immensely high (4 times the high average) and I would be referred to a specialist for an endoscopy.

From the specialist I learned that 1) he saw no reason for the procedure simply because my numbers said it all and 2) that my doctor would certainly be a future asset for we had the same disease (inside angle from above).  From there, my wife and I chose a complete gluten free diet for me while our family overall would be as gluten low as possible.

Without going into detail about the early struggles, endless research, cooking successes & failures, and a continual effort to educate those who exist in my life about my genetic autoimmune disease; my life is great with my blood work at a fine standing.  Every once in a while I get zapped and deal with some temporary side effects, but I have beaten a disease simply by eliminating gluten, a protein found in wheat and wheat products.  For that, I'm a lucky man and look forward to better days ahead.

As National Celiac Awareness Day arrives on Thursday, September 13th, 2012, I have to dedicate this blog to those who have been a part of my ongoing efforts to live with celiac disease.  Here we go:

My loving wife Allison- you have been the everything and anything throughout this process, I'm certainly happy that the world is catching up to your understanding and knowledge of this disease.

Doc JDK- I owe it to you bro, even though you've moved back home there's no question that you've got a friend in life with me.  In my eyes, God dropped you in our community for a lot of good reasons and even though you trounced me this week in fantasy football you'll always have a place to stay if you visit.  It's been a pleasure to coach your daughter and get to know your great family.

My mom- she's been gone for almost 14 months now, but her death to cancer was certainly connected to celiac disease.  Her struggle could have been prevented, but her fight saved my life.  Now I can watch out for my daughters who may or may not acquire this disease.

My close friends and family- you eat where I can and do your best to accommodate my needs in a variety of ways.  Over time I've been able to feel like a dude with Celiac Disease not the freak who can't eat wheat.

The companies that have tuned in- I have a crew and for every person like me there's millions of people who will dine with their Celiac friend.  After taking some leaps of faith and trying some restaurants, Bugaboo Creek, Texas Roadhouse, Finn's in Ellsworth, and Cracker Barrel have earned my trust.  There are so many brands now that list their items as GF now and companies such as Udi's and Glutino have made bread bearable again.  A special thank you goes out to Joseph James Brewing Company for giving me an awesome gluten free beer in a CAN!!! Click here

I look forward to the upcoming events that will fill this website such as duck & deer hunting, ice fishing, and all other comings & goings of life but I especially look forward to doing them in a far greater health.

Again, Thursday, September 13th is National Celiac Awareness Day.  Feel free to check out the website below for more information and don't hesitate to write me an email with questions or comments.

About Celiac Disease

Thanks and have a great day,

The Downeast Duck Hunter


  1. "The freak that can't eat wheat"- Classic!!

    Glad you are doing better bud! Looking forward to a gluten free weekend in just over a month, but please don't try and get me to drink that beer while I'm there!

  2. I feel for you man. The only thing I enjoy more than eating is drinking, and your ailment cuts down the options for both considerably. Thankfully, as you are a Downeasterner, you can survive on lobster and clam bakes!

  3. Trey, your keg for your three day stay has been ordered...

    Kevin, after the shear volume of lobsters I've eaten this summer due to the low price I have no desire to eat one anytime soon...

    Thanks for swinging by guys

  4. Still blows my mind that the Asian groceries sell blocks or cakes of pure gluten in the same style as bean curd or tofu: I always think “man, that would mess you up!”

  5. Rev, I took the time to look up these gluten blocks you speak of and all I must say is "wow"... amazing how much they use that as a substitute for things, my personal favorite is the mock duck.

    Here's the link I used to read up on this awesome substance... Thanks for posting!

  6. Look at the bright side, at least Grizzly Winter Green is Gluten free! LMAO!


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