One of the greatest blessings in my life right now is that Baby Girl is feeling better, and last night, she finally returned to soccer. I couldn't wait to tell Mr. Level-Headed about how good she looked out there on the gymnasium floor, and even more noteworthy, how huge her smile was. I can't help but tear up whenever I think of all that her little fourteen year old self has had to endure, but listening to her laugh and talk a mile a minute last night and seeing her bop around the kitchen, high from her after-soccer buzz, warmed my heart. My Baby Girl is back, and I pray she is here to stay.
Unfortunately, from everything I have read and heard from others who have fought their own battles in the trenches of Ulcerative Colitis, this is far from over, and that terrifies me. Recently, I heard of a young sixteen year old girl, who like Zoe did not respond to many of the medications and has just been recently told that the next step for her is surgery. Like Zoe, she is a beautiful, intelligent, and athletic girl, but unfortunately the medications have never been able to keep her in a state of remission long enough. As we begin Zoe's weaning off of Prednisone and the super-drug, Remicade, I am fearful of what may happen, and so we are exploring all of our options.
Everything I read and everyone I talk to with colitis, tells me one thing: diet, diet, diet! But, what do the doctors tell me: this disease has nothing to do with diet . . . huh? So, in a desperate attempt to get Zoe well again, I focused all of my efforts on following the doctor's recommendations to a tee. Thankfully, that has worked for us (with only one major hiccup) and Zoe is now symptom free. However, now as I look at the bottles and bottles of medication she must take every morning and evening (and will continue to take even after the above-mentioned weaning of two drugs), I have to wonder if there is not a more healthy, more natural way to remain symptom free.
And according to all of my research, there is . . . diet, and in particular a gluten-free diet. Now, I almost cringe saying it because gluten-free has become the buzz word of the 21st Century and is currently at the epicentre of the most recent fad diet, but after everything I have read, there really is something to all this. After talking to many people, reading many blogs, and finally, reading Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, I am convinced that going gluten-free may be the key for our family. According to this book, wheat is not the problem. It is all the genetic modifications that wheat has undergone in the last fifty years that has caused the problems. Notably in the last fifty years autoimmune diseases like Asthma and Colitis (both of which Zoe has had) have sky rocketed, along with Celiac Disease, Diabetes, Lupus, Autism, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Gastrointestinal cancers. It is an eye-opening read, and it makes sense, but is it doable? Thankfully, Mr. Level-Headed and Baby Girl are on board with me because this is going to be a challenge. Also, our paediatrician at the IWK is very open minded, and I am sure he will work with us on this as well.
Our culture and wheat are tightly woven together. Wheat is what moved us from being hunters and gathers to farmers, a switch that sparked the evolution of humanity. Wheat is in almost all of the foods we eat, ad it predominates our grocery aisles. We don't just eat food to sustain us; we eat food to comfort us, and I am a devoted lover of comfort. I am a lover of wheat! But, if this can put Baby Girl back on the path to health WITHOUT, or at least a reduced amount of medications, we are going for it! Wish us luck.