Friday, June 12, 2009
Celiac & Gluten Sensivity – What to do with a family who won’t listen!
This was an email we received today from a reader:
“I'm an a-symptomatic celiac (since 3/2007) who had the biopsy first (during a follow-up endoscopy for GERD [reflux disease]), then the blood test. I am so happy to see a medical practice willing to inform other doctors and I will absolutely look for your book to read and discuss further with my doctors.”
“I would love to see a blog written about how to deal with family members (siblings especially) who won't even consider that their life-long medical problems are related to gluten. They see this as MY problem. They have chronic intestinal issues, autoimmune diseases, multiple surgeries, non-hodgkins lymphoma, etc. I've been told to back off - they don't want to hear it. What else can I do? I guess they have to finally bottom out before they decide to make any changes. I would think 19 surgeries for one brother, and lymphoma for one niece (2 years after having 4 out of 5 of the triggers) would be enough. The more I learn about this disease (symptoms and long term effects) the more I worry about them, but they just think I want them to be miserable like I must be eating gluten free. They don't understand how much better I feel (and I was a-symptomatic!!!) since I've been strict about eating gluten free. The sad part is, one of my siblings is a doctor (62 years old OB-GYN and probably trained in a different era) and she thinks I'm medically ill-informed.”
”On the other hand, I guess I need to stop thinking every symptom could be related to gluten, but after reading your list, it seems related to so many things.”
”Is there anything that can be done by celiac groups & doctors to get medical testing done on cord blood so that we start babies out gluten free right from the start? Think how much that could help minimize the rising cost of health care!”
”Thanks so much for putting a responsible medical face on the web!”
All too often family members of celiacs or those with gluten sensitivity refuse to get themselves checked. It’s frustrating to watch their health decline when you feel you have the answer to their health problems.
My advice is to give them our book The Gluten Effect. One of the many reasons we wrote the book was to educate the families of those suffering from celiac or gluten sensitivity. Reading something in print often has more weight and impact than a family member “nagging” you, despite their good intentions. Think back to your mother telling you to do something! There’s a bit of rebellion that occurs, isn’t there?
Have them look at the back of the book where the endnotes reside to “prove” to them that there is plenty of scientific evidence to back up what we’re saying.
Also their fear of the gluten-free diet might be allayed by reading some of the case studies in the book. Time and time again patients comment that the diet is not difficult and so very worth it considering the improvement gained in their overall health.
And lastly, unfortunately, once you’ve done the above you need to let it go the best you can and move forward knowing that you’ve done all that you can at least for now.
I too have experienced this in my own family. Fortunately some family members have listened and they have been thankful for the benefits. Others haven’t and their health has suffered. Ultimately each of us must choose our own path for our health.
I hope this helps.
Lastly, your question regarding testing infants’ cord blood is a brilliant one. To think how our health status would improve as a nation if we did this! And at the same time we could check for those children who can’t excrete mercury efficiently and thereby reduce much autism as well.
In Italy they screen children for celiac disease in school much the way we screen for scoliosis. They also give celiacs a food allowance due to the added of cost of gluten-free food!
I am convinced that as awareness increases we will see these changes.
To your good health,
Dr Vikki Petersen
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Co-author of “The Gluten Effect”