September 23, 2013


(i've decided to take a few blog posts to talk about this cute husband of mine, his recent diagnosis and how it has affected us. not because i'm a health specialist/guru/wizard but mostly because it's kind of a big deal in our lives.)

at the beginning of 2013 garrett started developing a rash on his elbows and knees. it itched like crazy and eventually turned into tiny, water-filled cysts. almost like mini blisters. we ignored the rash for some time.  until it didn't go away and got a little worse. 

then we began playing the trial and error game. 
was it a contact rash? 
laundry detergent.
body wash.

was it a weird heat rash?
was it stress related? 

we consulted Dr. Google and did the best we could to fix the problem.
cortisone cream.
oatmeal baths.
calamine lotion.

one day i was cleaning the house (always.) and garrett was relaxing on the love sac, perusing google for more answers. i was mid vacuuming the room he was in when he said, "i think i'm allergic to wheat..." 
i rolled my eyes, told him he did not have celiac disease and kept vacuuming.
before you go thinking i'm the worst wife in history, let me give you some background.

1) i knew a couple of people who had celiac disease. and as far as i understood, celiac disease was accompanied by not a rash so much as violent vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

2) my dad is a doctor. and as such, things just weren't huge deals in our house. not because my parents didn't care. but because it didn't need to be a big deal.
if someone got cut then the stitches were given and received at the kitchen table. if someone needed an antibiotic, my dad would call in the prescription from the living room. temperatures were taken, ears and throats were scoped, lungs were listened to and when my cystic acne got really bad in high school, my dad would even inject them for me. (full surgeries could have been performed with the medical equipment that existed in our medicine cabinet/tool box. but don't ask for a bandaid. because we never seemed to have those bad boys..) and i guess i've sort of adapted the same 'it's not as big of a deal as you think it is' kind of mentality. 

3) garrett was not raised this way. also, he can count on one finger the number of times he's been really sick. 
it was strep throat and he got it from me. (i warned him before he kissed me. but that was hardly enough deterrent for an 18 year old boy with a huge crush and no previous experience with strep throat. he knows better now.) to garrett, everything is a much bigger deal than i think it is.

but then he showed me the google images rash. and it was the only rash that looked at all like what he had. then he read me a fact about celiac disease that i had never heard before. in some cases, it  may only manifest itself through a rash. this rash is most commonly found on the knees and elbows. 

i can admit when i'm wrong. so i told him there was a chance it was wheat/gluten related but if he went to a doctor right now they would tell him to take wheat/gluten out of his diet for 2 weeks and to come back for a follow up appointment to see if the rash has improved.
so we skipped the doctor and went straight to the homework assignment.

for a short amount of time garrett wasn't too bothered by the idea of taking out wheat. so he couldn't eat whole wheat-bread. so what? 

and then he realized gluten is pretty much what holds the earth and stars in their place and escaping it was nearly impossible. it went something like this:

we went to the grocery store and we were able to find some food that was edible, gluten free and three times the price of the gluten-filled product. so that was fun.

two weeks later garrett's rash was mostly gone. the tiny cysts were scabbed over and the itching, for the most part, had disappeared. 

i'm no doctor, but i was pretty sure at that point that it was, in fact, an allergy to wheat and gluten.  

we continued to eat gluten free and the rash continued to disappear. 
and then we moved to Utah for the summer. 
and In-n-Out had their buns.
and Costa Vida and Cafe Rio had their delicious tortillas.
and everything was breaded or sandwiched or wrapped.
and everywhere we looked there was gluten.
and garrett threw caution to the wind and tried to convince himself that maybe  we got it wrong. maybe there wasn't an allergy at all. 

like the whole rash disappearing thing was just a coincidence. (ha!)

i continued to eat gluten free because we had the food and i wasn't really bothered by taking gluten out of my diet.

2 weeks later garrett had a full blown, cystic rash that was even itchier than anything he'd had before. life became positively uncomfortable for him. he couldn't sleep. he couldn't sit still. he couldn't work. constantly itching, constantly scratching. worse. definitely worse than before. and spreading.

so he changed his eating again. and once again we were both eating gluten free. and once again his rash calmed down.

we took a trip to Reno, NV (as mentioned in this post) to see my uncle who is a dermatologist. he confirmed that the rash was definitely DH (Dermatitis Herpetiformis) and it was caused by gluten. (and no, it isn't herpes. because everyone asks.)

some weeks later garrett went to his doctor (in california) and had some blood tests taken. a few days after that he got a phone call informing him that he definitely had celiac disease. he was scheduled for an endoscopy (to determine whether his insides looked like his outsides or if there was any internal damage caused by that darn gluten.) 

he wasn't expecting a full celiac disease diagnosis. he thought he had maybe just an intolerance, a minor allergy at worst. but not a disease. diseased people have diseases. not the kid who has only been sick once in his whole life. 

sadly, he was wrong. his blood tests came back  extremely positive and despite his wishful thinking and longing for mozzarella sticks, he was a celiac kid. and wheat, though tasty in so many different ways, was and is now his arch nemesis. 

and in a way, his life has kind of been changed forever.
because whether we want to admit it or not, the way we eat, how we eat, what we eat- it affects us a lot. i really believe that.

(stay tuned for part two of the Gluten Free Chronicles-Gluten Free is so fetch.)


  1. Could you please help me figure out the best foods to eat that are Gluten Free?? My mom recently went GF and her headaches have gone entirely away and I want to give it a whirl but I have NO idea where to start!!! Good luck to y'all!

  2. man, it's crazy how prominent dairy and wheat are in today's foods. glad you figured out what was causing the rashes though...good luck on the diet change! after a while it's not hard to follow a dairy free/ gluten free diet. it's going out to eat that can be tricky.

  3. That is insane, I never knew celiac could do that! Hope your boo is enjoying life itch-free, and can't wait to read the part two!

  4. "So fetch." Love it!
    Glad he got a diagnosis!