I haven’t written much lately because things have been crazy. Let me tell you my story…..
Wednesday I played tennis. I was tired and had not treated myself to eating out in a while, so I ordered PF Chang’s gluten free Mongolian beef for lunch to go. I thought I deserved a treat. But at around 5p, I started vomiting. I was mad. I was like, crap, I thought that food tasted too good – I got glutened.
Then my stomach started hurting. A LOT. Like I can’t be still because it hurts too much to be still hurt. My husband was out of town and it was getting late. The pain subsided a bit after an hour or two, but I still felt nauseous. I figured I would just take some ibuprofen and sleep it off and be fine in the morning.
I took the ibuprofen and about 10 minutes later threw it up. Now, this is unusual. I started to think, I’ve never been this sick from a glutening, maybe I’ve caught the gastrointestinal bug that is going around. I checked my temperature, no fever, so probably no virus. Stomach still hurts, but no diarrhea. Hmmm….
I got some sleep but was back up again at 3 in the morning in pain. Again, the can’t sit still pain and it woke me up from a sleep. I watched a movie, tried to drink some water, and threw it up, again. I’m not a thrower-upper. It takes a lot for me to vomit and I’m really bad at vomiting, so this is starting to get concerning. Eventually, I found a comfortable position and fell asleep.
The alarm went off at 6:15a to get the kids to school. I tried to get up. I put my feet on the floor and stood up. I realized I couldn’t and shouldn’t be driving, so I woke my husband and sent him off to school with the kids.
I slept until 11a. Another, very unusual symptom for me. I’m up at 6:15 during the week and before 9 on the weekends, even if I’ve been out late the night before. I got up, tried to drink some water, and promptly threw up the water I just consumed.
At this point, I cannot keep anything in my system by mouth. I’m barely functioning and miserable. A trip to Urgent Care, where they thought I might have the gastrointestinal virus mentioned above, until she tried to touch my left side. I would not allow her to touch it and she thought it could be colitis. Goes with Celiac, makes sense, and off we go to the outpatient imaging center.
A disgusting drink of contrast, a lovely CT scan, and very nice staff and nurses and I have a diagnosis. A 5mm kidney stone in my left kidney.
Now, all this time, I thought maybe this was something related to celiac. Just so you know – I did the research, people with untreated celiac have a higher rate of kidney stones than the normal population, but that’s not me.
I’ve had lower left quadrant pain for years. I had a CT scan in 2014 with a very small kidney stone ~1mm. The urologist at the time said, “Its too small to hurt”, so we didn’t do anything. I had an MRI in 2017 and they found a small kidney stone in my left kidney then too. Again, I had been told that it couldn’t cause pain, so I didn’t bother. I thought the nightly lower left quadrant pain was that maybe gluten was sneaking into my diet. Now, I know gluten had nothing to do with that pain. Hindsight is always 20/20, but this is ridiculous.
It was a long three days, but Saturday morning I passed the stone. It is the picture above.
Anyway, this is a cautionary tale regarding gluten. Not all issues are gluten related and in looking back, I should have known earlier. But I didn’t think anything else could be wrong. The timeline was right for me. I vomit within 4 hours of a heavy glutening and I thought maybe the excessive stomach pain and exhaustion was something related. I was wrong, very, very wrong.
If something is wrong, make sure to get prompt care. I didn’t and suffered for a very long, miserable three days. Hopefully, I’ll be your cautionary tale and you will take good care of yourself.
I’ve learned a lot about my body and how it works this year. Many of these lessons have been exceptionally difficult and unpleasant – like – don’t get highly infectious skin bacteria from your daughter, I can’t take amoxicillin, don’t drop serving platters on big toes, three years of daily yellow diarrhea can be cured with an antibiotic, and pain off and on for 5+ years in the same place is not gluten related.
Don’t be me – get this stuff checked out and if the answer is “I don’t know” – keep pressing. Keep talking about it. Keep telling them there is a problem every single time you see a doctor.