Gluten-Fest to Gluten-Free

On October 25, 2011, in Uncategorized, by celiacuniverse

October/November 2002 (St. Louis)

I took that next weekend, to participate in what I currently refer to as a “Gluten-Fest” including a trip to The Cheescake Factory, and a few of my other favorites gluten-filled hangouts.

Monday morning, I called the office to schedule my procedure.  Because tTG can be falsely positive, and some of my other symptoms, I had requested both an upper and lower endoscopy.   For those of you who have never had an endoscopy (If you are age 50+ or have a family history please go to, the upper is the easy part.  The lower (colonoscopy) is the reason that those of you are supposed to have already had one- Have Not.  And so for all of those patients that think we GI docs are miserable because they torture their patients with the “prep”, I can safely say, I took mine.  Fortunately, there are now some better preps for patients, but my Fleet Phosphosoda prep made me feel terrible. And yes, I do remember that experience every time I order a “prep” for a patient awaiting a colonoscpy.  How could you not remember?  But, it was probably healthier than the gluten I had probably been eating for years?

The night before the procedure, NPO (nothing by mouth), and I was the first case of the morning.  I remember changing into the typical hospital gown, entering the procedure room, and requested they send a particular stain on the upper (EGD) biopsies.  Then, I remember fading off under monitored anesthesia.  I have some vague memories of the rest of the day: my mom drove me home and we stopped off at the local election booth.  Yes, I voted, but I couldn’t tell you who or what I voted for.  Although, I am sure I used some thoughtful semi-sedated thought process. I went to stay at my parent’s house, slept on the couch for a good four hours and woke several hours after dinner.  Went to sleep that night, and went to work the next day, feeling very refreshed.

I went to see the pediatric dietician to load up on gluten-free samples.  Then, to the grocery to take my first stroll down the gluten-free aisles at Dierberg’s(@Dierbergs), and the brand new Whole Foods Market in Brentwood (@wfmgalleria).  I still have a tendency to check out a few grocery stores in the same day to my wife’s dismay……

It was a long week, and the conclusion to an interesting few months.  Friday morning, I called the pathologist, to see if they would review my slides with me.

A quick aside.  A few years before, I was taking a review course in Chicago. At one of the breaks, a small group of us were chatting and talking about medicine, St. Louis, and Jewish geography (the equivalent of the Kevin Bacon game if you are Jewish).One of the guys in the group,  proceeded to ask me the most unusual question I have ever been asked directly.

“Do you know Doug Fishman?”  I turned to my friend in the group, smiled, and responded, “I am Doug Fishman, who are you?”  This was a son of my parent’s friends, but we never made acquaintance until that day. Fast forward back to 2002.

I walked over to meet with the poor pathology resident, one of my own peeps. I can claim some ignorance as a resident, so I didn’t feel bad that I was about to look at my own biopsy.   And reflecting back on my Jewish geography experience, the following wasn’t so strange. The resident asked, “Can you tell me a little about this patient, I have to present at a conference next week.”  How about, 27 year-old pediatric resident with a tTG of 238?

So we looked at the biopsy, identified the blunted villi, intraepithelial lymphocytes, abnormal crypt to villous ratio (all classic findings of celiac disease) and I left with a new identity:  Pediatrician with Celiac Disease,

So like a Jedi, I would embrace my new skill, and begin mastery of the Gluten Free-Celiac Universe.


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