For the last several years my seizures have been slowly getting worse: more frequent, mostly. And after the grande mal in September where my husband had me sent to the hospital via ambulance, terrified that I was about the die and leave him with three small children, I reluctantly agreed to put a little more effort into finding out how to control them.
Because none of the medications that I have been prescribed have ever worked, I decided to follow the advice of a second-cousin in Colorado whom also has seizures and start avoiding gluten. So, in October, I gave it up.....Finally, but the third week of November, my seizures had ceased completely. Really? Stopped? I was so confused. I'm so used to having seizures that to go for a day....or two....or a week without having them made me nervous. I decided that the connection may have been a coincidence and ate some pie for Thanksgiving. Ten minutes later I had a seizure. And kept having them.
Okay, I was convinced, it was the gluten. I hate the idea of following what sounds to me like a 'fad diet', but I couldn't argue with the results. The difficulty was always remembering to think about what I was eating. It was easy to avoid bread and noodles, but this meant I couldn't eat our family Saturday morning pancakes. Or flour tortillas with our Sunday lunch burritos. I had to change my recipes for chicken enchiladas and not use canned cream of mushroom soup in casserole. I couldn't eat packaged french fries. Or the onion soup mix that I use in marinara sauce. I even had to make up my own taco seasoning. But the kicker came one Sunday when I realized that I couldn't eat the bread at communion. Gosh, that's not sacrilegious, is it?!
But the best day was when I was rereading through some year-old magazines and there was an article on neurology and celiac disease. The neurologist that was interviewed says "If you look at neurological disorders...you'll find a higher than expected percentage of these patients have celiac disease. Some syndromes, like epilepsy with calcification in the brain, are definitely linked to celiac disease."
A-ha! There was a tie-in! I have had a calcium deposit on the back of my skull since I was born - my parents were told that it was related to my birthmark (Sturge-Weber syndrome). But no one had ever told me that it was any more than that. But here was the link - those annoying seizures were linked to my calcium deposit that were directly linked to eating gluten. Amazing. The thing I thought was so benign was actually the cause of my most obvious problems.
I also was reading about something called gluten ataxia, which is when a person's gluten consumption leads to their clumsiness. I tried to pass this off on my husband as the reason for my lack of grace in movement, but he wouldn't buy it. Phooey.