I originally began seeing Dr. Cederquist because I was having difficulty losing weight. I had faithfully followed the Weight Watcher’s Plan and still couldn’t lose. After some preliminary testing I began the program that Dr. Cederquist recommended, and I saw my weight begin to drop. I thought that my arthritis would improve with weight loss, but that initially that didn’t happen. I had been seeing my internist regularly, and my liver function tests were elevated. To make matters worse, they seemed to be getting worse with each blood draw. Although my liver function tests had been elevated for almost six years, my internist advised me not to worry about it.
Last year my sister was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and died within 6 months of her diagnosis. The physicians were only able to conclude that she simply drank too much. This absolutely baffled me, because I knew my sister well and we spent a lot of time together. She lived in Naples, and we had even travelled together. I had never known her to drink more than a glass, perhaps two of wine at any time.
Knowing that my own liver function tests were elevated and climbing higher, Dr. Cederquist wanted to be more aggressive in trying to analyze the problem, as there was a possibility that I could be on a liver transplant list within the next ten years. She then recommended that I be tested for food allergies. This surprised me, as I was sure that I had no allergies because I had no symptoms – I didn’t have any gastrointestinal disturbances, no rashes after I ate. I didn’t experience any difficulty with swallowing or swelling after eating certain foods. However, being told that I could be on a liver transplant list was a great motivator so I went ahead with the blood tests.
They came back positive for gluten and dairy. I was shocked! Dr. Cederquist then suggested that I do further testing, which showed that I inherited one gene from my mother and one from my father that predisposes me to the gluten sensitivity. The report also explained that gluten sensitivity can damage the intestinal tract and other tissues including the liver. When I began eating a gluten-free and dairy-free diet, my liver enzymes became completely normal, after being elevated for six years.
It is my personal conclusion that my sister died prematurely from damage to her liver caused by the same gluten sensitivity that I inherited. As my liver enzymes are now normal, I truly believe that Dr. Cederquist saved my life.
I thought that eliminating gluten would be impossible. But as it turns out, it wasn’t as hard as I originally thought. Now that I am off of it, I don’t crave any of the foods that I thought would forever tempt me. My friends think I have great will power, but actually the desire to eat foods with gluten is gone. For the few foods like pasta that I do crave, I have been able to find really tasty substitutes like rice pasta.
After being off gluten for about 6 months I am happy to say that I no longer have arthritis. I was getting epidural shots in my back at least once a year, and now, 6 months later I am pain free. I was unable to close my hands completely because of my arthritis. Now I can make a tight fist. In addition, I suffered from a bad post nasal drip which is now gone, and in general the inflammation throughout my body is gone. Another benefit is that I am at my healthiest weight in over 30 years.
I can’t thank Dr. Cederquist and her knowledgeable and caring staff enough for all they have done to change my life and help me live longer and healthier. I also thank them for the tenacity to keep on searching for an answer when I was being advised by my internist not to worry about my rising liver function tests, even though my sister had died at age 64 from a liver problem. It is rare to find a medical team that you feel truly cares about you. Dr. Cederquist nurtures that spirit in her staff and they feel more like caring friends than health care providers.
L.S. Female, age 63
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