Passed The Tests for Certified Lab Rat

ABG Goddess

Earth Goddess at the Atlanta Botanical Garden

What wonderful news on a Monday morning: “Your blood tests showed you are diseased enough to continue in the clinical trial. When do you want to come in for visit two?”

Hooray! Of course, this means the gluten free diet has not been sufficient to halt the insidious damage to my immune system, which I must confess I suspected, given the number of times I get “glutened” in any given month. In lab rat terms, this is good news because I get to be one of 15,000 people nationwide who get to test this experimental drug to see if it, along with the gluten free diet, can improve healing, or at least minimize the damage.

In terms of my health, it is a bit disturbing to know that the symptoms I regularly experience mean I still am at high risk of developing cancer and having nutritional deficiencies and complications resulting from said deficiencies. Breathe easy: I’m not really in danger of developing scurvy, although I could break out in a rash of pirate slang, ye scurvy dogs! I’m a little anemic about these risks, but I remain optimistic that the ladder of successful healing is not rickety and any bone of contention I may have is not brittle enough to break under cross-contamination.

Why yes, that was a string of nutritionally deficient puns! Glad to know my funny bone still works.

Wednesday I go in to learn how to record every tiny morsel of food–including those pop chips as a morning snack–I ingest for the next six months and how to use the telephone log system to record the fact that I am not dead yet. After that, I get to the really fun pre-trial phase: the Magic School Bus episode where I swallow several yards of flexible tubing with a camera attached to the front of it so the doctors can enjoy a visual tour of the upper GI system, or as they called it in middle school: a trip down the alimentary canal. This will be my fifth or sixth or seventh–I’ve lost count–endoscopic exam. Piece of gluten free cake. I usually succumb to the “twilight” anesthesia and ask when the test will start about twenty minutes after the test is finished, but once I did not. I’m hoping this time I will resist the pull of the poppies and stay awake because the esophagus and stomach are quite fascinating things to observe through a purple haze. No, they really are.

It’s surreal to see the places you only feel when you’ve eaten too many hot wings. Wouldn’t you want to see where all the magic happens with your food? Sans food, of course. Maybe this time we’ll see that secret extra compartment saved just for dessert, or the cast iron lining that makes it possible to eat pickles at a park after a blackened shrimp po’ boy doused in Louisiana “ketchup” without bursting in flames.

For now, I’ll celebrate with a cool dish of Talenti Alphonso Mango sorbet, the frozen nectar of the gluten free, dairy free Earth Goddess (see above). Seriously, go try some Talenti gelato or sorbetto, Made up the road in Marietta, GA, using old Italian recipes and methods, it’s gluten free frozen heaven. Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip gelato or Cherry Amarena or Sea Salt Caramel…you can’t go wrong. Yeah, it’s $4.99 a pint in Publix or $4.69 at Target but it’s worth it. Raise a spoon in celebration of being sick enough to test a get-well pill, jagged edges not included. Salud!