From Grief, Depression, or Illness to Positivity & Healing

April 18, 2010

My life as a celiac

Filed under: My Rambling Thoughts....=D — by Sue @ 5:30 pm

I know this blog started out about grief, depression and the healing process, but to me, through healing, I’m able to expand to other aspects of my life, like the fact that I have celiac disease.

Celiac disease is a digestive disease that damages the small intestine and interferes with absorption of nutrients from food. It is something you’re born with. People who have Celiac disease cannot tolerate gluten, a protein in wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found mainly in foods but may also be found in everyday products such as medicines, vitamins, and lip balms. Some of the signs, and this list is just a small amount of symptoms, include: fatigue, skin rash, irritable bowel syndrome, infertility, joint pain, scoliosis, anemia, pale sores, gas, weight loss, migraines, abdominal pain, depression, and vitamin B12 deficiency.

Interestingly enough, 1 in 133 people have Celiac disease, however, 97% of those people don’t even know they have it. It’s something you can live with your entire life and not even know about it. For me, it was a trauma to my body that set it in motion.

Now I’ll share a little bit about how I found out I had celiac. I’ve always had a wide range of symptoms and my doctor never pin pointed it to one specific thing. I’ve had migraines since I was a child, I’ve always been anemic for no known reason and I have irritable bowel syndrome, extreme exhaustion, bloating, to name just a few of the things. However I lost a baby in September 2008 and I’d say about February or March 2009 I started getting really sick. It got to the point where if I had to go somewhere, I needed to make sure I knew where the bathroom was as soon as I got there, and I didn’t even want to eat at all, because I knew what was to come.

After reading up on some of the signs and symptoms of various gastro related problems, I went to my doctor and told him I wanted to be tested for celiac disease. Now I’ve worked in a gastroenterology clinic before so knew a bit more about stuff than if I hadn’t so when I told my doctor I wanted to be tested, he knew I wasn’t just going in randomly wanting to be tested for every disease under the sun. The blood test results came back borderline and a few weeks later I had a biopsy done of my intestine.

After the the biopsy was done, I was able to go on a gluten free diet to try it out. By the time I went to my doctor for the results about 5 weeks later, I had never felt better! My always swollen stomach was once again flat. I had energy, and I no longer needed to know where the bathroom was every time we went somewhere! Sure enough, the results came back positive so I have been gluten free since August 3rd, 2009 and have not had a migraine for no reason since.

Now I’ll admit, it’s HARD giving up stuff like pizza, gravy for fries, and of course bread and pasta, but it is possible, and believe me, when you start to feel great again, it’s worth it. There are the occasional times that I’ll “cheat” or unknowingly get glutened, and believe me, I can tell – my main thing when I’m glutened is I look like I’m about 6 months pregnant within about an hour after eating it. Living gluten free is a life long thing now for me, so because I’m not a cook, I don’t have any great gluten free recipes to share with you, but I am learning, and perhaps one day I can! Right now I eat a LOT of salads, and I make sure to buy gluten free sauces for any meat I cook. I do have to say though, is thank GOODNESS wine is gluten free! =D

If you or someone you love has a lot of these symptoms – it’s worth getting tested. I’m 32 and only hope my intestines will repair themselves fairly quickly and that I haven’t been diagnosed too late. Keep in mind, just because you test negative for celiac disease, does NOT mean that you’re not gluten intolerant, which can be just as hard on your system, so a gluten free lifestyle may be a choice for you. If you want anymore information, please feel free to contact me on facebook at Sue Mason-Morton, or leave a comment here



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