When my doctor told me two months ago, “I am 99.5% certain that you have Celiac disease”, I was both terrified, and relieved.
Terrified, because I knew what that meant; a seriously restricted diet that I could not waver on. I was going to have to read labels like never before, and I was going to have to be incredibly careful about things like eating out, or dining with friends.
Relieved on the other hand, because I finally had the answer to what has caused me to be ill for the vast majority of my life. Within literal days after removing gluten from my diet, all of my internal issues seemed to disappear like magic. I was dumbfounded.
I had been diagnosed with IBS way back in the early 90’s, when I was 19-years old. For years, I tried every diet known to man for stomach issues, but mostly, different types of IBS diets. Some seemed to work for a short while, but others did no good – some even made things worse. It was baffling to me!
I had no idea back then that most IBS diets were the worst things I could be trying. You see, they are heavily laden with gluten; based off of pastas and white bread.
“It is estimated that up to 83% of Americans who have Celiac disease are undiagnosed or misdiagnosed with other conditions. 6-10 years is the average time a person waits to be correctly diagnosed.” ~ beyondceliac.org
I couldn’t understand why absolutely nothing I tried would heal my stomach, when I was supposedly doing the “right” thing. It got to the point where I was eating nothing but rice and chicken broth, and I was pretty much house-bound for almost 5 years.
It was a miserable existence; not only the painful physical effects, but the emotional toll it took on me as well. I was exhausted. I hardly ever slept. I started having anxiety attacks, which I had never had before. I was even finding myself getting depressed at times. My joints ached. I started having migraines. It was all very, very unnatural for me, but I couldn’t figure out how to heal my body.
“Celiac disease can lead to a number of other disorders including infertility, reduced bone density, neurological disorders, some cancers, and other autoimmune diseases.” ~ beyondceliac.org
After we moved down South last year, I decided that one of the things I was going to do was to find myself a good doctor, and get this figured out… once and for all! I knew my hormones were severely out of whack and my thyroid needed to be treated, but mostly, I wanted to find a solution for my stomach ailments.
I found my doctor, and made the appointment. In order to make sure I could even get to the first appointment, I literally ate nothing all day. I knew if I ate, I would never keep the appointment.
Sound familiar? If so, I would highly recommend one of two things:
1.) Go get tested for Celiac disease.
2.) Remove all gluten from your diet and see how you feel over the next week.
If you choose to get tested, do that first before going off of gluten. I had already been off of gluten for 30 days, so I was given the choice of continuing to eat gluten-free and remain feeling well, or go back on gluten for 8 weeks to do an “error-free” Celiac test.
My doctor quite frankly told me that she didn’t think it would be “worth the torture” (her words) of going back on gluten to get the test done, just to have it. I agreed.
For me, even if there had been a doubt as to whether this was a legitimate diagnosis or not (which there wasn’t! lol), I “proved” it to myself one day.
I had been gluten-free for 30 days, and feeling wonderful! One evening while my husband and I were out running errands, we were both getting to the point where our stomachs were growling uncontrollably, so we decided to pick up a pizza on the way home.
WORST. MISTAKE. EVER!!!
Cramping, pain, nausea, and living in the bathroom for the next 3 days told me all I needed to know.
It is *not* worth it!
Needless to say, I have been gluten-free since.
I wanted to share this with you today to encourage you not to give up on your health. If you have been told you have a certain issues (such as IBS) and yet nothing is working, keep looking for answers. Be persistent. Advocate for yourself. Find the answers you are looking for.
Whatever you do, don’t give up!
Wishing you the best of health,
(Photo by: Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash)