So last week I ended up eating something I wasn’t supposed to and I am paying for it ten fold. Unfortunately I have Celiacs Disease and No, I am not on the gluten free trend. I am the unlucky one percent of the population who gets extremely sick when they ingest anything with gluten in it.
I’m not exactly sure how I ended up with Celiacs because no one in my family is diagnosed with having it. But that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Did you know that 83% of Americans who have Celiacs are living with it undiagnosed. That’s kind of scary considering how damaging this disease is to your body and mind. Unfortunately, it usually takes years for someone to get diagnosed correctly. And during this time, the person continues eating the thing that is actually slowly killing them.
I’m not exactly sure how long it took for me to get diagnosed. I’ve had small symptoms for most of my adolescent life and honestly thought it was normal for your stomach to hurt all the time. I dreaded going to the doctors because they would push on my stomach. It didn’t matter if I was sick as a dog or the healthiest I’ve ever been, it ALWAYS hurt when they pushed. But the disease didn’t really begin to show itself until the end of 2010. By then, not only was I in the emergency room every weekend, but I was so completely swollen, I didn’t even look like myself. The Picture below isn’t even the worst of it.
It took an amazingly persistent doctor to help me get diagnosed. Before I moved to Minnesota, I lived in a college town. And I can remember the one emergency doctor who pushed me over the edge: (Side note- By the time I went in for this visit, my chart had probably shown I had been in there the last three weekends for the same symptoms.) I went into the emergency room because I had been vomiting for 9+ hours and showing no signs of slowing down. I was dehydrated, shaking uncontrollably, and felt like I was honestly dying . The emergency doctor comes in and accuses me of being an alcoholic. What triggered this particular episode was pizza and little cheesecake bites. Even though I only had one glass of wine at the dinner party, he decides to give me a lecture of wasting his time and needing to get help.
That next week, I was in my doctors office in tears asking for help. My relationship with my boyfriend (now husband) was on the edge of falling apart and I was missing way too much work. My doctor ordered a bunch of tests and specialist finally came to the realization that I had Celiacs. After diagnosed, I went into my house and ended up throwing away 80% of everything in my fridge/pantry. You would be surprised of how many things have gluten in them (ice cream, vanilla, spices, meds..) But once I gave up eating gluten, my stomach stopped hurting, the swelling went down and I looked like a normal human, and I stopped getting sick ever other week.
When I eat anything with Gluten in it, even the smallest crumb, it can take up to 7 days before the symptoms hit. But usually it happens within the first four days. The severity of my symptoms can be as small as the discoloration bowel movement to as big as losing the contents of my stomach for 9+ hours straight. The first 24 hours after are horrible: my entire body hurts all over and I can hardly stand long enough to make eggs. Drinking water hurts, wearing a bra hurts, my stomach is completely trashed and the only things I can eat usually revolve around the BRAT Diet (Bananas, Rice, Apple sauce, and plain Toast). The week that follows after depends on how sever my reaction is. But usually working out is impossible because my body is trying to recover, I’m cranky and easily irritable, I’m extremely bloated, really tired, and my immune system has been compromised so I usually get a cold. Sounds like fun right…
Just because something says it is gluten free, doesn’t mean it actually is. Cross contamination is easy to do. Like I mentioned, all it takes is one crumb. And what is worst than getting sick- knowing exactly what I just did to my body. Every time I get sick, I am that much closer to colon cancer and other cancers. Everything, including life, just really sucks! So please watch what you say in front of people- especially if you are following the gluten free trend. Because I honestly don’t know why you would willingly give up some of the best food! Yes there are some good substitutes out there but nothing is the same.
My goal is to get back to things next week. I’m starting to feel more like myself. Thanks for listening to my story/rant. Hope everyone has a good weekend!!