After months of trips to the doctors, blood being taken that could fill up a dry lake, tests that would make anyone squirm, misdiagnosis, I finally have the answer as to why I’ve been so bloody ill. I have Celiac Disease. I thought I would write about my condition, for anyone that wants to join me on this gluten free journey , from the beginning.
What is Celiac Disease?
Celiac Disease is a digestive and autoimmune disorder that results in damage to the lining of the small intestine when foods with gluten are eaten. The symptoms can vary from person to person but include, bloating, diarrhea, weightloss, iron deficiency anemia, seizures, nerve damage, growth problems and more. Having Celiac Disease leaves you susceptible to other health problems that include Osteoporosis, infertility, birth defects and cancer, so it is extremely important that a gluten free diet is followed seriously and strictly. There is no cure for anyone with Celiac Disease, so you will have to remain on a gluten free diet for the rest of you life; eating gluten at all can damage the intestine and restart the problem.
I first started noticing my body was changing last September, when I found certain foods were difficult to eat. I was also severely tired all the time, because I just couldn’t digest food, and therefore any kind of nutrients that I was putting into my body, just came straight out. (Apologies for the TMI!!) I had numerous trips to the doctors that resulted in me having a colonoscopy, which is the worst thing anyone has to go through by the way, and these results came back negative.
Obviously I was pleased with this, because I knew that certain major bowel conditions, like Inflammatory Bowel Disease, was ruled out. However, my symptoms were worsening and I knew that something was wrong. Trying to explain to people about it, is difficult. It’s not just a tummy ache, feeling tired and dashing to the toilet, it effects you mentally, emotionally and physically. I started to have anxiety before eating food because I just didn’t know how my body was going to react to it and it makes you on edge 24/7.
I went back to the Doctors because I knew something wasn’t right, only to be told to “take paracetamol.” My mouth dropped to the floor at how insensitive and just god dam stupid some GP’s are (don’t get me wrong, I love the NHS!) I decided to make another appointment and this time it was to see the Nurse. A week later, I went back to the doctors again, and the Nurse said that I haven’t been tested for Celiac Disease, so she took some bloods. I never even heard of Celiac Disease before, so I trawled the internet and asked Dr Google and after researching it started to all make sense.
I went to the Doctors to get my results, to be told that they have found really high levels of Celiac. The Doctor told me that the next step is to have an endoscopy, to see how much damage it has done to my intestines. He also told me that it is important to not change my lifestyle just yet and to carry on eating gluten until my endoscopy, which is really difficult, as I now know it isn’t helping me!
So that is my story, months of symptoms in a few paragraphs.
I’m still trying to get to grips with the whole thing and mentally preparing myself for when the lifestyle changes really start to take effect. Knowing that I will need to check the food labels on everything down to even making sure my make up is gluten free is going to be a challenge and really confusing, but I know it’s going to make me healthier and happier.
I’m probably going to do updates on living with Celiac Disease, and hopefully come up with some yummy recipes. Importantly, it will be good if this raises more awareness about it, as there are currently 600,000 people in the UK living with this condition.
I have a few weeks to prepare myself and to get as knowledgeable as I can about this disease, so if anyone has been diagnosed with it or if anyone has any tips, then please comment below.
Lots of Love,