I have Celiac disease as well as Hoshimotos Thyroidistis. Both of these being autoimmune disorders. I didn’t find out until I was in my late 20s.
For years, starting in college, I was getting really sick after I ate most meals. I just thought it was unhealthy eating habits. I was told by a doctor that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
About the time my husband and I were married in 2007, the symptoms began getting really bad. I was becoming so bloated at night after dinner that I could barely move.
We moved to Las Vegas about a year after our marriage. My husband had a job working for a Casino and we were getting a lot of free tickets to cool stuff, like cirque du soleil shows and concerts. The people he worked with were also inviting us out at night.
Most of the time however, I couldn’t go out. For months I would be bed ridden at night due to pain in my stomach.
And then one day, the issues kind of stopped. I started to focus more on my running and was running up to 20 miles on the weekends.
I felt okay for about a year until my menstrual cycle stopped. I thought it was due to the running.
All of a sudden I began losing a lot of weight and had this insatiable craving for ice and sunflower seeds. I still didn’t have my period and my mealtime bloating was coming back.
Then, I couldn’t run anymore. I would have to stop after a few miles and eventually it was too hard and I stopped all together.
Around this time, my young niece was diagnosed with Celiac disease.
After talking to my sister on the phone one day, she told me to get tested for Celiac because it was genetic.
My doctor tested me for hypothyroidism, anemia and celiac. I tested positive for all three and was later diagnosed with Hoshimotos Thyroiditis. This disease actually runs in my family, both my parents and sisters have it. It is also connected to Celiac.
I got a referral to a gastroenterologist after my doctor was concerned about my liver. He stated that I showed signs of liver damage as well. Later I found out that this is common in Celiac patients and gone untreated can cause complete liver failure.
I had the standard tests for Celiac, a blood test that was positive and an then had an endoscopy to to determine the damage to my intestinal track. Luckily, the damage I had was not severe.
Anemia and untreated Celiac can go together. The damage that untreated Celiac does to your intestinal track, makes it hard or impossible for iron to be absorbed.
This was a lot of news and it was pretty devistating to me. My husband and I were foodies at the time and loved exploring restaurants on and off the Las Vegas Strip. I “accidentally” ate gluten on many occasions after my diagnosis and was sick a lot until I figured out what I could and could not eat.
It’s awesome how so much has changed as people are becoming more aware of the disease. When I was first diagnosed I felt like no one had any idea what I was talking about. It was frustrated going to restaurants. But now so many are aware. I went to Chick -Fil -A not long ago and ordered the chicken salad with out the bread. The manager came and asked if I had an allergy, then warned my that their chicken salad was not gluten free. I’m so glad he told me.
Even grocery stores are getting so much better. I was at the store today and almost broke my diet after seeing how many Gluten Free goodies there were.
Over the years I have eaten a lot of Gluten Free packaged foods and have spent a lot of money. I now prefer to eat foods that are naturally gluten free. I do have my favorites though, I’m a sucker for Gluten Free Chocolate Chex and gluten free Oreos. I buy bread and pastas to have in the house. But otherwise, it’s not usually worth all the extra money or calories.
I now have 3 nieces who have been diagnosed. So, I will definitely be watching out for my kids. I was so miserable for so long without knowing what the real issues were. I am now able to watch what I eat and I feel so much better.