This is not the beginning of the story. When this story and journey began, I had no idea it would end up here.
I began showing symptoms of general gut issues in 2006, I think. That’s at least when I first remember the pain. I knew how to deal with it, so that wasn’t the beginning either. I got my first tests done in 2010 to rule out Crohn’s or anything worse. Gluten was mentioned and I had a concept of being “gluten sensitive.” I also cut out all caffeine to control spasms in my colon. Everything kept getting better after that summer, until my junior year of college. I don’t know what did it, but the switch flipped and was never going to go back to normal again. After one Tuesday in February, where I woke up feeling so sick and uncertain of what my body was going to do to the point where I almost stayed home from school, I went into the university health center and set up an appointment to talk about all my issues. I got the blood test done thinking it would say “you probably shouldn’t eat gluten at every meal.” A few days later, I was checking my email on my phone when I saw it: “Your blood tests have come back positive for Celiac’s disease.” I pretty much started sobbing in the middle of the hallway. I met my boyfriend in the food court and showed him the email while having my first “Celiac breakdown” as I call them. I had no idea what I could eat anymore. Due to other health issues, I wasn’t able to get my endoscopy scheduled to super confirm Celiac’s and make it so there wouldn’t ever be a reason to touch gluten again. I stayed in my classes while going back on gluten after being gluten-free for three weeks. It wasn’t the best thing for my grades but I was just ready to be done with this whole process. In mid-April, my mom came to visit and take me to my endoscopy and I haven’t looked back ever since.
So this part of the story begins now in October, five and a half months since the last time I (intentionally) ate gluten. There will probably be other flash backs with lessons attached, kind of like How I Met Your Mother. I’ve learned a lot in half a year, and I think teaching others about Celiac Disease and sharing my own experiences is an empowering way to navigate all the frustration, questions, delicious food and new found health that comes with the diagnosis.
This has been a message from your Friendly Neighborhood Celiac