Way too much information will be happening in this post so, I am apologizing now! SORRY, but a little #sorrynotsorry !! Also, this will be a longer post…because I want to get it all in…I need to let people know this is real and not just an excuse or fad.
Celiac disease is a serious genetic autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. It is estimated to affect 1 in 100 people worldwide. Two and one-half million Americans are undiagnosed and are at risk for long-term health complications.
MY BATTLE STORY
“It’s just a GI bug, it’ll pass, 24-48 hours,” I said to my fiance (who was at the time just my boyfriend).
48 hours had surpassed and I was still the size of an 6-month pregnant woman, burping like crazy, and using the bathroom constantly. I work in the medical field, so I am your worst type of patient. I will figure out what’s wrong, if anything. I mean seriously. I’m fine I kept telling myself, even though I knew something was wrong.
Well, about 2 weeks had passed and not one symptom had gotten any better. I gave in and went to the doctor, I discussed with her everything that was wrong and when I say everything…I kinda I went to town. I explained to her that for the first few days, my stool was a bright green color, aka…I thought it was a GI bug and I didn’t believe it was anything too concerning. Then, I told her I was overly bloated, felt constipated, but using the bathroom like crazy. I was burping and passing gas that was absolutely unlike anything I have ever let out of my body before. After those few days had passed my stool literally turned the color gray, like clay looking!? This is crazy I know, but it happened, unfortunately.
So, she then started to ask me a few questions and thought maybe I could have a bacteria called H.Pylori in my system. As we continued to talk, I told her I have a decent diet too. I mentioned this because I was concerned about the color of my stool. I kept telling her I had not had any broccoli or spinach to make this happen, I love it, but did NOT eat that much!
I informed her that when my family moved from NY to SC in 2004 we went into a health kick. We cut out all white, everything. No white bread, sugar, flour, etc. We switched over to whole wheat! We all became healthier and it was a good transition. However, my doctor said let’s check for one more thing…lets get a celiac panel.
Excuse me, but uhhh what’s that?! She explained to me that celiac disease is when our body can not break down gluten (wheat, rye, and barley). I agreed because I really didn’t think I had that.
WELL…come to find out, my blood test came back…my results were THROUGH THE ROOF. A normal range for one of the test I can remember (there are multiple since it is a panel) was 1-19. My result…74! 70 freaking 4! So, right away, she tells me I can get an endoscopy to fully check, but with my blood tests…it was a given since my antibodies even came up positive. I, however, got the endoscopy anyway, just to have a baseline if anything else was to ever happen and of course it confirmed with a biopsy, I had celiac. Luckily, there was not much damage.
I can remember being in shock, kind of frantically calling my boyfriend and my mom. I remember getting all choked up because I said, what the heck am I supposed to do!? The only solution for now, was a gluten free diet! WHAT CAN I EAT?! I’m Italian…EVERYTHING I eat is straight gluten!
At the time, I worked for a company which had multiple physician practices within it. This company was booked out every single day for an entire year for breakfast and lunch to be brought in from drug reps. AKA, a living hell for me.
Let me tell you, this was seriously like the 5 stages of grief but instead...
the 5 stages of gluten grief (actually it is a real thing lol)!
Stage 1: Denial
I seriously continued to tell myself I was fine. I’m okay. Celiac disease is a joke?! Seriously, my body isn’t attacking itself because of what I eat, that’s absurd!
Stage 2: Anger
Guys, I was pissed, I was so pissed I would cry. I would break down and ask, why me? I love food. I don’t know what to eat! I want that damn bagel. I want a freaking slice of pizza! How do not eat everything that everyone else is eating? How do I avoid people who are eating it right in front of me! UGH! Seriously, I was frustrated.
Stage 3: Bargaining
This is when I would continue eating this food and I initially was like OMG YES IT’S SO GOOD…even though I shouldn’t eat it. However, give it a little time and I felt like I would rather throw everything up just to feel better. I was at the point of “I’ll just have a bite, I’ll be fine! I’ll just take some digestive pills and feel better after.” WRONG. But, it happened over and over again.
Stage 4: Depression
I spiraled downward, farther and farther. I started gaining weight like crazy. I was not happy and no one understood. I didn’t care if I felt bad anymore. I ate more and more because I truly did not know how to deal with this without continuously feeling like a failure all the time. I literally believe I went through a phase of depression. I didn’t want to move off the couch and I would just eat what I felt like eating.
Stage 5: Acceptance
I hit a point in my life where it was time for big changes, I moved to North Carolina, I got a new job, new home, new friends. My fiance was doing a lot of work-ups at the time and was away for weeks at a time, then back for a few days. This is when I decided I couldn’t live like this anymore. I need to worry and care about me. I need to love myself again. I need to find this new me. I needed to create a lifestyle that I could live on my own and that I could continue when John would return. I have celiac disease and this will not be the end of me.
So, after serious research, I found that this is a genetic disease, that the symptoms range in every person. I learned what I could and could not eat. I am able to watch someone eat a piece of pizza, bagel, donut, etc and yeah I would love it, but it’s the fact of how terrible I would feel if I did eat it. I have found a new me, a new appreciation for my body, and a new self love.
My Childhood Past:
It seems so crazy, but I started to look back, like way back and I remember as a toddler sitting on the toilet as a kid, mom giving me hot tea, and I would cry. I couldn’t use the bathroom. I was constipated, all the time. Even as I got older, everyone has a different cycle, but mine was anywhere from 5-7 days before going to the bathroom.
I then remember stories of when I was a baby. Mom and Dad said I would projectile vomit across the room like I was an exorcist child or something.
I look back at pictures of me in elementary school with such dark circles under my eyes…we just said it was an Italian thing.
Throughout the beginning of college, I remember eating any and everything. I was hungry all the time, even after I had JUST ate. I said, well, I am playing softball and have a really high metabolism so I am just burning it off quickly.
As a college student…I would drink, guess who was a light weight and had a hard time handling her alcohol. Me.
I got to a phase, further in college, where I would barely eat anything…but it felt as I had ate a feast and it would sit in my stomach blowing me up like a balloon and felt as if it was sitting in my throat. I would make myself throw up when this happened, which wasn’t all the time, BUT I needed whatever was in my body, out.
I remember feeling like I have brain fog at times and just can’t think. In a daze almost. A weird feeling of just irritability, depression, and confusion.
Constantly tired, long lasting headaches, terrible sleep patterns…the list goes on and on. There are SO many things that I look back at and realize I was not and have not been in a healthy body all my life. I was sick and didn’t even know.
It took a long time, a lot of struggle and frustration. There were even times (I say times because it was more than once that this was offered) when John would tell me, he would quit a bad habit of his, if I would quit eating gluten. I couldn’t even hold up my end of the bargain. It was like I was taking two steps forward and five steps back.
It was truly a time of change within me. To find that there is another way of living. To find that every small failure I had during this time was teaching me that I need to rid my body of this toxic food. I even read that there is such thing as a gluten detox and a gluten high! GUYS, what else do we detox from and get high from…drugs! I was a victim just like so many others.
WHAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW
Gluten has so many effects on our bodies that happen and we may not know it. What about long term, what if I continued to eat this, knowing or not knowing I had a disease. I read some of the scariest things ever…type 1 diabetes, thyroid disease, osteoporosis, malnutrition, cancer, infertility, depression/irritability, lactose intolerance, and trouble maintaining a healthy weight. I was reading a nightmare and I never want to live in a nightmare.
Since it is genetic…it worries me, I think it is from my Dads side of the family. Mom and Sister don’t seem to have any symptoms, but Dad and I are a lot alike. Dad has gone through times of being sick and wondering why he feels like crap. He talks about how bloated he is but says he barely ate anything that day. Dad even has a bulging disc and says when he stays off gluten he has no throbbing and no sharp pain. He has realized that the inflammation gluten causes inside our body makes life so much more complicated. I also have a family member on Dads side of the family who currently has cancer…it is currently being treated, but I personally think could have been caused from celiac disease or in general our corrupted food system today.
We are literally putting toxic food into our bodies and it is DESTROYING our insides!
DID YOU KNOW
WHAT CAN YOU DO
Guys, I am not saying that everyone has celiac disease. I am simply saying, start looking at the food you are putting into your body. The food industry has corrupted us all and taken over our bodies. It is causing disease in all of us and whether we want to believe it or not, it’s happening.
Do you really know how your body feels at its full optimum wellness?! Probably not! Our bodies have so much potential with just giving it what it truly needs.
If you are having random symptoms, maybe they aren’t all separate issues. Maybe they are all linked to one thing. Food.
I encourage everyone to do some research, talk to your doctors, maybe try an elimination diet! Only you know your body and how it feels. I am here for ANY and ALL questions. No question is silly and I may not be a doctor, but I will give advice on whatever I can! I want to help people feel their absolute best from the inside out. When your inner-self feels good…everything else falls into place. It took me a long time to realize that, but it is true.
John has also agreed to help answer any questions coming from significant others that may be struggling to help their loved ones. 🙂
In one of my previous posts, Live A Life OF Purpose … I discuss not having one single purpose in life but, living a life OF purpose. I truly believe I was meant to go through these obstacles so that my life OF purpose can be to change lives. Not in one specific way but overall help individuals learn, grow, and become the best of who they truly can be.
*Stay tuned, I’ll be discussing my favorite products to help when I get “glutened”!*
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