Wednesday, March 30, 2011

My GF Journey: Why I went gluten free

I just realized I haven't posted very much about my gluten free story.  I had another blog before this where I posted the story, but I didn't put it on Gluten Free in Utah.  Here is part 1 of 2 about my gluten free journey:

I've had weird aches and pains almost as long as I can remember. It started with stomach aches and nausea, which was diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome when I was in elementary school. I also had body aches, joint pain, headaches, and other issues. Pretty much I think half the doctors (along with friends and family) thought I was a hypochondriac. Not cool.

In the fall of 2002 I moved to Provo for college. One of my new roommates (who has become one of my best friends) had celiac disease. I didn't really know what that meant at first except that she couldn't eat wheat or flour and if she did it made her really sick.

In the summer of 2006 I was pretty fed up with feeling crummy. I always had stomach aches, headaches, body aches, fuzzy/foggy brain, blurry eye site, etc. One evening at work when I was feeling particularly "blah" and frustrated with it all I had a sudden thought- could I have celiac disease? I had learned a lot more about it from my friend throughout the years and had heard her talk to other people who had learned they were celiac and it suddenly just clicked that this could be my answer as well.

I immediately called up my friend and asked her what the symptoms of celiac disease were. She told me there are a ton (I've since found out there are at least 250) and that everyone manifests it differently. I told her my symptoms and she said they all fit celiac. After work I immediately got on the internet to figure this all out. Not only did all of my symptoms fit, but there were more that I'd never have associated with celiac disease. (Sinus infections and canker sores can also occur as a result of eating gluten if you have an intolerance to it.)

I couldn't believe it! All those years of doctors not knowing what was wrong with me (and many probably not believing anything was wrong at all) and I had figured it out! I tested it out and had some blood work done by the doctor and came to the conclusion that I definitely have a gluten intolerance, if not celiac (more on the testing later... this is already a long post).

I am so grateful for my friend! If I hadn't known her so well and learned about celiac I wouldn't have been able to self-diagnose myself. I also wouldn't have been able to get to the point I am now without her. She was (and still is) an awesome support for me in dealing with the changes the gluten-free lifestyle brings, always being there to answer my questions and give me advice. I'd like to pay her kindness forward by doing my best to support anyone else out there who is switching to the gluten-free life.

1 comment:

Ahousto said...

Bethany,

I've read a couple of times here that you are not diagnosed Celiac...have you been tested or Hashimoto's disease? I have it and was experiencing all of the symptoms you list here (and a few more). Gluten intolerance is part of the package on this little gem of a disease (also and auto-immune disease). A blood test can confirm it (thyroid hormones and antibodies) but your doc really needs to be searching for it. Just thought I would chime in! Good luck and thanks for all the great tips!