Tuesday, March 26, 2013

True Life: I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease

It was a normal Wednesday morning. After a three day weekend, in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, I was back in the swing of things at work when it hit me. Monday, my doctor's office had emailed to let me know my allergy results were ready to view online. I couldn't remember my password for the life of me so I gave up trying on Monday and completely forgot about it on Tuesday. What reminded me that Wednesday was the left-over pains of the night before. Tuesday's diet consisted of barley and rye oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, crackers and pizza. If you have any background knowledge about Celiac, you know that EVERYTHING I ate that day was bad bad badddd for my body. And by Wednesday, it had revolted against me with all it's might, thus reminding me to check my test results.

Low and behold, I had tested extremely positive for Celiac Disease. Never had it crossed my mind that Celiac was an explanation for the pain and discomfort I had been feeling for so many months (and years without noticing.) I actually thought I had a lactose intolerance which seemed like the end of the world for me because I love cheese. Nope... it was worse!

I instantly went into panic mode... texting all my friends and complaining about it profusely to my coworkers.  No more pizza, pasta, bread or beer?? HOW WAS I EVER GOING TO SURVIVE!? This was basically a five alarm fire (in my eyes.)

As you can see, it's been over two months and guess what!? I'm alive. The dust settled and I'm starting to understand what's going on with my body. I began a gluten free diet and started researching what food was safe and what to avoid. I've had wonderful help from colleagues and friends who also have Celiac so that had made the transition easier.

It was inevitable that dining out would be a challenge. It felt like every time I went out to eat the first few weeks after diagnosis I got sick. Like, horrible uncomfortable sharp pains in my stomach, pounding headaches, bloating and gas (TMI but get over it! This is my health declaration!) All of these signs were always present in my past but ignored because I thought "Hey, that's just how my body reacts to food. No big deal." But it was a big deal. A very big deal!! One that now explains why I get 10 colds a year, why I passed out and ended up in the hospital on a visit to Michigan two years ago, why I had been so incredibly tired in the fall and why two beers use to give me a pounding headache.

I spent a large chunk of today at the Celiac Disease center at Columbia university medical center. I talked with my new G.I., shared my symptoms, previous medical results and how I've been feeling. She urged me to get an endoscopy to check on the damage already done so I'll be doing that next Wednesday. Next, I met with a nutritionist and learned that, to my surprise, I've been eating pretty well since diagnosed. The only major thing missing from my diet is calcium which is easy to fix. More cheese please! ;)  I rounded out the two hour visit with a quick bone density scan to see if I'm developing osteoporosis. I was impressed to accomplish this much in one visit but they cater to Celiac patients so this type of service is standard and I was beyond pleased!

I now have  answers. I can finally understand what has been going on with my body all my life and now take the right precautions to bring myself back to health, avoiding long term side effects of Celiac like trouble baring children or in some rare cases, lymphoma. Thankfully, I'll have even more answers after the endoscopy next week.

I now hold the keys to a brighter, healthier future and I couldn't be happier! I'm eating delicious meals and avoiding junk food like burgers, chicken tenders and fries. More so because I have no choice but I'll take it as a win since I use to attempt to avoid them and failed miserably. I'm more aware of what I put into my body and have found a new love for meals packed with protein and veggies. Celiac has also forced me to be more diligent in cooking at home, which I love.

I will now get off my soap box and back to blogging! Watch out for more posts geared towards gluten free living along with some restaurant reviews. It's been an interesting couple of months but I can't wait to share my experiences with you all.

No comments:

Post a Comment