After over a year of chronic nausea I am very happy to say I have finally been diagnosed with Celiac Disease.
Celiac is an autoimmune disease. When wheat, barley and rye are eaten a person’s body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.
Celiac disease 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 that include Central and Peripheral nervous system disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, and even some types of cancer. It can take years to diagnose a person with Celiac so I guess I am lucky I found out relatively quickly.
There were a few times throughout my illness that I looked at Celiac Disease but I only had one of the symptom, which include vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. My doctor says people may sometimes not have any symptoms.
Currently the only treatment is a gluten-free lifestyle. That means no baked goods, pasta or pizza with gluten – forever. When I got my diagnosis I ate my last piece of pie, pumpkin, and on my birthday I went to my favorite pizza place to have my last real pizza.
I’ve been gluten-free ever since and it hasn’t been so bad. Jacques has been great in researching and making gluten-free recipes for me. Pretty much anything that is made with gluten can be made without it and taste pretty good. I’ve already found a bread and spaghetti that I like.
It’s no fun to have Celiac but I will gladly go on a gluten-free diet if it means an end to this nausea. I’m still getting nauseated sometimes but it can take weeks to feel good again.
I am angry with my former G.I. doctor who tossed me aside after I came out negative for one test she ran. I’m also angry at my (former) therapist who suggested that my nausea was a symptom of my depression.
I feel my story is a lesson that you should never give up and believe in yourself. Don’t accept an “It’s all in your head” diagnosis.
Do you have a story of a journey towards your diagnosis?