Sunday, June 10, 2012

Celiac disease - Diagnosed (My Story)

Hi Readers,

        Today I would like to share my story of how I found out that I had Celiac disease. I considered myself pretty healthy. I ate everything that my mom made at home and she did a wonderful job of balancing vegetables, meats, grains fruits, desserts. I was a thin child growing up but had a little bloated belly right where the intestines are. I started gaining weight when we moved to Syria and I was introduced to Tang and Kraft cream cheese spread when I was fourteen.
I always loved eating rice with masala dishes or dry vegetable dishes. I loved eating tarka rice  (fried onions with spices), white rice with yogurt and biryani. I liked roti(bread) but with very few dishes like bhindi (Okra), Kerela (bitter melon) and Paye (Goat Feet curry). When I moved to Winnipeg, for University, I ate whatever I felt like eating. I avoided bread as much I could and started disliking pizzas, burgers and bread. I ate rice, poutine (best Canadian food ever ), fish o fillets, chicken fingers and lots of candy.  I gained quite a few pounds, again a sign i thought that I was pretty healthy.
Now, few things started to happen simultaneously. My teeth started to get very sensitive, I started losing hair, and my nails broke every chance they got. In summer of 2009, I lost a lot of weight and my diet consisted of salads and bread (which is weird because bread is all carbs). I thought that I was just working out really hard. Then fall of 2009, I started getting dizzy spells and high blood pressure. I talked to my doctor she took some blood tests and recommended iron and vitamin D.
My first year education practicum started and I got busy with work and studies. One day, I read an article about how cinnamon helped people with celiac disease to heal their intestines. I read the symptoms and got concerned and told my husband, who helped me get tested. My doctor took it very lightly but referred me to a blood specialist. The blood specialist tested my blood for tTG/IgA/IgG and EMA and it came back positive, which meant that I had celiac disease. Then, she recommended endoscopy to confirm that I had celiac disease. Here is a (Link) that can help you understand that testing process.
In addition to other symptoms I mentioned above, I had body aches and started losing skin pigment. I had a confused digestive system and regular migraines didn’t help either. After being tested, everything made sense. Why I lost weight when I ate bread? There were no nutrient being absorbed and that bloated belly was a clear sign of inflammation in my intestines.
It took me two years to completely take gluten out of my diet. I struggled with eating out, making food at home that I liked and over indulging in gluten free products (more calories than regular food). Finally, now I am at a place where I am educated about gluten free options and food. I finally cook and eat healthy. I use gluten free flour, products and eat at gluten friendly restaurants. I have recovered mostly, skin pigmentation is normal, my body doesn’t ache and I don’t get dizzy spells. I am absorbing nutrients like a healthy person. I believe that writing this blog heals me as well. I hope people find it helpful and get encouraged to get tested and see how easy it is to be gluten free.

I would love to hear your stories, please share. Thanks!