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Celiac? The Acute Attack

Normally I like to blog about topics that people have asked me about; this week however I feel it’s time to get a bit personal.

Some of you may know that I have been going through some health problems of my own.  It’s funny but as a health professional you get so busy, worried, caught up in the troubles of your clients that you forget to take care of the self.  Normally my form of self care is healthy eating, running and a regular yoga practice.

In June of this year these fav pass times become impossible to keep up.  On the tenth of June I began throwing up.  At first I figured I had some kind of stomach bug, probably caught while on a class trip with my daughter.  After a few days it was obvious that it was not a normal “bug” then the pain started.  It came on suddenly a stabbing pain in my lower right side, so bad that I passed out.

Over the summer I threw up 10+ times daily for 84 days, during which I went through testing of every kind.  The allopathic medical community was at a loss and no one would listen to the girl with a DNM.  I was tracking my eating, my nausea, the pain, everything that was out of the ordinary.  I began to notice a correlation to wheat.  When I suggested this to the gastroenterologist, he looked at me and said “you are not celiac”.  Huh??  What does that mean?  He told me to chew on soda crackers to help ease the nausea, that I just had a slow moving intestinal virus (84 days slow??).

Crackers all day, this is when i got worse.  So bad that I lost consciousness in the middle of vomiting.  So I decided to test myself.

Now I know that the Bio-card is not 100% as it does not look for all indicators but at least it was a step forward.  It came back positive; so i gave up all that is gluten.  I told the doc at my next follow-up.  His reply “positive, huh, i don’t think that’s what’s causing the vomiting”… hmmmmmm!

Now 2 months later I am gluten free, nausea free and the pains (which I came to realize was common celiac intestinal pain) have mostly subsided.  I have experienced cross contamination and just blind stupidity 4 times.  Each time has sent me running, in 2 to 4 hours, solidifying my belief it was gluten all along.  I’m in the middle of a huge learning curve;  I now have to read or discuss everything that I consume!

My story is not new or different.  I can’t get over the number of people I talk to that been through or know someone who has been through a similar situation.  The lesson here is that we need to listen to our bodies.  When listening and paying attention and something comes up, follow it until you can prove it wrong.  It was around day 70 that I finally realized it could be wheat.  I would have seen it sooner if I had of “listened” to my body instead of putting blind faith in the “professionals”.

Of course, looking back, I realize there were symptoms all along.  Years of little signs that I was celiac.

  1. I have been iron deficient anemic since I was a toddler.  Check out any pic from my childhood and you will notice the large black circles under my eyes that just never went away no matter how much sleep I got.  

  2. By age 8 I was thin as a rail…tall for my age but underweight and I ate…a lot!  

  3. By 10 I began experiencing excruciating migraines.   

  4. For as long as I can remember digestive troubles, usually constipation and bloating.  The constipation cleared up once I became vegetarian.  I thought i couldn’t digest meats; true but it was because my small intestine was slowly eroding.

  5. Low birth weight pregnancies.

You get the point!  The symptom list for celiac is long and varied depending on where you look.  I strongly encourage anyone with these symptoms or others to talk to a health professional.  Left untreated celiac disease can cause many long term illnesses including: 

  1. osteoporosis

  2. miscarriage, birth defects, low birth weight

  3. thyroid disease

  4. intestinal cancer and other intestinal problems

  5. diabetes

…and several others.  Don’t be afraid to speak candidly, to ensure that your health practitioner will take it seriously to ensure proper testing.


Update October 2017

I switched doctors, my diagnosis was confirmed.  It has now been 3 years of gluten free living and I feel amazing!  Of course accidents do happen and I still end up vomiting for several hours to days with that crazy intestinal pain. 

Notice the dark eyes.

Since I first wrote this my middle son started showing the same symptoms I had a as child: dark eyes,  pale skin, low energy, upset stomach for apparently no reason, plus low B12.  He made the decision, on his own, to go gluten free and he too is better.  People have actually asked me what we did because he looks so much better, is in a better mood and has tons of energy! 

Free running with my boy!

I am so proud of him!  At 15 he is taking action for his own health he says it’s easy to not eat the “bad stuff” because he feels so good.  On the left is a pic of him the week before I got “sick” and to the right on of him and myself this past summer.  Notice the difference in his eyes!     

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