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You're back.
Yay!
I'd like to tell you about my journey with Celiac Disease and the gluten free diet.

But first, here's an adorable childhood picture that will hopefully get you to read on ;)
Picture
That's me. :)

When I was a baby I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. That was almost 20 years ago and what was once a very rare disease is now gaining all kinds of awareness! Today you'll find many gluten free products strewn throughout the aisles of your grocery store (even if you don't notice them - they're there!) 

But this has not always been the case. 

There were few known gluten free brands and substitutes when I was first forced to eat gluten free. Up until I was in the 5th grade I followed the diet very strictly. I remember Pamela's cookies being my absolute favorite!! But somewhere along the way I started eating gluten again. It (appeared) to no longer make me sick and my family and I assumed that everything was back to normal and I could eat gluten again. We obviously did not have a very good understanding of Celiac Disease. 

So, for many years I ate everything with no remorse or even a thought of how gluten was affecting me!
And 
I
just
kept
eating,
and eating,
and eating
gluten.
But I didn't really know I was sick and tired. 
I felt happy and normal. I enjoyed much of my high school career while consuming gluten. I'd eat pizza with friends, donuts for breakfast in the mornings, way too many of the rolls they give you at restaurants and I did all this simply ignoring the fact that I had a serious allergy to the protein in wheat, barley and rye. 

Well, my senior year of high school my parents decided that I needed to visit my gastroenterologist and see how things were going with my Celiac. Can you guess how things were going? You're right, horrible. 

So there I was. Eighteen years old and ready for all the big changes that come with college. The only thing that lied between Miami University and I was senior prom and graduation. Oh, and I had to completely change my diet. No big deal

It was kind of rough.

And I'm not sure many people understood that. I was so used to going out with my friends and eating "normally", but now I was having to explain to my waiters (and everyone else for that matter) that if they "could please substitute the roll for some fruit because I have a gluten allergy" I would really appreciate it. 

But I got through it and made it to Miami University in the fall. As if going to college weren't enough change already, I had the added responsibility of maintaining my gluten free diet by meeting with dietitians and cooks at the school to accommodate my special needs. The staff at Miami was wonderful. Every Saturday I would have gluten free pancakes or waffles waiting for me in the kitchen. It was awesome! 

For many reasons though, I decided to come home and attend THE Ohio State University (Go Bucks!).
And if we're going to get really honest I was venturing into eating gluten again. It still did not make me feel (immediately) sick and that was reason enough for me to have a bite of pasta off my moms plate or have just one slice of pizza at work. 

It wasn't a lot. But it was more than enough. 

I'm not really sure what flipped the switch but for the last year I've been 100% gluten free! And I will never go back to eating gluten again! G-free is the life for me. Being off of gluten now for so long has shown me just how awful I was feeling before when I thought I felt perfectly fine.

So there it is - my (somewhat shameful) story of my struggle with Celiac Disease. While I regret the food choices I made in the past I hope that I can take those experiences and encourage others to not make the same mistakes I did. If you have any sort of gluten intolerance or allergy, let me assure you that it is not worth it to eat gluten.

What's YOUR story? I know I, and many others, are interested in hearing it so please leave a comment! :)

If you have any questions please send me an email. 
-J
 


Comments

Sara
07/07/2011 8:42pm

That's quite a long journey! I'm honestly surprised at such an early diagnosis.

I can understand slipping from the diet a couple of times. Especially since you've had to eat this way for so long. I've often wondered if it's harder to have to give up the foods you love or to never have had them in the first place. And now I have a 6 month old little girl and I'm hoping with everything in me that she doesn't have to go through this, but trying to be prepared in case she does. It's nice hearing from that perspective.

I'm 23 and have had digestive and related issues all of my life. It was almost 3 years ago I had horribly itchy hives/welts on my skin and was at my wits end. After tons of research and misery I self diagnosed my gluten allergy.

I told my doctor I thought it might be celiac and he thought I was crazy. He only did a blood test to humor me and was pretty shocked when he realized I was right. I never did more testing for an official celiac diagnosis, but the results from following the diet were enough for me.

It really is so hard to socialize on this diet. Our society is all about FOOD. No one really understands how isolating it is until you experience it.

I found you from your post on the Gluten Free Gang of Central Ohio, in case you were wondering. :) I'll add your blog to my RSS feed. Looking forward to reading more. :)

Reply
07/08/2011 2:20pm

Sara -

THANK YOU for commenting! It means so much to me that you enjoyed my blog and left your story for us all to read!

I've also wondered if it would be easier having never tasted cookies, bread or pasta but I think (at least for myself) that the curiosity would kill me and I'd want to try it eventually!

Congratulations on your new baby!! That's so exciting. I pray that she doesn't have Celiac Disease but even if she does you will have plenty of resources to make it less stressful!

My parents struggled to find things for me to eat back then but they did it and now there are so many brands of great tasting gluten free food that will make the road a lot less bumpy!!

I've heard soooo many stories of self-diagnosis and doctors who are resistant to diagnosing Celiac Disease and I can't help but think WHY?! It's really upsetting and it's something that I hope changes very soon.

I'm glad you found the answer to your problems through the gluten free diet! Do you attend meetings for the gluten free gang? I haven't been able to in years but I like to follow on the website and facebook.

Have a great day!!

Reply



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