The road to recovery and diagnosis can be a painful, frustrating, and a long journey. I developed coeliac disease as an adult. For most of my twenties, I suffered from cramps, mouth ulcers, mood swings, irregular bowel movements, just general discomfort, inflammation, and embarrassment. I had visited my GP on several occasions complaining of my symptoms. I was told it was stress related and I needed to learn to destress and that I had IBS.
There is no doubt that your gut and your mind are connected.
Eventually in 2019 when I was living in Abu Dhabi I had medical health care as part of my job.
I had a simple blood test to confirm, I was in fact a coeliac. A couple of days later my brother was diagnosed as well. I had a scope to confirm my intestine was very inflamed and showed some ulcers.
At this stage, I had some indication that it was wheat-based things that were unsettling me. I had transitioned to gluten free breads, but I was uneducated and didn’t know the extent of what included gluten. When you are a coeliac, its zero-tolerance gluten, even the smallest amount damages your intestine.
What’s so frustrating about coeliac disease is that it’s just a simple specific blood test screen in adults but it is not commonly administered. It takes you a long time to adjust to your new lifestyle both mentally and physically.
More so mentally, it’s a matter of self-respect insisting and asking for your dietary requirements to be met in social settings.
Coeliac’s can be forgotten about a lot and put into categories like fussy or awkward, or people tend to think we are similar to a vegan or
Gluten is in so many things, the most frustrating part is naturally gluten free food, like meat and vegetables, can be ruined by processing and additives and cross-contamination. Coeliac disease does not go away, you have to live with it every day, every meal of your life. You have to monitor everything that passes your mouth to keep yourself well and thriving. It took a good year for both my body to repair and to really get my head around what I can and cannot consume. Cooking changes, shopping changes, eating out changes, travelling and holidays change, the way you live your life changes.
I never take my health for granted, if I get poisoned by accident which happened several times on travels when I was in Bali recently, it was a reminder to me how far I’ve come. Unfortunately, the reality is, you will get sick from time to time because people aren’t fully educated on the matter and its complex how many things gluten presents itself in.
My mother made Christmas dinner this year and she didn’t realise a certain sauce contained gluten, her meal was made out of pure love and it was a mistake, and I obviously wasn’t mad, but the sad reality is, I was sick for two days with headaches, heartburn, brain fog and pains in my joints. My advice is, trust your gut always as it will never lead you wrong. Look after your gut and it will look after you. If something doesn’t feel right and your symptoms are not improving always ask for a second opinion.