A personal account of my diagnosis of Coeliac Disease.
Hello, my name is Leia. I am 21 years old and for the past few months I have been living in snowy Sweden, however, I was born and raised in South Yorkshire in the UK. Towards the end of 2014, I was diagnosed Coeliac Disease, an autoimmune disease, and I have been living gluten-free ever since. So, I thought I would share with you my story about how, firstly I noticed a problem, and secondly how I dealt with and resolved it.
It was at this time that I started to spit up small amounts of food and bile, just small amounts in the palm of hand, after I had eaten in the evening. This became more frequent, and I would be throwing up for longer periods of time. Growing concerns from my mother and teachers resulted in my first of many visits to my GP. Going to the doctors became a part of my routine, I would have blood tests almost every fortnight to check my blood levels, thyroid, vitamin levels and whatever else you could think of.
My first blood test showed I was deficient in Iron, B12 and vitamin D, thus I was prescribed a course of tablets. Meanwhile, I had to have a meeting with my doctor regarding how I felt about my body and they asked if I was forcing myself to be sick. During another meeting, the doctor suggested that I had morning sickness that occurred in the evening, even though I stressed this was not possible, my hometown once had the highest rates for teen pregnancy, so I had to check anyway. Moreover, I was also catching every cold possible and had my first case of tonsillitis, the doctors then gave me a blood test for Glandular Fever, this came back negative. Being sick after eating soon became an everyday occurrence. Both the Geography and Performing arts had those medical cardboard sickness bowls for me at hand, as my lessons were after lunch and I would spend the lesson subtly being sick into one. I once became so exhausted that my Geography teacher suggested I spent the lesson sleeping in the office, which I did. I also dropped my Biology A-level as it was all becoming too much for me.
Thankfully, the lump in my breast was malignant and the result from by biopsy finally meant I had a diagnosis of what had been doing on with my body. Soon after, I had an appointment with my dietitian who explained what Coeliac Disease is and how to live with a gluten-free diet. Although I made a few mistakes in the beginning, after a few months in my symptoms had stopped, however, my immune system has never been the same again. Surprisingly, I was the only person in my school who had a gluten-free diet, and the dinner ladies learnt about gluten-free foods with me and went out their way to accommodate for my school meals. Frankie and Benny’s also amended their free staff meals as it was originally only pasta and pizza.
Nowadays, living gluten free is a lot easier due to the drastic change in the food industry that has occurred in the last four years. I’m thankful that I was diagnosed later on in life, as I’ve been able to experience normal foods, and I’ve not had to struggle my whole life living in a GF clueless society. Overall, even though it is hard and frustrating at times, I have learnt many ways around it and I am a lot happier and healthier for it.
So, that was my gluten-free journey, what is yours?