Finally Able to Live My Life!
by SJ Ritchie
When I was 10 years old I had my first gluten attack. Of course at the time we didn't know what it was; it was so painful I ended up in the hospital. The doctors, can you believe it, told me I'd eaten too much broccoli and it was just gas.
For the next few years the bouts of abdominal pain became more frequent and I had a very poor immune system, muscle cramps and all sorts of symptoms. My parents took me to doctors, but they said it was in my head and I was just looking for attention.
As a result I became a very difficult child because these attacks were so incredibly painful--there was just no way they were in my head. Regardless, my parents sent me to numerous psychologists with no results from the age of 15.
Eventually my father began to believe me again after I spent 3 days at home trying not to feel the pain. He took me to a friend of his who is also a family practitioner, and he thought it might be lactose intolerance, but the test came back negative.
They began chatting about family conditions and it was mentioned that my grandmother and cousin both had wheat allergies. So he decided to test me for wheat allergy and coeliac disease.
And bingo. Case solved. At age 17. It was a massive relief. My mother had been going on about anti-depressants and her crazy teenage daughter, so to let her know I really had a problem was fantastic.
There have been problems socially with it, but I find friends to be very accommodating about it, whereas beforehand I was paranoid about going out in case one of the mystery attacks occurred.
Since sticking to the gluten free diet I have never been happier. It's been a difficult adjustment but totally worth it!
Also, I learned that you must listen to your body and don't be afraid to challenge your doctor. They're humans too, they don't know everything. A good doctor, I find, still keeps his text books in his desk :)