Finally Able to Live My Life!

by SJ Ritchie
(South Africa)

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 :)

Comments for Finally Able to Live My Life!

Click here to add your own comments

Aug 19, 2010
Thank You for Sharing Your Gluten Sensitivity Story!
by: Kathy

Thank you for sharing your story with us SJ, and I am glad that you are doing so much better on the gluten free diet.

You are right that we have to listen to our body and keep searching for the answer. Pain such as you were having is no fun! If we know something is wrong we need to keep searching until we find the answer, or the right doctor.

The social aspects can be difficult, especially
when food is involved. The holidays in
particular can present lots of challenges.
It's great that you have good friends that are
flexible about accommodating your needs.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to How Did Gluten Sensitivity Affect You?.