Self Diagnosed

by K Knapp
(Meadville, PA)

Wow, I must say, it is good to hear of others with the same symptoms and reactions to gluten and dairy. I have only been gluten free for 6 months now, and dairy free for about a month or two.

My story begins when I was about 9-10. I never really liked milk or dairy products growing up, so i usually avoided them. By age 9 I realized that i was lactose intolerant. Eating pizza made me so sick - the normal lactose intolerance symptoms. By age 13/14 I had slowly started to remove breads/pasta's and other wheat products from my diet. I guess our bodies know what to avoid. I weighed 89 lbs and couldn't gain a thing if my life depended on it. I tossed it out as being just my age.

I kept up with the boys - eating 3 helpings a meal, still no weight gain. By the time I was 15, I looked anorexic. I had family and friends taking me aside, telling me that I needed to allow myself to gain weight...I couldn't figure out what they were talking about-they saw me-I ate like a horse, but that didn't stop me from being taken aside and questioned.

By that time I had been dealing with extreme abdominal pain. At times you would find me curled up on the floor, with tears rolling down my face. I have always been the strong type - the one to never say anything is wrong. But family started to notice more and more foods making me sick, and by age 19 I had severe pain, and my doctor thought that I needed my gall bladder removed. I noticed a little bit of a change after the surgery, but now had several other foods that my stomach was irritated by.

From age 21 on, I saw every doctor under the sun - spent thousands of dollars on doctor's appointments and blood work, only to be told it was "stress related"! I thought to myself all of this is stress?

After my last go around of blood work and doctor bills, I decided that I didn't want anything to do with doctors anymore, since they weren't trying to find an answer for me, just falling back to "stress related".

By age 27 i was holding steady at 102 lbs. I had been losing extreme amounts of hair for the last year or so, suffered headaches – stomach pain, IBS symptoms (diarrhea 4-6 times a day) muscles depleted, and extreme fatigue both physical and mental. Irritability, low blood sugar
and never being rested, even after spending the weekend in bed.

At age 28, on top of all the other symptoms, I had trouble staying alert and awake at work – while driving etc. Arthritic symptoms, horrendous brain fog and bouts of depression.

I thought - No one believes me, I’m just going crazy – no one has any answers for me.

In December of last year, (2010) my digestive system completely shut down, nothing going in and nothing coming out. At times I was able to get some fluids down me.

Forced, I went back to my doctor, who thought I had a blockage in the upper GI. Tests showed nothing. Stomach was hard as a rock – she could not explain what she felt, or why my system had shut down.

Two weeks later, continuing on the fluid diet, my menstrual cycle now out of whack, and cycling for three weeks, I decided enough was enough. It was time for me to self diagnose.

I already knew that staying away from dairy & wheat products helped, but I didn’t realize the severity.

I went gluten free for one month prior to being able to see the specialist, who - in hearing all my symptoms and health history, said that I had made a good call.

She recommended that I stay the course on the road to recovery, and that this was now a new way of life for me.

After about 3 months I was feeling great, finally starting to have energy again. But then all of a sudden all the fatigue – stomach pain, brain fog and weakness was back. Couldn’t open a 12 oz pop bottle if my life depended on it.

While surfing the net, I came upon a blog with a lady who had gone through the very same thing, and after 3 months found out she was allergic to dairy. To my surprise, I cut out dairy from my diet and life has been good!

I'm still narrowing down foods that may have hidden dairy or gluten in them, with an occasional relapse. I am finally on my
way to getting better!

So thankful for all the blogs and information that can now be found on the internet, what a great tool!

Comments for Self Diagnosed

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Jun 05, 2012
The Rice Diet
by: nicole

Wow your story really hit home for me, I have a very similar story to you. So over doctors visits!

I went to an alternative doctor in perth/australia and he put me on the rice diet for two months then I gradually introduced new foods to see what was causing so many problems. I found I was gluten and dairy free. Other foods like apples bothered me but as time went by my digestive system seemed to calm down and I have been able to eat more foods.

All the best for your discovery of what your allergies are. One thing I found is eating an asian Thai/Japanese diet really helped me as alot of there food is gluten free. It opened up a range of food that is tasty :)

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