Sitting at my desk, the phone rings. It’s the call I have been anticipating for weeks. My IgE blood test results are in. I will finally have an answer as to whether I am allergic to gluten as well as another ninety foods that the test checks for. The nurse on the phone starts naming all the foods that I am apparently allergic to. She names all types of eggs, all dairy products, all citrus fruits, wheat/gluten, bananas, pineapple, honey, almonds and everything else edible under the sun. I finally interrupted to ask her what I’m not allergic to. She responded that grapes and apples are safe… Thanks lady.
My heart dropped and I felt as though I had hit another dead end. Suddenly, I had even more questions than before which I didn’t think was possible.
As a child, I was diagnosed with eczema. Any hair products, body washes, or laundry detergents I used had to be hypoallergenic. This was an easy fix. During my first year of college, I was treated for shingles which the doctor claimed was tied to stress. Around this same time, I started getting tonsil stones.
At age 23, I began experiencing a number of odd symptoms. It started with my tonsils being swollen. After being treated with antibiotics twice, my tonsils continued to swell. Over the course of a year, I experienced a number of additional symptoms including throat itching/pain, daily nausea, car sickness, diarrhea, hypothyroidism (sever tingling in my hands and feet), anxiety, shortness of breath, and others. I was convinced I was dying.
I tried everything with little success: different diets, plexus, vitamins and supplements, blood work, probiotics, and the list goes on.
In October of 2017, I decided to stop eating gluten to see if my symptoms would improve. Soon after the majority of my symptoms went away. I requested a blood test for celiac later which came back negative. After a great deal of research, I realized what many others already know. You cannot receive an accurate result from any type of celiac testing without being on a diet that includes gluten.
I was discouraged that my doctor, who seemed unconcerned with my symptoms, was unaware of this information and tested me anyways. At this point, I was sure if I was going to figure out what was wrong with me that I would have to do it myself. My faith in the medical profession had dropped greatly. All I knew was that eating gluten made me sick.
Over time, my body began to heal. Today, with the exception of my tonsils being slightly swollen and still experiencing the tonsil stones occasionally, I feel as though I have been given my life back.
However, over the last few months, I struggled with the idea of finding a new doctor. The last thing I needed was to waste more money on doctor visits that wouldn’t lead to answers. I am terrified at the thought of starting a normal diet again just to be tested for Celiac disease but I also need to know. I need reassurance.
The greatest challenge I have faced since going gluten free is disbelief from loved ones. It’s hard to hear comments and jokes especially from my close family members. The idea that I was suddenly unable to eat something that I had spent my whole life eating didn’t make any more sense to them than it did to me.
In May of 2018, I began seeing a new doctor that a friend was seeing. The doctors first recommendation was to test for food allergies which is where you’ll find me today, at another dead end.
I created this blog in hopes of reaching out to others who are on this journey, others who are unable to eat gluten and who maybe, like me, has hit one dead end after another. I am confident that my story won’t end here and that yours won’t either.