I was a healthy teenager until two days after my 15th birthday. I became very sick with a mono-like virus, which caused me to miss school for six weeks. Two months into my illness, I began to develop stomach issues. Eventually I had my gallbladder removed at 15. Doctors believed this would resolve my issues, but they only got worse. No one could figure out what was wrong with me!
Every test came back normal, but what I was experiencing was anything but normal.
It wasn’t until my freshman year in college that I realized my stomach issues were related to food. My stomach hurt ALL the time, and every time I ate the pain would get worse. I took myself off all white flour and only ate whole wheat/ whole grain foods. My symptoms only escalated and were at their worst. During my freshman year I took many trips to the ER, lost my period for 4 months, developed a rash, and would catch any illness that was floating around campus.
One night in May 2009, after feeling I had to come to terms with the fact that I was going to be sick for the rest of my life, a conversation with my mom changed everything. That morning my mom had watched a segment on GMA with Elizabeth Hasselbeck. She was on GMA talking about her new book The G-free Diet and Celiac disease. I sat there listening, thinking nothing of it. The next morning something intrigued me to look up her new book.
It was 8 AM before my 8:30 class; my mind was spinning. I was reading my life for the last 5 years! Could Celiac disease be the answer to my prayers?
In the summer of 2009, I went to the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University and had a series of tests done. I unfortunately went off gluten prior to this appointment, so this meant I would have to eat gluten for the next 6 weeks, in order to get the most accurate test results.
These were some of the worst six weeks in my life. Within the first hour of eating one of my favorite sandwiches my symptoms returned, and progressively got worse. Although I have many of the symptoms of Celiac all my tests came back negative, and on July 14, 2009 I was diagnosed with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
At times life being gluten-free is not always easy, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I am no longer extremely fatigued, have constant stomach aches, feel depressed, have muscle aches, or become extremely bloated. After receiving my diagnosis I began to start living again.