What do I eat? I’m Coeliac
I hate my guts.
I was fit. I was healthy. I was happy. Or so I thought.
When my body starting shutting down and attacking itself, I realised how wrong I was.
Some of the hardest days of my life lay ahead. I was 30 years old and I thought I was managing a few life stresses well; a miscarriage, the break up of a long term relationship, moving back into shared housing with strangers, leaving a job that I loved after 6 years.
I was really good at holding it in, getting on with it. That’s what we do as adults, right? But if you hold it in enough, all that stress and emotion, it’ll manifest into something much worse, something that would change my life forever.
I was functioning at a high level, working full time, exercising, paying my bills, socialising. I reached a point where the feeling of knots in my stomach and a lump in my throat were normal. Everything was fine. Until it wasn’t.
As my physical health deteriorated, my mental health followed. I stopped looking after myself, I stopped any self-care, I started drinking more, barely eating, going out all night every weekend, welcoming toxic relationships.
Everything I ate made me sick. It started with bloating, then vomiting, diarrhea, full body aches, severe abdominal pain, weight gain, inability to concentrate, agitation. And the fatigue, I was ready to collapse at any moment.
As I sat in my Adelaide specialist’s consulting room after the testing had been done, I listened in disbelief as he told me what Coeliac Disease really means. It’s not an allergy, it’s not a food intolerance (as I had previously thought), it’s an auto-immune disease, and it’s permanent.
He told me that my stomach was ulcerated, my iron levels incredibly low, and that I am now high risk for bowel cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, other auto-immune diseases. He went on as I stared blankly through him, a weak smile on my face to mask the lump building in my throat.
Accepting the diagnosis was one thing. Accepting that my stress levels and lifestyle probably caused this was another, I felt like I had nobody to blame but myself. That’s hard to swallow.
People were so positive. “Great, all you need to do is not eat gluten and you’ll be fine”, “Well, thank goodness you got a fast diagnosis”, “What a great chance to get even healthier because you’ll have to eat well”. Although if I could read minds I swear there was also some, “Thank goodness it’s not me”.
I tried to be positive. This is good, this is going to be good, I can turn this around. I mean, all I need to do is not eat gluten and everything will go back to normal. Easy. Right?!
This was the start of a journey where everything wasn’t fine. Until finally, it was.
Written by The Coeliactive.
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