Hello. My name is Maureen and I have Celiac Disease. August 2005 was the last time I ate gluten (well, knowingly at least). What’s my story, you ask? It all started one fateful day in March of 2005. I remember it vividly because that is when the evil “D” (read – diarrhea) started. Before going any further, let me make a disclaimer: I will be talking now and then about poop and will try not to gross anyone out. Ok, you’ve been warned! I guess you could say 2005 was a stressful year for me. In March of 2005, I was six months pregnant with our second child while chasing around our energetic first child. My husband and I were selling our current home and building a new one. Apparently, factors such as stress and/or pregnancy (bingo!) can trigger the onset of celiac (I unknowingly had the gene, it just was inactive). So in March 2005, the pooping began. It was ridiculous — too many times a day to count. No one knew what to do with me — my primary care doctor, my first GI doctor, nor my OB/GYN doctor. No one wanted to touch the pooping pregnant woman. After three hospitalizations, I was initially told that the cause of the “D” was “Pregnancy Induced Diarrhea” and would go away after the birth of my child. In May 2005, despite how sick and weak I was, my son was thankfully born strong and healthy (he must have been chowing down on ALL of my nutrients!). But the pooping continued. Next came the diagnosis of Ulcerative Colitis. Then began the joy (insert sarcasm) of enemas and extensive meds (and GI Doctor #2). Yet, the pooping (insert expletive) continued… Finally, desperate for some relief and scared out of my mind that I would never live a healthy life, I went to a local Health Food Store in search of alternative medicines. There is where my life changed. A nutritionist happened to work on-site and, as I described my symptoms, she matter of factly told me that it sounded like I had Celiac Disease. This amazing person wrote down the exact bloodwork tests I needed. I called my GI doctor immediately and requested these tests to be done. Wouldn’t you know it, I did have Celiac. Not Pregnancy Induced Diarrhea, not Ulcerative Colitis, but Celiac Disease. I finally had an answer and found that I could heal myself without medication (or enemas, thank god), but by omitting gluten from my diet. Totally easy, right????
Statistics report that 1 in 133 people have Celiac Disease. So why does it seem like everyone around me is eating gluten!? This blog and podcast were created so I may share my thoughts on everything from diagnosis and recovery to what gluten free foods are actually edible. I may occasionally vent at my frustration of going to a restaurant and not being able to eat one measly thing on the menu (ok, occasional vent #1)! When I was initially diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I felt confused, isolated, and totally uneducated. I mourned for the food I could no longer eat. I felt angry that I had this disease. Why me? I wanted my Tastycakes and I wanted them NOW (ok, occasional vent #2)! I hope this blog and podcast helps you to feel that you are not alone. You WILL be healthy. You WILL be able to survive and thrive gluten-free.
Hold The Gluten is a place I hope you will visit if you feel you need to connect with a fellow celiac. When Aunt Matilda makes you a loaf of her famous pumpkin bread (with tons of gluten) and is totally offended when you don’t eat it, take a moment to remember there are others out there going through the same exact scenario. Well, I personally don’t have an Aunt Matilda, but you get the picture. Stop by, stay awhile, there’s safety in numbers!