My name is Jen, and I'm a Celiac. It feels therapeutic to say! In 2008, after every meal I had, I was ill. I burped uncontrollably (which can get pretty embarrassing!), to the point where even Howard Stern may have been offended. I felt nauseous or spent hours in the rest room. Obviously, I knew something was very wrong. I realized I really needed to see a doctor and began my journey... I started with a primary care physician who told me I had acid reflux disease, and I needed to stop eating chocolate and drinking wine, which was equivalent to a death sentence to me. Thankfully, I’ve never been a coffee drinker, or I really would have thought life was over when the doctor said coffee was out of the picture too...
Then, I was referred to a gastroenterologist. And the many tests began. I should have been on a first name basis with everyone in the hospital. I did the barium test, if you've never done it, thank your lucky stars. You digest way too much of a disgusting substance the night before, then have the pleasure to digest more the next day, only to be put in a machine and messed with to see how your digestive system works... It was loads of fun... Then came the egg salad test -- another favorite of mine -- of course, I HATE egg salad!! The egg salad is filled with radioactive dye - and you are supposed to consume as much as you can (I was barely able to eat half without vomiting) and a machine tests how your digestive system works tracking the radioactive dye as it moves through your system. Then my doctor put my through an endoscopy -- this is where you are sent to the hospital for a one day procedure. I was put under by anesthesiologists, and the doctor put a camera down my throat to check out my esophagus. Apparently, he said it looked like I may have Celiac disease... and he would send to me take further blood work to verify it. Bottom line, the blood work came back and the doctor said I did NOT have Celiac disease, and instead kept me on acid reflux medicine.
Meanwhile... 2 years goes by, and I have given up alcohol, lowered my chocolate intake, and have still had miserable side effects. Still burping like a sailor and having all sorts of stomach pain and not having chocolate to soothe my sorrows just SUCKED.
Thankfully, I knew I needed a second opinion. The minute I walked through the door and discussed my issues, the doctor knew I had Celiac disease. I told him all I'd been through in the last 2 years and said he was going to have to prove I had Celiac, given that my previous doctor said I didn’t... and he did. I took another blood test, and low and behold - it was positive for Celiac disease. (Little did I know at the time that these tests were only about 80% effective! Useful information to know!!)... After one blood test being negative, and one positive... my thought was, why should I believe it this time?? The doctor informed me that there was only one final test he could do, he could test me for the Celiac gene - as this is a genetic disease. I said let's do it... and I did, and it was confirmed... No more hiding it. It was official - Celiac it is. I was given pamphlets and my life was turned upside down instantly.
I am an international attorney (I help importer and exporters – typically when they are in trouble with federal government agencies, like U.S. Customs and Border Protection) and given my hectic schedule, I eat out every day, typically twice a day. For those of you with Celiac – you know how hard it is to eat out, and can understand why it’s been such a rocky road, to say the least! I love bread and chocolate cake, they’ve been staples of my diet. I have finally found some great new staples to my diet, including bread and chocolate cake, all of which is GF! I wanted to start a forum to share the great restaurants and products I have found on my journey – and truly hope it’s of assistance to others.
I’d love to hear your story and welcome your comments and suggestions. If you have a restaurant or product you’d like me to try, I’d be happy to – send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Gluten Free Beat