What Gluten Intolerance Looks & Feels Like

After reading on celiac disease, I honestly wish I would have known a sliver of the information before my first question to my doctor about how I was feeling.  I wish I hadn’t discounted much of how I was feeling, and symptoms I had… especially as they worsened.  I think if I would have, he would have tied them together much sooner.

Would have, could have, should have…

It doesn’t change the now factor.  It happened the way God wanted it to, in His time.

When you’re a busy, tired parent, it’s easy to excuse some of your symptoms as normal…  you may assume you’re just stressed, or tired, perhaps you have a little bug.  My allergies were really bad this spring, and I had just stopped nursing the baby.  It was hard to know what was going on with my hormones, I’ve been pregnant or nursing for the past 12 years.

I can totally see why people end up treating every other ailment, completely missing the very cause of what is continuing to make them sick – day after day, meal after meal.

NOW that I look back – it’s much easier to see the path of destruction – but in the middle of it, it’s very difficult.

I thought celiac disease meant people couldn’t have breads.  I knew it was deeper than that, but that was the main thing I thought.  I grew up on wheat bread.  The IBS I had was sporadic, so I knew it couldn’t be that…  and although several times my mom said, “it must be some preservative that is making you sick,” when I was in high school…  I knew it would be a needle in haystack, so I thought I’d just deal with that symptom for the rest of my life.

Again, I always thought my fingernails were just weak.  I never thought that it was a lack of vitamin absorption.

The bloating… as it worsened, I knew something was wrong.  I just didn’t know what.  It wasn’t a normal, “wow, I’m full” feeling.  It was more of someone taking an air pump and blowing up my stomach until it was just plain painful, and hard to the touch.  Sitting hurt – and my left side and rib always felt bruised afterwards.

On the left, normal me - on the right, 15 minutes after ingesting 2 bites of wheat bread.  My stomach would get hard - like I was pregnant and it hurt.

About that same time, I got a rash on my back.  I never had back acne or issues like that – so I couldn’t figure out what it was.  It was like little blisters, and it itched like crazy.  After reading more, I realized it was probably a celiac rash – I’ve finally connected that it would have been worth it to mention it to the Dr!  Write weird symptoms down.

Since there are over 300 symptoms, and they vary for everyone – it can be really hard to tell,  especially if you’re just used to some of the symptoms.  You accept them as “normal for you.”

Now I can totally attach the toe cramping/charlie horses I would get – to when I would ingest the most gluten (1 piece of bread, and 1/2 cookie).  The day after that I would feel hung over from a major brain fog and mouth sores.

With symptoms coming and going, waxing and waning … and not realizing what all GLUTEN was in, it’s not a wonder most people can’t figure out what is going on.  Not to mention the brain fog makes you so confused!  I would forget how to type, or talk – and thinking straight with focus was a challenge.

I read so many stories of people who went for YEARS with symptoms, and no answers…  testing negative, only to test positive 2-5 years later.  I would read those stories of people who had similar symptoms to mine and cry.

I DO NOT WANT THAT TO BE ME and I can’t stand feeling like this.  Please God, let us find out what is wrong.

I wanted to share my pictures, because when I found pictures like this, it solidified my suspicious feelings on just what was occurring within my digestive system.  Hoping someone else can be helped like I was!  Remember, not everyone has GI issues or symptoms at all, so even if you don’t have the symptoms I do – that doesn’t mean you can rule out celiac disease.

The bottom line is – you know your body, you know what is normal for you – and when you feel sick, or you know something is wrong – it’s important to take note.  You may not think different symptoms are related – but you never know, they could be!  I’ve never wanted to be the patient that came in for everything – so I had a really hard time calling and pestering my Dr’s office for test results, even at my sickest point.  I just kept updating the nurses when they would report to me that yet another test came back that, “everything looks normal”…  However, I did myself an injustice by not being more bold.  I think I had become too weak to fight…

While everyone was comforting me that it was as blessing nothing major was wrong – and I half-heartedly agreed, I knew in my heart there was INDEED something majorly wrong, we just hadn’t found it yet.  Something FOR SURE wasn’t right.

Praise be to God that I’m on the road to better health.  It was a long 3 months – (especially for anyone who had to listen to me rack my scrambled brain for what was making me sick!), but I’m so very thankful for all of you who have helped me, and who continue to be encouraging on this new path we’re traveling.  I thank God for you!

“The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. 
He cares for those who trust in Him,”

Nahum 1:7

Posted on April 25, 2012, in Celiac/Gluten Sensitivity, Change, Diet, Label Reading, Our Struggles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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