I hope that sharing my story will bring awareness, clarity, hope and comfort to anyone struggling with undiagnosed celiac and autoimmune diseases.
I grew up like any normal healthy girl…or so I thought. I suffered from seasonal allergies, many bouts of strep throat and chronic sinus infections that required rounds of antibiotics.
There were also many small things that affected me, but none ever seemed like a big deal. I had extremely itchy rashes on my elbows and knees. I now know that this was something called “Dermatitis herpetiformis” which is the manifestation of Celiac disease on the skin. I also had the occasional severe stomach ache and was diagnosed with “non-alcoholic fatty liver disease”.A study done by the Celiac Disease Center, links the presence of non-alcoholic fatty liver with undiagnosed Celiac.
I lived a pretty healthy life in the beginning years of college. I ran and swam everyday, but ate lots of cafeteria food. One night I decided to go in on the cafeteria pizza. I immediately broke out into a sweat, my heart stared racing and I was in the bathroom having my very first anxiety attack.
Fast forward two years later and I was sitting in an ambulance having my second ever anxiety attack. I was sick. My eyes had dark circles and I had a constant migraine. My skin was itchy. My scalp was full of dandruff. I was lethargic, tired, grumpy and constantly anxious.
My doctors could not find a thing wrong with me. I was told that I was depressed and had anxiety. My body was literally attacking itself and I was told there was nothing wrong with me.
After crying a lot, my doctor agreed to run one more panel of bloodwork. A week later, I got a call and was told I that my bloodwork was positive for Celiac disease and I needed an endoscopy. My tTG number was so high on my bloodwork that they actually stopped counting and could not report.
After being tested for so many things I felt so extremely blessed that I had an answer and was diagnosed with Celiac disease. Celiac is by no means “easy to deal with” or “good”, but being able to control my disease with my diet and no medication is something I am extremely thankful for.
With a very strict gluten free diet, all of my symptoms are gone and I am happy to report that today my tTG level is less than 1.
Before vs. 2 years after my diagnosis