Lifetime of medical issues....finally diagnosed with celiac disease

by Carol Esse
(Modesto, CA USA)

In my early teens I had problems with depression. My mother told me that no one else in the family has problems with depression so there must be something "wrong with me"....as if I was not already aware. As young as age 9, my left foot swelled and was so tender that I could not walk or stand to have anyone touch it. I had to use crutches for almost a week. It happened 3 more times before I reached 18 years old.


I was always a little on the chunky side, not fat or even overweight, but I was definitely bigger than the other kids my age, but I quit growing at 5'3" in the 6th grade so by 8th grade everyone was taller than me.

At age 16 I was having problems with not only depression but fatigue, anemia and nose bleeds. Nose bleeds that I had trouble stopping. Went to the doctor, then another doctor and then a third one. I was diagnosed with depression and IBS. I was told that if I ate a bland diet and exercised more I would feel better. I was walking daily, running 3-5 miles a day in P.E. and taking dance aerobics classes 3-5 times a week. I had just slightly more energy, but I was still depressed and very tired all of the time.

For a few years I got healthier and did well, the depression cleared, I was not having the urgency to go to the bathroom and I was at a healthy weight and size. I was eating mainly fruits, vegetables, some dairy and oatmeal. I was especially fond of avocados and oven roasted chicken. I actually had about 8 good years.

At age 26 I was diagnosed with HBP and told I needed to exercise more. I had just had a baby, I was under so much stress and I was going to the gym 4-6 times a week as I wanted to ensure I did not put on "baby weight". Then the depression hit and I was referred to a clinical counselor to ensure that I did not hurt myself or my baby. I was a very stressful time in my life. Once I started eating predominantly salads, oatmeal and veggies and beans for dinner, I started to do better again.

Now I have 2 more boys and I suffered from severe post-partum depression after my middle son was born in 1997. I was on effexor for almost a year and could not wait to get off. I was not able to return to work and once again started fixing all of the family meals from scratch. The only draw back was I had developed a hobby, I was trying to perfect peanut butter cookies. I actually only ate about 4 a week but that was enough to keep me from making progress in my health to return to work.

My boys are older now, I am 48 years old and my youngest is 15 years old now. I have had severe IBS 3 times where I was required to take Bella Donna to treat the symptoms. Each time I had it so bad that my intestines would twist and I could not hold down food or go to the bathroom. It was horrible. 5 years ago I had my gall bladder removed and that had given me a whole other set of food issues.

About 8 years ago I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and the job I had switched health insurance 3 times in 20 months, so every time I would make improvements with my doctor I would have to start all over again with a new one. Then I ended up in the hospital with severe edema. Trust me, the pain is much worse than labor pains. I was able to find a good doctor who specialized in pre and post menopausal women and she found that I had been undiagnosed for so long that I had developed reverse T3s so my body was basically killing itself and taking me with it.

Since then I have learned about leaky gut, celiac and its relationship to IBS, digestive issues and a few other items and demanded my current doctor test me for celiac. Pretty much this has been the root of most of my medical problems since I was about 8 years old.

The positive side is that my boys will not have to go through what I did. Now I know and can get them the help they need. Unfortunately, my mother has had medical issues over the years too. She is not so willing to be tested and I am pretty positive that I got celiac from her side of the family. When I was told that doctors practice medicine it took me a while to understand that it meant that they learn by trial and error just like the rest of us and the surge of celiac diagnosis in the past decade has exposed more doctors to this food allergy but still so many of them have no way of recognizing the symptoms and allowing patients to suffer needlessly.

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