Gluten: The silent Enemy!
During the summer of 2010 I had begun to feel nauseous constantly. It became a chronic condition and I didn't mention it to my parents because I didn't really think that anything was wrong. However when I began to notice in pictures that I looked very bloated and I was fatigued all the time, along with unexplained weight gain, I decided to tell my parents of my troubles. My mom took me to our paediatrician who didn't think much of my symptoms but decided to do a blood panel just to make sure. Everything checked out fine, so she advised us not to worry. But when symptoms began to effect my day to day routine, my mom went back to the paediatrician.
She thought something may actually be wrong, so she ordered an ultrasound. The ultrasound revealed numerous hemangioma's on my liver which are benign tumors and I had multiple ovarian cysts.
My doctor decided that this was the cause of my problems and to confirm the diagnosis she ordered an MRI. The MRI confirmed the hemangioma and that was the end of her involvement because there is no treatment for these tumors unless they cause other problems.
The answer? She explained the fatigue as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) caused by Mononucleosis that I contracted a year earlier, and the nausea was due to the cysts and those would go away in a few months. However, when a month passed with no relief, my mom decided that we needed to see a naturopath because she believed that my problems were related to food.
The NMD ordered ONE blood test
to test my levels of IgE antibodies, and the answer was clear: I was severely intolerant to gluten.
He said that all of my symptoms could be explained. I was nutrient deprived because my immune system was hard at work attacking the gluten thus flattening the villi of my small intestine, and this made me tired. My immune systems response to the gluten also caused my nausea, weight gain, and fatigue.
He suggested that we take a trip to the grocery store, explore my options
and then I would have to be on a gluten free diet for the rest of my life. He suspected Celiac's disease, but because either Gluten intolerance OR Celiac's meant no difference in the treatment, we opted out of the procedure that tests for Celiacs.
I have now been on a gluten free diet and medication to repair my intestine, and all of my problems have resolved (well except for my sleepiness, but I'm a teen- what can you say?!).
I have decided to become an advocate for the people who have gone undiagnosed, because of doctors response to looking for a reason that is treatable or curable.
I believe that my doctor failed to see this disease because there is no cure, and I am working to educate the medical community on the seriousness of this condition. I know its a cliche to say, but this diagnosis changed my life, and my hope is that one day, no one will be undiagnosed!