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When I first found out I had Celiac Disease it was hard to believe that something I had been eating my whole life was now the answer to the cause of my medical issues. I’m extremely thankful to have such supportive friends and family. My parents have gone above and beyond to take me to meet with countless doctors all over the United States. The support I have from my brother has reminded me that he isn’t just my first friend, he’s my best friend. I am grateful to now have a solid group of doctors who monitor my health.

The online medical dictionary states that Celiac Disease is a disease of the digestive system that damages the small intestine and interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. Celiac Disease occurs when the body reacts abnormally to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and possibly oats. When someone with celiac disease eats foods containing gluten, that person’s immune system causes an inflammatory response in the small intestine, which damages the tissues and results in impaired ability to absorb nutrients from foods. The inflammation and malabsorption create wide-ranging problems in many systems of the body. Since the body’s own immune system causes the damage, celiac disease is classified as an “autoimmune” disorder. Celiac disease may be discovered at any age, from infancy through adulthood. The only current treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet.

Although I grew up eating food with gluten, over the years I became conditioned to the sick feeling I would get after eating certain foods. Ever since I can remember, I have always had medical issues that never seemed to be resolved. I’ve been in hospital, ER, and Urgent Care over 50 times. Not to mention, I’ve had more CT Scans, MRIs, blood tests and endoscopies than I ever imagined possible. I use to call the people at Lab Corp vampires because of how often I was getting blood tests done. When I had my endoscopy and colonoscopy done, my Mom decided to have her colonoscopy at the same time as me so we could do it together. Due to my malabsorption issues I developed alarming deficiencies in my hemoglobin, vitamin d, ferritin, and b12 levels. I experienced fainting, fatigue, brittle nails, diarrhea, headaches, joint pain, loss of sleep, loss of appetite, eczema, and hair loss. It’s been almost five years since I removed gluten from my life, and I’m still learning everyday how to live a gluten free lifestyle in this wheat filled world.