My story really began 28 years ago when I was born. I was born in a small city in Pennsylvania to a loving family. I am extremely blessed to have the family that I have because they have been my biggest support system my entire life. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. The more recent part of my story began after college when I got my first job after school working at a hotel in Allentown. Almost a year into the job I’d began to start suffering from numbness in my extremities. I couldn’t figure out what was happening and it was scaring me. I would get numbness and then I would experience pain. I was also having a lot of problems with my digestive system and being able to go to the bathroom.
I remember waking up one night and screaming for my mother because I was in so much pain and I had completely lost feeling in my leg. It was terrifying to be going through that and not knowing what was going on and it was scaring my family. I would go to work and be struggling to be able to stand. I was no longer able to drive to work because I would lose feeling in my driving foot while I would be driving. I had lost so much weight that you were able to see my bones through my skin and people around me were growing more and more concerned.
My mom took me to see a doctor and with that the testing began. I went through an mri of my entire body to being told that they wanted me to get a scan of my brain to see if it was neurological. I went to a chiropractor to see if he could figure out a reason for the numbness in my legs that it could be related to my spin. I was approaching 6,000 dollars’ worth of testing before we talked and decided no more testing until we got a second opinion. I didn’t want to spend any more money without it. At this point I was down to weighing only 89 pounds which was beyond unhealthy for my weight and height.
Finally I went for my second opinion. When we first went to the appointment to see him we started going through the family history and the first question he asked when he had found out about all my symptoms was if we knew anyone in the family who had Celiac Disease. My mom told him that her cousin had it and just like that he said he wanted to order blood testing. When the words blood testing came out of his mouth I was terrified because I’d always hated needles and especially having one being stuck into my arm taking blood samples. After 9 viles of blood and a few weeks later we got the answer we’d been looking for all along. I had Celiac Disease.
For those of you that are not familiar with what exactly Celiac Disease is let me explain that to you. Celiac Disease is an autoimmune disease that is genetic and passed down through families. In a normal body you are able to digest the gluten protein that’s found in wheat, barley, and rye. A person with Celiac is unable to digest that protein and instead their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine. As you know they say that it’s all in your gut when it comes to your health so any sort of attack on your intestine is not good. What happens with Celiac Disease is that it attacks the villi in your intestine that allow for the absorption of nutrients.
Right now there is no treatment for Celiac Disease other than adhering to a very strict gluten free diet. There is no cure for this disease. If left untreated it can lead to very many health complications and eventual organ failure and once your organs fail that’s the end. It also can open you up to a risk for many other conditions.
Adhering to a gluten free diet is sometimes very challenging and coming from a person who has to I can say first hand that it add stress on you when traveling. It makes going out to eat very difficult because you have to make sure you are going to a place that fully understands what you need. This is why most of the time I prefer to just cook my own food and eat at home because it saves me money and that way I know exactly what is going in my body and I know that it is safe for me. I understand it is much easier now to shop gluten free but trust me it’s not easy on the wallet because foods that are processed specifically to be gluten free are often more expensive.
Gluten is everywhere and there are many things that have it in that you may not think would. There are certain medications that have it in that you wouldn’t know about which is why it’s important that you share that with doctors when getting new medications. Maintaining a gluten free lifestyle is really all about reading the labels and being educated.
Aside from dealing with Celiac Disease I also suffer from anxiety disorder and depression. I won’t go into the detail of how that came about or why because that is extremely private. I have my good days and bad days just as everyone who suffers from those things has. There are days that I don’t even want to get out of bed and days where I get out of bed ready to start the day. I struggle daily with managing my depression and anxiety. What I want to do with this blog is share my experiences with all of you. If I can help just one person suffering from these things to feel better and feel that they are not alone than I have accomplished my goal.
I am also a huge sports lover, music lover, and equality supporter so there may be a few posts about those topics as well. I wouldn’t call myself a complete feminist but I definitely relate heavily to the feminist mindset. I want this blog to be about helping people and sharing my life experiences. I want to help people dealing with depression know they aren’t alone. I want to help people newly diagnosed with Celiac to understand it. I want to share my love of life and hockey with people who also love it. I want to have a good time and bring people along for that ride.
That is my story and if you feel like following my life experiences I’d be happy to have you along for the ride!