Tuesday, 10 May 2011

From the beginning

As I pondered over what to write...., where to start? The logical answer came to mind, from the begining! So here it goes......

For as long as I remember I've always had ummmmm issues (the most polite word I could think of) with my stomach. I remember as a little girl having a massive swollen belly, but the amazing thing was it wasn't always there, it was like a magic trick, it would come and go at different times! And the ummmm wind, was never a problem, dad always used to tell me 'it's better to let it out and stink a little, than hold it in and be a cripple', I like to think that that was my mantra! I know there are people reading this who are thinking, 'I can't believe she wrote that', but those people reading who suffer a gluten intolerance of any kind will understand, or even have a private chuckle. And the not so fun stuff like to horrible stomach cramps. I remember many time when I was little doubled over in pain, with my parents and doctors thinking it could be a case of rumbling appendix.

As I recollect, my symptoms increased as I got older, the more damage was probably being done. The funny thing was everytime I ate pasta, or bread I would get stomach pain and my stomach would blow up like a puffer fish. I remember about 16-17 when I got my licence and started going out with friends, we would go to a restaurant (Pizza Hut is a classy restaurant when your 17, remember all you can eat pizza!!!!), and 30 minutes later I would start to get massive cramps in my stomach and the puffer fish would begin.These attacks were often so bad that I was admitted to hospital and subjected to some horrible very intrusive tests!! This extreme pain isn't just because I was an undiagnosed coeliac, at 17 I was diagnosed with endometrosis (and have since had 6 operations for this). This lovely combination of coeliac and endometrosis isn't a very nice mix and is particularly painful.  But on the lighter side, for many years I refused to admit that my issues had anything to do with food. I remember my parents pointing out on many occassions that the puffer fish only occured after eating pizza, pasta, bread etc. I think it was because I loved this food that I was in denial.

As the years passed by I began to minimise my intact of gluten rich foods like bread, but my ignorance of how many foods contained gluten, and my denial meant I kept on eating gluten. The bloating (puffer fish) incidents became more intense and more frequent (particularly when the endo was playing up)! I remember looking at t-shirts and tops that were fitted, thinking there is no way in hell I would risk wearing that (I had no knowledge of when the puffer fish would emerge) and end up looking 5 months pregnant. I even brought what I called pull up pants (not the nappies for kids) but pants with no zipper or button to accomodate the puffer fish and would wear these as often as possible. So nice flowing pregnant like tops and dresses were my best friend with my pull up pants!(I had 2 pairs). And on those occasions were I wore jeans and the puffer fish emerged, there would be unbuttoning and unzipping happening in the restaurant, movie etc and I would be thanking god for the lovely flowing top I had on.

I was eventually referred to a gastro specialist after being anemic and receving iron injections, we needed to find out what the problem was. I remember talking to the doctor and telling him about the puffer fish whenever I had food such as bread, he was very arrogant and said 'oh so you've been reading magazines and looking on the net and you think you're a coeliac!', I looked at him and said 'what's a coeliac?', the arrogant grin was soon wiped off his face. A few weeks later sitting back in his surgery getting the results of the tests from the channel 9 and channel 7 camera crews (colonoscopy and endoscopy), the doctor says 'you've got coeliac disease, you thought you had that didn't you!'.

Finally I got an answer to my problems, the puffer fish was about to become extinct!!!!!!!!!!

And the mishaps and mayhem of the gluten free diet began........