Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Story

I don’t think we take Celia disease as half as serious as we should. Because of this I want to give my personal testimony.

My name is Grace and I was born in raised in a small town in the country in Mississippi. We had a happy family but we lived from day to day due to continual Doctor bills of both my mom and I. Growing up I can’t remember a day that my Mother wasn’t sick. She was sick so much that when she complained we always thought and sometimes said, “but you’re always sick” and no one took her serious!

In 1995 my family and I moved to Guatemala to work with a ministry called Adopt-A-Child. As a child I had migraines a lot and was hospitalized several times because they would lead to dehydration. During my time in Guate I observed that I was continually having sinusitis and bad headaches. I had a friend who had just found out that she was allergic to wheat so she suggested that I go to her allergy doctor there. I did and found that I also was allergic to wheat and after eliminating it from my diet I felt much better though I was far from perfect.

The last ten years of Mom’s life she continually went from one Doctor to the other in several different states but no one could ever find anything wrong with her. One said she had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and that she just needed to watch what she ate, he prescribed some medicine for her but it never seemed to help. She was sent to specialist in New Orleans who could not find anything and told her she just had IBS and needed to learn to live with it. Mom continued to be sick. She became unable to leave home because she could not make it to the bathroom in time and would mess up the floor. She threw up continually no matter what she ate. I suggested that maybe she too was allergic to wheat but eliminating it from her diet didn’t seem to help much. Her stomach hurt all the time and she thought it was ulcers because of being so sick. Her family doctor prescribed one medicine after the other but nothing seemed to help. She had been diagnosed with Pernicious Anemia and was taking B-12 shots and even giving them to herself at home. After a while she would have to be hospitalized and given drips to pump her back up. I had a cousin going through school to be a nurse practitioner who called me in Guate one day crying. She said, “Grace if something doesn’t change you Mom is going to starve to death”! This seemed crazy since my mom had always been some over weight and ate like a pig. This went on for a several years.

In 2001 God turned bad into good as I underwent a terrible divorce that led to my moving back to Mississippi. I was able to help with my Mom who by this time she had days that she could barely get out of bed. Mom was put in the hospital once more and her medical doctor decided to try one more thing he put her on a gluten free diet. Back then we had no clue what this was, mom was so sick that my Dad did all their cooking and he didn’t realize the importance of living gluten free. They weren’t sent to dietitians or anyone for help of any kind so though we tried and did our best gluten was not totally eliminated from her diet. After a while of taking gluten out of her diet as much as possible we did see a change though for one last time Mom passed out and went back in the hospital, the doctors then told us it was only a matter of time. They said that this time the drips and things they were doing was like putting air in a tire with a hole in it. The change came a little too late and my Mom died in October of 2004. It upsets me to realized that if Mom had been on a strict diet she could still be alive and able to see the birth of her first great grandchild.

I continued to have stomach problems but after going through a terrible divorce and the lost of my mom we all thought it was nerves. I too was treated for IBS and several other things but nothing seemed to do a lot of good. I noticed that when I ate some things I felt worse than others but still did not know enough about living gluten free to make a difference. This went on for a while and my aunt, mom’s sister-in-law who knew I also was having stomach problems, called and said her son Billy had been diagnosed with Celiac disease. I had remarried by this time and my husband said, “that does it you are going to a specialist and see what is wrong with you”! I had several doctors to choose from in our area and chose a gastroenterologist who has been a blessing. He has a son with autism and so he is very up to date on the gluten free lifestyle. He did not find damage to my intestines but said with my being allergic to wheat and eating with my mom so much chances are that was why. I did have ALL the symptoms of Celiac so he sent me for counseling on how to live totally gluten free. When I have friends or family tell me, “just eat a little it can’t hurt you that bad” I am able to refrain because I’ll never forget what my mom went through and I choose to live!

If you follow my blogs you know that I am sick most of the time. This is due to environmental allergies as well as being glutened. I have been seeing an allergy specialist who after much testing declared me allergic to all grasses, pets, molds, mildews, dust, most trees and the list goes on and on. So I am learning to live with these allergies as well as living gracefully gluten free.

Thanks for stopping by y'all and please come again soon!


- M said...

Thanks for sharing!

Gwendolyn Gage said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your struggles. It's funny how people tend to take their health for granted. I will be adding you to my prayer list. Suffering is never in vain. Keep your eyes fixed on the Lord. Soon we will be home with Him in a place where there will be no more sickness or pain. Won't that be awesome! :-)

Wendy said...

Grace ~ Just reading your story. It is amazing how much we have to suffer before getting answers. I am finally going back to an allergist this coming Wednesday to be tested for foods and of course including wheat. I have had allergies all my life, but have not been tested for foods since I was a baby. Will see if I can get off of Zyrtec for 3 days for the tests. I wish that I could get my family to go through testing. So many people do not get it and sadly that often includes our family members. Wendy