Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My Story-College and Celiac

Today I remember it like it was yesterday...

I was in college, and these violent episodes were happening more then frequently.  I was always so sick to my stomach.  I thought nothing of it.  And neither did my doctors.  My doctors also didn't seem to think otherwise when I always had sinus infections and strep throat constantly either, nor did they think about it when I had pneumonia at age 4 about 3 times and then Whopping Cough during my Middle School years. Crocodile Medicine by Marjorie-Ann Watts (published in 1977) was my favorite book during my childhood.  My immune system was oh so compromised.  

I was always so excited to come home from college so I could see my boyfriend at the time.  We both went to different schools and therefore were in a long distance relationship.  So my time at home was cherished.  As a Long Island Jew, it was imperative that our nature was to form a love for Chinese food, and boy did my boyfriends family love it.  So on most Sunday evenings my boyfriend and I would go with his family to their neighborhood Chinese restaurant.  The owners knew them, they went that often and the dinners were always fun, until I would have an episode.  At the time I thought it was because I drank too much caffeine, between the iced tea's I'd drink during the day, to the cokes I'd have at the restaurant at night.  I'll never forget getting extraordinarily super sick when I would eat there.  It would happen every time.  But each time so much worse then the last.

As I think about it now, it is strange that my doctors didn't think to test beyond IBS (which is what I was diagnosed with after numerous un-explained stomach issues).  It is so clear and obvious as I write this how simple all of this really was, how the answer was right in front of our faces.  Quite a few times I would get SOOOO sick that my boyfriend would have to drive me home. IMMEDIATELY.  And since we lived in different towns that were much further apart, the ride home on the expressway was excruciating.  I remember hurling over in the front seat with my arms across my stomach rocking back and forth, praying that my boyfriend could just drive a little faster.  I was practically doing Lamaze breathing the whole way home.  And since my parents were divorced and my dads house was the closest stop on the expressway, that is where I would end up.  We had a half circle driveway, and I remember the moment our car hit the driveway I was out the door and inside the house before my boyfriend even turned the car off!  Up the stairs I ran, and into the bathroom I went faster then a lightning bolt.  At that point it was so bad I'd throw up too.  Violently.  The gluten had to come out some how.  And it came out both ways.  I remember sweat dripping down my face as I cried in pain, and my parents would give me a stomach relaxer after.  And once it was out, I felt fine.  Of course my parents were alarmed and so was my boyfriend at the time, but again since CD was not of the norm, or just wasn't known in the U.S. or talked about or thought about, they didn't think of the possibility that maybe it was just that.  I don't even think the thought crossed their minds.

Why did no one think I had Celiac Disease?  How silly it seems now.  How far the study of disease and medicine have come, yet so many go un-diagnosed for years?.  

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