After seven years of illness invading my life and all that went with it, I thought I had it bad. Then recently I met two people whose symptoms blew me away, increasing my awareness of the dangers and extent of those dangers gluten can cause, like blindness.
As I hear or read more stories like this one, I urge people to get tested, to educate themselves and to keep passing on information to those around them.
One thing to keep in mind is, there are more people dealing with Celiac Disease that do not exhibit the typical symptoms. Instead many may experience: joint pain, chronic fatigue, anemia, neurological issues (dementia, schizophrenia, depression), migraines, infertility, miscarriages, cancer or other autoimmune disease, are just a few. So just because you don’t have the general bloating or diarrhea, does not mean that you do not have a gluten issue.
This is Bunmi Sobowale’s journey through Celiac Disease and the fight to get well again.
After a long stretch of inexplicable illness which started in 2004. My story is a lengthy, enlightening and inspirational one. My food allergy diagnosis wasn’t as straight forward as many may think although it was quicker for me than most.s
My journey summarised started with the inability to keep food down due to a bug in the stomach, which is believed I caught after a month long holiday abroad. This is where my apparent food intolerance/allergies began to become more and more apparent.
After a month long hospital stay I began to gain back my appetite and craved the foods I’d normally eat. As I hadn’t had a treat for a long time, my friends took me out to an Italian restaurant; I proceeded to order my usual treat favourite, a simple thin crust pepperoni pizza. This meal was my first insight into my issues with food. I was unable to tolerate the meal and this was a huge shock to me.
I carried on eating as normal knowing things weren’t quite right but unsure as to why this was. I visited my GP on a number of occasions and unfortunately he wasn’t able to explain or establish what was wrong. Months passed and I continued to get weaker and weaker and more ill. Five months after my first stay in hospital, I was admitted again. However this time it was something more severe. I’d lost my eye sight.
This period was the longest 4 months of my life. Luckily I regained my sight but my journey didn’t end there. Next came the inability to walk for a period of time and then walking again, losing all feeling in my body (numbness) you could pour boiling water on me and I wouldn’t feel it, losing my hair, speech problems, suffering from neuropathic pains, more food allergies, intolerance and in fact a total of over 20 different episodes with the illness traveling and affecting almost every part of my body.
All this happened from the age of 24 a huge shock for someone who was extremely fit and healthy, attending the gym daily and looking after my body inside and out.
Although brilliant and saving my life, doctors have never been able to pin point or work out why my body malfunctioned so to speak. Despite countless medications including steroids (which led to weight gain of over 10 stones) and a form of chemotherapy (leaving me lethargic and tired).
I don’t regret a single thing that has happened to me and instead see all this as a blessing that has brought me to where I am today. I was finally diagnosed in 2006 with coeliac disease and a range of food intolerances including wheat, gluten, soya, lactose and sugar.
Curiosity hit me hard and I decided to get trained in food intolerance testing. I also began studying Naturopathic Nutrition, all this so I could try and understand what my body was going through.
For more info on Bunmi check out FoodsYouCan.com
*If you would like to share your story, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wow. I guess I need to be counting my blessings. Bunmi…you poor thing! I’m glad you finally got a diagnosis and hope you’re feeling much better now.
As for the list of uncommon symptoms, you can add edema so bad the skin on your feet and ankles hurt, and respiratory issues so bad I literally thought I was going to die one day – all because of gluten. I had some of the digestive and fatigue issues, to be sure, but the swelling and breathing were what scared me the most.
Thanks for educating people. So many don’t have a clue, especially those who need to be getting gluten out of their diet.