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From Struggle to Discovery: My Eight-Month Odessey of Healing with Celiac Disease

Noreen Wheeler

In April, I started a journey in an attempt to heal my stomach and find out what was causing my ongoing symptoms. I have spent years with stomach issues, in fact, as long as I can remember. Sometimes my stomach seemed to get better, and then it returned with a vengeance.


When I began this journey in April, I was sick at least three times a week. I finally committed to meeting with a nutritionist and doing something I swore I'd never do...the dreaded elimination diet. I feared that if I did an elimination diet I'd be left with very little to eat. But after years of struggling with an unpredictable stomach, and being sick so often, I decided I had nothing to lose.


The journey has not been easy, I don't recommend it unless you are determined to be fully committed to doing the work. An elimination diet is tough, but I was intent on getting answers. As with all difficult things, I took it one day at a time. I could not eat many things at the start of this journey, and some I still can't, but I finally found answers. I learned that there is food that I have been eating almost every day for years and am just now discovering that it does not agree with me. This is disappointing, however, I know if I avoid those foods I will not be sick three to four times a week. Are you wondering what foods don't agree with me? Foods I never would have expected such as blackberries, tomatoes, peppers, and raspberries to name a few.


Looking back I ate peppers almost every day. Without the hard work of the elimination diet, I would never have known that peppers and tomatoes were irritating my stomach. How can something I enjoy so much make me sick? Between eliminating foods that do not agree with me and working on healing my gut I am feeling so much better eight months later. I recently had an upper endoscopy and for the first time, they told me everything looked healthy. This is amazing! No longer do I wake up in the morning fearful that my stomach will make me late for work.


Am I sad that tomatoes are in so many things and I can't eat them? Yes. Do I miss eating peppers every day? I certainly do. But I don't miss being sick most mornings and not knowing why. I finally have answers. As the saying goes, "Knowledge is power." I now have the power to feel well! The elimination diet has made me much more aware of how my body feels after eating food.


I am so thankful that I finally committed to learning more about what was causing my stomach problems. Having celiac disease and cutting out gluten did not fix all my gastrointestinal problems. I know many others have the same experience. My journey had just begun. I have had some challenges along the way, as we all do. So my health journey will continue as I am now focusing on more strength training and exercise. As with all long journeys, I will continue to take it one step at a time.



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