You always remember those life changing moments and like every one diagnosed with celiac disease, you do remember that time!
I had come back home to Dewsbury to have some well deserved ‘rehab’ time at my parents house. It was April, and I was having a horrendous time at my then job. I’d developed chronic stomach pains and was constantly ringing in sick, or having to come into work an hour later because I was in so much pain. I’d also just been attacked, which understandably caused me to have panic attacks which I had never experienced before. For those who suffer or have suffered with panic attacks, you always feel like you’re going to die!
So my parents wanted me to come home for a while so they could look after me. I remember being a bit reluctant at first. Despite the setbacks, I was still enjoying living on my own and doing what I pleased, so moving home filled me with absolute dread!
The day after my arrival back home, my darling mum dragged me by my heels to the doctors to get something for my panic attacks as well as talk about my constant stomach pains and problems. I remember my doctor mentioning something to do with celiac disease but obviously I wasn’t really paying attention plus he couldn’t tell me for sure as I would have to have an endoscopy and a blood test to really confirm it. I just assumed my stomach problems was a result of all the stress and once the stress was out of my life, I’d be able to get better again.
So I’d reluctantly gone to the hospital to have my blood test. Now I don’t care that little kids can walk in and walk out all happy before and after their bloodtest, but there’s something about that needle that makes my stomach do somersaults [FYI: just talking about it now, is making me feel a bit queasy!] So after moving my arms like a hyperactive octopus, I was finally restrained and given a blood test. I was however, given a ‘I was so brave’ sticker, which I wore like a medal of honour, although some people may think I didn’t deserve it!
After a week or so waiting around and not really caring [I was still in the stroppy teenager phase], I’d gone back to the doctors to talk about my results and lo’ and behold… I had celiac disease antibodies. Like before, I wasn’t that bothered, I don’t know why, I think I was relieved to not have something majorly wrong with me, but then when he started reeling off things I couldn’t eat anymore… ‘bread’… WHAT?!…. ‘pasta’ … COME AGAIN?!?!! … ‘cakes’…. YOU’RE KIDDING ME?!?!!?!! …. ‘pot noodle’ ….. ARGH!!!!!!. I ended up having a huge panic attack there and then in his room. Quite embarrassing to say the least, I don’t think he appreciated the tears and snot bubbles and the over dramatic “why me God” wail.
So I came home a broken woman. I remember slumping on the sofa thinking how the hell was I gonna cope without pot noodles and BREAD! I mean, I loved bread. I had it at every sitting and oh my, no more peanut butter sandwiches for me!! Predicting the outcome, my parents had bought me some gluten free bread to try and encourage me that it’s not that bad, “YEAH RIGHT!” I thought, whilst toasting the weird looking, weird feeling, and crumbly gluten free bread. I heated up some beans and made some scrambled eggs, plopped them on top of the freshly toasted gluten free bread, cut it up, placed a generous amount of beans and scrambled egg ratio on top… put it in my mouth… and chewed it… and …URGH!!!! I swear if anyone was watching me then, my face must have resembled a bull dog chewing a wasp!