Another common question we get is, “how did Doug know he had issues with gluten?” For years, we thought his symptoms were just how his body functioned and didn’t think too much about it. Then his sister was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and we became silently suspicious.
His symptoms weren’t nearly as severe as his sister’s were- she lost serious amounts of weight and became plagued with digestive issues- it seemed like everything she ate irritated her system. At that time, Celiac Disease (or gluten intolerance, for that matter) wasn’t something the general public, or their physicians, were familiar with. As soon as she eliminated gluten from her diet, she began to get healthy again and we were all relieved. The end…or so we thought.
Fast forward to 2007… we began to notice that Doug was displaying more digestive issues like, he couldn’t always sleep on his belly, due to uncomfortable bloating and if he had eaten something with lots of bread, like a sub sandwich, he would sometimes vomit it right back up and then feel fine. Most notable was that he caught EVERY LITTLE BUG that got within 5 feet of him and we ALL know what that’s like! Having a sick husband every other week is no fun (no offense to my male readers out there, but y’all know you’re terrible patients)!
At his sister’s urging, we finally scheduled a physical with our primary care physician (PCP) and requested that his blood work be tested for Celiac, since it is highly hereditary. Within a few days, the results were in and it was very likely that he was a Celiac. To confirm, our PCP recommended an endoscopy and we followed up with a gastroenterologist that performed additional testing and to our dismay, it was positive.
I remember our conversation with the GI doc very vividly…he was explaining the diagnosis to us and that Doug would have to adhere to a strict gluten free diet for the rest of his life. Doug then informed him that he had no intentions of following a GF diet. The doctor looked him in the eye and plainly said “that’s your choice, but I’ll probably see you back in about 10 years with cancer”. That was a sobering moment and Doug changed his tune quickly and agreed that he could deal with a little inconvenience to avoid that fate.
That was almost ten years ago and I’m happy to report that his symptoms are practically nonexistent and he is rarely sick, which is worth every effort to maintain a gluten free lifestyle. We have a 23 year old daughter that will be susceptible to Celiac at any time in her life. Since she has a direct Celiac relative, her chances are about 1 in 10 of testing positive one day. She’s been tested every few years and so far, the results are negative.
About 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease, whether they’re aware of it or not. Many more are gluten intolerant to some degree and some folks just feel better without gluten in their diet. We’ve heard from our customers that eliminating gluten has helped with everything from migraines to infertility to fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. Click on the links for more information on Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance.