CassieThe Voices of Celiac Disease

“I ended up in the hospital, where the emergency doctor did not take any of my symptoms seriously and I was again sent home with no answers.”

A headshot of Cassie smiling. She has dark blue hair.

Describe your life prior to diagnosis:

I never had any idea that I had celiac disease. I would get really sick eating and drinking certain foods, but I never really thought anything of it. All of my doctors and I were very surprised by my diagnosis.

How did you come to know (or suspect) that you have celiac disease?

I had severe pain in my abdomen and started experiencing other symptoms, including migraines, and knew that something wasn’t right.

How long did it take for you to get diagnosed since your first symptoms and what (if any) challenges did you face along the way?

It took six months from the onset of my most severe symptoms to get a diagnosis.

My primary care physician sent me in for an MRI, and then nothing was done. I ended up in the hospital two months later, where the emergency doctor did not take any of my symptoms or concerns seriously and I was again sent home with no answers. I went back to my primary doctor and she referred me to a gastroenterologist, and I finally got answers after blood work and an endoscopy.

Do you believe anything could have sped up your diagnosis? If so, please explain:

I believe that if I had been taken more seriously at the beginning of my symptoms’ onset I would have had an answer much earlier.

Describe your experience with living with celiac disease:

It has been a rough transition, and I am still trying to navigate the waters. I was diagnosed two years ago and I am still discovering foods and products that I never would have guessed have gluten in them.

Is there anything else you’d like to add to your story?

Being on a gluten-free diet has helped my health tremendously, I just wish there wasn’t such a stigma behind it. A lot of the time I feel judged and like I am a burden, especially at restaurants. I just want to make sure what I’m eating won’t make me sick, but unless you say it’s an allergy no one takes you very seriously.