Hi everyone, I’m Fatima! I live in Green Brook, New Jersey, and have had celiac disease for about five years. It’s 2022, and I am currently 16 years old and was diagnosed at 11 years old.
Before I was diagnosed, I remember having symptoms, like constant stomach aches, throughout my childhood. I was also growing exceptionally slow and was much shorter than average for my age. However, the doctor I had at the time didn’t take the issue seriously and would suggest basic ideas such as integrating more probiotics into my diet. Clearly, there was a more severe underlying issue. When I switched doctors and had my blood work done, she found indications of celiac disease. After an endoscopy, that theory was confirmed.
Shifting to a gluten-free diet was definitely hard at first. Going out to eat and becoming overwhelmed with anxiety was a challenge, especially at a young age. Having a supportive and understanding family got me through it, though. Things also became easier as I gained a passion for cooking and baking.
However, I still didn’t really understand the disease and I felt like I didn’t have someone to relate to. This is something I hope to change for people who are just being diagnosed with celiac disease by working with Beyond Celiac and other ambassadors!