What was your life like prior to diagnosis?
I suffered for a really long time before I was diagnosed. I was always sick as a child and had constant stomach problems. I was taken off a ton of different foods as a child to try to determine what was causing all of the issues. They took me off dairy for a while when I was about 8 and I was the kid with a thermos of soymilk at all the birthday parties. Then it was nuts and then nightshades. After all that they decided I maybe couldn’t digest fat and then I was carb sensitive. This went on and on for a really long time.
How did you come to suspect you at celiac disease?
At one point celiac disease was discussed but dismissed because of my ethnicity. It got to a point in college where I just stopped eating because my stomach hurt so badly all of the time. My husband, then my boyfriend, suggested off-hand one time that I should try to eliminate gluten because it had gotten so trendy at the time. I figured anything could help. So I did a gluten-free, whole food diet for about 6 weeks and was definitely feeling differently.
How were you finally diagnosed?
I followed up with my doctor and they referred me to a GI specialist who performed the endoscopy. The damage was consistent and my blood work showed deficiencies that were consistent so they gave me the diagnosis. That was in 2011.
Want to hear more? Listen to our interview with Jessica on our podcast Celiac Straight Talk, episode 28.