Like most people who have Celiac Disease, it took me a very long time to be diagnosed. I went through an entire lifetime of random ongoing symptoms that I never connected with one another. From the age of 2, I had severe migraines that would put me in a state of misery for 24+ hours. In high school, I had severe stomach problems for over a year and a half which landed me in the hospital for over a week. Five years ago my symptoms worsened and new problems arose. I was very tired all the time with no energy to do anything, the glands in my throat would swell up, I had severe pains in my sinus' and on the bridge of my nose, my face broke out in blisters on my chin and jawline, I got very shaky and dizzy and my stomach would cramp up and bloat up with gas.
After years of going to the doctor and emergency room, being prescribed every type of antibiotic and spending over $10,000 on medical bills I learned about food allergies. This came about in a simple conversation over the phone with a friend whom I was complaining to about not feeling well. After telling her everything that was going on she explained to me that she started going to a holistic nutritionist since being diagnosed with breast cancer and what I was going through sounded like a food allergy.
My tipping point to knowing what was causing my symptoms was noticing that after the local ballpark opened I would go with a group of friends to have a beer and soft pretzel. Immediately after I ate and drank at the ballpark I would start to feel really tired (to the point where I felt I could lay down on the ground right there and fall asleep). After telling my friend what I noticed and when things seemed to be the worst she informed me about gluten. At that point in time I had no idea what gluten was and started researching food allergies and in particular gluten and celiac disease.
Since learning about my food allergy I've a non-profit organization called Follow Me! Healthy Parents, Healthy Kids to help educate families about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to fight childhood obesity. After going through everything that I have gone through with myself and my son I felt the need to share my story and help educate others about food allergies, the symptoms of gluten and how important understanding what you put in your body affects the quality of your life.