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David tells us what it’s like to be newly diagnosed with coeliac disease
Written by David Johnstone. Monday, January 23rd, 2012
My names David. I’m 33, a husband to a lovely wife and father to 2 fantastic children. Boy 3 ¾ years and Girl 1 ¼ year. I’ve been diagnosed with Coeliac Disease for just over 1 year now (December 2010). I have worked in Motorsport since leaving school, which involves plenty of foreign travel and unsociable hours. All of these things make for an interesting time staying Gluten Free. Here’s a bit of my background story.
I’m sure like all of us, mine was an interesting journey to diagnosis. Thankfully for me, not too traumatic. Have read and heard of some terrible times people have had during this period. I even meet people who are going through this process now, and frequent comments by some of these people is one off helplessness. Stuck in limbo, continuing a Gluten rich diet either because of awaiting tests or just avoiding the truth. Seems ignorance is bliss in some cases. A Gluten Free lifestyle is very scary from the outside so some people carry on, as the fear of change and restrictions to their lives seems so much greater than the knowledge of any health issues.
I remember the period when things just didn’t seem right. It was the spring of 2009. I just couldn’t recover from a busy work period. Felt uncomfortable, over tired, strange down mood periods and tingling sensations in my limbs. I’d never heard of Coeliac Disease so when my GP mentioned it as a possibility a fair few months and visits later, I didn’t really pay much attention. Looking back now it was crazy… Directly after my Colonoscopy we all went for a McDs, was so hungry after 2 days fasting and the family needed feeding quickly. So naive!! Turns out I’m an interesting case as all my bloods repeatedly came back clear and the biopsies were inconclusive. Took a genetic test to confirm it. Thankfully my GP and Gastroenterologist were persistent people and obviously relished a challenge.
Years on and everything is so different. Feeling better everyday, getting back to what must be a normal (-ish) family life. Can now enjoy my children properly. Not that it was an easy transition. The first 6 months after diagnosis were terrible for me. Stress from work, excessive hours, young family, weight loss, struggling to adapt, the worry of travel and where my next safe meal would come from, etc… on top of being un well after almost 2 years of investigation. Actually lead me to walk out of my job! It was a 30hr day at the factory that was the last straw. It was time to step back for a while. But it’s an experience I’m so glad I’ve come through. I’m much better, healthier for it. Made me stronger and fresh for a new challenge.
Amuses me greatly now as I leave for work. Saying goodbye to my family after having breakfast together. My little Girl trying to feed me her toast or porridge. My Son discussing weather foods are Gluten Free and safe for me or not. Then giving them a kiss and hug goodbye. While looking at my food covered toddlers face as a huge Gluten hazard. Things are definitely looking up.
By David Johnstone
Twitter : @DavidJ_GF