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    Do you have questions about celiac disease or the gluten-free diet?

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Hey, In order to understand ill explain my story.

Late October 2007, I became ill. Mainly just D and stomach pains to begin with. Naturally didnt assume straight away that id have an underlying condition. Just assumed id had a spell of D. Well as time went on, The D kept returning ... Rather then just 1 day a week, it was a couple... and the days when i didnt have the D, I still had stomach pains and my bowel movements were still not normal.

November 2007, Missing days of school constantly was starting to become frustrating as when i returned to school when i was well id have massive amounts of work to catch up on in my own time. ANYWAY went to the doctors.

The doctor asked me a few questions, asked me to lie on the bed and felt around my stomach to find swelling or abnormalities etc. He told me that i had Giardia? (water born parasite that gets into your bowels and causes havoc). He prescribed some heavy duty medications to nuke the bug and get me fit enough to go to school. Not only did the medication make me feel like id been hit by a truck... it just made my bowel movements vary even more...making me feel worse.

Waited a week or so, and still no improvement... Returned to the same doctor and he thought now was the time to do some tests... (the people who know of my trip to the doctor always wonder why he didnt get tests done to confirm Giardia to begin with). Had a stool and urine test done, Neither showed anything wrong with my body works. Which means that in the process of elimination i must have had IBS.

So i start the dairy free, fat free diet, and increase my fibre intake (MORE bread and oats) and a course of medication to apparently help relieve the effects of IBS. Weeks go by and there is still no improvement, symptoms became more frequent, frustration plus more time off school.

December 2007 , My parents are becoming increasingly worried and we change doctors. My new doctor starts by getting blood tests done. My test results showed some strange results. My liver was doing weird things and that i had to get more specific blood tests done to rule out certain things. Sure enough after the 2nd round of tests my doctor suspected that i may have been a celiac... 3rd blood test to check of celiac, it was something where they check for 2 genes? and when the 2 genes are present its a fairly good indication of celiac.. well the results from my test were that i had 1 gene... but the other gene was 50/50. This was good enough for my doctor to be confident with his diagnosis...

Start my gluten free diet, first off.. the D stopped...bowel movements wernt normal, but had improved... stomach pains were still present though.

So for the past several weeks i have been on school holidays (from december 21st to january 30th) so having time to adjust to the new diet was good timing... although i still dont feel quite right... i havnt felt 'normal' in a long time now. So im becoming worried that im doing something wrong... ive been VERY careful with everything i eat, and try to make as much of my food myself to make sure theres no contamination. But now that school is starting again... im worried that i will begin the same cycle of random days off all over again. This is my final year at school and im doing my HSC (High School Certificate), so this is my most important year, my marks at the end of this year will determine my chances to get into the University of my choice. So its very important i dont miss school, but when i have D and stomach pains there isnt much i can do...

I would be very grateful if anyone could share there experience or things that i could try to help settle my stomach on the bad days.... also is it normal that i havnt adjusted to the diet, as in does it take 6 months like some posts say... :o

I can safely say that i feel better then i did a month ago, but im not out of the woods yet... i have my good and my bad days... days where i could go out and see my mates... then days where even if i dont have D i still have really uncomfortable stomach aches and pains...

Please any advice would be greatly appreciated,

Michael

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Keep reading this board, different people have different things that help them when they are sick. My main symptom isn't D so I can't help with that.

Main thing is it sounds like you are on your way, you know what's wrong and you're adjusting to the new diet, that's good news! :)

Would it be possible for you to talk with the school, maybe see the next semester as an adjustment period where you don't even expect to be able to do school 100%? I'm afraid when people say that it takes a long time to recover they are quite correct. I know you didn't want to her that but it's just how it is. It might be less stressful if you accept that that's how it is and try to organize your life so that you can cope with the ups and downs.

Pauliina

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Some tips for the stomach - many people cannot digest milk or milk products in the beginning, because the damage from the celiac affects this - so you might want to also take out milk, cheese, etc for the first few months until you heal. Some people are also bothered by soy, or by the tapioca flour in several of the gluten-free packaged products, so you could try to watch for that. Also, taking acidopholous or probiotic (not sure where u are or what they have) helps. And of course, be vigilent in avoiding gluten! Things like food starch, malt flavoring. IN the states maltodextrin is ok, but not everywhere.

I quit wheat and dairy at the same time, and once I cut out tapioca and other gluten (malt flavoring in cereals, esp) I have had almost no stomach problems at all.

Good luck finishing up school!

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I would also suggest that if you are not already, keep a food journal. By tracking your foods with reactions, you will be able to tell if it's something in addition to the gluten that is bothering you. I think most of us have had that happen, we are soo happy to figure out that gluten is the culprit and think that things will only get better from there. And most often it does, and then we figure out there's an additional problem. For a lot, dairy is a problem. So that's probably where you should start, as other posters have mentioned.

Hope that helps!!

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Thank you for the advice!

Ill definately start the food journal, sounds like a good idea and it could help me if i am letting gluten sneak in somewhere and i dont know where to look!

Ill take the tapioca flour and soy out of my diet aswell that may be the case in my situation. I have been eating gluten-free pasta which has tapioca as the main ingredient, therefore I'll lay off that in the mean time!

Ive never had positive effects to too much milk though, So yeah it won't be much of a challenge to avoid the dairy for a while.

ALSO, in Australia we have a pro-biotic named 'Inner Health Plus' has something like 1 billion good bacteria in every capsule? Ive been taking those which seem to help a fair bit . When im not on them or skip a day i can notice the difference.

While I have been sick ive kept my school informed of why im sick, so currently they dont expect me to be able to have the perfect attendance record. But several teachers have been very helpful, one in particular is a celiac herself. Shes given me the locations to some gluten free specialty stores and the contact details to a good doctor she has seen so yeah, theres still hope and if i dont improve...ill get a biopsy done which may or may not tell me some things i dont already know...

Thanks again, Im only a newbie to all this as everyone is at some stage so i appreciate all the help i can get... eventually ill be able to start giving advice to newbies aswell ;)

Cheers,

Michael

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