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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to Celiac.com's FREE weekly eNewsletter   What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease?  Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet What if my doctor won't listen to me? An Open Letter to Skeptical Health Care Practitioners Gluten-Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes
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My Life Story...



I don't remember much about my life before I was 3 years old. My mom passed away almost 9 years ago and my dad wasn't around much when I was a baby, so I have no one to ask if I had problems then. The first health problems I remember happened when I was 4 years old.I encountered a few traumatic events as a child. I know that any traumatic event can trigger Celiac, and I have wondered if that is what started it. When I was 3 my mom lost custody of my sister and I. We had been living in Missouri and we moved back to California with my dad and my step-mom. My step-mom was an alcoholic and would drink all day while my dad was at work. She would make us oatmeal for breakfast and expect us to eat it plain (no sugar or milk). If we didn't eat it, then she would leave it on the table and make us have it for lunch. If we didn't eat it then she would try to serve it to us for dinner. My dad would get mad at her and make us dinner though. My dad had a temper though and he got mad one day when we didn't clean up our toys. He dumped over all the shelves of toys in the playroom and then told us to clean them up. There was one day when I decided to go for a ride in the back yard on my tricycle. I was going around the concrete when I noticed the back gate was opened. So I rode my bike out the gate and I remember riding past the flower bushes, the ocean breeze blowing in my hair, I was a carefree 3 year old riding her bike around the block. By the time I got back my dad was about ready to beat me to death! My dad broke my tricycle, and got the spanking of my life. I think that was the last brave thing I did in my entire childhood.I cried alot. I was afraid of my father. If he raised his voice I would break down in tears. I was painfully shy and timid. My dad put us in daycare to get us away from our step-mom. I spent everyday in the corner crying. I didn't play with anyone. I just cried all the time. It wasn't all bad. I have good memories too, but it was very hard to deal with and my mom was so very far away and I never knew if I would ever see her again. My step-mom got put in rehab, and my mom got custody back. We moved back to Missouri and life went back to normal. I went to ballet and gymnastics and started preschool. This time I didn't cry everyday.Then I was 4 and my big sister was 6. We had gone to a church meeting that night and then stopped by the local grocery store. My mom was shopping and my sister and I asked if we could get a candy. She said yes and we skipped off down the aisle towards the front of the store where the candy stand was. What we didn't know was that at that moment the store was being robbed and at least one of the robbers had a shot gun. When my sister and I came skipping out of the aisle, the gunman got freaked and shot the gun in the air and someone yelled, get those kids out of here! I remember my sister and I falling back into the aisle and my mom running towards us. We were huddled down on the ground near some canned goods. After that I don't remember much until we got home. The pastor of our church came out to speak to my mom and I was crawling on the floor. All of a sudden I couldn't move. My mom asked me to get up off the floor, but I couldn't. My legs hurt so bad that I could not stand up. I spent the next week in the hospital. They ran tests, they gave me shots, they forced me to stand up everyday on a scale. They told me it was to weigh me, but I heard them talking and it was because they hadn't found anything wrong with me and they thought it was all in my head.I cried every night because they wouldn't let my mom stay in the hospital with me. After a week it still hurt to walk, but not as bad and they let me go home. I got a lot of tummy aches and cried a lot. I couldn't do ballet and gymnastics anymore because my hip joints hurt too much. They still couldn't find anything wrong with me.When I was 6 we moved back to California. We packed all our belongings into an old school bus (with the seats removed) and spent 2 weeks traveling half-way acrossed the country. It was fun and we didn't have to go to school. I didn't know why we were leaving, and wouldn't find out until I was an adult and asked my mom. It wasn't for any reason I had imagined.We moved in with my grandfather in an old farmhouse. Although it wasn't an ideal place (there were mice in the house, and my mom would shake out the blankets when we went to bed, but the mice would crawl on us while we were asleep) we had a good time there. My grandpa was a very funny guy and he had all of us laughing all the time. We played in the tree house, and in the junkyard, and had a good time. My grandpa even pretended to be Santa Claus that Christmas and called us on the phone from the other room. He really had a convinced it was Santa! We played on his organ and listened to 8-track country songs and watched the Muppets on TV. Life was good. I don't remember feeling sick at all for that year that we lived there.Then we moved again. My mom had met this guy at the real estate office that rented her a house. By the next fall they were married. Life seemed good for a while, but then my new step-father started treating us differently. He now had his own children with my mom, and we weren't as good as his precious boys. He and my sister fought a lot. My mom was tired a lot and had a lot of health problems herself. She is the one I believe I got the Celiac gene from. She was always in and out of the hospital.I dropped out of school during my 6th grade year. We had been going to a private christian school, but the three of us kids that were there were having a lot of problems. I was blacking out at school (literally), and my brother was having a lot of bloody noses. None of us were happy there and I always felt sick to my stomach. One morning my mom said if we hated it that much we didn't have to go back. she would homeschool us. But my mom was really too sick. I mostly just read alot, anything from childrens books to encyclopedias. I wanted to go back to public school. My sister was going to the high school and my mom agreed to let me go to the Jr. high. I should have been 8th grade, but since I hadn't gone to 7th they were going to hold me back. My mom didn't like that since she felt I was too smart to be held back. So she took me over to the high schhol and they said if I did independant studies for one more year then I could take the high school placement exams and enter as a freshman. So I did. But I was stressed out all the time. I hated being home because I had to play "little mommy" to my 4 little brother. I always felt sick to my stomach and had a headache. Some days I didn't even want to get out of bed. When I was 14 I thought about suicide a lot. One day I had a knife and I was going to use it, but my mom was in the hospital again and my baby brother started crying. I couldn't leave him alone like that so I didn't. We hadn't been to church in years. I did go to high school for my freshman year, sort of. I was absent 73% of the second semester and failed 5 out of 6 classes (I got a D in home economics!), mostly because I was absent so much I couldn't make up all the homework and tests. I had pneumonia, bronchitis, tonsilitis all the time, the stomach flu all the time...I thought it was just all the stress. My mom had separated from my step father, and they fought all the time. He threatened suicide and to take all his kids with him (he planned to crash his car or drive over a cliff or something). We had the cops at our house far too many times. Someone threw a rock in our front window, missing my head by inches and the only reason the glass didn't cut me was because we had rubber lined curtains! So when I turned 15 I asked my mom to let me move in with my father. She had remarried again and was addicted to prescription drugs. I needed out of there, and felt guilty for leaving all my brothers, but I needed to take care of myself. It was the first time I had stood up for myself since the tricycle ride around the block when I was 3! Before that I was so shy I couldn't even go to the counter and ask for ketchup at McDonald's! (to be continued)


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