Hey there everyone, Gassy Kassie here. That's a name I got as a child, when I had a horrifically distended belly and extreme flatulence. Don't believe me? Here's a picture of my lovely brothers, sister and neighbors making fun of me back in 1976 by calling me "Gassy Kassie" during a photo op:
I'm the barefooted, high-waters wearing one with her head down. You can imagine how popular I was, what with the hand-me-downs, belly and uncontrollable farting. Thicker skin you've never seen...
Childhood trauma aside, I recently read "Wheat Belly" and it's whole explanation of celiac and recent developments (I mean since the 70's when I say recent), then I Googled "celiac" and found this great site and have been lurking ever since.
The things everyone in this community have contributed are eye-opening and have caused me to consider my own history, the apparent ignorance of family doctors relating to this issue, and my general lack of intestinal fortitude/constant state of exhaustion/propensity to catch any cold or flu that is out there.
In recent weeks I've lost sleep thinking about this because I've known about celiac since I was about 5 years old - when I was first diagnosed by a wonderful Canadian doctor visiting the Children's Hospital in LA, at which I had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, lactose intolerance, mental retardation, and behavior problems (see picture), and generally been issued a death warrant. That doctor took one look at my chart and threw out the "C" word, followed by the only cure: gluten-free for life! My parents put me on as best a gluten-free diet as they could (nothing was labeled back then and I had three siblings who I swear constantly attempted to kill me with Pop Tarts, but that's another story). The bloating and distention went away and achieved normal height and weight for my age (I was stunted before the diet). It also turned out I was not mentally challenged and merely recalcitrant.
As a pre-teen, and after a series of invasive tests by some quack gastro guy at some institute my parents had agreed to lease me to for two years for the greater good of society under the guise of "medical research" (seriously, multiple laperoscopies, various enemas and scopes no 10 year old should ever know about, funky diets, strange pills and concoctions, you name it), I was ceremoniously handed my first piece of pizza and it was announced by this quack that I had outgrown the celiac at the onset of puberty (that quack later became a gynecologist and lost his license for doing inappropriate things during exams - again, another story).
I remember being so excited not to be the weird kid anymore and not to have to go to that doctor anymore! I spent the next, we'll be nice and say 25 years, gorging on all things glutenous - especially beer and bread. I still had issues with my bowels and in my 20's, after a stint teaching English in rural China wherein I contracted dysentery, I met a doctor who ran a blood test for celiac, which came back negative so she said I was clear. I had a simultaneous diagnosis of B vitamin deficiency with a daily shot requirement that I ignored because I don't like shots and did not have medical insurance at the time.
Now I'm approaching 40, a wife and mother, and needing to take care of myself. The celiac thing has always lingered in my mind. I've always known I've had it. One doctor even told me it was for life back in college when I was having problems (tests not available then). I haven't had a biopsy, but look at the picture, my well-earned name, the toilet paper consumption in my household, my history. It's there, a classic case.
So yesterday, thanks to this website and all the members' honest discussions and links about this thing, I ate my last sticky bun from the German bakery down the street from my office (Note to self: move across from sushi bar), told my family I'm "Off the Wheat" (which my 4 year old announced at preschool this morning), and put all the glutenous pastas, crackers, breads, soups, flours (I'm a baker), etc in some bags to give away.
I'm doing it. Thanks to everyone on here for all their stories and experiences. I look forward to being a member here.