Heather-M

My name is Heather and I have had what I now know is Type II refractory celiac disease for as long as I can remember. I can recall suffering as a child, but no doctor was ever able to make a proper diagnosis. My symptoms included stomach pain, constipation, and generally feeling uncomfortable. I had bloating so severe that I could go from having a normal tummy to appearing six to eight months pregnant in a matter of minutes. As a result, I endured several misdiagnoses and treatment regimens, because my symptoms mirrored the symptoms of many other illnesses. As a child I developed marks on my teeth and was told that I had a calcium deficiency because I was not drinking enough milk. I was eventually diagnosed with both irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s colitis. I was treated with prescription and over-the-counter antacids and medications to stop cramping. At age 32 I was misdiagnosed with endometriosis and underwent a radical hysterectomy. I was assured my symptoms would subside after the surgery. The post-surgical report showed no signs of endometriosis and my symptoms continued. Later that year, I was finally tested for celiac disease and began a strict gluten free diet. During the years that I was misdiagnosed I also experienced depression, fatigue, anxiety, and weight fluctuations. Additionally, I was immunocompromised and had T-cell abnormalities and underwent 10½ months of chemotherapy after I was diagnosed. I want to help others not have to endure the years of suffering that I did.