As the weekend is coming to a close, I’m sitting on my couch writing the first blog post about my wife, Julie, and her struggle with Celiac disease. Celiac has made a big impact on our lives, bigger than anything we could have ever imagined. Last year we lost two children, something we’ll never recover from, let alone understand. Today is our second baby’s due date, so it was exceptionally challenging for both of us. Fortunately, we had family with us to help us cope.
We’ve learned over the years that Celiac disease can mean a lot of different things. Some people have it and don’t experience symptoms. Others have debilitating intestinal damage that takes years to heal. Celiac doesn’t present itself as obvious as other diseases, and the damage that’s done can’t be fixed by a pill or surgery. You literally have to come back to life through strict diet and pure willpower.
I’ve watched first hand as my wife lived with the disease and did not know it. The more serious symptoms gradually presented themselves. As her stomach broke down, her body broke down with it. There were also other strange problems like excessive thyroid production, frequent sinus infections, and decreased energy. I wondered why she had these ailments, but even with researching each topic thoroughly, we still did not know the answer.
We found out almost three years ago. It was both a scare and a relief. Finally an answer to years of questions, but it came with its own set of questions, like what is Celiac disease, and why do people get it? Why aren’t people tested for it earlier in life, before they undergo surgeries and other therapies? These are the questions that need answers.
I can’t answer all of the questions that come with Celiac disease, but I can give you a glimpse of what it’s like to live with someone who is dealing with it. These are just my observations. I’ll talk about what our days are like, what we eat, where we go, and how we cope with the disease. I hope that others benefit from what we’ve learned, and we continue to learn from others as we navigate our way through Celiac disease.