I was diagnosed with coeliac disease at the age of 44. For many years I had numerous symptoms typical of coeliac disease, from unbearable abdominal pain, diarrhoea, constant bloating, anaemia, fatigue, and infections all the time. Since I have had insulin-dependent diabetes for thirty years, this diagnosis of coeliac disease should be slightly more expected. The condition was staring me in the face, I just didn’t see it. As I am a paediatrician who knows about the symptoms I should have got it sorted out sooner. In addition, I know some eminent experts, who are treating the disease in their daily work.
A few years prior to my diagnosis, I was travelling to a gastroenterological congress with a colleague expert in the field of coeliac disease. I suffered from severe pain, cramping, bloating, and diarrhoea at the time, especially when I had eaten a good breakfast of fresh rolls, but we didn’t see the obvious. In defence of my expert friend, my coeliac test had been repeatedly reported as negative.
Afterwards, additional problems developed. My both ankles were swollen, my anaemia was severe, and iron supplements did not help. Then another colleague of mine saved me and made the diagnosis. My serological tests were negative before because I also have an IgA deficiency.
Now, I am on a gluten-free diet, I am 15 kg heavier than when I first started. I feel good, without any medical problems. It is hard when I pass the bakery and there is a delicious smell of fresh baked bread, though. It is also hard when I am in the hotel where they have breakfast with 15 types of delicious bread and bread rolls. Reading labels can be difficult, especially if you need glasses for small print like me. However, it is worth it. I accepted the diagnosis of coeliac disease relatively easily, and I am now accustomed to my chronic condition. This is also probably true because my health is incomparable to that of five years ago. I make my own gluten-free bread. I miss an occasional donut for carnival and I miss the Bled cream cake. Nowadays, there is a better variety of gluten-free products available on the market. Unfortunately, gluten-free products are relatively expensive, which can be a big problem.