I Thought Everyone Had IBS Symptoms Now and Then
My experience was about 10 years of classic symptoms but unlike others I did not seek medical help until only a couple of months before my diagnosis. One reason was that I thought everyone had IBS symptoms from time to time. How wrong I was about that!
It was only after I started losing weight rapidly (I was thin to start with) that I felt something was wrong. I am 6' 1" and at that time I weighed about 160 pounds. I had gotten down to under 150 lbs with chronic diarrhea when I was sent to a GI and scoped upper and lower.
He called with the diagnosis and told me to make an appointment with a dietitian to start the diet. Nothing else was said. I felt as though I was "adrift in a vast ocean" after he hung up. Thank god for the internet. My wife and I set out to educate ourselves right away.
We never had children so it was only going to affect the two of us. She bought into the change right away. We made our home completely gluten-free the first day. The day I found out was May 3, 2005. It was my wife's 50th birthday. Since I had eaten a sandwich for lunch just before the phone call I had one more bout of diarrhea the next day (Wednesday).
On Thursday May 5, 2005 my symptoms stopped (less than 36 hours after starting the diet) and have "NEVER" returned over four years later. Not even by accident. This is the part that was so amazing. The fact that the body can react that quickly to someone who is 100% compliant with this diet. After that I started to heal quickly and for the first time in my life (I will be 60 in December) I am at what I feel is a healthy weight for my height (185 lbs). I am a scratch golfer playing 4 to 5 times a week and have never felt better. I am on no medication for anything.
When I talk to others I never focus on what I cannot eat but act normal like nothing is wrong. (This is
because nothing is wrong) The biggest compliments I get are when people offer me gluten by mistake which means they forget because I act just like everyone else. I really don't miss any of the things I cannot eat because I am so grateful to feel so good.
From time to time I surf the internet to see if there is anyone out there who would prefer to use the diet on the "front end" diagnosis and not the "back end" treatment. I have only found a couple of instances in which it is mentioned and e-mails to the respective persons have resulted in no replies. You are the only person I have found that appreciates what "diet first" means and is willing to stand by your beliefs. I cannot tell you how much it means to me that you replied to my e-mail so promptly.
As far as where we go from here I am not sure. I know we are dealing with a lot of variables when it comes to getting the rest of the estimated 97% of 3 million people diagnosed by any means possible. When you think of the billions of dollars spent as the result repeated trips to the family doctor, medications taken by the undiagnosed, scoping done by the GI's and blood testing done by the labs then it becomes apparent that if suddenly the diet becomes the first option then a lot this expense (or revenue) could go away.
Also there is the lack of education with the family doctor in regard to Celiac as well as the unwillingness of the average patient to try the diet even if the doctor is smart enough to suggest such a thing. Somehow we must find a way to at least get the message across that trying the diet first is not something that would harm you. Fact is it will either work or not.
I have this idea that if I could find someone (maybe a person in congress) to listen to what is at stake in terms of dollars and cents that could be saved if a different approach were taken in the diagnostic procedure for Celiac.