BENEFITING: CELIAC DISEASE FOUNDATION
ORGANIZER: CELIAC DISEASE FOUNDATION
My journey with Celiac Disease started after my son, Colin, was born in May 2008. I began to have some symptoms that I attributed to being a new mom. I started to have fatigue, more migraines, stomach issues and other seemingly unrelated symptoms. I would brush them off as stress or something I ate, not realizing they were all connected. I went on like this, until 2012, when I started training for my second half marathon. It began with slower times for my training runs, followed by having to stop after a mile or two to catch my breath. I thought it was due to the summer heat and humidity, but when cooler, fall temps came, I saw no change. After finishing my half marathon, in October, I was so miserable I decided I was going to quit running. Anyone that knows me knows that was a profound decision. I started running in high school and have loved it ever since, but it had become such a negative experience. Finally, in November, I was diagnosed with severe anemia that did not respond to iron supplementation. Six months later, in May 2013, I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Five years after I began noticing symptoms! In those five years, I was repeatedly brushed off by doctors when I would ask about underlying causes for my symptoms. One doctor even told me, “You don’t have a chronic condition. You just have bad luck.” Once I finally had a diagnosis, The Celiac Disease Foundation became a significant help to me. It was a place I could go for information and education. I had no idea how much this disease would affect my life. I want to be part of Celiac Disease awareness. Diagnosis rates are too low and as I found out, some doctors are simply uneducated. If I can be part of helping others get diagnosed early on, I feel that is a win and that I have made a difference. I suffered without a diagnosis and am still dealing with the long term effects. I want to do what I can so others don’t have to go through the same experience.