I wish I had known after diagnosis what I know now – but there’s no use thinking like that, what I can do is put this blog post up in the hope that newly diagnosed Coeliacs will stumble upon it and take something away from it to help their healing process.
If you don’t want to read the long post, then here are the most important highlights:
-Take the time to heal, get a routine going, good sleeping pattern, and be prepared to make changes to lifestyle
-Get serious about looking after your body
-Focus on healing the gut. Take Glutamine (helps with repair), take Pro-biotics (to help with immunity) calcium supplements (as we have increased risk of Osteoporosis), Vitamin D (helps with immunity), cook with Organic raw coconut oil (anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, amazingly good for your health in many ways AND it aids with repairing tissue damage and healing)
-Cut down on sugary foods as your likely to have yeast infection from damage eating gluten and drink fresh ginger tea for this also
-Do research and find what works best FOR YOU
-Say I LOVE YOU to your body!
If I could sit myself down after my diagnosis I would say:
Firstly, don’t worry, you have a positive journey ahead of you where you will develop a new relationship with food, discover lots about health, wellness and nutrition. There are big changes to make but with every change comes a new discovery and the knowledge that you can look after yourself.
Secondly, take the time to heal. Having a label attached to you in terms of illness can be daunting and a knee jerk reaction is to think “I won’t let this stop me! I’m gonna keep doing what I love doing – Screw you label!” But if you’re a 19 year old student and what you love doing involves drinking, smoking, staying up all night continuously and spending the next days catching up on uni work after no sleep, whilst trying to work out how the hell to live away from home for the first time – then you need to stop, take a minute to breathe and re-order the priorities in your life. Your body has suffered a lot and your insides are very damaged so you need to take time to heal, and get serious about looking after yourself.
I didn’t realise this, I didn’t stop, and in the end I pushed myself so hard that I ended up in A and E with Anaphylactic shock, which I was told could have killed me, I believe this was directly linked to the lifestyle I was leading and the low immunity of my body from years of eating gluten and not taking time to heal after diagnosis meaning I was more prone to something to go very wrong. It might seem boring to get early nights, quit drinking, focus on diet and lifestyle, spend time taking it easy, but the long term benefits are worth it. If I had concentrated on looking after my body after diagnosis I believe that not only would I have not had to deal with the terrifying night I lost consciousness and collapsed, ending up in hospital, but I would also be symptom free and happy now rather than still trying to get better.
The people you thought would help you may not give you the answers you’re looking for (other people will have good stories I’m sure, but most of my visits to the doctors surgery and dietician appointments were a complete waste of time) but you will meet some amazing people elsewhere with some gems of information. For example, I’ve been back and forward to the hospital for appointments with a gastroenterology specialist and although he has my best interests at heart and wanted to help, there was nothing he told me that I found useful and there was nothing much he could suggest whilst trying to fit in many patients into a very short space of time.
Yet with one visit to The Natural Health Store I met a very helpful woman who gave me all sorts of suggestions. To begin with taking Glutamine to help with repair, she pointed out that work needs to be done to help repair all the damage that the gut has suffered from eating gluten in order to start feeling better. Docs just told me to go gluten free and sent me on my way but I have realised its really not as simple as that. Also take pro biotics which boost the body’s immunity and help with getting the natural flora in our tummies to a good balance. I’ve been taking pro-biotics for a week and a half and already my tum feels a lot better.
Last but not least, figure out what works FOR YOU. Everyone has a different approach and a different way of doing things. Take time to figure out what makes you feel better. The body we’re in now is the only one we have so it makes all the sense in the world to look after it the best we can. And looking after your body does not need to mean having less fun, I LOVE my new lifestyle: no hangovers, refreshing swims in the sea, walks to the beach, relaxing nights in, nights out (not too late!) seeing beautiful music, weekly dance class, seeing friends, doing uni work, extra projects on the side.
Just do what makes you happy and what you know in your heart keeps you healthy.
And I’ve also found that routine is good, if you can get a regular sleeping pattern and set things to do every week such as morning yoga then that will help stay positive and keep you happy whilst the bodies healing.