Cate’s Corner will be a monthly series where Cate shares her experiences of growing up with celiac disease and how she manages it as an active college student. Here is the first installment of her story…
My name is Cate and I was diagnosed with Celiac when I was two years old.
Growing Up with Celiac Disease
At the time of my diagnosis, Celiac disease did not have nearly as much awareness as it does today. This is why my diagnosis was a difficult and frustrating process for my parents. Early in my childhood my parents were concerned about my health. At two years old, I was supposed to be gaining weight, not losing it. I had tiny arms and legs but a large, bloated stomach. After meals, I would cry and constantly get an upset stomach. My parents initially just assumed I suffered from indigestion and that it was nothing serious. As time went on, I started to get more sick and I lost even more weight, which made my parents extremely concerned and they took me to the hospital.
Doctors tested me for various illnesses, including cancer. All the blood tests came out negative except for Celiac, an autoimmune disease where the consumption of gluten damages the lining of the small intestine. In order to further confirm my diagnosis, I had a biopsy done where doctors took a sample of my small intestine to examine for the effects of Celiac. The sample did show damage, and my doctor converted me to a completely gluten-free diet. As soon as I made these dietary changes, the bloating and the awful stomach aches subsided. I started to gain weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
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