It started with just being a little dizzy here and there. Nothing serious. And definitely not consistent. So I brushed it off. At this point, I was 27 years old, and had two young children (both under 2 years old). I was busy figuring out all there was to know about parenting – how to survive teething, and “simply” get a full night’s sleep. I figured being “a little dizzy” was just from sleep deprivation and the stress of being a new parent.
During my 3rd pregnancy, I was extremely tired. More tired than my usual tired, but again I just chalked it up to being pregnant with two livewires running around. Then, I became anemic. Not surprised again. I was told having kids close together could sometimes result in anemia.
It was not until after my fourth (and final) child that I began to notice and feel, not only, not right but way off from feeling normal. A month after I delivered, a large, itchy rash broke out all over my torso. It was even itchy in the shower. I went to a dermatologist and they just told me that it was from stress. Who wouldn’t be with a newborn on top of 3 other kids, right?
In February, I decided to go through with a noninvasive procedure to have my “tubes tied”. It all sounded perfect. I could just go to the office, have the procedure, and then go home. No need for an overnight hospital stay. PERFECT!
The first thing I had to do was take a birth control injection because the doctor said it would make the tissues more conducive to the procedure. So off I went. February 12th, 2013.
Over the next few months, everything about me, from my mind to my body, seemed so foreign. I was not thinking the same – or really thinking clearly at all. I couldn’t remember things. Once simple tasks slowly grew heavy and overwhelming. My mood was swinging to incredible extremes with zero predictability. Because of the birth control injection, I had “break-through bleeding”, where I bled for 3 months straight. I felt so overdone with exhaustion, but sleeping was impossible. I had night sweats where I would wake up completely drenched. Some nights it felt as though I woke up every half-hour.
Beginning to feel helpless, I contacted my doctor. There had to be a reason for all of this. Maybe it was the injection, maybe I was anemic (again) from all the bleeding, or maybe it was a problem with my thyroid. Maybe should could give me something that could take all these symptoms away.
After running some blood tests, they found NOTHING. The levels for my thyroid fell within normal, and my iron was at 12 – the very last number before it would be considered abnormal. UuurggHH!
More time passed, and my energy continued to be extremely low. My moods swings were still present but better. The night sweats continued but not as often. I was beginning to think everything was just a negative reaction to the birth control injection.
In October of 2013, I had to have 2 wisdom teeth extracted. No big deal. That was until I started taking the antibiotics. Amoxicillin 2 times per day. Never had I ever had any negative complications to antibiotics. But then, for the first time ever, I got a yeast infection.
Not having wanting to go to the doctors, I just went to a local pharmacy and picked up Monistat. A couple days later and it was gone. Until February 2014 – another yeast infection. This time I went to the doctor, and was prescribed antibiotics. But then it happened again, in April, and again in July, and again, again, and again. Each time I was prescribed antibiotics. But I still did not have a reason for, “What the heck is going on?”
My energy was still very low. I would drag myself to my normal exercise class, but I was just not able to keep up with exercises I had been doing for years. I was getting dizzy. I would have to stop constantly just to catch my breath. In the past, I would breeze right through the very same movements.
In July 2014, I was lying in bed trying to go to sleep. When I shifted and turned to my right, a huge spasm of pain shot through my shoulder to my neck. I was in so much pain that I could not lay flat or turn my head to the left. The very next morning, I went to the local urgent care.
I was given a muscle relaxant, and time with a physical therapy office directly connected to the office. The doctor asked me a number of health questions – one being, when was your last physical. A simple question, but I could hardly remember. I believed it was before I went away to college – so, it had been nearly 10 years since my last physical. I never thought anything of it. I was a runner, ate healthy, and had a healthy weight.
It took a little over 3 weeks for my neck to finally go back to normal. But, in that time, I got a physical and had my blood work completed. The doctor said that I was anemic. I wasn’t surprised. But then she asked if I ate meat and green leafy vegetables. I told her I ate it all the time.
Why was I not absorbing it?
She prescribed an iron supplement, and told me to come back in 3 months to have more bloodwork. Three months later, my iron levels came back up to normal.
But other things started to change. My skin was excessively dry. My normal skin lotion that I had used for years was not cutting it. My hair seemed to change texture. My scalp was ridiculously itchy.
My joints were sore and ached. I use to be able to go for a 3 mile run everyday, but now I could barely run once every 4 days. My muscles were so sore and were not recovering like they use to.
My weight was beginning to drop, despite eating more food than normal. I just never felt full. Although, that’s pretty much how I felt my entire life. I was always hungry. I just thought I had a good appetite – a sign of good health I was told.
It wasn’t until Christmas dinner that something might finally began to make sense. My cousin, who was diagnosed as a teenager with Celiac Disease, was talking about the disease, when I asked her how she found out. Aside for her common bouts with stomach pain, she said that her bloodwork was off, and that her doctor decided to test her for it. My cousin said it was just a simple blood test.
Christmas fell on a Thursday that year, so my doctor’s office was closed on until the following Monday. Monday came, and I called my doctor to have my blood tested for Celiac Disease. To my surprise, she did not just say “Okay”. Instead, I had to explain and somewhat argue my reasons for the test. I got the test, and it came back POSITIVE. I have Celiac Disease.