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The story of how Chantel was diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Date: Friday 8th May 2015

ChantelIt all started with a visit to my GP, I had a rash on my chest and they recommended that I had some routine bloods completed.  I was told ‘Just because you work at the hospital, you may as well pop along to pathology in your lunch break, so we can rule out any allergies’. So I did…

I was called back to the GP quite urgently, to be told I had an extremely abnormal blood count and I would need further investigation for coeliac disease.  At this point, the GP told me a little about this condition, but I was in a state of shock and she didn’t want to bombard me. 

In terms of symptoms, I wouldn’t say I had the classic signs of coeliac disease, such as vast weight loss and diarrhea.  In fact, I have always struggled to lose weight however, I never realised until I went gluten free, just how sluggish and fatigued I felt most of the time.  

I was formally diagnosed with coeliac disease in January 2015, after having an endoscopy in August 2014. Between these dates, I relocated from Berkshire to Suffolk, therefore, this caused difficulty in transferring my records. This was a stressful time for me, lots of life changing events occurring at once, new job, new home, leaving family, and to top it off an impending diagnosis of a chronic condition that would affect me for the rest of my life. Luckily, my new GP was extremely helpful and empathetic; she ensured the referrals were sent to the necessary professionals for follow up almost straight away. 

Since diagnosis I have read lots on the Internet about the condition and found some blogs helpful too. I had to wait some time for an appointment with a dietitian; therefore, there was a significant element of self-teaching. The Coeliac UK website is very helpful and I use it constantly. 

I have invested time in researching different companies and scouting the supermarkets for the best deals. It is time consuming but forward planning is the key. I tend to make meal plans and freeze my gluten free items and use as and when, because it can be expensive. 

In terms of advice, I would recommend that you gather as much information as possible during the period of investigation and diagnosis. I felt a variety of emotions when I found out about this disease, and questioned if I would be able to maintain a gluten free diet for life.  Fundamentally, I took each day as it came, and still do to this day. It’s a difficult adjustment to make, but I’m managing and feel a lot better for it. The small number of symptoms I did have are now gone. So…keep calm and go gluten free!!!

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