Friday, September 13, 2013

My Celiac Story:: a look back

Today is National Celiac Disease Awareness Day and as I was posting a little something about CD (Celiac Disease) in my Instagram account, I started thinking back about my journey.

I was first diagnosed with Celiac Disease is 2007 after years of doctors appointments, blood tests, etc. I even remember having some sort of neurological test done where they stuck little sensors all over my head and monitored me for a certain number of awake hours and then several hours while I "slept." But I just remember thinking, "Who the heck can sleep with all of these things sticking to my head?" They were like little leaches sucking the life out of me like the very disease I was living with, yet had no knowledge of. 

I remember taking monthly plane trips from Little Rock to Love Field in Dallas to see specialists. This went on for years all while I was working at the Arkansas Baptist State Convention. I hated having to call my boss each and every time I would wake up sick and have to leave to go home sick. They were so understanding of my weekly and sometimes daily migraines, stomach aches, body aches, etc. 

You see even though I was eating gluten free after my diagnosis, it was no walk in the park immediately following. For years following the diagnosis, I suffered the effects that gluten had ALREADY done to my body. For over 20 years, I was putting poison into my body, yet I had no idea. Sometimes Celiac Disease can be evident at birth or it can be triggered by physical or emotional trauma. In my case, I truly believe I had Celiac Disease from birth but showed little or no systems until my body was under severe physical AND emotional trauma from the loss of my grandmother and the loss of my best friend just months later. These events took place my Freshman and Sophomore years of college. College is stressful enough with moving, making new friends, pledging, homework, tests, etc. All of this stress, piled with the depression from the recent loss, my body began to show signs of malnourishment, fatigue, skin rashes, severe migraines lasting days and sometimes weeks, chronic, constipation (in college I honestly thought that it was normal to only have a bowel movement like once a week- this is NOT normal by the way), hair falling out, chronic back & joint pain, and the list goes on...

Flash forward to September 13, 2013. Today. And it all seems like a bad dream. A nightmare really. But I must remember how real it was because people all over the world are going through what I went through (and worse) every single day.  So am I 100% new and improved? No definitely not. There are still days where I sleep til 9 or 10am because I overdid it the day before and need about 3 cups of coffee to get going. But there are less days where I can't get out of bed at all! I rarely have severe aches and pains anymore. My migraines have decreased to about 1 every other week or so. I see a chiropractor twice a week and try to get a massage at least once a quarter. All of these things may sound like I'm spoiled but I have learned (mostly from my mom and my doting husband) to take care of my body because it's the only one I have! 

In the past 6 months even, my energy levels have tremendously improved with a recent change in doctors. With the help of about a dozen different supplements, most days I have more energy than I have felt in probably 15 years! I still have about 30 pounds to lose and my doctor says my hormone levels are still not exactly where they need to be but I have VASTLY improved.

My goal in the next few years: be healthy enough to have a beautiful healthy (gluten free) baby and this whole nightmare will have all been worth it. 

My encouragement for you: To anyone out there who feels like life can't possibly beat them up anymore, it CAN GET BETTER!  Take a look at your diet. It really is all about what you are eating. Do your research. Educate yourself. And most importantly, TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY because it's the only body you will ever have. God gave you a beautiful body, now go fill it up with wholesome, organic and nutritious foods! 


katie said...

i am a total stranger here and i hope that doesnt sound creepy but i really needed to read this post today! I am going through all of the above! they checked my blood about a year ago for celiacs disease and said it was negative. The doctor said the accuracy of that test isnt always great and to maybe cut out some gluten anyways which ive tried but am wondering how necessary it is to be so strict if the test was negative...? My family and I are firm believers in natural foods and medicine. I am headed to a neurologist on the 11th of october for migraines and dizziness. I just dont know if this is the right path but I need to figure it out! I have one daughter at the moment and she has spent many a days entertaining herself because of mommys headaches and stomach issues! It can be very depressing because I'm not a hypocondriac and the stress of not knowing really stinks! Thanks so much for the encouragement! I'm learning more and more that regardless of having allergies or not the foods we find in our grocery stores have more harmful ingrediants than healthy! It;s scary! Great post!!

Sarah Kopp said...

Hi there,

I came across your page really randomly -- but I thought I would share something.... I suffer from a lot of chronic health issues including a past diagnosis of thyroid cancer when I was 21 -- I could relate a LOT to what you shared. This summer a friend of mine introduced me to essential oils -- I thought, oh cool, aromatherapy! Turns out there is so much more to essential oils then I ever knew. I feel like I want to shout about them from the roof tops because of how they've helped me! That's why I guess I'm writing you an awkward comment when I don't even know you! :) My friend who introduced me to them actually has Celiac's as well and is feeling better then she has in years. Anyway, I have made a FB page to share about them, if you want to check it out, visit:

This video is short and explains a lot:

If you have any questions you can email me at:

Take care,
~ Sarah Kopp