The offices in the IT “tower” at Navistar were so small that our backs were to the doors – so when someone walked in, they were behind you. After a while, you just got used to people scaring you to pieces and you kind of learned to ignore everything going on around you because I worked with some real jokers, that was for sure.
I had given birth to my third daughter that spring and had returned to work with my breast pump, so my door was shut a few times a day so that I could pump milk as my daughter has NEVER had formula of any kind. After a short while, I started just leaving my door shut to block out all of the interruptions and ignored everyone around me: you see, I was in my own little world. Brain fog is such an inconvenience and I was having a really hard time getting back into work mode after maternity leave and just didn’t want to be bothered anymore. I was irritable, my boobs hurt and I was at my limit with the techs who just aggravated the shit out of me every.single.day.
One day, I got so involved with my job that I left the door open and didn’t notice someone come into the room, until he literally screamed “Oh my God! Girl! What happened to your hair?”
I jumped and spun around and faced my work bff (a wonderful man who I am no longer in touch with) – his face was pure shock. What in the world was he talking about? Long story short: the whole top of my head around my crown was completely BALD! BALD! Right up there at the spot you can’t see in the mirror. What happened to my hair?
At the time, my endocrinologist blamed it on my thyroid disorder – which is, in fact, an autoimmune disease, so my synthroid was adjusted and I waited for my hair to come back – which took MONTHS! It was agony – I had to clip my hair up every day to cover this spot that had grown to the size of about 2 golf balls. It was horrible and my scalp was so red and irritated that it burned. BURNED! Weeks went by and I woke up one day and all of my eyelashes were gone – just gone.
Around that time, I completely cut carbs out of my diet and began the South Beach Diet. When it was time to add carbs, I stuck to corn and potatoes and just avoided bread of any kind because it just went straight to my belly, of all places. My hair grew back, my eyelashes grew back and I went back to what was considered “normal” at that time in my life.
I’m telling this story because this is what Celiac does to me. Hair loss, severe cystic acne, depression, suicidal thoughts, violent outbursts, uncontrollable rage and hopelessness. It took another 11 years to get the correct diagnosis, but since then, my skin is clear, my hair is beautiful and my eyelashes are looking pretty and thick – not to mention the fact that I now no longer feel like dying is my only option.
I share my story because I want to bring awareness to my condition, especially since the world thinks that “Gluten Free” is just a fad. I’m here to tell you that “gluten free” saved my life.
I recently found an infographic that pretty much summed up my life – take a look:
In the above graphic, symptoms in RED were mentioned most often, but all of them were mentioned at least twice to make it onto this chart. Take a look. Imagine if you had half of those symptoms listed. Imagine your life and your body turning against you – then try to tell me that gluten free is just a fad.