Since May is Celiac Awareness Month I’d like to talk to you about pet sitting and Celiac Disease. Those aren’t two things you’d expect to hear in the same sentence, are they? For those of you who are not familiar with Celiac Disease let me explain. Celiac disease is a digestive disease which damages the small intestine. It interferes with the absorption of nutrients from food. People with Celiac cannot tolerate gluten which is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Symptoms vary greatly so many times Celiac is misdiagnosed.
About 1 in 100 people have Celiac but of those approximately 83% are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.
Almost my entire life I had many symptoms of Celiac but not the classic gastrointestinal symptoms. Since Celiac was so uncommon my doctors never even considered it. I complained to my doctors for TWENTY YEARS that something wasn’t right. After much insistence from me, they finally tested me. Even the gastroenterologist who did my biopsy told me NO WAY did I have Celiac. Boy were they embarrassed when they called me to tell me the results were positive. FINALLY I knew what was wrong with me!
So, how does Celiac Disease relate to pet sitting you ask?
Unfortunately, gluten is in everything! It’s hidden in places you’d never expect like vitamins, medicines and makeup. Gluten is also found in pet food, pet treats and cat litter just to name a few. Some people with Celiac won’t even touch anything that contains gluten however my own personal experience has been that touching it doesn’t make me sick, I have to ingest it to have a reaction. It takes a lot of diligence, but I always make sure to wash my hands thoroughly after handling food and treats and I cover my face and mouth when I scoop S’Wheat Scoop cat litter.
Since being diagnosed and (drastically) changing my diet the difference in the way I feel is night and day. It has been almost three years that I’ve been gluten free and I can’t believe how much more knowledgeable the general public is when it comes to Celiac and gluten.
Could you have Celiac Disease or a gluten intolerance? Check out the symptoms. Remember, you don’t have to have the typical gastrointestinal symptoms to have Celiac or a gluten sensitivity. My major symptoms (my entire life) were horrible migraines, very bad eczema, extreme fatigue (I could sleep 20 hours a day) and swelling of my hands and feet. All have gone away with the elimination of gluten. Celiac Disease is hereditary. Looking back I am fully convinced my father has it (yet REFUSES to get tested) and my Grandfather (father’s father) always had terrible eczema and he died at the age of 65 from cancer. Left untreated, Celiac Disease can lead to cancer (father and grandfather), diabetes (my father has) and a whole host of other issues.
Don’t be afraid to insist that your doctor test you if you have the symptoms. As I said, my doctors told me no way did I have it. Had I not insisted on being tested I’d still be suffering.
May is Celiac Awareness Month. Please share this post if you know someone that should be tested.