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I started having stomach issues when I started my first job out of college in 2011. It was a very stressful job in which I worked long hours and had a hectic drive to and from. The stomach problems started gradually. It would be upset a few days every month. This quickly grew to be an everyday occurrence. I had extreme difficulty getting out of bed in the morning because the pain was so intense. My boss started getting on me about being late. Then I started calling in sick on days because I was curled up on the bathroom floor unable to move. I had been to the doctor and had every test done. I had blood tests, a cat scan and a colonoscopy. Everything came back normal. I was on an antispasmodial medicine but I stopped taking it because I was throwing up. At work I wasn’t always making it to the bathroom. I’d have to wash myself down and toss my underwear. It was really embarrassing.

Even though I’d read about diet changes online, I didn’t know how to cook. So I bought a rice cooker and a George foreman grill. I literally ate chicken and rice for 2 months straight. I stopped going out with friends because I was afraid to drink or eat out. I was too embarrassed to tell them what was happening so eventually they stopped inviting me to things. My sister told me about a new type of treatment they were testing out in the hospitals. She is currently a med student. It was called a fecal matter transplant. And I said no way, not happening. Then my dad brought it up because he read about it in a Discovery magazine. I said only if I was dying.

Well eventually my condition got so bad that I couldn’t move without being in pain, even with the diet changes. So with no plan in mind, I told my work I had to take an extended absence, which ended up being 2 weeks. My family talked me into having the procedure done. At that point I was so desperate I was willing to try anything. And within a couple weeks I actually started to feel better. I still maintained a simple diet but I felt my strength starting to return. I was still weak for quite some time though. To this day I still can’t eat gluten, or drink much alcohol. But I rarely have the pain that I had then. As long as I make my own food I do fine. It is a struggle going out to eat but there are more gluten-free options now then there used to be.

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