I believe that I have suffered with whatever it is, as yet still undiagnosed, for a long time. I have recollections of severe stomach pain on various occasions;
- age 16 at the Taranaki V Springboks game when I lived in NZ on youth exchange with Rotary - couldn't enjoy the game, I had to lie in the foetal position and breathe
- age 14 + on camping trips to the Warrumbungles in central NSW - mostly climbing the damn hills!
- various ages at home, on horseback, at pony camp....vague memories but poignant when you reflect
I had always noticed, as a teenager, that when I consumed a large amount of milk that I would get a headache not long after, so stopped doing that (although sometimes the nice cold, chocolatey milo milk in the afternoon after a 1hr bus ride home would be too hard to resist and I would suffer!) but I really started noticing and paying attention to other pain and the terrible reflux I was experiencing, about a year after I moved to Lightning Ridge, 11 years ago now, and thought I would start eliminating things myself.
First to go was the coffee; which I drank alot of, a habit that formed as a result of a 6 month stint as a waitress/barista in an Italian place in Alice Springs - noticeably I ususally drank a milk based coffee (der!)...didn't help.
Over the next few years I gradually excluded dairy (entirely for more than 12 months), wheat (haven't had any - by choice - for at least 7 years), and lastly sugar.
The irony of this self elimination process is that I still wasn't getting better - AND, the kicker, I was going to doctors pleading for them to help....all I ever got was a new drug to take (by the way, some of them actually made me worse!). I had to ask, just last year, for a gastroscopy to test for coeliac disease, but I had not done enough of my own research and after I went through an anesthetic (which is NOT good for the body or soul) my next GP told me that they wouldn't have found anything because I had eliminated wheat from my diet so many years ago - WHY didn't the doctor know to ask that questions - particularly as we had had a discussion about why I wanted the test?
I forgot to mention that I had prick tests done at the RPA clinic in Sydney (a 10 hour drive for us), simply because I still wasn't feeling well and was in fact getting worse, but they showed nothing...so I thought I could eat wheat and dairy again...BIG Mistake! I do remember how excited I was though to pull up at the White Rose Cafe in Dunedoo and inhale a fresh corn beef and pickle sandwich (an old fave!) on white bread!!!!! Not so good 2 days later!
I could have done the full elimination diet, but the idea of consuming pears for a whole few weeks and not much else did my head in - so I kept paying attention to my body and cutting out things that made me sick!
To be continued!