Category Archives: Coeliac Disease

The Importance With Registering With A Doctor At University

If it wasn’t for my parents dragging me home and to the family doctor, I probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed for a very long time. Although this may come across as me either being a ‘typical’ student or ‘being lazy’, the thing is, to me at that time, it was too much effort to register with a doctor in Manchester, book an appointment with the doctor in Manchester, go to the appointment etc, to me, there were far more important matters to intend to, such as the pub quiz.

I can’t stress enough the importance of registering with a doctor whilst you’re studying. I was stupid enough to think it was ok to travel all the way over the Pennines to see mine. It really is that easy to register with a doctor, just google your nearest doctors to either your campus or student house, ring up to see if they are taking on new patients, take a visit to fill in one of those NHS new patient forms and book an appointment.

Alternatively, you can click here to be directed to the NHS GP Finder – here it will give you an address, contact telephone number and most importantly, tell you whether they are taking on new patients.

If like me, you do quite like your doctor back at home [I like to still see mine, as he’s known me ever since I was a wee nipper], you can still see them as a temporary patient. Also, if you’re in the ‘middle’ of sorting out a diagnosis with your doctor at home and feel you can not be ‘arsed’ [if you pardon my French] to go through it all again with a new doctor, just ask your doctor to write you a letter to give to your new doctor. I did, and my doctor was able to provide my new doctor an insight into what was going on, what I’d already had etc.

The real importance of registering with a doctor at the place you are studying is so you can be referred to local services. For example, you will be asked to under go a blood test at your local hospital. For me, this meant I had to get a train all the way back to Dewsbury just for a blood test, spending £14.90 for a train ticket, where I could have saved money and time, just going to the hospital in Manchester. Additionally, you will also be given appointments at your local hospital for an endoscopy as well as to see a dietician.

However, once you are diagnosed with coeliac disease, you are able to obtain gluten free bread, pasta etc on prescription. This means you will have to get a prescription form signed by your doctor every month, to be handed in to your local pharmacy for collection. So, if you’re foolish like me, this would mean travelling all the way back home, every month, just to collect your gluten free bread.

What is Coeliac Disease?

Some people  usually think coeliac disease is just an allergy to wheat and gluten. Sadly, there is much more to it than that. I feel understanding the condition will help you gain some insight and control about coeliac disease.

Coeliac disease, also known as celiac disease, is a common digestive condition, where someone is either allergic or intolerant to the protein gluten which is found in most food products. Although, it is not necessarily an allergy to gluten and wheat, it is an auto immune disease where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Therefore, if someone with coeliac disease eats gluten, their body’s immune system will attack the lining of the small intestine, which stops the body properly absorbing nutrients.

These symptoms associated with coeliac disease can range from very mild to severe, they may include:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Failure to grow at the expected rate
  • Malnutrition

However some of these symptoms are often mistaken as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), so having a full check up to see if you do have coeliac disease, is advised.

The Day I Was Diagnosed With Coeliac Disease

You always remember those life changing moments and like every one diagnosed with celiac disease, you do remember that time!

I had come back home to Dewsbury to have some well deserved ‘rehab’ time at my parents house. It was April, and I was having a horrendous time at my then job. I’d developed chronic stomach pains and was constantly ringing in sick, or having to come into work an hour later because I was in so much pain. I’d also just been attacked, which understandably caused me to have panic attacks which I had never experienced before. For those who suffer or have suffered with panic attacks, you always feel like you’re going to die!

So my parents wanted me to come home for a while so they could look after me. I remember being a bit reluctant at first. Despite the setbacks, I was still enjoying living on my own and doing what I pleased, so moving home filled me with absolute dread!

The day after my arrival back home, my darling mum dragged me by my heels to the doctors to get something for my panic attacks as well as talk about my constant stomach pains and problems. I remember  my doctor mentioning  something to do with celiac disease but obviously I wasn’t really paying attention plus he couldn’t tell me for sure as I would have to have an endoscopy and a blood test to really confirm it. I just assumed my stomach problems was a result of all the stress and once the stress was out of my life, I’d be able to get better again.

So I’d reluctantly gone to the hospital to have my blood test.  Now I don’t care that little kids can walk in and walk out all happy before and after their bloodtest, but there’s something about that needle that makes my stomach do somersaults [FYI: just talking about it now, is making me feel a bit queasy!] So after moving my arms like a hyperactive octopus, I was finally restrained and given a blood test. I was however, given a ‘I was so brave’ sticker, which I wore like a medal of honour, although some people may think I didn’t deserve it!

After a week or so waiting around and not really caring [I was still in the stroppy teenager phase], I’d gone back to the doctors to talk about my results and lo’ and behold… I had celiac disease antibodies. Like before, I wasn’t that bothered, I don’t know why, I think I was relieved to not have something majorly wrong with me, but then when he started reeling off things I couldn’t eat anymore… ‘bread’… WHAT?!…. ‘pasta’ … COME AGAIN?!?!! … ‘cakes’…. YOU’RE KIDDING ME?!?!!?!! …. ‘pot noodle’ ….. ARGH!!!!!!. I ended up having a huge panic attack there and then in his room. Quite embarrassing to say the least, I don’t think he appreciated the tears and snot bubbles and the over dramatic “why me God” wail.

So I came home a broken woman. I remember slumping on the sofa thinking how the hell was I gonna cope without pot noodles and BREAD! I mean, I loved bread. I had it at every sitting and oh my, no more peanut butter sandwiches for me!!  Predicting the outcome, my parents had bought me some gluten free bread to try and encourage me that it’s not that bad, “YEAH RIGHT!”  I thought, whilst toasting the weird looking, weird feeling, and crumbly gluten free bread. I heated up some beans and made some scrambled eggs, plopped them on top of the freshly toasted gluten free bread, cut it up, placed a generous amount of beans and scrambled egg ratio on top… put it in my mouth… and chewed it… and …URGH!!!!  I swear if anyone was watching me then, my face must have resembled a bull dog chewing a wasp!