Better the devil you know – dealing with diagnosis

I finally got a confirmed diagnosis of coeliac disease this week. My blood tests always come back positive, but doctors want to see a biopsy from a gastroscopy to make a proper diagnosis. I was very reluctant to do this after a bad experience, but finally overcame my fears and had it done last month. Thank goodness for sedation!

In many ways, the positive diagnosis shouldn’t be too much of a shock – after all, I had kind of guessed that wheat wasn’t my friend. I have been eating gluten-free for over a year, so am well used to being awkward at dinner parties.

But there’s something about knowing for sure that feels heavy.

Firstly, it’s a bit painful realising that this is another thing I will have to deal with every day for the rest of my life. I can’t just pick up a croissant, and I can never assume that food is ‘safe’ for me. I already feel (probably wrongly) like people must think I am ‘making a fuss’. It will be another thing I have to navigate in social situations.

Then there’s the fact that I now have three confirmed autoimmune conditions. I sometimes struggle with worrying about future problems – is this the last surprise my naughty immune system has in store for me?

But in the end, worrying isn’t going to add even a second to my life. And I have found peace in praying, talking it through and trying to focus on how much better I will feel soon. I had to go back on wheat for a few weeks to have the test and it’s been pretty horrible.

Friends have said to me, “At least now you know.” And I know they are right – I can take the action I need to stop further damage happening. Hopefully it will have a positive impact on my diabetes control and RA symptoms as well.

I would love to hear how others have dealt with diagnosis. For me, it’s an odd mixture of relief and sadness.

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