Imagine someone coming up to you. You are expecting a hug and instead they punch you in the gut really hard. That is what I felt like when I learned I was allergic to gluten. Let me explain. I am 43 years old and I am a single mom. I LOVE LOVE LOVE bread and pasta. I can eat spaghetti tonight and lasagna tomorrow. It never gets old. 19 years ago I began breaking out in hives. So my doctor put me on allergy meds. The allergist did test but his response was, and yes this is a direct quote, “There is no explanation. It’s just something your people get. I wrote a book about it you should read it. Maybe you should try working on your belly fat…” I swear to you this truly was his words. Needless to say I never went back and my doctor continued to prescribe the allergy medicine. At least the itching stopped. Then a new symptom appeared. Suddenly I began vomiting everything I ate and drank. Even water. I could not keep anything down. So my doctor put me on acid reflux medicine. Ok, so I can eat without vomiting and I no longer itch. As long as I take my meds. Then the weight gain began. I can hardly keep food down yet I am gaining weight faster than I did when I was pregnant with my daughter. There is nothing worse then trying to explain to your doctor how you do not eat and they are looking at you like you are not telling the truth because you are now 15 to 20 pounds heavier then you were three months prior. I was told to drink more water and go on a diet. No one would listen to me. I felt alone. I even felt like my family did not believe me. At my heaviest I was close to 300 pounds. So I found a third doctor. Yes I went for multiple opinions. This time I went to an Internist doctor. She ran multiple test and came back with a diagnosis of Hashimotos disease. An autoimmune disease. My body had began attacking my thyroid and it may have been brought on by my pregnancy. I was told my thyroid stopped working because of this and that is why I was experiencing the hair loss, weight gain, acne, and acid reflux. I had gained so much weight that I now had a whole in my esophagus where my stomach was protruding and my stomach had begun to twist. A hiatal hernia. Ok. Is this why some days I felt famished and others I had no appetite at all? No answer. I accepted the diagnosis and began taking thyroid medications. After three years there was no change. In fact things got worse. Remember I LOVE LOVE LOVE pasta and breads. One day the abdominal pain was so bad I was bent over in pain. I was home alone and could not move. The pain was so bad I just wanted to die. After several hours of pain and vomiting I was weak so I went to the kitchen for something to eat. Leftover pasta. BAM! It did not take long after I had eaten for the pain to hit. What the hell. I took my acid reflux so I should not be vomiting and now this pain. It felt like someone was twisting my intestines and wrestling with them. After 24 hours I was up. I drank some water and ate plain rice. I was afraid. I returned to work that following Monday and called the pharmacy to get a refill of my acid reflux. They called me back to tell me the co-pay would now be $250.00. That was my breaking point. I hung up the phone closed my office door and began to cry. I prayed to God for an answer. I received an email with the subtitle, “Are you allergic to gluten?” I began reading the email and every symptom I have listed above was listed in this email. I could not believe it. So, I had taken my last pill that morning. I decided I would stay away from all things gluten for a week and see what happens. 24 hours after my last meal with gluten, I noticed I did not take my allergy medication and I was not itching or breaking out in hives. 48 hours later, still nothing and I did not take a acid reflux but I have not vomited. At the end of the week, I swore off all things gluten and completely removed myself from meds. I finally diagnosed myself as being allergic to gluten and I have not looked back. Needless to say, I feel like I am better now than I was before I became pregnant with my daughter. I am not trying to promote self diagnosis. All I am saying is if you have any of the above symptoms and your doctor has not considered a gluten allergy, don’t wait as long as I did.