The Doctors were Wrong…

Talk about a click bait title huh? 😂 But it’s true, they were! Along with the specialists, consultants, nurses and everyone else.

Before I get into this post I can’t stress enough that the doctors and consultants I worked with couldn’t have been more helpful. They really did everything they could and went above and beyond for me. Unfortunately they just couldn’t give me the answers I was looking for.

For the last five and half years I’ve struggled with severe (like se-ve-re) bloating, water retention and swelling. I’m not joking when I say it’s been the most debilitating thing to ever have happened to me. The pain was excruciating, my body would balloon so much that my weight would fluctuate up and down by about 5kg in two to three days, I couldn’t buy nice clothes for nights out for fear they wouldn’t fit in a days time , I looked puffy 99% of the time and the worst part was I didn’t feel like myself. I felt like I was trapped in someone else’s body and I had no control over it.

I’ve been hospitalised twice, been to numerous consultants and doctors and I’ve been misdiagnosed over five times. Six months ago it got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore, I literally couldn’t take it. It was affecting every aspect of my life. So, I left all of the medical opinions behind, took finding the answer into my own hands and finally found the problem!

“What was wrong?” I hear you ask… well for me to get into that I’ll bring you back to where it all started five years ago. I was on college placement, around 20/21 years old when I started getting the most chronic pain in my stomach and bloating so bad I genuinely looked like I was going to give birth to twins any day (I’m not a bit dramatic I know). I went to the chemist, got over the counter medicine and then went to Holland and Barrett and got all of natural remedies I could find to prevent it happening again. The medicine worked for 24 hours and then the bloating and pain would start again so I’d take more medicine and the vicious cycle continued. It got to the point where the medicine stopped working as a result of taking so much of it. My body became reliant on medication and then immune.

Fast forward a few weeks and I end up in South Doc where they diagnosed me with a cyst. Grand, not ideal but I went about getting it sorted. Misdiagnosis number one.

Another couple of weeks went by and I wasn’t getting better. I distinctively remember the moment; sitting in my office chair and losing all feeling in my arms and legs and nearly passing out from the pain. My body was turning toxic. I was brought to A&E and kept in hospital for four days where they did every test under the sun and couldn’t find a problem so they diagnosed me with IBS. Misdiagnosis number two.

Losing my jaw line was a regular thing when the water retention and swelling would kick in 🙄

I was going to my GP regularly, getting medication when I needed it, taking time off work here there and everywhere and just living with the pain, discomfort. It’s safe to say I looked like a football most of the time 🙄 (if you know me well, think back to me only wearing baggy T-shirt’s) 😂.

I’m gonna skip on a bit because that continues for another two/three years until it gets to the point where I’m hospitalised for a second time. This time they had all of the specialists and consultants come see me… a gastroenterologist if you don’t mind! I still can’t pronounce that word even to this day 😂. I was kept in hospital for the bones of a week while they monitored me, again finding nothing. I’d also like to mention; I was in hospital because of digestion issues and they were feeding me white toast and desserts around the clock. But anyway, they discharged me and brought me in for more tests over the coming months… the most invasive uncomfortable tests I’ve ever had in my life.

What was the result?

– Misdiagnosis three – slow digestive system. Something I’d just have to live with apparently 🤷🏼‍♀️.

– Misdiagnosis four – a misshaped intestinal tract that could be cured with drugs that could affect my future in terms of having children. I’m so grateful to this day that I didn’t take their advice on that one.

– Misdiagnosis five – stress. Which to be fair, I do notice even to this day that stress affects my body but it wasn’t the answer this time.

My GP had me on daily medication that worked for a few weeks and then I became immune to that as well 🤷🏼‍♀️.

So I continued on, loathing my body. I hated not having control of it. It was so bad it was literally consuming me, it was on my mind from when I woke up to when I went to sleep and it was severely affecting my personal life. I was working so hard in the gym and on my diet to stay some way in shape. Then six months ago I was nearly hospitalised again. That was it, that was the last straw. I knew there had to be answer, that I couldn’t just “be this way” so I took matters into my own hands.

I researched EVERYTHING under the sun, read all of the books, made god knows how many phone calls and reached out to many different practices. I even tried acupuncture. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I cried knowing I just couldn’t live like this anymore.

During the time when I was in and out of my GP’s office, I was tested for coeliac disease, lactose allergies, nut allergies and all of the other allergies. So in my mind that box was ticked. However, one day I began to question it, you know just in case! So I rang a dietitian… my life changed.

I’ll never forget it, I took her through everything like absolutely everything that happened over the last few years. Then when it came to the part about the allergy tests she started laughing like full on laughing. “You do know doctors only test for allergies?” she asked and me in my obliviousness replied “yeah?” And she went on to tell me something that floored me.. “Few people in the world have genuine allergies. If you had an allergy you’d probably be dead by now. A Doctor only tests for allergies because there is no scientific way to test for intolerances so they don’t necessarily believe in it”. You can imagine my face here now after five years of this… “I know what’s wrong with you… you have an intolerance to wheat“. She asked me to trial a gluten free diet for six weeks. I saw the difference in four days.

FIVE YEARS LADS!! Five years of hospitals, doctor’s offices, tests and thousands of euro later… wheat (gluten). Wheat was the problem all along.

Since living gluten free I’ve changed so much. I’ve lost a stone, quit the gym (I really do hate it) and my quality of life is so much better. Now, I’m not gonna lie, it’s hard! There is wheat in everything! Besides the obvious things, I also can’t have some brands of jellies, Doritos, sausages, chocolate with biscuit or wafers (I’m hanging for a Kinder Bueno), can’t get Chinese 💔… the list is endless. Do you know how hard it is for me to go to a restaurant and not order the bowl of pasta? 😭 Or going to a friends house and being rude by turning down everything you’re offered? My grandparents god love them are still coming to terms with it 😂 but they buy me gluten free biscuits and bread every week for when I visit ♥️🤗.

Of course my diet has completely changed. I used to be a very fussy eater and ate very little veg, fish, etc. Now, because my diet is so limited I can’t get enough of it 😂. Every cloud 😉.

I suppose the moral of this story is, if you know something is wrong with your health and your not getting answers, don’t give up on it! There’s 100% a reason for feeling the way your feeling. Keep trying. And don’t rely on medication for five years if you don’t need it 🙄.

I’ve kept you long enough now I think 🙈I’ll do another post soon on living gluten free and my new diet 🙋🏼‍♀️ In the meantime if you do have any questions on any of the above or if you’re going through something similar, message me and I’ll be happy to help in whatever way I can 🤗

If you’ve managed to read until now, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read my story 🤗

Til next time,

April x