How a Kidney Stone Saved my Life

18 months (and counting) with Coeliac disease

How I found out

Unlike most people with Coeliac, I have no obvious symptoms. I don’t have an upset stomach when I eat pasta or bread, no discomfort, nothing. Given that, I’ll forever be grateful to the 8mm kidney stone that I found out about at 5 o’clock in the morning on November 12, 2013.

What exactly is Coeliac?

I only knew the term “gluten-free” as a fad diet of some sort. Something that rich people have taken up to lose weight and stay healthy. It wasn’t until I started talking to my nutritionist, Dr. Steck, that I found out that my assumptions were only partially true. It’s true that you can potentially be healthier on a gluten-free diet but it’s definitely not a given. A gluten-free diet can be just as healthy or unhealthy as a regular diet, depending on what you eat. Most potato chips, chocolates and ice cream are gluten-free (phew!).

  1. How gluten affects my body. I found out through one of the endoscopies that my villi were completely flat. This meant that my small intestine wasn’t absorbing any nutrients. As a result, my body wasn’t getting any nutrition. Which is a terrifying situation to be in. No matter how well I ate, very little of it was actually being absorbed in my body. This explained some of the problems that I was noticing with my energy levels, skin and hair. It was scary to think that whatever little nutrition I was getting was going towards just keeping me alive instead of promoting better health overall.

So, how bad is it?

Not bad at all. Especially in the Bay Area. I live in San Francisco and it’s definitely one of the best cities to be in for Coeliac folks. There’s a lot of awareness here. A great deal of restaurants are now starting to label gluten-free items on their menu. Some of them even have a separate gluten-free menu with plenty of yummy options. Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s all have aisles full of gluten-free goodies.

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Creating a community for dog lovers — Dear Genie.

Designer of many things. Currently, Head of Design at Unmind. Creating a community for dog lovers — Dear Genie.