Hi, I’m Bec! I hope you’re well.
In mid-2007 I was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease. I had no idea what that was or even how to spell it… what do you mean it doesn’t start with an ‘s’?? My family and friends had no idea what this was, but knew that I had been very sick for a long time with quite random, seemingly unrelated, symptoms. There was no known family history, I was the first… lucky me! It was only by chance that I was tested for it.
Like many others, I spent YEARS going from one doctor to another. I was told I had a bug, a stomach infection, that I was a hypochondriac! This happened for around 5 years, until I finally came across a doctor who decided she would run some blood tests. She thought that I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) but would test for some other things just in case. Like the human pin cushion that I soon became, I dragged my shell of a body to the pathologist and had a blood test. I saw my GP a couple of days later and she said that she was 99% sure I had Coeliac Disease, but I had to have a biopsy to confirm it. I didn’t care at that stage, do whatever you need to, I physically couldn’t cope any more. I was so underweight and drained, and sick of feeling like death warmed up – not even fully warmed up. I wasn’t in a large city at the time and gastroenterologists only came once a month or so to do procedures. So I waited, somewhat uncomfortably, I waited.
As my GP suspected, I had Coeliac Disease, with complete villous atrophy (yay!). I immediately began my gluten free life, and I have honestly never looked back. It was a long long journey to becoming healed. But I slowly clocked up my days of not having diarrhoea… 1 day… 2 days in a row… a week… WOW!!! I was healing, and this was evident. My skin was less dry and patchy, the weird twitches were easing off, the blood filled mouth ulcers I had were becoming less frequent and one day I thought, ‘hey that was really awful, it’s been a while since I had those’. And I was thankful, so thankful that this gluten free thing was working. After all, I had no idea what I was signing up for in regards to lifestyle change. It’s a massive overhaul on your life!
I did a lot of research… A LOT! I joined my state Coeliac Society and I armed myself with as many books as I could find in the book shops. I wanted to know everything about Coeliac Disease and this new life that I was starting. For many years I felt alone in my struggle so I endeavoured to teach all of my friends and family about it. It was a long teaching process as I was still learning myself. I bought them the Coeliac Australia Ingredient List Book, as well as recipe books and guides to understanding my new life. It was a long road but has definitely made my journey easier.
In February 2012, four and a half years after diagnosis, I decided to make a group on Facebook. It was a support group that I named Coeliac Disease Support Group Australia. This was a place that I invited my friends to join if they wanted to know more about me and my condition. I shared recipes that I had found online, research articles, and got excited over new products that I discovered in the supermarket. Soon I had my first non-friend join the group and I got excited! ‘Wow, I can’t believe that somebody else joined my little group!!’ I continued to share, and so did the new members that joined. Every new member got a special welcome message from me, and they still do. One of the first of my milestones was when I reached 100 members in September 2013 – very exciting!! Throughout 2014 to now my little support group has grown exponentially, closing off 2018 with 5600 members. These members are my extended family, and I have made lots of new friends from it.
Many people over the years have dubbed me their fountain of knowledge for all things gluten free and coeliac, and have personally messaged me for advice and mentorship, recommendations and recipes. A lot of these are even from members of my group – people who I do not personally know. And this is where The Gluten Free Queen stemmed from. I want to help you where I didn’t have the help. I want you to be fully informed and have all of the best resources at your fingertips. I want you to understand and enjoy this new and healthy journey that you are now on. I have been there, I understand the weird and wonderful things that come with the territory. And I want to help you.
I encourage you to join my mailing list so that we can keep in contact and I can keep you informed of everything new that is going on in the world of gluten free. After all, I am living in a coeliac world.