Melissa Graham

Gluten Allergy and Autoimmune Diseases

— School Teacher

I started feeling unwell in college. I had chronic stomach pains, a second bout of Mononucleosis, chronic strep throat, ear infections, pneumonia, anemia, labrynthitis and chronic constipation with alternating diarrhea & was diagnosed with Asthma and Irritable Bowel Syndrome while at Brandeis.I was put on high dose steroids for my asthma. Gradually, my legs got bigger, my face became unrecognizable, and my skin as thin as paper.

I started having joint pain, brain fog, sun sensitivity, fevers, aches and pains, and lethargy. The worst part was the memory loss. I could not remember passwords that I had been using for years. Once I could not remember my address while voting. It took me a few minutes to work out where I lived before I could vote. I saw many doctors. One thought I had Lupus. Others thought I was depressed. Three were insulting and degrading. None really helped me until I went to Dr. Ali. After a couple of months of puzzling over my symptoms and helping me with my asthma symptoms and my joint pains, she told me that she thought I might have a gluten problem. I argued with her and told her that I had tried going off gluten for a week, and I had felt no different. She countered with the fact that it takes at least a month to really know. After living without sugar, I couldn’t fathom not being able to have bread or pizza. However, Dr Ali is such a caring and persuasive person. Instead of getting in a power struggle, she simply explained why she felt this would help my symptoms. How can you argue with someone who genuinely wants to help you? I gave in and decided to give it a try. After a three or four weeks on the diet, I called my mother to tell her that the world was a beautiful place. Before, it seemed like I saw the world through tunnel vision with only a two-dimensional picture. Now when I look at the world, it is full of color and stands out amazingly.