My wife suffers from celiac disease. The long and confusing road to the final diagnosis was extremely difficult and almost killed her. She had a month's long period where she had severe diarrhea and vomiting frequently with no conclusions from local doctors except the "flu." This intensified during a three-week period and this, coupled with triple-digit temperatures, caused us to seek an internal medicine specialist who diagnosed celiac disease and said simply to avoid gluten.

Try that sometime, folks, and you will soon see just some of the obstacles she has had to deal with. There was no discussion about how long someone can go with severe diarrhea and vomiting before something serious can happen. We finally got this information from a nurse, three days after we had found an internist who ran blood tests and found my wife was close to going into a "low sodium coma" and got her into a hospital.

No one ever mentioned social isolation from any gatherings involving food, depression because you are so afraid of being glutened, the total exhaustion from the damage to your immune system, frequent inability to get more than a couple of hours of sleep, but, most of all, confusion over the minimal information the medical professionals seem to have.

My wife has been a real trooper, and I am proud of her, but it has changed both of our lives dramatically for the last 12 years that she has persevered.

Daulton Oliver, Tehachapi