Testimonials from the Food Allergy and Intolerance Community

Patients benefiting from quality healthcare for food allergies and intolerances

Patient Grant Recipient

          In mid-February I was awarded a grant ... to treat my chronic sinusitis, congestion and sinus infections. Thereafter, I met with Dr. Stephen Wangen to discuss my symptoms and possible treatment options. By way of a simple blood draw, I was tested using the ELISA food allergy panel to determine possible allergens affecting my sinus condition. The results were "classic"; I am mildly allergic to dairy (whey), egg whites, and wheat. Although I have tried cutting out dairy products in the past, I had never considered the other two as potential allergens.
          Although my work - which includes traveling and often eating whatever I am served - does not make dietary change easy, I have been able to largely cut out wheat from my diet. In cutting back that one food group alone, I have noticed a significant difference in my sinuses and overall health! My body has largely adjusted to a diet with less wheat.
          Now, if I have one meal with a lot of wheat (like pizza or pasta), I notice congestion, sinus pressure and post-nasal drip within hours. I am not as prone to catching colds or sinus infections anymore. I don't fee like I live so much "on edge" of being sick. Though I wouldn't say I am completely "cured", I do feel that I have gained some very useful knowledge and tools for taking care of my body and living a healthier life. Through it isn't practical in my life-style to go entirely wheat-free, I also am aware of many decisions I can make; no roll with dinner, for instance, or opting for a soup and salad instead of a sandwich. i feel very grateful...for the grant which made this treatment possible for me. They are providing a good service to a multitude of people who suffer from chronic digestive health issues. Thank you!

Heidi Foster

Patient Grant Recipient

          Previous to receiving treatment from the IBS Treatment Center, I was struggling with severe digestive problems that made daily life difficult and even affected my ability to work. I was seeking treatment with a food coach, but we could not make significant progress because I had a bit of confusion about the food sensitivities and allergies that I thought that I was dealing with. I had received lab tests and allergy testing in the past, but I had received conflicting advice, or lack of guidance on some of the results.
          With the support and referral of my eating coach to get treatment from the IBS Treatment Center, I met with Dr. Wangen and discussed the tests I previously received, and was able to clear up some of the wrong conclusions and advice that had been given to me by previous medical professionals regarding food allergies and celiac disease. Because the IBS Treatment Center has devoted significant time and attention to these issues, and has an established process of going through the results and creating a treatment plan following the testing, I was able to gain a sense of peace and comfort at finding out the results of my lab tests and knowing how to proceed with my food decisions. With the information gained at the IBS Treatment Center, I even gained enough confidence to make very positive food changes and have felt immediate effects in my health and overall well-being, so that years of suffering and confusion have been significantly alleviated in a period of a few months.
          If it were not for the generous grant awarded by the Innate Health Foundation {our former name}, my treatment may have been delayed a bit longer, and I may have opted to not go forward with my treatment at IBS Treatment Center. Thanks to kindness of the Innate Health Foundation and the medical expertise and care at the IBS Treatment Center, my quality of life has been significantly altered in a positive way. I hope more people have the chance to find hope and health in life through more of these grants of health and kindness.

Angela Chen

Patient Grant Recipient

          I suffered from digestive problems for about five years before I came to the IBS treatment center. It was a long struggle that I mostly tried to resolve myself through Internet and literature research. The toughest problem was getting to the root of the cause because, although I was familiar with food allergies, whenever I abstained from dairy for example, to see if that is the cause my symptoms would improve partially but very quickly return to normal. Next I tried wheat and had the same results. I got frustrated a lot and gave up with the diet thinking that maybe my disorder is caused by emotional problems or stress. So, to make long story short, I got on and fell of the wagon over and over with no significant improvement until I finally broke down and decided to see a Naturopath.
          To my benefit, I was interested in natural health for a long time before this happened. I stopped trusting "regular" doctors a while back when over and over they didn't have solutions to my earlier troubles and kept on telling me "it just happens to women your age". Out of frustration, I embarked on my own research so at the point when I was ready to see a Naturopathic doctor for the first time I was familiar and excited with the methods of treatment and looked forward to a quick recovery. I just needed to be diagnosed properly. My visit turned out to be a big disappointment. Outside for testing me for thyroid which turned out normal, I got the same advice from him as I am sure many of you got: eat more fiber, take digestive enzymes, cal-mag and drink psyllium husk. I even got sent home with a high fiber fruit bar recipe. Since I was low on funds and didn't have health insurance going back for more tests was impossible and so my pattern of elimination of allergens continued intermingled with frustration, giving up and hope over and over.
          Finally, four months back, I accidentally happened to find a website of the IBS Treatment Center. After scanning it over and reading about the tests I decided that I must give it a try because I was on the verge of breaking point and, after five years, my problems were starting to affect my home and emotional life on a regular basis. Because I and my husband do not make much money, I found out about the Innate Health Foundation {the former name of the Food Allergy and Intolerance Foundation} and qualified for some financial relief. That plus saving some money allowed me to finally get the right tests and it turned out that I am allergic to not only dairy, but also soy, eggs and cane sugar!!! No wonder my diets never worked properly.
          Dr. Wangen was very nice and understanding. It definitely makes a difference when your doctor can identify with your own struggle and frustration. After two months on a pretty strict diet (except when I went on vacation when I was still pretty good except while eating in restaurants and never really being completely sure 100% that it was allergen free), I am doing much better. The symptoms didn't go away completely yet, but I feel much better and I know I am on the path to recovery. It is sometimes frustrating to deny myself the foods that I crave, but to me, that is so much easier to deal with than the symptoms of poisoning my body. Whenever I come across people with similar problems I always tell them about the IBS Treatment Center because I am positive that 90% of those people suffer from food allergies and don't even know it.

Urszula Trudnos

Patient Grant Recipient

          In October of 2002, I began having horrible stomach pain, bloating & occasional vomiting after eating. I quickly lost 25 pounds I really didn't need to lose. I was weak, tired and became non-social. I was taken to the ER a few times being I could not breathe well. This is where my journey health began. So on with research while pursuing MD's to tell me what is going on.
          Doctors couldn't explain why I was so ill. A year later, the doctor ran a test and thought removing my gallbladder may help. Well, as soon as I recovered and began eating again it was clear that it didn't solve the issue. Frustrated, I continued to live in pain until I came back from school in 2005 and decided to see a naturopath. Other symptoms I'd get were dizziness, sore throats, constipation and I've always struggled with skin problems.
          Seeing a naturopath, I felt hope and felt like someone was actually listening and cared. I was tested for a gluten intolerance (tested positive) and food allergies (which showed many). It was relieving to find out that I could feel better by not eating certain foods, yet devastating too because I wasn't sure what I could eat. I saw a dietician who introduced me to new grains and thought me what I needed to know to begin a new journey experiencing new foods. Life changed for me, especially in social aspects. Being that it's not safe for me to eat out and every holiday I have to cook something separate then the rest of the family still continues to be difficult.
          I did however begin feeling better with the very limited diet and over time the symptoms had come back, my energy level was low and I really didn't feel my best. In 2007, fed up with tiredness, pain and all other symptoms…I heard about the IBS Treatment Center. I thought I'd give Dr. Wangen a call.
          As I met with Dr. Wangen, I knew I could trust him and that he'd give me honest feedback and do everything he could to help me. We did another test of my food allergies and it opened the door for me to bring foods in I was avoiding, yet eliminated some major ones I was having: Goat products, cane sugar and yeast were all new categories I was unaware of avoiding. I'm already avoiding dairy, soy, gluten, corn, egg, almonds and more. We also tested herbs and spices and some others were brought up as well.
          Here we go again…I have now eliminated the findings of the last test. Also, Dr. Wangen found I had a parasite and yeast overgrowth. We have addressed this and continue to address the yeast overgrowth through Nystatin and diet. Eliminating fruits from my diet is the hardest, yet I notice a huge difference in the way I feel. I can say that I can look back and see how much food has an impact my life in how I feel and act. I am thankful for the IBS Treatment center for giving me the opportunity of receiving a grant to pursue better health.
          My journey is not over…each day I need to be aware of what I eat and evaluate how I feel. Still looking for ways to be creative with food and add taste to it. There is hope.

Jennifer West

Many of those who have learned about food allergies and intolerances through the Food Allergy and Intolerance Foundation have received medical care as patients of the IBS Treatment Center and the Center for Food Allergies.

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