The year was 1987, I was a happily married 28 year old mother of 2 children, a son 9 and a daughter 8.  I had just become my daughter’s Girl Scout co-leader and we were off on our first camping trip to Girl Scout Camp, Henry Kaufmann, in the beautiful Laurel Mountains of Western Pennsylvania.

It was to be a 3 night 4 day trip,
we were both so excited.  My family are seasoned campers, my husband and I had been camping pretty much since we first met and our children had their first camping trip when our son was 22 months old and our daughter was 6 months old.  So this was not a new thing, just that we would be staying in tents in a Girl Scout camp instead of a state campground.

Camp Henry Kaufman had it’s own full time cook and all the campers had their meals in the dining hall.  The food was great, and Cookie made all her own homemade breads and rolls for the meals.  I will later come to find out that all those great homemade glutenous breads and rolls are slowly killing me.

After day number 2, I came down with a severe case of diarrhea.  I spent a lot of time in the latrine, and sucking down large amounts of Kaopectate.  This was in the summer of ’87, the month of July to be exact and Pennsylvania was having a pretty dry season that year.  I assumed that I had picked up a case of giardiasis from drinking the well water at camp.

When I came home my symptoms really didn’t get any better.  I went to my primary care physician and he pretty much confirmed my thoughts on the giardiasis (without doing any testing).  So he gave me a stronger anti-diarrheal.  It seemed to work.

Now, I have to say we were into August by now and my father-in-law had a huge garden that we pretty much ate out of all August and September.  Good things, like, fresh corn on the cob, cucumbers and onions, tomatoes, squash, zucchini,  and things like that.  Not a lot of bread or pasta meals during this time of year.  So my “problem” got better.  My conclusion…, must have been the water at camp.

However, when the seasons changed and we started eating normally again, my problem came back with a vengeance.  So back to the PCP for more anti-diarrhea medication.  Only this time it didn’t seem to work.

I kept taking the medication, but the problem persisted.  I soon went from a healthy 135 lb woman to a tired, cranky, sick 100 lb skeleton by Thanksgiving.

Tune in tomorrow and I will give you the “Rest of the Story”.

Mary Blackburn

Living Gluten Free