Jane Swift - Celiac
Claim to Fame - Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts
Jane Swift was the youngest woman ever elected to the state Senate. She served in the position of State Senator for 5 years and made headlines again later when she became pregnant with daughter Elizabeth and became the topic of controversial discussions revolving around working mothers and her position.
She was very careful with her diet during pregnancy and said "it was the best nine months ever with this disease because I was extremely careful with what I ate". Jane was diagnosed with Celiac Disease toward the end of her first term. Her symptoms included heartburn, and other intestinal problems.
She was ill for about a year before seeking a physicians advise and had attributed everything to stress. She had underwent many medical tests including an intestinal biopsy. She was proven positive for Celiac Disease and began a gluten free diet.
Upon beginning the diet Jane says "It was just like a whole new life, and anyone who has ever gone though it knows what I mean." When she looks back, she realized the signs were there all along. Including a genetic disposition with having relatives with gastrointestinal disorders. She also had been undiagnosed through her childhood, and had spent much time sleeping, and was advised she had just had stomach problems.
Jane attends many political functions in Massachusetts, her staff usually call ahead to inform the food servers about Celiac Disease and gluten free choices. Even if they aren't her favourite choices, she finds that she feels people think she's being difficult.
In the Senate, she hopes to bring attention to consumer rights and looking to achieve full label disclosure. Her condition also affects her attitude towards quality health care.
A typical day: Jane Swift says, "One of the things I like about my job is that there is never a typical day! Today, for example, started with a meeting of our cabinet where we discussed the need for additional area codes in MA and the nurse's strike in Worcester. Then I met with some airport officials regarding a meeting tomorrow night. At lunch time I met with the Black Ministers Alliance, the Governor and I just had a press conference announcing our appointment of Jeffrey Locke as Commissioner of DSS, and tonight I have a fundraiser. Then I'll drive to the Berkshires and start tomorrow at a Mayor's meeting in Chicopee. (This is why it is sometimes difficult to balance work and family!)"
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