one year ago today, i got THE CALL from my doctor's office... the nurse, not the doctor, told me that i had Celiac Disease. she followed up with "stay off gluten" and then she hung up. that was it. i was just diagnosed with a auto immune disease and that's all the direction i had. thankfully, i was at home when i got the call because i just broke down and cried. alone in my apartment, i just cried. it's a very lonesome disease because you're the only one who can "see" the disease.
over the past year there have been many more tears and many more doctor's visits and procedures with the unfortunate result of me feeling physically feeling the same. mentally... i'm light years away from where i was. that's the real kicker about this disease, it doesn't just affect your digestion (in some folks, they don't even have any digestive disorders) it affects your whole body. 90% of the serotonin in your body is produced in your gut. so obviously, if it's not happy, you are not going to be happy... and i had no idea how unhappy i really was.
i eat a very restricted diet. besides gluten, i don't eat dairy, eggs, soy, tree nuts, peanuts & other legumes and other various foods here and there. i stay away from processed foods and can't tell you the last time i had fast food. so the most common question i get is what food i miss the most... but it's not food i miss.
i miss being able to eat anything i want, anytime i want to.
i miss looking over a menu at a restaurant and deciding what to eat, not looking over a menu to see if there is anything i can eat.
i miss not cooking 99% of the food i eat.
i miss my disease not being a topic of conversation whenever i eat with family and friends.
i miss not spending a fortune at the grocery store.
i miss not spending most of my time at the grocery store reading labels.
i miss not getting eye rolls when i ask questions at restaurants.
i miss not having to ask questions at restaurants.
i miss not having to worry about food and carry my own food when i travel.
i miss not having to think about every single bite i take out of every single meal, every single day.
...but i do not miss not knowing what was wrong with me.
thankfully, in the past year i've found some pretty kick ass people (through books and blogs) in the Celiac community who have helped me more than a doctor ever could. people i've never even met but i'm forever indebted to them. we are the 1% who have this disease. a disease that has an obnoxious bias thanks to those who eat gluten free because it's the latest fad diet. well, to us it's not a fad or a diet. it's our life. a life controlled by food, but the disease does not control us. all those things i miss in my pre-Celiac life and trivial and insignificant to what i have gained in my new post-Celiac life.
i'm glad i'm eating more healthy now.
i'm glad i know exactly what is going into my body by reading labels and cooking 99% of my food.
i'm eager and happy to educate those who are ignorant about the disease. (maybe too eager sometimes...)
i like discovering and trying new foods i would have never eaten before.
i like being pleasantly surprised when i find something unexpected that i can eat at a restaurant.
i'm thankful i live in a city with gluten free options at many restaurants and grocery stores (we even have a dedicated gluten free restaurant... everything on the menu is gluten free!)
i'm thankful i have a great job so i can afford the extra costs of living gluten free.
i'm thankful that my family and friends are considerate and compassionate and who go above and beyond for me.
like with most diseases, every day is a struggle. you get frustrated and you have victories, however small they may be. you have good days and you have bad days... then worse days. but like i told myself on the Inca Trial - you just have to put one foot in front of the other and move forward... because going back is not an option.
so happy 1st celiaciversary to me... there will be no cake, as it's Thursday and i am off to pick up my weekly CSA veggie box. i think tonight calls for some local roasted squash smothered in my homemade tomato sauce from fresh local tomatoes ...and for dessert, blueberries.