I have Celiac Disease, It’s not something I can ignore or avoid. It’s something that will never go away. I will spend the rest of my life avoiding wheat/gluten. Eating different foods from everyone else. Having to pay more for my food than everyone else. I was diagnosed with CD just about a year and a half ago, and at first all I felt was anger and depression. I was already different enough, and life was already hard enough without throwing this wrench into my life. I tried to see the positive side of it, just after a week off gluten I began to feel better, and a lot of my symptoms started to go away. I had almost accepted it when I experienced my first ‘glutening’. I was out to eat with my family, at a Chinese Buffet (yes I know now it was stupid), and shortly after eating I got a massive headache, and then the stomach ache, and the other symptoms came quickly. I felt isolated and alone, my family could (and would) continue to eat out at restaurants, and I would not. (There are very VERY few places I trust to make me safe food, and they are all over an hour away) My family would continue to eat my favorite foods. And I would not. They could just pick up whatever they wanted and eat it. While I had to read labels and prepare my food separate (cooking everything myself). I hated it. The worst part of being gluten-free wasn’t the cost, or the taste, it was the feeling of being alone.
I couldn’t eat out anymore, I couldn’t do Church luncheons or ‘eatin meetings’ as I liked to call them. I couldn’t just travel places anymore without thinking about it, I had to make sure I could find food there, or bring it. Shoot, camp was the biggest eye opener with that one. I had to pack enough food for an entire week, and it all had to be able to be microwaved or eaten ‘as is’ in under half an hour. It was a royal pain in the butt. And I can’t even tell you how many people asked me why I was eating different food. Was I “on a diet or something?” It was just awful.
But then something happened that made me forget all of that, I met a little girl named Katie, Katie had just been diagnosed with CD less than a month before camp. I noticed that she ate different food from everyone else, and at first I didn’t think much of it, until I noticed she wasn’t eating wheat. And she stared at the other kids food, much like I did, with sadness and longing on her face. The kids all asked her why she ate different food too, I could see it hurt her as well. After that I stopped eating by myself in the kitchen, and I started eating with Katie…I told her about how I had CD as well, we bonded over it, I even shared some of my awesome snacks with her…
After that I realized that I was looking at CD in the wrong light, I shouldn’t hate it as much as I did, I wouldn’t ever love it, but it had given me an incite into the lives of kids with allergies, or any kind of difference. It made them easier to relate too. And for that I am grateful.
It’s not an easy life, It’s not an easy path, and it’s not over yet. I don’t think it’ll ever be over, at least not until I die….which I hope is awhile away.
And people everywhere are becoming more and more aware of CD all the time, even Subway is trying to do some GF stuff!! (Not that I’d ever feel safe eating there but still!)
Right now I seriously want to have a ‘gluten-sniffing’ dog like the one’s Ive been reading out online lately…That would be so cool!
And there are times when I’m at my weakest that I would give anything to be able to eat a McDonalds Double Cheeseburger or McNuggets again, but the thought eventually passes (with the help of some other yummy food or chocolate)
Because I feel better, I’m healthier, I’m happy. Going GF has done wonders for my life…and I’m happy I was diagnosed with CD, because I needed answers.