I was excited when I found out I had Celiac Disease. Having nothing would obviously be better, but in comparison to other conditions I have, Celiac Disease is a walk in the park. While I realize this may not be true for all people, it’s a disease that generally requires no expensive prescriptions (for me, no prescriptions at all), no surgery, no frequent doctor visits. In fact, once you know what’s wrong with you, you don’t even NEED health insurance to stay healthy with Celiac Disease. There are even other stomach conditions that do require surgery or medication or just provide no answers.
This doesn’t mean I don’t take it seriously. It’s very serious and I know symptoms can be much worse for other people. I know others have spent years and years battling various diagnoses and trying to figure out what was wrong with them to no avail. I know it’s not easy to have and not treating it can lead to serious complications and a life full of misery and pain. My story isn’t that dramatic so maybe that’s why I have the perspective I have. I do have dramatic stories but they involve my asthma, allergies, eczema and life threatening food allergies. Having all those issues and conditions contributes to my perspective on Celiac Disease. Unrelated to CD, I fill at least four or five prescriptions a month. The pharmacists know me by first and last name. I have been to the hospital more times than I can count due to my asthma, and in ICU a handful of times as well. I have nearly died from asthma. I need to be on multiple medications to treat it. I need to monitor it. I can’t treat it just by eating a certain way or taking supplements. While Celiac Disease sometimes makes me exhausted, confused, irritable and miserably sick with stomach issues, for the most part, staying gluten free eliminates these issues.
All that being said, here are a few things about Celiac Disease that really suck.
1) MANY searches that direct to my blog are about people who have had their boyfriend/husband/spouse END A RELATIONSHIP with them because of Celiac Disease. Either these people are completely unaware of other issues in their relationship, or they are dating/married to complete jerks. There are people out there who are serious drug addicts, who lie and cheat and steal from people they love, people who are verbally, sexually and physically abusive, people who are uninvolved and distant, burying their head in their work to avoid intimacy, people who are irresponsible and can’t manage their money or lives ….(and no…. I know nothing about people like this personally ). And then there are people who are ending a relationship with someone because the OTHER PERSON CAN’T EAT GLUTEN? Are you kidding me? Food allergies I could almost understand because what my boyfriend eats can actually kill me or cause a severe allergic reaction (and this has happened). My life has changed so minimally since being diagnosed with Celiac (and again, I realize that’s not the case for everyone). Basically, the only thing that has changed is I DON’T EAT GLUTEN. Yes, my boyfriend has had to make some adjustments and concessions but that is what you do when you love a person. I do most of the work. I research restaurants in advance. I read ingredients. I watch out for my own health. But, on the other side, I’m still active, I still enjoy going out with friends, I have a positive attitude about it. Why would someone end a relationship over this? If you aren’t sure how to handle your food allergies or Celiac Disease in relationships and dating, read my post about dating with food allergies and Celiac Disease.
2) The last time I went out to eat was December 4th for my boyfriend’s birthday. I got very sick and felt the effects for over a week. I haven’t been to a restaurant since. I’m not avoiding them intentionally but with the holidays and life, I haven’t had time. Not coincidentally, this is the best I’ve consistently felt since going gluten-free. I’m not going to stop eating at restaurants because I don’t like the idea of living in fear, or letting this run my life. I have decided to change the way I go out to eat though, which I’ll write about in another post.
3) Because I try to NOT over-identify with Celiac Disease or food allergies, or asthma and eczema, this blog is a bit of a struggle. I write here to share my experiences, and to hopefully help some people. But in doing this, it forces me to think about and identify with these conditions on a regular basis. This is why I haven’t been writing much lately. Sometimes, I just don’t want to think about it. Without this blog, I wouldn’t think about health issues nearly as often as I do. I enjoy reading about other people’s experiences, and it’s fantastic knowing there are other people out there going through the same things. But sometimes, I’d like to just live my regular life which is, for all intents and purposes, normal. My time is spent reading, going to the gym, cooking the same things I cooked before, planning, dreaming, thinking, writing. Somehow, I want to find a happy medium, between writing here and helping people and being known as “the girl with Celiac Disease.” It’s not how I view myself and it’s now how I want other people to view me.
In other news, I now have a Facebook page, so “Like” me over there to stay up-to-date on my blog.
Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all have a healthy, positive, inspiring 2013!