I went to a birthday party today. When I left the house I felt good about the gluten free snacks in my purse. I was prepared and was patting myself on the back. Then I arrived at the party and spent the next 2 hours watching people eat everything I was not allowed but still craved. By the time the party was over, I was feeling very sorry for myself. I tried not to show it, because I never did appreciate people who wear their heart on their sleeve. I have 2 young boys at home and I want them to learn that whining is useless. I am trying to teach by example that we must deal with what life sends our way.
Now that I have moralized, I admit between you and I to sometimes still feeling sorry for myself even to this day. Darn it all! When my defenses are down I resent that I have managed to develop a disease that makes eating huge groups of food impossible. It reminds me of when I was first diagnosed.
I try to be a ‘real trooper’ when the going gets tough. When I was diagnosed with Celiac disease, the doctor breezily said that all I had to do was follow a gluten-free diet. I remember thinking to myself, “This is great! I finally know why I have been getting sicker and sicker.” Then he handed me a list of foods I am not allowed to eat. Everything I loved was on it. Right then and there I started feeling sorry for myself. Those feelings led to lots of whining and a rush of questions. It’s not fair! What am I going to do about cooking for the family? How will I ever have any fun at a party? How am I going to afford special health food products? Was I going to be seen as a sick person all my life? Will this affect my health insurance rates?
I sunk lower and lower until one day my youngest son asked me if I was sick. As a protective mother I instantly responded, “No, Mommy is not sick.” At that moment, the proverbial light came on and I shook myself out of the doldrums. I realized I could let this disease ruin my life, but it wouldn’t be the disease if that happened. It would be my attitude that would affect my life the most.
I think every person who must live learn to live a gluten free life should think about his or her attitude towards the disease. Most people have some kind of health issue they must address and it often requires expensive drugs to control. In our case, a gluten free diet is the key to control. I don’t know about you, but watching what I eat seems like a pretty easy alternative to power drugs or surgery. I say to you (and to myself): stop feeling sorry for yourself. Learn the facts about controlling your disease. Get on with the business of living.
Here are a few facts that I learned when I started taking the initiative to manage my health.
- 1 out of every 132 people in the United States has Celiac disease so we’re not alone by any means.
- Gluten is not to blame every time you don’t feel well. We’re still human and will catch the flu and colds and who knows what else.
- Always tell your friends or traveling companions you are a Celiac so they don’t continue to offer you foods you can’t eat.
- Always tell you doctor any symptoms you experience between visits. There is still a lot the medical field doesn’t know about managing Celiac Disease.
- Join a local Celiac support group or online, you can check out the Gluten Free Club (https://glutenfreeclub.wpengine.com) that I started. Having other people around you who are going through the same things can help a lot.
These are just a few tips I wanted to share. I will keep a positive attitude if you will!