I was talking to my father-in-law the other day, and he said that when people tell you two things, it’s always the second thing that is more important or carries more weight. Well, I have good news and bad news to share, but with this in mind, I’ll start with the bad news because the good news here carries a lot of weight.
The bad news is that my doctor confirmed to me yesterday that I have Celiac Disease. Basically, that means I have to stay away from gluten (wheat, rye, barley and some oats) for the rest of my life.
It’s going to be a huge lifestyle change for me and my family. I will have to change a lot of the things I do and make in my own kitchen since there’s a fair amount of concern with cross-contamination from flour dust that gets everywhere when you cook with it or from crumbs that end up in your toaster or on the cutting board when you use regular bread. I will have to be very careful about eating things while I am out (at church functions, at family parties, restaurants, friends’ houses, etc.). And I’ll probably be spending a lot more time cleaning my kitchen (blah). And there are plenty of my go-to comfort foods that I’m super sad about not being able to eat anymore.
But you know what? It’s really not that bad of news because here’s the good news:
- I don’t have a brain tumor. (And I have the MRI to prove it.)
- I don’t have Chrone’s Disease. (And I have the intestinal biopsy to prove it.)
- There are WAY worse things that could be wrong with me, and this is totally manageable.
- I don’t have to take any medicine to control the disease.
- There are tons of gluten-free options now, where years ago these wouldn’t have been available to me.
- I finally know why I have felt so horrible for so many months (and probably years).
- As soon as I get this under control, my ridiculous, debilitating migraines, extreme fatigue, and the joint/muscle pain similar to fibromyalgia symptoms will be a thing of the past!
- In trying to eat healthier to figure out what is wrong with me, I’ve inadvertently lost 15 pounds!
- Because I had only one pair of pants that even sort of fit me anymore, I got to buy a new wardrobe for myself!
- I have a really good excuse to buy a few (now) much-needed kitchen supplies, like my own dedicated toaster, a Blentec blender, and a new grain mill (dedicated to gluten-free grains).
This list of good news is much more important to me than the bad news. In fact, it’s such good news to me that it makes me want to put it first. Regardless, the good news is what I choose to focus on, and what I must focus on if I am going to be able to have a good attitude about not eating my favorite things for the rest of my life.
Finding out that I have celiac disease has certainly been a journey. And it’s definitely been scary at times. (That week where I wondered if I might have a brain tumor wasn’t exactly my favorite.) And I have been sad and angry and frustrated at times. But really, I am just so thankful that I have an answer for why I haven’t felt well, and now I can do something about it.
In fact, I already have. Even though I didn’t have a 100% celiac confirmation yet, I started eating gluten-free right after I had the biopsy, which was about 2 weeks ago, and I have felt so much better since then. It will still be a while before everything heals and I get the gluten totally out of my system, but I am so grateful to be heading in a healthful direction.
So, to celebrate this day of my good news, will you please savor that piece of whole wheat toast for me? Delight in that Saturday night pizza. Relish your chocolate covered chocolate donut. Enjoy every little thing you get to eat because whatever it is that we eat every day, we are all so blessed to be able to eat it.
— The Conscious Mom