I always knew there was a remote (apparently not so remote) possibility that I had celiac disease. By following a gluten-free diet for my GI issues for the past three years, I figured I was following all the important precautions, and if I did happen to be celiac I was fine either way. Sure, a crumb slipped here or there, or I’d bite into my son’s mac n cheese noodle to see if it was done cooking and then spit it out. Sometimes I used vanilla extract without knowing 100% if it was gluten-free. I really didn’t think these little things mattered. I assumed that I had gluten-intolerance and not full-blown celiac disease, and so no need to be crazy with my anti-gluten lifestyle.
Now, thanks to my recent diagnosis, I know that those little things added up and were messing up my body and making me sick. And people, this gluten stuff is crazy. It’s EVERYWHERE and spreads like WILDFIRE.
Let me share a few of the crazy things going on around here right now:
- I can no longer use plastic containers for mixing, cooking, serving, or storage if they have previously had gluten in them. (They scratch and hold gluten.)
- I can no longer use plastic kitchen utensils if they have previously touched gluten. (They also scratch and hold gluten.)
- I can no longer use non-stick pans if they have touched gluten. (Same deal. Scratches and hold gluten.)
- I can no longer use our colander because gluten gets stuck in the holes, and I am supposed to go buy a new one exclusively for me.
- If I touch my child’s gluten-filled waffle in the morning, I have to immediately wash my hands so I don’t cross-contaminate my own food or by chance put my fingers in my mouth.
- I have to have my own dedicated toaster that doesn’t have any gluten items in it.
- We have to buy a new cutting board (so sad, I LOVE our fancy wooden cutting board!) and new wooden mixing spoons.
- I have to make sure my shampoo is gluten-free or else pay special attention to never open my mouth in the shower while washing my hair.
- I have to make sure my lotion is gluten-free so I don’t accidentally transfer it to my mouth.
- I have to check all my medications and make sure they are not made with any gluten products.
- The stickers on produce tend to have gluten in them. I have to try to select produce with no stickers or take a risk and scrub the produce before eating.
- I can no longer lick envelopes. The glue often has gluten in it.
Everything I put in my mouth is a possible attack on my body, and I have to scrutinize and consider every possible source of gluten on the thing about to touch my lips.
It’s insane, people. Insane.
I can’t lie. I had a slight adult pity party tantrum last night. Like kinda lost it and sobbed to Dave. “I have this chronic autoimmune disease, I’m going to have it for the rest of my life, and I know I was already eating gluten-free but I am NOT ok with this, and now I feel like I can never eat at a friend’s house or a restaurant again because I might get sick, and I can’t take chances because it is a health risk, and previously it was kind of like oh, I shouldn’t eat gluten because it doesn’t make me feel good, but now I CAN’T eat gluten and it’s for FOREVER and our kids are at risk and I’m paranoid even in our own kitchen and I’m at risk for all these other autoimmune diseases and THIS SUCKS!!!”
Yeah, that was me last night. Tears pouring, nose clogged up, a pity party mess. I think I just needed a moment. A moment to let out all my insecurities and grieve. I never thought that if I was diagnosed that I would need to grieve. I didn’t think it’d affect me that much. But I was wrong. The diagnosis has been an emotional blow.
Honestly, since being way more careful about cross-contamination the last few days (although I still use a lot of cross-contaminated kitchen items because I haven’t bought new ones yet), I feel SO MUCH BETTER. Not 100%. Still a little nausea here or there, maybe a slight amount of bloating. Still in the bathroom more than normal. But SO MUCH BETTER. I’m starting to think that all of my issues over the last several months haven’t been another food issue, as I was concerned about, but rather just cross-contamination of gluten. And I’m so glad and relieved to have the pain dissipating and to know that I probably have an answer to all my recent issues.
Last night Dave said he’s just relieved to finally know what’s wrong with me. And I know he’s totally right. It’s a relief and a blessing to finally know.