The below Dear Abby letter is my take on someone who has just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease and doesn’t understand that the gluten-free diet is not a death sentence. I personally think that the gluten-free diet is a blessing of sorts…
I have spent the last few months visiting several doctors trying to figure out what is wrong with me. I’ve experienced everything from extreme irritability (causing several fights with my husband), to running to the bathroom over ten times a day! The state of my health was really starting to affect other aspects of my life.
I couldn’t sit through a movie without having to rush to the bathroom in the middle. I stopped working out at the gym because I couldn’t make it through a workout without getting sick. I even stopped doing things with my girlfriends because I was just SO tired. I didn’t want to be anywhere but my couch.
The past few weeks have been crazy. After trying several different things in efforts to figure out what was wrong with me, my primary care physician referred me to aGastroenterologist. I didn’t even know that word existed before then. I had an appointment with the doctor, explained my symptoms, and he seemed to ask me all of these questions…it was like he already knew what my answers would be. He ordered some blood tests, as well as an endoscopy (a camera down my esophagus), and said we should have some answers after we got those results back.
I’m going to be honest, I was scared. On one hand, it was comforting to know I might be heading towards a diagnosis, but on the other hand, I almost didn’t want to know what was wrong with me. Could it be cancer? Am I going to have to go on medication for the rest of my life? What was in store for me after these results came back?
So, after one last procedure, and one last blood test, my results were in. I met with my doctor, making my husband come along for moral support (just in case I found out I had some terminal disease and would only have six months to live). And then he said it…
You have Celiac Disease. It’s an digestive condition in which the body does not react well to gluten. You haven’t been absorbing foods properly, which is why you have experienced undesirable symptoms such as extreme fatigue, chronic diarrhea, and irritability.
I was like, What? So I do have a disease? Oh my gosh, how long do I have doc?! Six months?…A year?! Just give it to me straight.
The treatment for Celiac Disease is a gluten-free diet. After you eliminate gluten from your diet, your intestines will begin to heal themselves, and you will become healthy again.
So basically, Abby, I can’t eat gluten anymore. What am I going to do? I love bread. My family always goes out to eat, and I’m the first one to hog the bread basket. And don’t even get me started about pasta! What am I going to do?! I need your advice.
– Glutton for Gluten
Dear Bread Obsessed Diva,
Get over it. Do you realize how much worse life could be? You were lucky enough to have a disease that is treatable, without the need for medication or a life-threatening surgery.
So what if you can’t eat anymore bread? Remember how you complained about all those symptoms? Well, you won’t have those anymore.
Life isn’t that bad, and I’m sure you will get used to this gluten-free diet. Just remember, you’re not on your death-bed with some horrible condition, and there are millions of people out there that would much rather be in your situation.
If someone had really written this letter to Abby, what do you think she would say back to it? Did you ever feel the same way as the Bread Obsessed Diva? Or, were you happy when you realized a gluten-free diet would help to solve your health problems?
Author Information: Laura HanleyLaura Hanley, known as G-Free Laura, has been gluten-free since 2009. She reviews gluten-free products, restaurants, posts simple recipes, and writes about gluten-free experiences onwww.gfreelaura.com. Laura also blogs for the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness and Rudi’s Gluten-Free Bakery. You can follow Laura’s young, wild, and [gluten] free updates by finding her on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Google+.