Autoimmune, Celiac, Gluten

The Journey Begins

A celebration and reflection on my 1 year since diagnosis.

Today, I reflect and CELEBRATE!!! 1 year ago today, on August 28, 2018 driving home from a meeting, I received the call informing me of my recent bloodwork results, “…you have celiac disease.” When I arrived home just minutes after that call, I dropped my bag and broke down in Mike’s arms like a little girl. I was scared, no actually I was terrified, I was worried, anxious…all feelings that revolve around fear.

After I hugged Mike crying for several minues, we sat down and the diligent “Research Mike” went straight into action…

“Autoimmune” “it’s like a war inside your body” “your body attacks the small intestines” “malabsorption” “you must live your life completely removed from gluten” “gluten is hidden in a lot of foods” “watch out for cross contamination” “not even a crumb” “gluten is in items like soy sauce, salad dressings, paper straws??!!??! Lipstick??!!??!” WHAT!!??

A new world opened up, a new chapter in my life was starting. It was SCARY but one thing I will NEVER forget…my rock, my best friend and the love of my life said to me “babe, our home is your safe place. Our home must be completely gluten free to keep you safe. I will support you and love you no matter what.”

Now a year later, I recognize I have had my ups and downs. I have cried and cried and cried oh and cried more. I have been through therapy for generalized anxiety. Reached out to my awesome cousin in NY that has had celiac for years and years and has given me so much information that I am so grateful for! I have felt like we needed to take out a loan to make our home completely gluten free (had to replace our entire pantry including literally every single spice jar!!). Thanksgiving and Christmas were completely gluten free. I have grieved over my LOVE for Guinness (I’m still grieving that one!) A trip to a Yankee game with zero food I could eat in the stadium. I’ve gotten sick from nearly every restaurant I’ve tried this year. Went on a cross country trip to a small town in Indiana and then an even smaller town in Ohio where asking if something was gluten free made me look like Marty McFly in 1955 at the diner asking for a Pepsi Free.

I have become frustrated with the battle of others who think “I’m going gluten free because of the trend.” I have smiled and I have become more grateful and humbled by this diagnosis. I have seen a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel. It’s been lonely and confusing but despite the moments I have felt of rejection or uncaring humans, I have discovered how much I am loved and cared for. I have discovered it’s okay for me to have a pity party but then after I’ve had a good cry I need to wipe my tears, stand up tall and know that God has a beautiful path He has set out for me and I am grateful that He has brought me to the answers I had been questioning for 15+ years.

So some may think it’s ridiculous that I’m “celebrating” a diagnosis. Some may still think I’m living gluten free to stay skinny and be trendy. Some may think I’m being too cautious and can eat a little gluten here and there. Hell, who am I kidding, those people probably didn’t even finish reading this. But to those people who judge me and my decisions, this is my life to live to survive, feel better, be happy and enjoy life. Ask questions or research for yourself. But certainly do not judge me or others.

My sister has been one of my biggest support systems and I truthfully cannot put into words how much I love her and am grateful for her love and support. My parents have been so supportive making sure everything is safe for me to eat and no risk of cross contamination. Mason (my 3 year old) asking if watermelon is gluten free, Logan (my 6 year old) picking a gluten free restaurant for his birthday, my Mother-in-law stocking her kitchen with safe food for me when I’m over, all my family and friends making sure I’m safe when we eat together. My list goes on and on and will continue I’m sure, so much so that I am humbled and feel so grateful to be loved so much.

To all those that have been behind me, rooted for me, prayed for me, hugged me, asked how I’m doing, loved me, asked me about gluten, went out of their way to make safe food for me, I love you. I cannot thank you enough for your love and support.

Cheers to health, wellness, love and adventure.

“Never allow anyone to take away your sparkle. Be kind and laugh and love often.”

#celiacdisease #glutenfree #thisisme #blessed #grateful #loved

Cheers, Tracy

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