Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Yes!! One Month Already!


Today, I have hit a milestone in my road to healing and better health. It's already been one month that I have been completely gluten-free!  Part of me feels that it went by quite quickly…then, when I reflect back to the times that it felt like such a struggle to feel normal, or like everyone else when it comes down to meals, snacks or grocery shopping, it seems like time has crawled by incredibly slowly.  I have had times that I feel like I am doing a pretty darn good job with adjusting to this whole, "I have celiac disease, I absolutely can NOT have any gluten, not even a crumb, so please keep it away from me or I will be very sick…I will wash my hands obsessively, cook with my own "special" pans and utensils and sometimes when out to eat with others, will sit and watch the rest of you eat, thing that I will call my new life."  

I am really trying my very best to stay positive about this, as much as I possibly can.  The last month has definitely brought many changes in not only my diet but, the way I must live now.  I will admit that I have had many times that I just break down and cry.  I have never in my entire life wanted to draw attention to myself.  I have always been the one who would rather go through my life somewhat unnoticed.  I have found it rather challenging to remain that way with the celiac diagnosis.  With diabetes, I have been very good about keeping it to myself and most outsiders would never even know that I have it.  Of course, every so often, I get those remarks from others, suggesting that I shouldn't eat something because I have diabetes.  Thanks for your concern but, after almost 12 years, I'm pretty certain that I know what I can and can't eat and how it will affect me.  I must be doing something right because every time I see my endocrinologist, he tells me I am doing great and to keep doing things just the way that I am.  With celiac disease, I almost have no other choice than bring attention to myself.  It may be what I am struggling with the most, in fact.  I always am asking if something is gluten-free or questioning if it is processed in a wheat free facility.  In restaurants, sometimes the gluten-free menu isn't enough.  Especially with so many people that are just going gluten-free by their own choice.  In their case, it makes no difference if their food is prepared on the same surface as a gluten containing food.  For me, it could be the difference of a great meal shared with friends or family or going home and curling up in a ball as I hold my breath through the pains in my stomach. I feel that I am constantly researching where and what I can eat.  It would be simple if it were only me. But, its not.  I still need to make sure that the ones I love are eating what they like and where they'd like.  I HATE that every meal now, turns to what I can eat.  I want more than anything else, to feel normal like the rest of you. No focus directed at me. No paranoia about if it is safe. This may be one of the tougher challenges that I have had in my life. As an outsider, I am sure it is very easy to look at it and think….what a simple fix.  Avoid gluten and you are better.  Honestly, before I was diagnosed, I may have thought the very same thing myself. 

I saw the dietitian and she gave me some useful information. Shared some resources, brands and restaurants that were good choices for me.  She also told me that I need to get rid of my flour. My gluten filled flour.  The flour that I had used hundreds of times, feeding my soul, as I spent hours baking in my kitchen.  Sometimes almost daily.  The flour that I would spread out in the counter before my daughter and I would roll out our sugar cookie dough to make our special Christmas cookies. I am not sure how many of you know that one of my passions is…. baking.  It always made me so happy to bake some fresh, warm cookies to share with the ones I love.  I was sitting there in the dietitian's office and when I heard those words, my eyes began to tear.  Yes…it's true.  That was almost 2 weeks ago and my flour still sits in the canister on my counter.  I walk by it numerous times each day.  I haven't been able to bring myself to throw it out.  To many of you, that must sound so silly and ridiculous.  Maybe so.  To me, until I learn how to bake with new flour combinations, which may indeed, never produce that same baked goods I once baked, it is like closing a door to my passion of baking.  Yep….a year ago, I never would have guessed that I would be mourning my flour!!!  This too, shall pass.

Chris and I had quite the adventure last weekend.  Sunday night, I thought making a gluten-free pizza would be an easy dinner for us. Ha….that proved wrong.  We went to Meijer and got all of the fresh fixings for our pizza.  I went to grab the gluten-free pizza dough to find out that they didn't have it!  A great laid plan gone wrong.  What is a pizza without the foundation of the crust?!  It was late, I was hungry because I didn't have lunch. I had Frito's at Subway while Chris was lucky enough to eat a sandwich.  So, by 8 o'clock, I was needing to eat dinner! I told Chris that we could just forget it and he could have a regular pizza and I would resort to some Chex cereal.  He was not on board with that plan.  He insisted that we find the dough for the crust.  After stopping at two other grocery stores, we found it!  Thank goodness!  Who knew that a simple pizza could send us on a Sunday evening scavenger hunt?! I was so hungry that just about anything would have tasted good by that point but, I was impressed with how it turned out. Chris even liked it!  

Here is a peek at our pizza….It is obvious that the kids weren't around. Look at the veggies!! 
Each week, I have to remind myself that this is a process, just like anything else.  My stomach feels better than I can remember it feeling in a very long time.  I have only had a few headaches. My brain fog seems to be less and less. It's the fatigue that continues to frustrate me.  In fact, I am growing a bit inpatient as I am a month into this and still feeling a total lack of energy.  I had really high hopes that within a couple of weeks, I would be re-energized! I actually catch myself daydreaming about running again!  Running and fitness happen to be another passion of mine and it is something that I have been missing like you can't even believe.  I have a goal for myself to gradually get myself back into it within the next week. Baby steps, my friends.  

I know that everyday may not be a great day but, each day will hold something great.  Sometimes we just need to look a little deeper to find it.  Hope is something that I must hold onto with each day. I decided to look up the exact definition of the word, hope.  This is what I found...

Hope:  a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.

Yes!  I have hope and will continue to have it as I continue on this journey back to wellness and getting back to the girl that I once was and can be again.  Without hope, I have nothing.  

I was looking through some old photos and reminding myself of all that I have done and can achieve.  I thought that this one really shows what my life has been for the last year or so…. an uphill climb.  Just as in the picture, I didn't quit.  I climbed and conquered.  
I hope that you have a wonderful week.  My wish for you is that you, too, have hope in whatever you may be dealing with in your life.  I know that not all of us like being vulnerable and sharing with others what we may be going through in our lives.  Believe it or not, I am actually often one of those people myself.  I love writing and it is like therapy for my soul to share real life stuff.  I know that it requires me to put myself out there at times and allow my friends and family a look at what may be really going on in my life.  I try to make my blog as positive as possible.  That is why I always try my best to find the silver lining in things.  Life is, most definitely, not easy.  It is about the journey, rather than destination. It is often easier dealing with things when you share with others and you know they understand and support you.  Sometimes you may find that the other person is dealing with something similar or you may be able to help by supporting them in something completely unrelated.  We are all human and no matter how perfect we may try to portray our lives to be to the outside world, we are actually all quite alike in some ways.  Everyone can use an open ear, advice, a hug or just knowing that someone has got their back. No matter how tough someone may try to be, everyone wants to be loved and needs to be loved and cared about. It is human nature.  I don't care who you are or how you want to argue that, I think I am pretty accurate in that statement.  I think my brain fog has most definitely improved because I seem to be back to writing posts that are as long as a novel!!

Have a fabulous week!!  

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