Friday, May 31, 2013

And the diagnosis is...

After four months of constant bloating and belching I've been officially diagnosed with Celiac disease.  This nasty sounding ailment means gluten does damage to my colon which is causing the bloating and also has other long range effects if not treated. 
The only treatment is removing wheat, barley and rye from my diet.  Yeah.  That sounds easy until you walk into your pantry.  There were only four items in mine that I could still eat.  Four!  The refrigerator wasn't much better.  There are tons of Celiac websites to help those afflicted with this malady.  Tons of recipes.  Links to sites, restaurants, and manufacturers so that I can know what items have gluten in it.  All great stuff and I'm extremely grateful. 
But while my family and friends are very nice to help me look on the bright side, and it is very nice of them, don't let anyone fool you.  This is not easy, not even close, it is heck!  First the mental aspect of living with the fact there are favorite foods of yours that you will never eat again - ever - is a real head trip!  Once you get past that you, or your spouse (sorry dear), has to get down to figuring out the meal plan.  Cooking gluten free can be done but it boils down to cooking from scratch to avoid items with gluten or buying expensive grocery items to help the process along.  Ugh.  Luckily I'm a meat eater because most, but not all, meat is ready to eat.  That helps for when I go to restaurants.  That alone can be tough.  I've been to places where 99% of the menu is off limits.  Sure glad they had mashed potatoes...  No fried foods, no breads, no this, no that.  It is maddening.  You would not believe the many different types of food which I cannot digest.  Good news is there is gluten free beer...
This isn't on woe is me post.  It is a fact of life and I'll deal with it.  It just isn't easy at age 44 to completely retool your diet while saying goodbye to some of your favorite foods.  I will get through this though.  First and foremost I'm glad it wasn't more serious.  The docs had a whole list of things I could have been suffering from and some were much worse than this.  Thank you God.  It is also good to know what I'm dealing with.  After months of having no idea I can at least attack this head on now.  Will I cheat?  I'm sure at some point I will but thanks to the long term possible ramifications those times will be kept to a minimum.  But it will happen... 
I must also think of my family.  I want to be around a long time to harass them and my grand babies of the future.  My daughter has been suffering stomach ailments for years but has put off definitive testing for fear of what might be found.  This may be exactly what she is dealing with and I have stepped up the fight to get her to testing.  She is starting college and doesn't want to deal with something like this but as an adult she needs answers and can then make informed decisions on how she wants to proceed. 
Bottom line is I now know what I need to do.  I'll do that and get the healing process started.  And things will get better, physically and mentally. 

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