Saturday, 23 February 2013

Day One: Diagnosis

This morning, I woke up late and raced out the door to work without bothering to grab breakfast. So at coffee time, I bought a bagel to go with my tea.

Then, just before my lunch break, I got a phone call and raced to the bathroom to take it privately. It was my doctor, calling me back about my test results. I haven't been feeling well for quite some time, and I finally convinced a doctor to send me for some blood tests. She said everything came back perfectly normal, except that it clearly shows I have Celiac disease.

I have a friend who was diagnosed with celiac some time ago, and my mom was gluten-free for several months, so this isn't a new concept to me, it had just never once crossed my mind that I might have a problem with gluten. Standing there, in the tiny ladies bathroom at work, I felt like I had just been given a death sentence. I was never expecting this, I didn't know how to handle this, I ate a bagel this morning! It was rather overwhelming. She referred me to a dietitian, and told me to start a gluten-free diet immediately  and then I called my husband and told him the news.

Not long later, we met at home for lunch. I ate applesauce and a frozen yogurt bar, because my classics were all out the window. No tuna sandwich, no ichiban noodles, no udon stir-fry. Perogies, potato wedges, leftover spaghetti, and virtually everything else in our cupboards was suddenly, unexpectedly uneatable.

I went back to work hungry, upset, and in pain. Thanks to my unwitting gluten consumption of a bagel, I had my usual stabbing stomach pains, and they weren't helped by my stressing out about all the things this would mean. More expensive groceries, say goodbye to all my favorite foods, never eating out again, never eating packaged food. I know I was exaggerating, and I know I can do most of those things, I just have to substitute, or read ingredients very carefully. I know thousands of people eat gluten-free every day, whether they have an allergy, a sensitivity, a disease, or just like to diet. I know it's doable, I've seen it done. It's just scary and overwhelming.

After work, I was starving from such a light lunch, and craving pasta. Going out to buy gluten-free pasta, and then cooking it would take forever, so we went to Boston Pizza, and I had their gluten-free pasta. The texture was all weird and sad, but it filled me up and made me happy again.

I'm still freaking out a lot, but I know I can do this. Day one is over, I just have to make it through the rest of my life.

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