One Year!

Well, it looks like I missed the anniversary. I knew it was February 2014 that I was diagnosed, and according to my bio it was Feb 7. Over a year ago now. And what a year it has been.

I am so proud of everything me and my family were able to overcome in the past year. The first few months after being diagnosed was tough. It was a huge learning curve and a major shock to my food-loving, restaurant-based-social-life living. My husband and I fought. I stopped wanting to go out. I was moody, and depressed and still not feeling well. I was frustrated. And then, then I found out I was pregnant. Then things really changed. I kept reading awful stories about celiac disease and infertility and miscarriage. I was very glad to have been diagnosed when I was. Although I didn’t feel healthy enough to be growing a human inside my body, I was glad to be on top of it and working on getting healthy. I was still afraid of miscarriage, but knew chances were better now that I was on a gluten free diet.

It was hard to tell, once April and a new set of hormones and symptoms hit, whether symptoms were celiac related or pregnancy related. On the positive side of things, I wasn’t ready to tell my co-workers I was pregnant so I kept blaming celiac disease and the months of illness I’d been struggling with. Can’t make it to work. Celiac disease. Just not feeling well. Celiac disease. Tired and nauseous. Celiac disease. 😉

My precious baby boy was born on December 21. His due date. Right on time. I’ve been curious how I would feel once I wasn’t pregnant anymore. What was pregnancy and what was celiac disease? How am I feeling after a whole year gluten free?

Well, besides the extreme fatigue that comes with a newborn, I’m feeling great. I don’t think I could have survived the newborn days the way I used to feel. I haven’t had a cold or flu since going gluten free. I’m surviving the lack of sleep when in the past I would be a mess.

I am proud of the way my husband and myself have adapted to the gluten free lifestyle. At home it is easy. It is second nature. I can read a label and know if its gluten free in no time (ok, thats a bit cocky, I still have to look ingredients up once in a while). We eat delicious healthy homemade meals, and even in these crazy busy newborn days we have continued to eat well. That’s another positive of celiac disease. It makes it easier to stay healthy because there is no choice but to cook for yourself. I’m sure it would be a lot easier to get take out and fast food but instead we’re surviving on the slow cooker meals I made before he was born and other quick meal ideas I’ve put together over the year.

My husband didn’t “get it” at first. Didn’t understand why I was taking the diet and cross contamination so seriously. Didn’t understand what a huge change it was for me, for my lifestyle. That’s another positive to getting pregnant when I did. Something about me carrying his child, and the consumption of gluten possibly putting that child at risk, made him join me in taking things so seriously. When we were on vacation in the East Coast of Canada he stopped and out of nowhere said, “I’ll go gluten free when we get home. The house can be gluten free.” While the house hasn’t stayed completely gluten free, it is most of the time. He still brings in take out and treats once in a while, and he is about to make macaroni and cheese as I type this, but in general he eats what I eat. (Or I nag him to clean carefully, wash his hands, and don’t kiss me with that gluten-face!)

But honestly, I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Over the year I’ve found new favourite things and some really good gluten free replacements for old favourites. I can still fulfill my cravings with gluten free cupcakes, muffins, cookies and brownies, whether from the local gluten free bakery or from easy mixes I’ve found. I ate more than my fair share of potato chips throughout my pregnancy. And I can still find french fries once in a while too.

The biggest change that came with my new celiac life is definitely eating out. Although the anxiety is getting less, especially when I go back to places that have done well in the past, I still get nervous any time I am eating something I didn’t make myself. There have been gatherings I couldn’t eat at, and restaurants I don’t feel safe at. My friends and family are all courteous enough to let me choose the restaurants I know are safe, but every once in a while I want to try something new. Thanks to social media there is always someone that can share ideas and tips of where to go and what to eat, yet I always feel nervous the first time.

I’ve also become very good at planning ahead. I pack more food than clothes now when I go on vacation. Actually, I don’t leave the house without some type of snack on me. I don’t want to be stuck somewhere where I can’t find something safe to eat.

Overall the year had a few more downs than ups, but I’m very happy with how things have progressed, how much I’ve learned and how easy the gluten free life feels now. And most of all, I’m glad to have an answer. A solution. And although it was a learning curve to get through, a gluten free life doesn’t sound like such a bad solution to a lifelong disease.

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