Sometimes it’s hard for a celiac to feel thankful.
I get emails…every day…from fellow celiacs who I know aren’t feeling very thankful.
They’re angry. They’re resentful. They just want their life back the way it was.
I get it. I’ve been there. We’ve all been there.
And as I continue to struggle with my health, it’s so easy to say “What the hell do I have to be thankful for?”
But my gosh…where do I even start?
My family, my friends, my business, my home.
My convertible on hot summer days and my hot tub on cold winter nights (yes…I can be as shallow as the next person).
But you know what I’m really thankful for? YOU.
I feel as though I now have an extended family that has brought so much to my life. The above song, in all its 70’s cheesy glory, is for all of you.
And a special thank you to Irish Heart. She has brought passion, knowledge and humor to our community.
On top of that, she has also written today’s wonderful guest post.
Irish…take it away.
A Celiac Gives Thanks for Time and Patience and Good Friends
I’ve been thinking about all the comments fellow celiacs make about “how to deal” with this thing we share (on here, on c.com, in personal conversations and emails and in blog articles) and I have come to the conclusion that the most difficult part after diagnosis is not really the food or the inconvenience or even the lack of awareness about this disease.
It is the healing process. It’s the mother of all exercises in patience.
It is so damn slow sometimes and it is not always a straight line and we all (understandably) become frustrated and discouraged. Believe me, I get it. I’ve cried enough tears to float the Queen Mary.
I have been at this “healing” for 2 years. Trying to reverse a lifetime of malabsorption and what it does to the bones, muscles, joints, brain, the other organs, the spirit….well, it takes time.
This is what my doctor tells me: Every year is a healing year.
He’s right. The first year was fraught with anxiety, pain, and major frustration. Every night, I tearfully asked my sweet hubs: “But when will I feel better? When will the pain stop? ” And every night, he kissed my feverish forehead and said “Soon, babe”. I had not slept well for 3 years because of the intense pain in my bones, joints, tissues, muscles, nerves. Sitting and lying down was painful for me; every spot where my body pressed against the mattress burned and throbbed….even my cheek against the pillow. It was hell, to say the least.
And it did not resolve magically just because I went GF.
Every morning, I told myself, okay, just stay the course….this is one day closer to “Soon”.
The second year, I started to reclaim my life and I have done more –physically– than I could for 4 years. Simple things we all take for granted: reaching for something on a high shelf, opening a jar, cooking, walking down to the mailbox, climbing stairs, carrying grocery bags, swimming, dancing, traveling, going to a ball game, stacking wood and driving my car.
My brain works almost as sharply as it once did. No more brain fog, ataxia, blurred vision, vertigo, or memory problems. (what was I saying? oh yes)….improved memory. ;)
And no more anxiety or fear.
Every day is a healing day. I am not the sick, dying woman I was 2 years ago.
Am I “there yet”? No, but I am not in hell anymore either.
I tell you all this so you can understand that I have had to exercise enormous patience because really–what choice do I have? What choice do any of us have? It is what it is. This is how the disease is put into remission.
Just take one day at a time. Eat well. Drink a lot of water. Dehydration wreaks havoc. Play. LAUGH. Spend time with someone you like. Talk to someone everyday, anyone–even if it’s just Fred, the UPS guy —or an email buddy. Don’t isolate.
Exercise, if you have the stamina for it, but just keep moving.
IT GETS BETTER, I promise you.
Never, ever give up. A diagnosis of celiac is not the end of your life, it’s the path to healing –and getting your life back.
This Thanksgiving, which is also my birthday (and boy, am I glad I am alive to celebrate it!)…
I give thanks for time and patience.
I give thanks for a rock of a husband who never once stopped believing that I would find an answer to what was killing me and who has always believed he would ” get his wife back”. He is my strength and my heartbeat. There is no finer man.
I give thanks for my family and my true friends who stood by me when the really bad shit hit the fan. It’s true that “adversity reveals true character” and their loyalty and love sustained me.
I give thanks for my celiac-savvy GI doc (Dr. G) who takes good care of me now. I saw dozens of doctors before my DX and he is the only one who talks with me, not at me. He likes that I bring him articles to read and he is not arrogant or condescending. He treats me with respect and kindness. And I am glad he is young, because I am NOT breaking a new one in. :)
I give thanks that I have a roof over my head, clothes on my back, and food in my fridge.
I give thanks for my new friends who walk this path with me: all those in the celiac community who have given so graciously to help others who are afflicted with this disease.
I give thanks to The Gluten Dude (I love ya, kiddo) and all the talented bloggers who share their humor, suggestions, recipes and cyber-friendship with the rest of us. And the good people of celiac.com who are now my friends—you know who you are—for your help, your humor and your very presence in my life.
And I give thanks for my angel of a friend, Sherry Lynn Birch and her husband Howie, and their children who run the totally gluten free restaurant and bakery Sherry Lynn’s Gluten Free in Latham, NY. This amazing family has devoted their lives to helping others and their safe haven is where I have been able to eat, heal, laugh and feel comforted by other celiacs who hugged me and told me “It gets better, I promise you.” And it is where I, in turn, do the same for any newbies that I meet.
“The strongest of all warriors are these two: time and patience.”
This warrior princess sees the light at the end of the tunnel (and it’s not necessarily an oncoming train). :)
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone—and many blessings to you all!
My Irish Heart is full.
Thank you Irish and happy birthday!!
Now I ask you folks…what are you thankful for today?