This is Nicole’s Gluten-Free Love Story…
I was seriously ill when I met the love of my life. I was not looking to date or get involved in a relationship. I was so sick…I was barely leaving the house. As far as my health was concerned, I was at rock bottom. The previous 8 years were an ongoing battle with test after test to determine what was wrong with me. Medications and regular doctor visits. I was diagnosed with a myriad of problems, that my doctor liked to call “complex.” Malabsorption, peripheral neuropathy, Raynaud’s Syndrome, insomnia, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue…just a spattering of all the terms thrown at me.
I had my gallbladder removed but that only solved a small percentage of my issues. While my doctor was not ready to give up – Multiple Sclerosis was something he thought I had – I was. So many tests, so many different medications…I couldn’t take it anymore. Food was my enemy, and yet not one doctor told me to change my diet. I had been tested for just about everything at this point…including Celiac…and everything came up negative.
I figured I had two choices: eat and be in a world of pain, living in the bathroom, or don’t eat. I chose not to eat so I could live some kind of life. Later I learned this was why my tests for Celiac came back negative. But once I quit all the medications and doctor visits, I decided to just eat. I was working from home and had my two dogs for company. I had friends via the internet, so who needed a real-time social life? This was my life now.. being sick.
So there I was…fairly content having accepted my lot of being a really sick person. And in walks my future husband. I was living in a super old house, finances were tight and the electricity shorted out right before Christmas. Great. Can’t afford an electrician. I asked around and a friend of a friend knew a retired electrician who would look at it for free. The moment I opened the door – expecting the “retired electrician” to be in his 60s – my heart flipped. A very cute electrician, my age, was standing there. I knew I looked like crap…you can’t be as sick as I was and look good.
He came in and went to the cellar to look at the main panel. While he was down there I tried to make myself more presentable, all the while my heart was racing. After some time, and me thinking the problem must be tragic for him to be taking so long, he came back upstairs to give me the bad news. I couldn’t afford to get it fixed…but he didn’t leave. Even after my dog peed on him. We talked for hours. He came back the next day and did what he could to the main panel to make it more safe, and stuck around for a few more hours.
That day as I watched him walk back down the front walk, I thought “there goes my husband.” Not sure I believed in love at first sight before this.
Within the first two weeks of meeting, we were already talking about getting married. But how do I do this? I was so sick and who wants a sick person? It was a rocky few months in the beginning because I had decided to end things, due to my health, to spare our hearts. He’s a persistent man and eventually, he learned all about my health. Instead of running, he was determined to find out what was wrong with me. This ignited a new determination in myself. You know your man is a keeper when, in the first six months of being together, he accompanies you to your colonoscopy/endoscopy after being with you during the prep.
Because of Frank, I got the answer to ALL my health problems. Immediately we – because he has made the drastic switch with me – completely overhauled our diets and lifestyle. I already didn’t eat meat, but over a course of a few months I gave up dairy, gluten, soy and refined sugar, as well as processed foods. We’re also non-gmo advocates. Over the next year, I got myself back. For the first time in about a decade, I was “normal.” And the bonus was, Frank’s few health ailments all went away, too.
A few years later and he has been and is my biggest advocate and supporter. Though I knew what Celiac was, he never heard of it. But he has learned everything with me. He is my second set of eyes, he is my strength when I’m tired of asking the gluten questions. He speaks up when I can’t form another word about gluten. He educates others when all I want to do is roll my eyes and walk away. He stood up to his own family when they, more or less, referred to me as being dramatic and exaggerated. He is my light in the darkness. He saved my life. His love healed me inside and out.
Because of him I am living again. He is my hero.