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?
56 thoughts on “A Celiac Gives Thanks”
Happy birthday, Irish, and happy Thanksgiving all! I know in this crazy challenging year, I have been exceedingly thankful for all of you who helped me get through it. You guys rock.
You are adorable and I told you, I just love your blog name…breaking up with Capt. Crunch…hahahaha! clever girl 🙂
I am thankful that I know what the heck is going on with me and can eat a safe Thanksgiving dinner. And, for other people – like Gluten Dude, the folk here, and my family – that GET it.
It’s so nice when people GET it, isn’t it?
Gluten Dude and Irish Heart,
I stumbled across this blog feeling alone and desperate.
I want to thank the both of you for making me realize that I can still live a fulfilled life, enjoy food again, and laugh about this disease.
I am thankful that I live exactly where I want, in paradise.
I am thankful for my friends, they are my family.
I am thankful for my 2 feral cats, that found me not long after my elderly cat died. 17 years with Noodles, now I have Chubs and Squirt.
I am thankful for my husband, (even though he is not gluten free.)
I am thankful for the love my mother bestowed upon me, I miss her.
Hau’oli La Ho’omaika’i
So great Aloha. Thank YOU!
I just love ya, Jules. 🙂
Happy Birthday, Irish Heart, and great post! Happy Thanksgiving to you both.
Thanks Julie…to you as well.
thank you, Julie and Happy Thanksgiving!!
Happy Birthday, Happy Thanksgiving. And thank you for this fabulous post. It brings me back to my pre-diagnosis days and reminds me that I am not alone in this journey.
Also – i am with you 100% on Sherry Lynns. I grew up in upstate NY and when we go visit family i like to make my husband take that minor side trip to Sherry Lynns. Her baked goods are a celiac’s dream!
I will share this with Sherry and Howie…and please tell me when you are this way–love to meet you!
Thank you both for this touching post …
Happy Birthday Irish
and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you that celebrate it this weekend ~ being in Canada – been there done that 😉
Cheers and hugs out to all of you.
hugs to you, Girl 😉
Irish Heart-Great guest blog, you should know that you have touched alot of people with your knowledge, spirit and kind heart.
I am thankful for:
1. My best friend, the love of my life and the reason i made it through the last year.
2. God (uh-oh, that should have gone first?).
5. My daughter (this definitely should have gone first!!).
6. Great red wine.
7. John Pinette.
8. My house is still intact after Hurricane Sandy.
9. Having a good job.
10. The future. Whatever it might be.
And of course you know i can’t post a comment without a quote, here you go…
“If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? —- Carpe — hear it? – Carpe, Carpe Diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.” – Dead Poets Society
“I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look at things in a different way.”
Happy Holidays Jersey.
Oh…and I would have put Red Wine first 🙂
oh baby, I am all about seizing the day.
I am all about sucking the life out of every damn moment!!.
Right now, I am sitting here with my hubs, my healthy Mom (86) and my hub’s health Aunt (85) ….having cocktails 🙂 …pre-Thanksgiving dinner/ bday celebration..
and I just received a shipment of pistachios from my dear friend and “sister” in California….now, THAT is an incredible story for another day…….you never know whose life you will touch.
Let’s just say the internet helped save our mutual lives….;)
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. I am only 2 today…:) .I count from my “rebirth”….and To quote the dude: “You guys rock”
Special shout out to Aloha Jules…love ya babes!! let’s talk soon..
Today, I am especially thankful for IH and GD.
Happy birthday IH, you reached out to me when it was bad. Now it is getting better I love your humor and your toughness.
I am thankful for my husband who stands at my side and makes spag bol when I am glutened (among other things).
For my kids. For living by the sea, woods and countryside. For friends old and new. For my own fighting spirit.
Oh, and gluten free brownies
“..for my own fighting spirit…”
amen, sister xx
Happy birthday, Irish! I admire your attitude so much – your positive outlook is very inspriring. I am thankful for coming across your posts, especially one where you said you only eat foods with less than 5 ingredients (I think I’m remembering that correctly). I have tried to live by that philosophy and it is so much easier than how I was going about it before. Thank you for that.
I am thankful for you, too, GD. I just love reading your blog every day and feeling a little less alone knowing there are others going through similar things to what I’m going through.
And honestly, I am thankful for my diagnosis. Being GF is challenging at times, but knowing what is wrong with me and how to fix it makes me feel empowered and I don’t worry every day because I think I’m dying. That for me has been a lifesaver!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Empowerment is what it is all about.
I was thankful, too–to know what it was that was killing me…and how to deal with it. It gave me the power back.:)
Good for you, hon–you have the right attitude.
I told someone yesterday after we talked on the phone….you are NEVER alone. Never!
Happy Thanksgiving, sweetie.
Wonderful blog post IH.
I am thankful for you and the humor I get from you everyday even if I am not up to responding for days.
I am thankful to you for caring beyond yourself and for making me aware of the Gluten Dude.
A big Happy Birthday and have a drink for me. 🙂
Girlfriend, you have touched my life in so many ways….. and I Love your twisted humor 🙂 and bottomless kindness.
So glad we are friends. xx
Thank YOU for being very special you.
Now, where the hell is my muu muu ?? LOL
Awesome post IH! It is very important for us to keep our eyes on the positive. I am thankful for a loving husband who decided on his own to go gluten free for me. I’m also thankful for an understanding family and dairy/egg/nut/gluten free pumpkin pie!
I always keep my eyes on the prize–total recovery and good health
My hubs also went GF with me after my Dx, thinking it was for the best– in terms of CC (I did not ask him to do it and I knew it meant giving up his beloved Guinness ) and I am forever grateful to him.
and yaaay for pumpkin pie!! 😉 Enjoy!!!
Thank you, thank you Irish and GD! I so needed this as I am sitting in a hotel room in Northern Fl – after literally deciding and packing for a trip in a half a day. You are so right we have so much to be thankful for. Plans changed quickly this week and I dislike changes even more now with diet restrictions. But I will have a safe Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow with my family – including my husband who we have not seen in a few weeks.
It is so important to take one day at a time and really cherish what we have gained being gluten free even if I don’t feel 100% – I do know I am not in “hell” anymore and that truly is a blessing worthy of celebrating every day.
Happy Thanksgivng To You All. And Happy Birthday Irish! Xoxo
Thanks–and when I come to FLA in March, I want to meet you. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving.
I am Thankful Each Day!
Today I am thankful for my ability to learn.
#1 – Patience = it can get much, much worse before it gets better.
#2 – Science = while daydreaming in science class several decades ago…I never would have imagined complete understanding of the human digestive system along with the chemistry behind these mechanisms .
Doh…no edit…just realized my post was missing a few things.
Happy Birthday Dear Irish,
Happy Birthday to you.
Happy Birthday Dear Irish,
Happy Birthday to YOU!
Your light shines every day – and now your body can catch back up 🙂
With a grateful heart I give thanks to GDude for calling like it is – every day of the year.
Happy Thanksgiving to all – Cheers!
You’re a warrior yourself, SkiDoodle and I am grateful for your support and friendship. You give freely of yourself every single day coaching the newbies and calming their fears.
We’ll both whip this pain thing–you’ll see 🙂
never say die, babes.;) happy ThX. xxoo
The words escape me! What beautiful sentiments from you both, Dude and Dear Irish Heart.
Thank you for sharing–not only today’s post– but for sharing yourselves with others.
And happiest of birthdays to you tomorrow, warrior princess!
FreekY!!! What can I say except : thank YOU for sharing yourself and keeping it real.
Quite simply, you make me laugh. That’s one of the best gifts anyone can give to another.
Your positive attitude is infectious. (not a bad thing to “catch” from someone else.)
Happy Thx, you cutie..
Happy Birthday, Irish Heart, and Happy Thanksgiving to those south of the 49th! We had ours in October, but I’m still thankful that, even though I’m currently really quite sick visiting my daughter and her family, I’m not as sick as I was the first visit back with my kids last spring. I’m learning to navigate in a gluten world and, while it may not be perfect, it’s making me ever more determined to make it. Any kind of progress is still progress!
Even if they are baby steps forward, it’s still moving in the right direction. One time, after lamenting my slow healing and saying I am like the tortoise, my doc said “yeah, but who won the race?”
My friend Suze ran the Boston marathon ( after an MS diagnosis) and her motto is “slow and steady wins the race”. Inspirational.:)
I am thankful for the on-line communities out there for both celiac and healthy eating. I am grateful for this site, which I found when I was knee-deep in a depression adjusting to this disease, and felt like a huge weight was lifted off of me when I realized that still having issues and feeling off was the rule rather than the exception.
Before Celiac caused me to lose 40% of my body weight, which thankfully I had to lose (although I am now getting a bit too close to being underweight), I had had a lifetime of over/unhealthy eating and sedentary actions (because I never had any energy – now I know why!) Through this disease, I’ve faced my eating issues head-on and now know I need to take care of my body by eating nutritiously and excercising. I feel so much better than I did a year ago.
Do I still have issues, yep… daily. But like Irish says… every day gets a little bit better. I am still grateful that I’ve had a wake-up call and am learning to take care of myself in a healthy way.
Thank you for your blog (both you and Irish!) and have a wonderful, happy, gluten-free Thanksgiving!!!
I was so fortunate to find the Dude’s site (and subsequently, all the other gluten free centered blogs ) because it gave me a chance to meet more people who struggle sometimes— but do not want to complain to their families and friends about it.
None of us want to be perceived as weak or complaining.
We all want to be healthy and thriving.
Like you, I eat better now than I ever have in my life.
It is always a relief to talk with those who “get it”.
To everyone who sent me birthday wishes–thank you so much!
It is truly a happy birthday for me this year and I appreciate my “internet framily” (friends & family) very much. Cheers!
God bless all of you today to have strength to sit next to that realitive eating stuffng smothered in gluten and all that pie and not want to spit on it:-P, for we are truely blessed to not feel like a mac truck hit us when we wake tomorrow. Funny…… my 8 yr old son`s thought “wow mom the parade is gluten free so come watch it and thank God for making you better”….aww that alone makes this battle on a holiday better for me. I will just think of that today as i ignore all the insensitive skinny comments….. as i hope you will.
Praise the Lord …… keep the faith….. no cheating today people.
M thankful for somuch including all of you and you sharing has helped me so many times in so many ways.
“wow mom the parade is gluten free so come watch it and thank God for making you better”
I am thankful for all of you guys & a special thanks to Gluten Dude for giving us a place to come to, to feel safe, to be comforted. Reading this blog has helped me immensely, as I know it is helping countless others.
Thanks Irish for the wonderful post & Happy Birthday!
I made all my own food & I am eating home before going over to my cousin’s house….& I will try not to get too close to the sea of gluten over there.
I hope you all have a great day & SAFE food!
Happy Thanksgiving to you all.
Sending you my “anti-Gluten shield” 🙂 and trusting all will be well.
Happy Thx, Phyllis!!
Thank you so much for always sharing your knowledge and Heart with me! You have helped me and so many others thru some very hard times! Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and an even happier Birthday! You are a very special person and I am blessed to have you in my life 🙂
Well, if you are the Heather I think you are…:) 🙂
oh honey…I am so glad you are doing so well.
You are drop-dead gorgeous…and each time I see you, I see a healing story. I see another warrior princess who made herself well.
Yay Beer! GF, of course. Thanks GD for this blog, Happy Birthday, IH, and here’s to all of us, each and everyone.
Cheers, David! here’s to Beer….and GIN. (sound of glasses clinking…..)
(Txcami44) Hi Irish Heart – love your post. Thank you. I love the year of healing. I have replaced year with day… It helps me. Happy Birthday IH and I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving. I am thankful for Gluten Dude and how often he posts. I am thankful for IH and all of the stories and knowledge she shares. I am thankful for this community. I sat at the Thanksgiving table with my gluten filled family and listened to several comments that would usually hurt my feelings ( they do not intentionally do this – they are kind and loving but they don’t truly “get it”) and instead I just smiled because I have all of you who understand living with Celiac. Thank you.
Oh Camille, sweetie…
This makes me feel so bad. 🙁
I wish you could have been here with me today. No gluten anywhere.
Here is what I see frequently on here and celiac.com:
People who have families that do not “get it”…. they go and sit at the table and feel left out or hungry or put up with inconsiderate comments…..Well, it’s time for that to change.
All of you need more support than you get!!!
It may be time to educate your family more.
It may be time for you guys to put your foot down and say: No more gluten….. In my home or around me.
I promise you all, next year…I will coach all of you how to make a totally gluten free Thanksgiving dinner for you and your family –Turkey, gravy, stuffing, rolls, whipped potatoes, roasted squash, turnip/carrot puree, cranberry sauce, apple pie with fresh vanilla spiked whipped cream, pecan bars …and cheesecake.
Yes, all of those are yours!
No one should feel bad about where they are eating, whom they are with…. or feel the need to “cheat” (I cannot believe that was even suggested) or justify why you are choosing not to eat what will make you sick..
This is the biggest misnomer–that gluten free means “tasteless”; that celiac means …”my life is over. I will never enjoy food again.”
Total. Pure. Hogwash. 🙂
I ate like a queen today…as did my guests.
Take back your life everyone! Cook, eat, enjoy!
Oh no, no – please don’t feel bad. I had a wonderful day with a family that loves me very much. I am just comforted by this communiity that understands me and makes it easier for me knowing I am not the only one. My family goes out of their way for me but they still don’t have to live it every single second. Hugs to you – I look forward to another year of learning. One year of healing on November28th. This blog is wonderful. 🙂
Oh, gosh, my fault for misinterpreting, Camille.
Sorry about that!
I am very glad your family is supportive and loving.
Honestly, I had just read several posts on c.com after dinner (because I KNEW there were going be many new posts from upset people yesterday–especially newly diagnosed ones who are still floundering) and I was a bit upset myself at some of the things they had to endure yesterday. Families that are just plain awful to them. Some who aren’t even invited home for Thanksgiving anymore because they are “too difficult to accomodate”. One woman was so distraught, she said she did not care what happens, she was going back to eating gluten because she just can’t take it anymore..
The holidays stress everyone out anyway– but the added pressure of leaning to negotiate the nuances of GF living, makes people just plain bonkers. Makes me feel bad because of course, I’ve been there, done that. My first Thanksgiving was not at all easy.
Cheers, hon–and continued healing to you!
You rock irish heart…. true on the eating like a queen and my family loved eveything too. I found out early oct i had this problem, it took years to figure it out. My heart, liver, spleen were full of inflamation and docs of coarse were ready to start bein aggressive. So a lady at church wom barely knew me suggested a nutritionist and set up a free appt for the next day at that moment. Wow the healing. My blood work as of mon showed no inflamation:-D Also i really felt bad and am sorry if i implied for any one to cheat, i truely meant it in a supportive tone for those of us that may feel intimidated over this complete life transformation, that is totally for me been the best positive out come and thank you for your all your encouraging thoughts. Glad dude started this site and that you all are on it 🙂 …..and hope he`s feeling back to himself. Hope all have another blessed week.
Danielle, I am so glad you are feeling better!:)
and no worries about the no cheating thing–I probably over-reacted to that suggestion and I am sorry, too.
To be honest, I have no sympathy for celiacs who cheat. That’s just foolish and I almost find it insulting to those of us who work so hard to get well.
I understand now how you meant it.
I read this at the perfect time. Thank you for stabilizing me.
It has been a year since the shit hit the fan. I had this conversation with my Dad the other day. I am so afraid I will never be ok. He reminds me the doctor told me it will take time. And that I have come such a far way. My brain was so damaged and attacked. I fear that even though it is a bit better, I can hold coherent conversations….my memory is still shot, and I still feel brain damaged. That is the most frustrating part for me. My illness doesn’t really fly as an excuse this the general public. When you forget to bring your daughter to swim 4 weeks in a row. Then you set a million reminders on your phone have people text you to remind you up until a few mintutes before. I head to swim, proud that I have gotten her there, only to realize I have forgotten her gear!
The pain in my bones was back last night. I laid on this couch screaming in pain. The exhaustion is back too.
Like you said, it’s not the diet, it’s not the inconvenience, it’s the healing and patience. I have a history of not being a very patient woman…..so this is a tough pill to swallow. But you are right, it is what it is.
Thank you for the comfort in that post
I can relate to the brain impairment…but I promise you, it gets better.
Make sure your vitamin levels are up where they need to be (B-12, B9 (folate), and D) and that your thyroid is functioning properly. these can contribute to the cognitive problems.
Can you eat fish and take fish oil caps? Omega 3s help with this, too.
Stay the course, hon. I know EXACTLY what that bone pain feels like. This is inflammation and you can help knock it down with Omega 3s.
My heart aches for you because I know how frustrating it is—this up an down healing road. But you are stronger than you think!—and you will get to the “other side”. I promise.
Best wishes and keep us posted on your progress.
Thank you for your kind words. I will start taking the fish oil again… Ugh another pill! I was always so bad at taking pills.. Now I take so many I feel ancient!
Has anyone suffered from laryngitis, without having a cold, as a result of glutening? I tried to google it, but found nothing. I lost my voice completely a week into being glutened. It’s happened before…not sure if it’s a coincidence….but I don’t believe in coincidences anymore!
Joy, any “itis” is inflammation.
Gluten causes inflammation.
so, your laryngitis does not surprise me at all.
I had so many bizarre symptoms that I believe anything.
I had multiple chemical allergies, a scratchy throat and raspy voice, difficulty swallowing and swollen glands (among other things) from gluten. Anything is possible with this beast.
Sorry you got hit. 🙁
I know what you mean about taking all those supplements.UGH. At one point, I was taking about 19. I had quite a few deficiencies and the others I took because people recommended them all.
Truth is, unless you have a deficiency, you need not overdo them.
They could cause more harm than good.
A good GF multi, probiotics, fish oil and a cal/mag/D supp should be plenty.
but…do what you think it best, of course!
Hope you feel better soon.