For those of you a little scared by the above picture or for those who still have nightmares about Cape Fear (not saying I do…maybe), let’s start with a joke:
What’s the difference between a dirty bus stop and a lobster with breast implants?
One’s a crusty bus station and the other is a busy crustacean.
Feel better? Good. Now we can talk about having celiac disease and unnecessarily living in fear.
I received an email recently from a fellow celiac who has let the fear of getting sick prevent her from living her life. I’m not sharing this to make anyone feel bad. I know she is not alone in this and I just want to convince the community there is absolutely no reason to live your life in fear.
Here is the email:
I need some advice. I’m a 3rd grade teacher with celiac disease in a 100% free breakfast and lunch school. I don’t know about you, but I’m absolutely terrified of gluten. I don’t like it anywhere near me or my house. However, I encounter it on a daily basis at work. My students have breakfast every morning at their desks in my classroom. If you’ve ever met a 6 or 7 year old, you know they are inherently messy. By the end of breakfast last year there was always gluten all over desks and occasionally on the floor due to a spill. I trained the kids how to clean up their messes with disinfectant wipes as I don’t like to touch gluten ever.
Additionally, every day after breakfast my class would take a trip to the bathroom and everyone washed their hands well with soap. I absolutely hated breakfast every morning last year because it took so long to clean up and I still felt like gluten was somehow multiplying in my classroom. I am dreading the start of the new school year for obvious reasons. I would love to have my kids eat in the cafeteria, but I don’t want them, or me, to feel isolated as only kindergartners eat in the cafeteria. I’m also terrified of bringing up the issue with my principal because I’m afraid she will think I’m being ridiculous.
What should I do?
Three words: Stop. Being. Afraid.
Gluten in your classroom is not going to hurt you. How many of us live in households with gluten? I know I do. If you suspect you got some gluten on your hands…simply wash your hands. Sometimes the answer is that easy.
If I could give one piece of advice to those newly diagnosed with celiac or gluten sensitivity, it would be this: Live your life. Do not let celiac hold you back. It’s a bump in the road, but it’s a bump that is manageable. I promise.
Yes, you’ve got some serious adjustments to make. Yes, your body will take some time to heal. Yes, you will lose a little bit of freedom and spontaneity in your life.
But you know what? You’re getting your health back and that’s what matters.
There is an unbelievable amount of fear-mongering online. “You can’t have this” and “you should stay away from that”. Some of it is accurate. Some of it is complete BS. Stick with the facts.
Do not live your life afraid to do things simply because of GLUTEN. No matter what people say, it’s NOT everywhere and you CAN lead a normal life (with a few adjustments).
Take precautions. Educate yourself. Use common sense. And if in doubt, do without. And if you have any questions about something, just ping me. I’ll set you straight.
Don’t be like the people below. You got this.