Sorry for the delay folks. We’ve been in polar vortex hell. The last ice storm knocked out power out for 5 days. It got to 38 degrees INSIDE the Dude Ranch. Grateful for friends and family for the hot food, cold beer and warm shelter.
So last February, I published a series of Gluten-Free Love Stories that were shared by the wonderful folks in our little gluten-free corner of the world. It was really amazing to read how these couples came together through the adversity that celiac disease can sometimes present.
The fact is, it’s not always easy.
Celiac disease is 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. There’s hardly a moment that can go by when you’re NOT thinking about it.
So you need a strong relationship and a patient partner. A very patient partner.
But what happens when the support is there but the two of you are in a funk that you cannot escape from?
That’s the topic of today’s Dear Gluten Dude…
This isn’t really an inquiry or anything, mostly I’m just looking for support. What does the Celiac community have to offer, advice-wise, to the spouse or partner of a person with Celiac?
My fiancée has Celiac and is also pre-diabetic. We only learned about both of these conditions since after we started dating and the resulting changes in lifestyle (we’ve got a completely gluten-free kitchen and I eat gluten-free when we’re out and about) have left us alternating between machine-like bouts of food-prepping efficiency and depression/anxiety.
It’s only been a little over six months since we’ve made the switch to gluten-free and low-carb. My fiancée’s blood sugar levels are back to the normal range (diet and exercise really do make a huge difference) and her stomach has been feeling great consistently for over a month.
Now should be a time for celebration! But it’s not!
We feel like we’re both at the lowest point we’ve been the whole time! I’m anxious and stressed out worrying about her and trying to shoulder way too much of the burden and she’s incredibly depressed at the prospect of a diet this restrictive for the rest of her life.
We’ve decided to reach out to the gluten-free community because we’ve practically been the only supports for each other in this endeavor for the past year and a half. We’re full-time teachers from the US, living and working in Korea. There’s little knowledge of dietary restrictions in Korea, there are too few English-speaking people who eat gluten-free in Korea to create a locally-based community, and our family and friends don’t really get the hardship and health risks of Celiac and the gluten-free lifestyle.
We’re both active, in-shape people, and we both thought we enjoyed cooking. However, we can’t really read labels in Korean (or trust the labeling all the time), have very limited access to pre-prepared gluten-free and low-carb foods, and lack an oven/dishwasher combo. We’re very, very busy cooking and washing dishes. At times we feel like we’ve got it under control, but one or both of us, after a few weeks, will crash. Most of the time we’re like machines; cooking, prepping, shopping, talking about food, planning about food, and worrying about food. It’s putting a huge strain on our relationship.
Any comments or help would be greatly appreciated!
This is a tough one. You’ve got the gluten-free adjustment, which can overwhelm the best of us in the beginning, but you’ve got the overseas issues to boot.
I’ll say this to your future Mrs…once you get the hang of it, the gluten-free diet doesn’t feel restrictive anymore. It feels…dare I say…normal. Give yourself the needed time to mourn the loss of your old lifestyle. It’s ok to do so. We’ve all been there. Then try to focus on the positives…your health…your husband-to-be…your health! Without your health…man…we got nothing.
And to you I say hang in there. I promise you…it gets easier for everybody. Read the Love Stories and see how others have overcome this. Find a support group where you can talk about your concerns with others in a similar situation.
And here’s a biggie piece of advice to both of you: Don’t let celiac control your life. When you’re out on a date, you don’t have to talk about it. When you’re lying in bed, you don’t have to talk about it. If you let it dominate your life, pretty soon you’ll realize there’s nothing left to talk about.
And that’s when the trouble really begins.