After a few tough weeks, I really wanted to post something positive today. Nothing about the media. Nothing about my health. Nothing about the trolls. Nothing about Henrik Lundqvist being out for 4 weeks.
Hmmm…but what could I write about??
Maybe, just maybe, I’ll receive an email from a fellow celiac that will make me smile ear to ear.
Maybe, just maybe, the email will teach us all a lesson on how to keep positive attitude when it comes to celiac.
And maybe, just maybe, this person will live in a country where perhaps it’s not so easy to keep a positive attitude about anything.
May I introduce to you Vic from Afghanistan. This is his celiac diagnosis story. It’s so awesome.
I was diagnosed with celiac December 28th, 2012. I was 51 years old. I was set in my ways. I was pissed. I called my wife and told her, “Screw this guy. I don’t care how many tests he had that showed I was positive, I’m getting a second opinion.”
I ranted for a while and she listened patiently then I hung up.
A few minutes later she called me back. “We can do this,” she told me. “There’s a bunch of stuff online that’s gluten free that we can buy and have shipped here if the grocery stores don’t have what we need. In fact it might be kind of fun. I get to learn how to cook all over again.” (Underestimating my wife was the other disease I had back in 2012) “Oh and there’s gluten free beer on the market and according to this site, wine and bourbon are gluten free.”
Then she very firmly said, “You’ve been really sick for two years. We have to try something.”
A month after I was diagnosed my daughter had the tests. They were positive. Then my other daughter and my mother (who was 88 at the time) were diagnosed.
I didn’t know it then, but December 28, 2012, the day of my celiac diagnosis, was probably one of the best days of my life.
Since then I’ve learned a lot:
- I was a helluva lot sicker than I thought I was. In fact I didn’t realize how sick I was until I went gluten free and started feeling better.
- I had stopped thinking about what I was eating. I was the kind of guy who would eat a Big Mac for a midafternoon snack. That stopped. Celiac aside, my diet was going to end my life a lot sooner than necessary.
- We stopped mindlessly going to restaurants. We now eat at home. Going out is a treat we enjoy; not a lazy alternative to not cooking.
- And we started cooking again… and when I say we, I mean my wife. Our food was made at home from fresh ingredients and tasted really good again.
- The online GF community is incredibly helpful and not filled with the huge number of wing nuts other online communities seem to be overwhelmed by (Google “over 50 male weight training” and be prepared for stupid).
- My wife is brilliant, hardworking, and one of the most caring people I know. I may have forgotten that.
Once I had the energy to get off the couch we started going back to the gym. We started running 5k’s (and when I say I “ran” a 5k, I’m being generous). We became active again and we started living. Pushing doctors and forcing them to have the conversation with my daughters and my mother have significantly changed the quality of their lives. A year ago we were worried my mother wouldn’t make her 90th birthday. That’s in two weeks and she sounds and looks better than she has in years.
I work for the government and right now I’m on assignment at a military camp outside of Kabul, Afghanistan. I’m in the gym every day and very few days go by when I don’t have a soldier or Marine half my age tell me something like, “You’re shredding it in here, sir.” I don’t know what that means but I think it’s a compliment. Yes, I have to be incredibly careful about what I eat in the mess hall but I’ve been two months in country this trip and no problems yet.
Celiac disease has been hard. When I get glutened my reaction now isn’t subtle, it’s violent and painful. I have to watch every single thing I eat all the time and I wouldn’t wish celiac disease on anyone but if I’m being honest, getting diagnosed saved my life in about 10 different ways.
Oh, and once I started eating gluten free I started getting better in about three days. I never did get that second opinion.
I know you’ve had a tough week but you’ve helped me and you’re one of my favorite sites. You’ve helped make this transition positive. Don’t ever forget what Jeff Lebowski told us years ago, “The Dude Abides.”
Love his attitude. Love his sense of humor. Love his wife.
Like when Joey found his hand twin, I may have found my celiac twin.
What was your celiac diagnosis like? Was it the best day of your life?