When it comes to celiac, I can only think of one thing worse than having the disease itself.
It’s being a kid and having the disease.
One of the benefits of being young is supposed to be having a care-free lifestyle before you reach the grind of adulthood.
Celiac makes that quite difficult.
I received two separate emails this week from teenagers asking for help.
One girl is simply looking for other celiacs her age to connect with.
And the other girl just wants to be a normal teenager.
Please read their emails below and offer up any advice you can. As always, your input is so appreciated.
Follow-up note: About an hour after I posted this, I heard from Amanda. Allie has already reached out to her directly. Ah…the power of the internet.
Email #1 from Amanda
Hey Gluten Dude,
I’m 14 and have been a celiac since my mom and I were diagnosed when I was seven. The only other people I know with celiac disease are adults. I have never met anyone close to my age with it, and it kinda sucks. I don’t really have anyone to relate to. Anyone who is still in school would be fine. I just wish I had someone other than my mom to talk to.
If you know anyone with a story like mine, i was wondering if you could ask them if they want to talk to anyone, and if they did, that they could talk to me. Win-win, see?
So, yup. Thats all I have to say. So thanks gluten dude!
Dude note: She gave me an email address if anybody wanted to connect with her directly. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email #2 from Allie
Dear Gluten Dude,
My name is Allie, and I am seven and a half months Gluten free. I am also seventeen.
I spent my first sixteen years loving all things Gluten. I would eat bread with every meal, and was a normal kid. That was until three years ago, when I started having stomach aches, my eczema was in full flair, and I just didn’t feel good. I was taken into the doctor, and given lots of blood tests, and they ended up with a lactose intolerant diagnosis. I spent the next two and a half years without lactose, and still feeling like crap. We went back into the doctor’s office, and I had my blood work redone. Well, it came back inconclusive for Celiac, and I thought that was going to live with this unending stomach ache forever.
Then my mom had an idea that would change my whole life. I would try Gluten free for one month starting January first, and we would see how I felt. My mom’s side of the family tree is covered with Celiacs and the Gluten intolerant, and some of their blood work came back inconclusive too. So January first came, and the gluten went. Within a week and a half, I felt so much better. My stomach aches were gone, my eczema cleared along with the acne I thought came with being a teenager.
I felt so much better physically, but before I knew it I was drained emotionally.
I started to cheat, and felt crappy every time I did. All I wanted was to be a normal teenager, going for pizza or Chinese with my friends. I live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and I don’t have many options for food in grocery stores, much less in restaurants.
I am really struggling with not being able to just eat what I want, or always bringing my own food to swim team carb parties. I am in the middle of working at/going to a summer camp, and they try to be accommodating, but most of the time I end up with peanut butter and jelly or a salad.
If you could help me at all, that would be great. I am really sick of not being normal, and what used to be a source of joy (food, cooking, baking) is now a source of frustration and pain.
Thank you so much.