This Gluten Free Love Story was lovingly submitted by Hannah
I am not the best writer, but I wanted to share my love story. I was diagnosed with celiac at the age of 20 in November 2009. I was a college sorority girl in a very small college town, whose bathroom habits and 100lb weight were often gossiped about and chalked up to bulimia or laxative abuse.
I was already having a hard time with other medical issues I was dealing with – I had a traumatic brain injury in 2007 that I was still having complications with. I was often pulled aside by so-called “friends” who were so concerned about me. I even had an “intervention” at one point that left me in tears.
I ended up quitting the sorority and losing most of my “friends”. When I finally found out I had celiac disease, I was stressed, tired, and depressed. I was a mess – physically and mentally. Although I quickly embraced trying to eat gluten free, it wasn’t very easy. Living with 3 non-GF girls was hard and they questioned if it was a “real” disease.
Socializing was difficult and the friends I had left thought I was acting kind of crazy. I was at an all-time low. I became reclusive and unsociable. I was absolutely miserable. I let others influence my self-esteem and I thought that I actually WAS crazy.
After I completed my junior year in May 2010, I decided to take a year off from school and focus on my health and sanity. I started cognitive rehabilitation for my brain injury and threw myself into become completely gluten free. My body started to heal and I was happily putting on weight. I got a babysitting job and started socializing with my friend more. My health improved even more. I grew a babysitting job into a business. I joined a Young Professionals philanthropic group to raise money for local charities.
I decided I needed to finish school. I enrolled at a local private university for the spring semester in 2012 and started their Adult-Completion program. My confidence increased as things started falling into place.
In the fall of 2012, I noticed a young man sitting in the back of the classroom. Most of my classmates were much older, so my interest was peaked. His name was David. He was nice, charming, positive, and extremely funny. I said yes when he asked me on a date.
I told David that I had this thing called celiac and sent a link in a text to a local blog that gave a list of places I could eat with gluten-free menus and told him he could pick. I expected some kind of reaction, but he just said cool and picked a nice (and my favorite) pizza place that was close to both of us. The date was perfect.
David and I have been dating for five months now AND I have not had a reaction in five months either! My celiac and gluten-free lifestyle has never been an issue with him. We only go out to restaurants he knows I am comfortable eating at. He has separate pots and pans for me at his apartment, buys me gluten free groceries, and cooks me gluten free meals.
When I ask him if it gets on his nerves, he says no; he loves me for who I am and celiac is a part of who I am. I feel so incredibly lucky to have found such a sweet guy! What’s so funny is that David grew up a mile down the road from me. We went to the same middle and high schools (not at the same time) and have a couple of mutual friends. We even frequent the same grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies.
I’m not a huge believer in fate, but I believe David and I crossed paths at exactly the right time. How would I have been able to love him when I didn’t even love myself?
My celiac journey was hard, but necessary.
It has made me a stronger, more confident and happier person. :)