Celiac Disease hasn’t been the most fun thing. I mean, you eat something you shouldn’t or accidentally get cross contamination and end up in the bathroom for the rest of the day or curled up on your bed in pain. Doesn’t sound like a great way to spend an afternoon.
Through my work with Gluten Free Grand Valley, writing for the newspaper and being vocal on social media, I have gained attention, hopefully as an advocate for those with Celiac Disease. Because of this, I get lots of questions, lots of emails and phone calls and people who are friends or friends of friends stopping me at gatherings to ask questions because they have been diagnosed or because someone they know has been.
A couple of these things happened this week. First, I found out that a friend’s sister was diagnosed a few months ago. We happened to be at a birthday party and I was having a glass of wine and she started asking me questions about being gluten free. She then proceeded to tell me that she had been diagnosed Celiac. We, of course, spent the rest of the evening talking about food, restaurants and all that goes along with Celiac Disease…over a gluten free pizza, I might add.
The second was someone who is gluten free is moving to Grand Junction and contacted me about Gluten Free Grand Valley. I directed her to the Facebook page but we started a dialog on how scary it is to move to a new city, to not know what grocery stores to go to or what restaurants are safe. We plan on having coffee when she gets here so I can help her.
Sometimes being given the burden of a disease can be just that, a burden. But I look at it like this: God put me on this Earth for a reason and gave me Celiac Disease for a reason. I believe it’s to help people. That’s not being said with bravado or boasting, it’s a fact. I hope that I can help as many people as possible whether it’s simply giving them a cookie recipe or if it’s guiding them through the first year of eating gluten free. I hope that I can always lend a helping hand.