Staying on the Positive Side

Let’s be honest, sometimes life gets us down.  This is a story of getting down and then getting over it.

I have a pretty positive outlook on having Celiac Disease, having to eat gluten free and not getting to eat things like egg rolls and Chinese food in Chinese restaurants.  About once a year I get PF Chang’s and satisfy my Chinese craving for a bit.  It’s not as much as I used to eat it but it helps.  Eating gluten free isn’t really that bad either.  It could be worse, I could be allergic to dairy, avocados, and almonds.  Things that I eat EVERY day.  But it’s just gluten, right?

Well, last Monday was my “feeling sorry for myself” day.  I had been at JUCO (the Junior College World Series) which happens every May in Grand Junction.  It’s basically a week of sunshine, baseball and more sunshine.  I spend as much time attending games and chillin’.  Memorial Day I got to the stadium at 11 and stayed there all day.  I had brought my usual snacks to tide me over and had plans to jet at 6 to grab a bite to eat before the 7:30pm game.  Plans changed and I ended up taking photos of the team the Grand Junction Lions Club hosted (every year we host one of the teams) and not going to eat.

Mind you, this was my fault…I will admit that.

I had, earlier in the day, started wishing that I could go to the concession stand, pick whatever I wanted and just EAT.  Not have play 20 questions with the gal behind the counter and then hope that she was right.  It’s like playing Russian Roulette, really.  I was tired of being different, of not being able to grab food and go, to have to leave the stadium to get something to eat and then come back, try to find a parking spot and…it was too much.  I’m guessing the sun and heat had something to do with this breakdown as well.

But I had a pity party.  I almost started crying and had to compose myself several times.  Sometimes being gluten free really sucks.  In fact, I found this and posted it to Facebook:

Don't you ever just want to be normal?

Don’t you ever just want to be normal?

I had friends comment on the picture from “Be strong!” to “I have those days” to “I wouldn’t eat normal for the world, I know how it hurts me”.  The support was so good.

I ended up getting fries.  They told me that they were gluten free.  I hope they were right…

So, I had my moment, ate my fries, watched the game, went home, went to bed and the next day I was fine.  My outlook was better.  Sometimes you just have to have a moment and move on.  The sun always comes up tomorrow, I’ve been told…and that is a true statement.

The moral of the story is twofold:

1.  Have a pity party, get mad or sad or whatever and then MOVE ON.  It’s life and the way it is whether it’s Celiac or a dairy allergy or something else.  It could always be worse.

2.  Stay positive.  Negative energy only brings you and everyone else around you down.  The more negativity, the less people will want to be around you and, when you really need support, it won’t be there.

Gluten free isn’t always the most glamorous or the most fun but it’s the most healthy for me.  It could be gluten free or death and I choose gluten free.

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A Helping Hand

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.

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