After Seven Years I Finally Own This

December 15, 2011

in Life Lessons

I own this.

It comes with me everywhere I go.

With almost 200 posts written on this personal blog, it is a topic I have not yet shared. And the reason I have avoided the topic is simple.

Because I haven’t owned it.

Even though it has been with me for the last seven years.

Until one month ago, that is.

This post is not about the Epi Pen; that has only been necessary to carry for the last month. And, even with the medical need, I didn’t own that I needed the pen until this week; I finally started carrying it everywhere I go.

No, this post is not about the pen; it is about gluten. It is about knowing for the last seven years that I have a gluten intolerance and have not taken it seriously until now. I considered myself semi-gluten-free. My most common response when asked about the intolerance:

“I don’t have Celiac. I can cheat without having too serious of a reaction. It’s okay if I eat_____(fill in the blank)”

Some reactions were more serious than others, but I would suffer through for the sake of a great meal or baked treat.  Being told by doctors I tested negative for Celiac disease even though I present a long list of Celiac symptoms when I eat gluten was the one thing I clung to as my excuse for continuing to eat something that made me sick.

A month ago everything changed. I had avoided cheating for over four weeks when I decided to take one bite of a biscuit I made for my kids. Soon after I was scratching and my skin felt hot to the touch. I had hives over my entire body and it was getting worse quickly.

After 24 hours on Benedryl around the clock, it was even more severe. Four unsuccessful days of Benedryl led to Prednisone, which took three days to see an improvement and a week to feel normal again. After years of presenting Celiac symptoms, I now also had a severe allergic reaction.

The first time eating in a restaurant after the reaction, I inquired about gluten in a dish. The waiter asked if I had a gluten intolerance. Instead of telling him it isn’t that serious, I can cheat, and other nonsense, I hesitated for a moment, looked at him, and stated, “Yes, I do.”

I wasn’t admitting it to the waiter; I was finally admitting it to myself.

I own this.

I carry it everywhere I go now.

And the pen comes with me too.

 

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Eric December 15, 2011 at 11:30 am

Good for you!

It’s a very difficult thing to do – owning up to something that you desperately wish not to be true.

Be strong and carry on!
Eric recently posted..I Said What I Needed To Say … sort ofMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 11:50 am

It is very difficult Eric. Thanks for the encouraging words.

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Abby December 15, 2011 at 11:39 am

Good for you. I hope this doesn’t come off as insensitive, but I wonder why you were so hesitant to admit that it was/is an issue. Any sort of medical thing or dependency is beyond our control at the onset, so there’s no shame or weakness in admitting that it’s there. What is in our control is how we choose to address it and deal with it, and sometimes our bodies remind us that our minds can’t always win out.

As long as you know the triggers, you know what you need to do. Thank you for sharing your story!
Abby recently posted..A LifesaverMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 11:49 am

Thanks Abby. It was difficult to own for two reasons.

1) I can’t stand having to deal with any medical issue for myself. Head-in-the-sand approach is what I typically do and I frustrate the hell out of doctors as a result.

2) I am a total foodie. I love to cook and eat and I don’t like having such a huge dietary restriction.

With my house overrun with holiday cookies and gluten-filled treats, I have no temptation to cheat ever again. Now I have a fear of needing the epi pen, which is much more powerful. And, most of all, I feel really great health-wise now.

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Vinny C December 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm

It takes strength to acknowledge out weaknesses as well as our strengths.

Good for you!
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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 12:38 pm

Thank you Vinny. You are right and I am still working on this concept.

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Crayon Wrangler December 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I can empathize with your struggle to “label” yourself. Don’t we all hate to stick ourselves into a camp?

Good for you though for recognizing and taking appropriate action for your health. It takes a strength (no matter the issue) to admit it to ourselves.
Crayon Wrangler recently posted..Dear Santa – I Need 5 MinutesMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Thank you Alycia. I feel this was a tough one to admit, but surprisingly feel at peace at accepting it. THere is a lesson to be learned (for me, at least).

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Grace December 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

I gave up gluten nearly a year ago, and I haven’t missed it a bit.
Grace recently posted..I Can Keep Riding Topless!My Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

One more thing we have in common! Ex-husbands, the paths we have chosen post-divorces, and this!

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 3:27 pm

I should have been more specific! NOT that we had the same ex-husband, but our ex-husbands had some similar issues!

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Lauren December 15, 2011 at 2:26 pm

Good for you! I’m a foodie who is allergic to tomatoes — I know how difficult it can be to avoid foods made with ingredients most people don’t think twice about eating! Well done for ‘fessing up to yourself.

Tip to anyone else with allergies reading this: if you don’t have an epi pen, carry liquid Benadryl with you (or capsule, which contains liquid). Your body will ingest it more quickly than a pill.
Lauren recently posted..Lunar Eclipse, CaliforniaMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I am a foodie too, which is the biggest reason I dug my heels in and refused to accept this. I am sorry you have to avoid tomatoes.

Thanks for leaving the Benadryl tip too!

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Eric g December 15, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Wow I can completely relate my daughter also has a gluten intolerance and it affects what I cook. Also being a foodie I have embraced her diet and actively search for new things. It getting to be a fun thing . In time it will become second nature to prep certain things and in the end….it’s a much better diet…

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 7:49 pm

Have you tried Bio Natura pasta? Jovial is my other favorite brand. Let me know if you have any favorite brands. Would love to expand my pantry!

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Kindred Adventures December 15, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Isn’t it hard to come to terms with things we know are true but we want to convince ourselves they are half truths or someone else has it or does it, but not us. What a powerful story. Really moving!!! Proud of you! I hope many others are able to read your story! -Laverne

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 7:48 pm

Thank you Laverne. Half truths never bring us peace. I have found that instead of being devastated by this turn of events, I am actually at peace. I know exactly what my limitations are now and can’t cross the line. It’s much better than agonizing over whether I should cheat or not and then not feeling well when I do.

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Lance December 15, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Feels good to be free doesn’t it?

I love posts like this because it shows strnegth and honesty.

Maybe you’ll inspire someone else.
Lance recently posted..OnlyMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 15, 2011 at 8:30 pm

Thanks Lance. I feel so at peace over this. So many have asked me how I am handling it. I am glad the internal battle over whether to cheat or not is over.

Yes, I am free and feeling great.

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Christy Froehlich December 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Yay Kelly! I’m here at GF support anytime you need it!
Christy

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thank you Christy!

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Random Girl December 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Just another reason I admire you and am proud to call you my friend. You are strength, grace, and honesty all rolled into one! Proud of you for owning what is best for you!
Random Girl recently posted..Another pile of reverb11 – Gratitude, teachers, community, and a little loathing to round it outMy Profile

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Naked Girl in a Dress December 20, 2011 at 7:46 am

Thank you Random Girl, for the kind words and friendship.

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