“It must be a stomach bug — a really nasty stomach bug.” I called my doctor to see if she still wanted me to come in that day. I lost 10 pounds in 6 hours. The shock in her voice almost made me laugh as she told me I would be going to the emergency room — again. I hated that place. Just weeks before, I had been sitting in there, trying to console my mother as the doctor told me I had two different types of cancer. I had laughed at him and told him I’d rather get another opinion first. I could hardly stand, let alone drive, so I called my friend for a ride. Maybe the doctor could settle my stomach so I could sleep.
Hospital, doctor’s visits and specialist filled my calendar for the next few months. One doctor reassured me that one of his “cancers” was not a cancer, but a simple cyst. The gastrointestinal doctor removed a polyp from my colon that was, indeed, on its way toward cancer. My problems didn’t stop there though. Finally, a diagnosis of celiac disease came. Little did I know, those words would change my life forever.
After a few more months of trying to figure out what my unpleasant doctor meant by “Change your diet,” I started by getting rid of all the gluten that I knew of; breads, pastas, etc. It was amazing how much better I felt. Gluten is hidden in many items that people are not aware of. I kept researching countless websites and books. The more I eliminated, the better I felt.
But at first I was terribly cranky. I had horrible cravings that would not settle down for months. Many nights I went to bed grouchy and unable to satisfy a craving. But life became easier as time went on. It was no longer a huge ordeal to go grocery shopping. I knew what I needed. I learned how to substitute the foods that I wanted, but could no longer have. I could whip up a gluten free masterpiece and no one would be able to tell the difference.
It’s been more than three years now. I don’t touch gluten at all. Those who didn’t want to make the change with me, now eat mainly gluten-free. My desire is to open a gluten-free stand in the future. I would love to teach others that gluten-free is not a fad diet. It is an essential lifestyle for some of us.