Suddenly Celiac: My "Dear John" Letter From Gluten

September 22, 2017

Dear Sheri,

I’m so sorry for the pain I’ve caused you. In time I hope you will understand why I felt the need to end our relationship so abruptly. It simply isn’t healthy for me to remain a part of your life, so I’m leaving you forever. I know that sounds harsh. In hindsight, my actions surprised me as much as I’m sure they do you. I’m the “Staff of Life” for so many but for you I’m toxic, and I honestly never realized my behavior was taking such a toll on you - both physically and emotionally. And for that I am deeply, deeply sorry.

I hope you can forgive me the path of destruction I’ve left in my wake, but I know you will move on and thrive without me because you are strong. There are much better proteins out there than me (it’s hard for me to admit that, but it’s true); ones that will love you, nourish you, and treat you right. I know you may not think this now, but you will thrive, and someday you’ll look back on all this and say, "How could I have ever thought I couldn’t live without gluten?"

I’m leaving a lot of things with you, but I’m taking the following: all of the pasta, the olive and rosemary Pugliese you love so much, the Triscuits, craft beer, dim sum (crap, I know, but I've gotta do it), and, I am truly sorry, but your beloved gnocchi is coming with me too. We need to make a clean break. You’ll find substitutes, just promise me you won’t rebound and go crazy with too many processed versions of me because that’s not healthy either. Go easy. Find wholesome replacements. And, hey, on the positive side of things, I hear lactose is still your friend so maybe you guys can get together over some P'tit Basque cheese and rice crackers and talk dirt about me. I don’t mind. Frankly, I deserve it.

Again, I sincerely apologize for the way I treated you. I wish nothing but the best for you and know you will move on and find happiness again.

Love always,

Gluten

Back story: Two weeks ago my celiac blood panels showed that I was, as my gastroenterologist put it, "off the charts." Yesterday, he performed an upper endoscopy, which showed slight damage in my small intestines indicative of celiac. We’re still waiting the results of my biopsies, but he told me my life will no longer have gluten in it.

Ever.  

Fortunately, my symptoms are not debilitating, which is probably why it took so long to diagnose. And I am not alone. I've now learned that many, many people with celiac (diagnosed or undiagnosed) do not have any symptoms or have minor, yet aggravating ones like I do, ones that don’t quite warrant going to the doctor. I do not have constant diarrhea, I don’t throw up after eating gluten. I have, however, been experiencing severe fatigue on most days, bad joint pain, so much brain fog and forgetfulness that I was worried I was getting early-onset Alzheimer’s, gas, bloating, occasional numbness in my arms, fingers, and toes, sadness and depression on some days (why do I feel like shit?!) when I'm normally one of the happiest people on Earth, and most recently, eczema on my hands and feet.

So, as a way to cope with this new diagnosis, I’m starting a new weekly series on Foodista called “Suddenly Celiac,” which I will begin to publish, after today, each Wednesday for #WheatlessWednesday. I  hope that you will join me on this journey and share, as I will, your gluten-free stories, recipes, tips and resources so that we can all start/continue to live healthy, THRIVING, happy lives.  

Read the rest of the "Suddenly Celiac" series:

#2 Suddenly Celiac: Going Out On a Donut
#3 Suddenly Celiac: My Misadventure with Amaranth
#4 Suddenly Celiac: Reactions to My Celiac Diagnosis

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