Moving Past Celiac Setbacks
The night before I head back for college, though, I can't help but compare myself to the young, naive girl greeted by whoops and screams of present PLNU students on orientation day. Fundamentally, I'm the same person. I'm goofy, sweet, sarcastic, and hopefully optimistic (unless it's early morning, of course). Yet, the hospital and my week of rest has opened my eyes to a new side of me. The fearful warrior.
|The warrior and her weapon - the nose tube!|
Now, I have a game plan. More snacks. Considering the lack of space currently in my dorm, they may have to be strung up with bungee cords from the ceiling to fit, but there will be snacks nonetheless. Next, a more personal relationship with the cafeteria chef. My stomach sours just thinking about navigating the red tape to speak with Chef Urs and set up my own meal plan, where I can call ahead for a pre-made gluten free goodie. But now I know that the salad bar, a few gluten free sides (beans? I'll pass. And squash? Squash that!), and the odd protein won't cut it in the nutrition department.
|More meat, less fruit!|
I can't express how happy I am to be ditching my tube in the trash can, but, even as my nose threw its Declaration of Independence party, fear bubbled in the back of my throat. As scary as it was to think of going to school rockin' a nose tube, in the last few days, that's all I've thought about. I've pictured it, finalized my explanations ("My dad's a Marine. I'm a government experiment" or "Bears. Avoid 'em. Or you'll end up with this") and texted my friends a warning. Now, even though it's for the better, my plans have changed again...and that's scary.
|This scary times 10|
And yet, despite all of the doubts attacking my mind, most of my brain is calm. Chillin' even. Because I've felt support and found inspiration in every individual who has touched me during my week-long journey from college, to the hospital, back home.
When I'm worried my body will give out on me again, I'll think of the nurses and doctors who revitalized my body and turned my hospital room into a temporary home. I won't lie and say I was "comfortable" in my hospital bed - an IV, nose tube, and chest wires aren't exactly cuddly - but they always made me feel safe, cared for, and positive, even when they told me bad news.
When I feel like celiac and college stress will break my spirit, I'll remember the thousands of comments that flooded GlutenDude's post and my blog, wishing me well in my time of need. I was called inspirational, beautiful, strong, and determined...and I will try to live up to these compliments every day.
Perhaps the experience I will repeat most often as a mantra, however, is that no matter what challenges celiac throws at me that day, I am out of the hospital. Because of my age, I was placed in the pediatrics ward as the oldest charge. One day, after a long visit by the doctors and an information overload, I grabbed my trusty IV pole like a walker and strutted out to the lounge that connected all the hospital rooms, nose tube taped to my face. As I made my rounds, though, my own frustration dissolved at the sight of bald children waiting for the their chemo session, toddlers with tubes sticking out of tiny bodies, and preteens texting around IV's.
|It's not a Cinderella story, but I'm no Cinderella|