Remission, Celiac Style

Remission. Doctors say it with bright smiles. Cancer patients pray for that stamp on their medical file. And, a year since my celiac diagnosis, this college gal now fits the bill.

Before my doctor's visit last week, I never imagined such medical jargon would ever pop up by my name. Remission is for cancer patients, I thought. Those sick little children a few doors down from my hospital room in September. Not me

I've always viewed myself as pretty tough...
Except, that's exactly the term that the doctor used after peering down at my blood results. Antibodies - normal. Vitamins - check. All that added up to one phrase: Your celiac is in remission

And, after a lot of thinking, I've finally figured out what "remission" really means to me. 

Remission:

RE: reset. Before I mysteriously started suffering from nausea, weight loss and acid reflux, my stomach was as big as a black hole and equally indestructible. I shocked waitresses, friends envied my wooden leg and soccer practice always ended with a Brownie sundae

Cake wasn't a problem either...
I can't go back to the way things were - though if anyone has a spare time machine, hit me up! - but this is my chance at a redo. Right now, my body is free of damage, full of nutrients and friends with (almost) anything gluten free

MIS: misnomer. Because no matter how many times my doctor may tell me that I'm normal, I'm not. As I put it, I'm one weird chica. I can't test my teenage metabolism through midnight pizza runs or ice cream parties at my college. I'm part of the 1% of Americans that actually want to gain weight. Case in point: the first thing an old high school friend said to me when we met up after a year? "Geez, you're skinny! What happened to you?" 

Just because I am in remission doesn't mean that celiac is any less prominent in my life - just like cancer patients whose hair grow back in different colors or proudly wear mastectomy scars, my body is forever changed

This body's been on an adventure...
SI: sick. It is changed because I was sick. And hearing the word "remission" finally made me realize that. Sure, sometimes my disease is obvious. Like when I threw out all my Halloween candy after accidentally glutening myself on a Milky Way full of malt or, as I fight to love my skinny reflection in the mirror. 

Yet, the dire effects of celiac disease, undercut by the gluten free fad diet dominating the news, never hit me until last week. The issues with bone density. The risk of cancer if a celiac "cheats" (as if!). The challenges with fertility. I have always associated "remission" with cancer, and while cancer and celiac definitely aren't the same, now I understand how harmful both can be in their own way. 

Not always an exaggeration (Source)
ON: onward march. Because yes, I was sick. Yes, now I am "healthy" even if I am not normal. And the power to remain so rests in my hands. 

It isn't easy. When my sister and dad ordered Papa John's during the World Cup, my tongue betrayed me by drooling buckets. And, as my family embarks on a cross country road trip this coming summer, the challenge of finding safe, un-contaminated food has never seemed more terrifying. Ergo, the car will be stuffed with 25% personal items and 75% food (including this delicious homemade hemp seed butter!). 

No matter what happens in the future, though, I'm moving forward in an onward march. I have all the tools I need: gluten free goodies, a celiac support system worth a year of free food (and this GF grub gets expensive!), and a stubborn attitude carved by a year of stomach struggles. 

I'm finally smelling the roses...
No one was more surprised than me when "remission" joined this celiac's party. The more my writing-major mind analyzes the actual word, though, the more it makes sense. It perfectly explains the celiac roller coaster of my last year as I dipped and swirled through resets, sicknesses, misnomers and mistakes until finally moving on. 

So, when anyone asks how this celiac is doing, I'm not going to drone on about my improved digestion, continual fight for weight, or latest cooking feat. Instead, I'm just going to smile and say, "My celiac disease is in remission. How great is that?" 


What does "remission" mean to you? Do you consider yourself "fully healed" from celiac? Comment below! 


Comments

  1. I told ya, there's now such thing as failure ;)
    Yes I am not 100% healthy even though I probably am one of the best eaters in the country. Nary a processed food passes my lips, but my body is still fighting itself as any little too much of this can wreak havoc on its sensitive lining.
    People look at me too and all they see is a skinny tiny girl but they just haven't seen the fighter and believer within this little body.
    We are the 1% that's pretty badass if I do say so myself ;) We have tons to be proud of and we appreciate life and wellness and happiness more than the other 99%. That makes us 100% AMAZING!

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    1. So true! Your post came at the perfect time, obviously! :) I wish this was Facebook so I could "like" this whole comment - too many of favorite phrases for me to single them all out, though "badass" is a favorite in my vocab. ;)

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  2. Casey, CONGRATULATIONS<333 what iNCREDIBLE news! Seriously! That is AWESOME! I am SO so happy for you! I have no idea if my Celiac is in remission, it's not my main concern since my IBS constantly is getting all irate and worked up, and that's an intestinal tangle in and of itself, but I make the best of it :)
    AS for your roadtrip, you HAVE to connect with Kaila at GF Life 24/7 I KNOW she went on a roadtrip and was perfectly fine! And she has Celiac and other big allergies, AND she used this super cool in the car portable fridge thing!
    Check her out for tips and help ;)

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    1. AMBER!! THANK YOU!! :D You definitely do make the best of it - your positivity is something I'm always trying to replicate! I'm definitely taking a peak at Kaila's blog for some tips! I still have the return trip to deal with and I'll take all the help I can get! :)

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  3. Casey! I'm so excited for you. It took me a little over a year to get my antibodies "officially" back to normal, but they were pretty close at 9 months.

    I'm still super nervous about traveling too though! I just road tripped across the US. It went beautifully because I brought all my own food, and looked up 100% GF bakeries along our route. Dempsey Bakery in Little Rock, AR, even had microwavable meals that they made, so no cross-contamination (or cross-contact)! For bigger vacations where I fly, our family hasn't tried anything that's not Disney yet. But, we're thinking about going further away next year.

    I hope you have a great summer, and enjoy being in remission!!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that your antibodies settled the heck down just like my did! I'm also psyched to hear that you had such a good time on your trip! That's about exactly what my plan is too - lots of ice chest food and even more research! Yay for prep! Have a great summer and thanks for the comment!

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    2. It sounds like you did an awesome job on your research! How did the icebox work out?!

      P.S: I just realized that I repeated tips on your most recent post, oops!

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  4. Congrats, Casey! That's nice news for the start of the summer. And your break-down of the word "remission" is very clever.

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    1. Thanks, Molly! And the praise is pretty high considering you're the queen of celiac cleverness! :D

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