Rock-a-By, Celiac?

I've used the analogy before: celiac disease as a masked bandit, stealing my weight, my running and my self esteem in one smooth swoop. More than ever, though, I wonder, "Will I let it get my possible future children, too?"

The genetic risks of having a child has crossed my mind before. Although I haven't publicized it on the blog, I actually have another autoimmune disorder called fibromyalgia. For those of you who don't know, it involves the over-firing of pain receptors throughout the body. This causes people with fibro (as we call it) to experience constant pain, stay sore longer after physical exertion (because the muscles heal slower) and even have "fibro-fog," the ultimate brain fart

Breaking it down... (Source)
I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia at age 10 after I severely broke my wrist and didn't go to the hospital until the next day because it "didn't hurt more than usual." 

Flash forward eight years when celiac disease added more pages to my tree-killer of a medical file. Just like after my fibromyalgia diagnosis, celiac disease didn't seem too bad at first. After all, I figured I'd already experienced the worst of it, i.e. the joy of gluten shredding my insides. At least with celiac I could stop m y pain by walking away from the bread! And, luckily for me, going gluten free has drastically improved my fibromyalgia symptoms as well.

Nearly ten years into fibro and a year into celiac, though, my vision of the future is littered with medical charts. I'm finally at the age where I have to perform the nope-no-sex-for-me dance with the doctor. Now, compared to schoolgirls giggling at a slumber party, my dorm mates and I seriously discuss how many kids we dream of having. I've always had the same answer: "Two at least, three at most, including one or more adopted." 

The adorable mini-Casey!
Except now, as I look down at my skinny legs and pat the belly bloated from forced over-feeding to make up for lost wisdom teeth weight, I wonder

I wonder: Do I dare birth a child knowing my genetics could damn them to my same fate?

Now I won't sell myself short. My genes aren't celebs, but they're not on the streets. I'm moderately intelligent, extremely hardworking and (sometimes) socially competent. Plus I can whip up a killer gluten free pizza. 

But I also carry the time bombs. With one little gene, they could never know what it feels like to not hurt. They could have to suffer through glutenings, to be the weirdo who turns down birthday cake at a party, to view their body as an enemy that constantly needs to be restrained. I could be the reason they cry.
I could doom them to this...
I also wonder, though: How can I not dare? How can I let yet another part of me - my choice to have a biological child - be driven by my disease(s). The fact is, genetics don't play by set rules. My parents debated over whether to have me for worry of passing on my Mom's fibro (which was, at the time, misdiagnosed as the fatal disease of lupus). They decided to do it, and, in the end, I got fibro from Mom and celiac from Dad. Go figure. No, really, someone show me the figures

Because when, or if, I have a baby, the figures will be equally impossible to calculate. My baby may get it, they might not. Scientists may have a cure for celiac disease, fibromyalgia or (hopefully) both by that time. Maybe not. And we won't even mention the variables that my husband might bring...

One thing that is certain? If my baby inherits those diseases, they'll inherit other things as well. They'll inherit the feeling of accomplishment and empowerment after eating out safely for the first time. Medical jargon will form a bond between my child and thousands of other affected individuals all around the globe. And if my health struggles have given me anything, it's an appreciation for good days and a solid spine of stubbornness during the bad. 

Street cred? Not so much...
Disease can steal a lot from a person, but, as I dream vaguely of a child - biological, adopted, or just babysat - in my arms, I know there is one thing it can't take from me: an open-ended possibility. And right now, a baby of my own is just that.  


Have you ever felt like a disease stole something from you? Does a health problem/food allergy/celiac impact the way you view having kids? Comment below! 

Comments

  1. Keep that possibility 100% open! If you want a child you have that child and the best damn family ever! You would be a beautiful loving wonderful mom able to teach so so many valuable lessons! XOXO

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    1. Exactly! Thanks for the positive reinforcement and the comment! Who knows what the future holds, but I'm excited to find out! :)

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  2. I know it's hard to not be able to plan the future the way that we plan other things, but that's where faith comes in! Casey, if there are any children in this world who have to go through half of what you have, I pray that you are their mom! There would be nobody better for the job :) Cross that bridge when you get to it. You have plenty of time to decide!

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    1. Definitely! Thank you so much for the comment and praise Kendall! You'd be a rockin mom too - I'm laughing picturing you doing squats and overhead presses with a baby in your arms! ;) Yep, thank goodness for time! I got a lot of adventurin' to do first! :)

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  3. Not going to lie, this thought has crossed my mind quite a few times, because I deal with other health issues that I have not revealed on my blog. And I wonder, if all the pain/suffering/tests/doctors appts/procedures I've had since a very young age could be the fate for my own child. I would look into genetic counseling, or whatever it is, when test your DNA with your spouses to see WHAT traits you may pass on....but like Kendall said, we have time on our side :)

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    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one! That's a great idea - at least then we'd know what we were getting into. And thank goodness for time! Who knows what'll happen, but I'll be ready when the time comes! :)

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  4. stay positive friend. I know you will! healing and your future is in god's hands. xxoo

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    1. Thanks for the love! And yes - so true! :)

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  5. Casey, I've been catching up on your posts and I wish we could have a real life coffee date one day haha. Families come in so many forms and you'll make a great mom one day (if you choose that route). Also, congrats on having your Celiac panel be in the normal range--- all your hard work is paying off and I can't wait to see how you take on your gluten free life this upcoming year. It's so nice to know we are in it together!

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    1. I wish we could too! A mental coffee date is on the books! Thanks for the praise - it's definitely hard work, but I'm glad to see the results. And yep, unity makes everything better! :D

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  6. There are so many possibilities that the future holds. Despite having a handful of medical issues having children of my own has never been a doubt of my mind, but on the other side of that I often worry about having those conversations with a future boyfriend. Food issues are bound to come up quickly, but I worry about having to tell them about my chronic pain condition. As my mom says to me all the time, some with love you for Exactly who you are! If you ever need support feel free to email me. :)

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story with me! Nothing like hearing others' point of view while in a similar boat! Right now, I definitely smile at the idea of having kids with my own, so we'll just wait and see! :) Good luck with your journey and stay amazing! :D

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