Body and Mind

When describing what I should expect, my doctor named three months as the magic number for healing celiacs. By that time, I would have a normal life. Or, according to my imaginative self, somersault out of bed with a racehorse's energy and tackle world hunger. Well, the three month mark has come and gone, marked red on my mental calendar. My symptoms are another story. I've always been special. Of course. 

Throughout my gluten free adventure, I've tried to stay positive. I shoved worries about my upset stomach and Sleeping-Beauty-complex into the corner and focused on being grateful. At least it's not fatal. At least my little sister doesn't carry the gene. At least I have a support system that kicks gluten's bread-filled butt.  

Yesterday, though. Yesterday sucked because it blew all my "at leasts" and optimism out of the water. I walked into the hospital tired but relaxed: another check up, more questions and advice, and hopefully I'd be back home watching Top Chef reruns within an hour.  Three hours later and three medical procedures scheduled within my last 16 days before college? Not so happy. More like pissed off. Crumbling. Resigned. As paperwork describing each ordeal piled up, I nearly laughed out of disbelief, thinking, "Nothing like a visual dissection of the intestines to gear yourself up for freshman year!"

The fact is, I'm sick of being sick. I'm sick of doctors and horse pills and having to worry about my stomach's reaction to everything I put in my body. 

After hours of inner searching, though, I've discovered what I'm even more sick of: My waterworks and philosophical blubbering sessions; the sharp knives of envy that hit me when I read how others feel amazing days after going gluten free; basically, feeling bad because I'm feeling bad

Now, I realize that these reactions are natural and acceptable. Sometimes, a girl's just gotta have a good cry with a tub of gluten free ice cream, as I've talked about before. Today, though, after weeks on this emotional roller coaster ride, I've decided that even if I can't control the condition of my body, my mind's fair game.

In my fury and frustration over my medical setbacks, this morning I scrubbed my bathroom and shower clean. If porcelain and tile could bleed, be assured I'd be bathed in red for the strength I put behind each swipe. When I stepped away, my room sparkled. I want to do the same power-washing in my mind

Wipe away the scum disfiguring my average college worries to celiac-focused anxieties. I have soared past academic challenges before - new schools, bullying, military deployments - and college will be no different. 

Rearrange my view of food from an intestinal terrorist to a fuel worthy of enjoyment. I am still the foodie I was - just a gluten free cousin. 

Bleach out the negativity, fears, and frustration towards these new health issues and medical procedures. Yes, the timing is about as wonderful as a restaurant appetizer of gluten-filled bread. Yes, they may be uncomfortable and invasive. And yet, I will survive. I've already experienced the intestinal version of Where's-Waldo; three more times won't hurt. 

Any setback - physical or mental - because of celiac disease isn't easy to deal with (as shown by my full serving of teenage angst) but I am determined to make it over the hump. My kick-butt doctor and these extra tests will hopefully aid my physical recovery, but I am in control of my own mental rewiring.

Right now, I'm sitting - relaxing - in my backyard, near the pool. I just meditated with yoga and reflected on my day thus far. I forced down the biggest lunch in weeks and enjoyed most of it. And you know what? It feels pretty great

I'm on the road to peace

Did you get better right after going gluten free? Did you deal with any mental frustrations? Comment below! 


  1. Oh, I feel your pain SO MUCH! In fact, this probably won't be all that reassuring to you because I'm nearly seven months in now and still not feeling much better (I posted about this here and got some reassuring responses from a few readers that might help you gain your peace, too). That said, I'm starting to notice some slight changes, and I've also gotten SO much more used to the idea of having celiac disease. And, as opposed to the years before that when I just felt sick with no explanation, at least now I have a goal I'm working toward, and a means of getting there. I got sick just before my senior year of college, and it suuuucked, especially because I was out of state and insurance didn't cover routine doctor's appointments there. So at least it's good that you're going in to school already knowing what the deal is (or, at least, part of the deal) with an action plan and what sounds like a really great attitude. Good luck!

  2. Actually, you totally made me feel a lot better. It's just comforting to know that I'm not alone - that one "special" patient all the doctors like to talk about, haha.

    That sucks about getting sick during senior year. I guess there's no real good time for celiacs, but that sucks nonetheless. Thanks for the well wishes - extra support is totally appreciated and I will definitely check out your post! And I will take the luck too :)

    1. By the way, rereading my own comment, I just wanted to say I didn't mean to suggest I had it harder or worse than you because of the different timing. You're exactly right, there is NO good time to get diagnosed with celiac disease!

      P.S. My original doctor seemed to think I would feel better right away after cutting out gluten—some of them are just really uninformed.

    2. No worries! I didn't get that at all from your comment :) Yep, it is kind of funny the different "healing times" doctors give. I checked out your blog btw - love it! :)

  3. I've never heard a doctor call 3 months the magic number for healing. The shortest I've ever heard is 18 months. Of course when I hit that mark and was still feeling bad I went through the same emotions as you. I totally and completely get it. Please know that you are not alone in this, most of us are still struggling in one way or another. I'm glad you are able to strive for a healthy mindset in all of this. It's a process, and some days just plain SUCK. But there will be more good days as you go along.

  4. Thanks Alysa for the comment and sorry for the late reply! It's so helpful to hear that I am not alone, from actual people compared to statistics. My postive mindset comes and goes, and I appreciate the capitalization and totally understand it! Hope you are having some good days yourself and I'm trying to hold onto that silver lining! :)


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