Ghouls and Glutening

Halloween. Jack-o-lanterns, pumpkins and, for one night, no limit on amount of candy kids can stuff down their fake-blood-covered mouths. Despite the new limitations celiac threw into my Halloween plans, I wasn't too scared. Until the Milky Way monster exploded in my stomach.

Even as I painted on whiskers and put on my cat ears, I knew the risks of trick-or-treating. With every ring of a doorbell, gluten-filled and gluten free treats inbred within my pillowcase, M&M's and twizzlers kissing in the corner. Yet, I couldn't force myself to sit in my dorm, a gluten free only package of purchased candy in hand, while my hall of girls not up the houses. 

My costume this year - here, kitty kitty!

Because celiac disease may get my twisters and my kitkats, but the giggling in the dark, the weight of a pound of sugar pulling on my arm and the memories of running through the streets, a band of crazy-costumed geeks, is all mine

And, honestly, I didn't mind giving up all my gluten-filled candy. Until I missed one: Milky Way, original. The others are safe, I later learned, my glutened eyes fighting to stay open as scanned my computer screen. Just the mini original - whose allergy info didn't include wheat - that uses barley

When I saw that ingredient, I cried. I cried a lot actually this whole week of recovery. I cried that my friends were able to devour every one of their candies without worry, while I combed through mine - but not enough. I cried that one six letter word from a chocolate the size of my pinkie could steal every ounce of energy, clear thought and emotional stability I once had. 

Curse you Milky Way!
The recovery was hard. Dragging myself to class felt like a marathon, gluten fog translated my homework to Greek and the littlest challenge had me calling Mom in hysterics. The worst part, though, was no one understood. How could they? Being glutened isn't something they can catch, like the flu or a cold. 

Now, a week later, I can finally say I survived. It wasn't fun. It wasn't easy. But I excelled as a college student even when I didn't feel human. I learned I could get by without my parents supporting me on either side. And, most importantly, I learned the true meaning of tired.

Before this episode, being tired was my ultimate excuse. "I'd love to go to that club meeting," I'd say, "But class really wore me out." The daily fatigue that accompanies my disease was my shield against trying to break into the club members that bonded while I was glued to a hospital IV pole

No more. If I functioned as a zombie, I can thrive as my down-beaten self. So, when my hall decided to go to a fancy dinner together at Olive Garden on Friday, a few days after I regained most of my humanity, I said yes despite my yawns. And you know what? I had a great time. We ate (salad, minus the croutons, for me), we laughed and we flirted with the waiter like a usual bunch of college gals. 

My hall looking cute for Halloween

Halloween scared me good this year, but this black cat has nine lives. Even better, though, I have this life. And I am determined - despite any obstacle - to live it to the fullest

What happens to you after being glutened? How was your Halloween? Comment below! 


  1. NOOOO boooo. It sucks that the original Milky Way's are not GF but the caramel and midnight are GF. I will never understand...

    Glad you are feeling better!

  2. I'm so glad to hear that you bounced back so quickly (eating at Olive Garden so soon after a "poisoning"). I am usually gripped w/ fear for a few months after a glutening. I remember right after my diagnosis I wanted a Butterfinger and it was about 10:00 at night. I was still calling every company back then to check for gluten. I couldn't find any current info and I cried. Like a baby and a girl, I cried because I just couldn't be sure and had to abstain. It's a daily disease, this disease. But you seem to be navigating with a great attitude!


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