Celebrating One Year of Celiac and College

One year can mean a lot of things. One year spent with a significant other. One year in a new home. Or, in my case, one year since celiac entered my life and my life changed as I started college.

It's been a long year, school and otherwise. When I was first diagnosed, I had no idea of the journey that awaited me. Of the hospital stay. The loss of physical strength and curves. The struggle with self-love.

I had no idea where life would take me...
In my mind, my celiac diagnosis mimics my first day at college: I entered the campus lost, but dreaming of the friends, accomplishments and adventures waiting around the corner. So I skipped into my first class blindly, oblivious to the stress, papers and all-nighters also etched in my yearly planner. And then they hit me. 

As I sit in my near-empty dorm room, it seems unreal. Am I really shedding my title as a freshman and celiac newbie so soon? At the same time, though, as the screeches of vacuums and masking tape fill the hallways, I can't help but laugh. Because, I did it! Because, starting tomorrow, I can finally scream, "I told you so!" 

I can say it to the doctors who placed hands on my shoulders and wondered out loud if "you shouldn't take a semester off college?"

I can say it to the school nurses who judged the likelihood of my academic success by the number on a scale.

Scales don't weigh determination!
And I can say it to myself, who, at my lowest times, questioned if I was strong enough to be a celiac and a full-time college student. 

To that girl, I can finally say yes. I can say that the ending weeks of this year were worth every night crying to Mom on the phone. I can point out that growth never happens without some growing pains

I entered Point Loma Nazarene University as an unsure and sickly girl. I didn't know how to balance college socials and celiac cooking. As I leave Hendricks Hall for the last time, a strong, experienced young woman is dragging boxes across the threshold. I still have health problems to deal with. I still have insecurities and doubts about my future. 

But, I won't let the struggles of my past or my present cloud the triumphant moments of this past year. If anything, these last twelve months have shown that I'm too stubborn for that. 

So instead of the hospital, I think of the friends - three of the best gal pals I've ever made - celiac disease has brought into my life. 

Kendall and Me watching The Other Woman
Instead of the insecurities I shared with the Internet, I think of how my blog cemented my choice to turn writing into my career

And instead of my painful first semester, I think of how the weeks leading up to these two anniversaries - the weeks when I finally mastered balancing celiac and college - have been the happiest moments of my school career. 

It's true that one year can mean a lot of things. To me, though, it means that it's time to celebrate. In particular, time to celebrate the past, the present, and the many one-years still to come. 

It's time to smell the roses...

What did you do for your one-year diagnosis anniversary? How did you grow after diagnosis/first year in college? Comment below! 


  1. I was diagnosed during college :) I actually took a smaller course load the semester before because I was sick, but made it through once I was diagnosed. I was so weak when I started the semester (diagnosed over Christmas break) that my mom and sister moved all the kitchen supplies into my dorm room for me. I'm so impressed by your full-time student status. You rock! And, I was skiing or snowboarding for my 1 year anniversary, which was sweet because I missed the season before. Love your blog as always <3

    1. I'm sorry that you experienced those challenges during college! As I've discovered, it's definitely not easy! I'm still in shock that I survived - but it was definitely worth it!

      Snowboarding sounds like an amazing 1 year anniversary! I'll have to figure out something awesome to do! :) Thanks for the comment and keep kicking celiac's butt! :D

  2. Congratulations on the big millstones: First year of college and first gluten-free anniversary, or as I like to call it, "My gluten-free birthday." Both of these occasions for me were filled with many ups and downs, and tremendous growths. Sounds like the same is true for you. Keep trusting the process, things will continue to get easier and I'm sure each year you will be surprised with what you learn about yourself. Here's how I have celebrated my gluten-free birthdays. I can't believe this year I will celebrating 5 years!! http://www.embracegfree.com/tag/gluten-free-birthday/

    1. Thanks for the comment and I love that you call it a "gluten free birthday!" Totally stealing that one from you! :) That sounds like great advice to follow and I hope that you have an amazing birthday for your 5 years!


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