One year ago today, my life changed. That evening, I prepared for my endoscopy to confirm my diagnosis of Celiac Disease. In doing that, I ate my last meal that included gluten. It was a dinner from a restaurant. My mom had come down to be with me for the procedure, so we ordered out and brought it home to eat.
Life changed a year ago. I knew it was coming. I'd gotten a chance to "last chance" much of the gluten-y items I loved so much. I prepared. But until it actually happened, until I actually went gluten-free, I didn't understand everything. Sometimes I still don't.
A lot in my life has changed since a year ago today. I've eaten gluten on accident a couple of times. I've learned about this new world of Celiac advocacy. I've become active locally in the gluten-free support group in Nashville. I've tried to learn to cook again.
I've had actual nightmares that I accidently ate gluten and when I realized it, I debated on continuing to eat the food. (This is a reoccurring dream for me!) I've gotten so excited when I saw something on the shelf in the store, only to instantly remember I can no longer eat that item.
I've stumbled through grocery store trips, and tried to stand up for myself in restaurants. I've learned that, much like diabetes, "gluten-free" has stigmas. I've nearly cried when I wanted something I can no longer eat. I've nearly cried when I found a suitable gluten-free substitute.
This marks the first full year of my gluten-free life. Diabetes is normal for me. Celiac isn't. Yet. I'm getting there. One day at a time. I'll get better at it. It will be second nature for me, just like diabetes is. It won't be easy all the time (neither is diabetes), but it will be my "normal."
Year one is in the books. On to the rest of my life.