Today is the anniversary of my gluten free life. It was about this time that I posted my Thoughts on Going Gluten Free. I had just been diagnosed with celiac disease. I was feeling awful physically, emotionally and spiritually. I'm happy to say that a year has brought about much change and healing.
Right away my Vitamin D levels rebounded from a scary low. Within a month I lost my dull headache, regained some energy and didn't feel like I needed a nap at every turn. The fog was lifting. While the new diet was frustrating at times, it was apparent that I was on on the right track.
It's amazing that in restriction you find freedom.
At first I wondered what I would eat. And then I began finding all these wonderful blogs, written by people who shared their stories and also their gluten free creations. And I was happy to be able to cook food for my family that seemed "normal." Navigating eating out seemed impossible at first, but even that worked itself out.
I kept reading and reading. I discovered that the genetic links with celiac are strong. In the past year we have found out that Emersyn has celiac disease. My sister does too, and as a result of her diagnosis, we found out my nephew also reacts to gluten.
Both my sister's gastroenterologist and a specialist that we saw at KU Med Center believe that my mom's death from pancreatic cancer had its roots in undiagnosed celiac disease. That's heavy information to process. I've read that celiac is a premalignant condition and it makes perfect sense. A damaged small intestine becomes permeable and begins to let "toxins" into your system, things that would normally be filtered out in the digestion process.
Within the last month we discovered that Quinlyn is also gluten intolerant and her system is currently reacting to dairy, eggs and soy as well. For the next three months, we will be avoiding these things too. My abrupt annoucement that I was done taking holiday orders had much more to do with this information than it did an influx of holiday orders. Gluten free baking needs eggs. Soy is in nearly everything processed. Check your labels, you will see it in one form or another...soy lechitin, soybean oil, it's there. And dairy...well let's just say Quin's favorite food was cheese. Who would have ever thought that I would long for the days of being "just" gluten free???
Yet I know that in restriction you can find freedom and healing. And I'm hopeful that even with these new restrictions we will get there as well.
It feels like I've become a housewife from the forties. I'm making things from scratch that most of you can pick up at the grocery store. I'm looking at every gathering, school day and function and trying to figure out where there will be food so that I can make something for my girls that will be similar to what everyone else is having. It's much less about the food that they are giving up, because I know I can make them good and healthy food, and much more about being set apart. It's hard to be different.
I'm also trying to figure out how to trust others will take care of my youngest's dietary needs, when it's hard to believe that anyone else will read a label with the scrutiny that I do. At four, she's pretty "gluten savvy" already, but not quite up to reading labels on her own.
I'm not going to lie. There are days I'm beyond exhausted. I also know that there are far worse things than food restrictions. I'm trying to be intentional about remembering the blessings on this road--there have been many. It blesses me to tears to see Em's friends look out for her. They just know. It blesses me when someone makes something they know I can eat. It blesses me when people just recognize the struggle.
Life is taking more of my energy these days and cooking for my family is almost a full time job. But you know what? I wouldn't trade it. It isn't easy, but it is worth it.
All that to say...I'm not sure when I will begin taking orders again. For now I am pausing to focus on my family. I trust I will know when the time is right. Until then, thank you all for your support, for your knitting orders and recommending me to your friends. I can't thank you enough.
I will still be blogging here and there, however. I've got a group of 4Hers that will be needing some resources.