Monday, December 5, 2011

Relieved - Good Numbers

Not to sound overdramatic, but on December 3, 2010, I got a phone call from the doctor that changed my life: I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  It felt like the rug was pulled out from under me.  It was just hard - the doctor keep referring to it as a life sentence, and it definitely felt like that - a gluten jail.  And I worked to change my diet, but even in the summer, when I had bloodwork done, it showed virtually no change.  I felt like a big failure.  My number was way over 100 (goal is to first break through and get below 100 and eventually get down to about 20).  I wasn't being hyper-vgiliant and addressing the issue of cross contamination.  So, I went back to the drawing board, ditched Kix cereal and a couple of other things.  And over Thanksgiving break, I had bloodwork done again.  I called today, and had to wait all day for the GI specialist to call back.  To say I was nervous was an understatement: I was gripping the phone all day waiting and waiting.  I was in class from 4-6, and had resigned myself at that point that I was missing the call.  And when I walked out of class, I saw a voicemail from the doctor's.  My breath quickened in anticipation of the news.  Please tell me that I had improved, please, please, please, I had really tried - let me get below 100.

I finally showed some improvement!  After 11 months on the new diet, with continual steps to modify the diet, I had showed some improvement!  And yes, there is still a lot of work to be done to get my number down to 20, but I had improved.
I am very relieved.  Last December and January, things just seemed so bleak.  And I know now that getting handed this kind of diagnosis is not really the end of the world - a lot of people have to deal with a lot more challenges.  But, it was hard to keep perspective and keep the faith.  I would well up going to the grocery store or the mall - walking by aisles and stores with now-taboo products.  I don't get upset going there anymore.  Sure, the smell of a cinnamon bun or Blue Moon Beer still are a little tantalizing (after all, I still have a nose, eh?), but no more tears.
I am making a new life for myself.  It may not have been what I anticipated, but I am figuring it out.  And I am not doing it alone.  The only way that this has been possible is with a lot of support from friends and family.  My parents especially have had the brunt of it - they've had a lot of frustrated and upset calls from me in the past year, yet they have helped me tremendously.  Some key friends too have just offered so much support - it was not a solo effort.

The journey ahead is still unknown, but today I can say thank you for improving health - something not to be taken for granted.


  1. Hope you'll be OK. I like to read your pieces.

  2. Hey, so glad your numbers are coming down. What are the tests for this? I have an UC diagnosis, but i am starting to think there make be some gluten issues as well, what did you do for a diagnosis?