Tomorrow is my one year anniversary of being gluten free. And, coincidentally enough, I will be designing my gluten free wedding cake tomorrow on this milestone anniversary. I'm honestly amazed.
I feel like I am living a fairytale right now. Everything is just falling into place, as if the universe is just going about its master plan and I'm just here to enjoy it all. I am loving every second.
There really isn't a more perfect date for this cake appointment to fall on. It is proof of this incredible transformation and journey that I have made this past year. Before this year, I had never ever succeeded at this diet. No sooner had I started the diet, that I was falling off the wagon again. It was so rough for so many years. I didn't think I would ever be able to abide by this restrictive diet. What good could possibly come from denying myself all of my favorite foods? And how would I not starve to death?
I resented this disease for a long, long time. I even convinced myself that despite my "definitive diagnosis," the doctor had it all wrong and there was something else wrong with me. I told myself that no one could ever get this diet right 100% of the time, so I gave myself permission to stop trying. I would eat these poisonous foods until my body felt on the brink of a strike. Then I'd be on a loose (ahem...very loose) gluten free diet for a few days until I was met with my nemisis -- a sandwich. I'm sure everyone around me rolled their eyes when I told them I was going gluten free again! I probably said that SO many times, and every time I wouldn't follow through.
I had my "Why Me?" period too. I wanted everyone to feel as sorry for me as I felt for myself. I was downright depressed at the thought of giving up seemingly EVERYTHING for the rest of my life. I felt like my future was bleak. I didn't want to do it. I didn't want to live without chicken nuggets, or macaroni and cheese, or french toast! How could I go to Disneyland and NOT have a churro? Was I never going to get a corn dog or funnel cake at the Arizona State Fair ever again?
Then I got mad. I distinctly remember saying, or rather, yelling, "THIS IS FREAKING STUPID!! HOW DO THEY EXPECT ANYONE TO DO THIS STUPID DIET! IT'S NOT POSSIBLE!!!!" I thought, unless I starve to death or enjoy walking around looking like a twig, there's no way I could survive giving up gluten.
And then my body didn't give me a choice. It told me when the it was time to stop making excuses for how I was living and to start looking at the reality of the situation. A year ago I was so miserably ill. I could barely stomach any food without extreme nausea and stomach cramps. There was one day that I couldn't leave the house because I honestly could not get my butt off the toilet. That day I took twice the recommended dosage of immodium and it didn't do a thing. I had to have my boyfriend get me wet wipes because I was going so frequently. I would cry on the toilet and then cry when I tried to sit down. I'm sorry for giving so much information, I just really want everyone to know that there comes a point when your body just can't take it anymore. And I know most of us probably have similar horror stories. After the extreme diarrhea subsided, I had cramps so bad in my abdomen that I couldn't do anything. It was hard to stand, sit, breathe, talk, think, sleep. I couldn't eat anything. My appetite vanished. I'd try to eat things easy on my stomach, and I'd get a bite or two in and have to stop. I couldn't handle soda for weeks. For the first time since my diagnosis, I listened to what my body was telling me.
After a short time of a light, gluten free diet, I started feeling better. A lot better. This time was different. I don't know how to explain it, but it was like once I started, I couldn't quit. I wasn't going to let myself down. And most importantly, I didn't want to let Brandon down. I don't know if he fully understands how much motivation he gave me then and how much he continues to give me. I knew if I gave up again, he would be really disappointed in me, and that was enough to keep me on the straight and narrow. I would think of having to tell him that I ate some sort of glutenous treat that day and how bad it would make me feel to let him down. That was my motivation. I was amazed at how easy it became to turn forbidden items down. And soon it became, "Well, I haven't cheated once in two months, I can't ruin this streak now!" I could see with every passing month that Brandon was so proud of me, and heck, I was really proud of me too. I had accomplished the impossible.
And that brings us to today. In the beginning, there was a LOT of researching. A lot of finding out that oops, maybe this ketchup isn't gluten free after all! (see previous post). Lets face it, I had a lot of learning to do in the kitchen too. Everything I made before was convenient, frozen, terrible-for-my-gut foods. I had to learn how to make everything. But in the process of learning how to cook, I learned a lot about myself. Cooking and baking is now a passion of mine that I crave. I don't even care what I make, I just have to be in the kitchen. Brandon has always been my biggest supporter. He is up for anything I want to try. Even when I have cooked something that I am hesistant about, he soothes my worried nerves and most importantly, he eats it without a complaint. He is just as knowledgable about this disease as I am, and he speaks up for me when sometimes I am too shy to do it myself.
That is why I am so excited to be picking out my gluten free wedding cake on this anniversary. I consider having a gluten free wedding cake to be a HUGE accomplishment for me, and I owe it all to him--the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with. I've never been happier in my whole life.