It’s easy to forget that you’re not the only celiac out there after coming across many people who don’t understand (or believe) your disease. You may feel like no one understands – I know I’ve felt like that at times. But a recent experience reminded me that I’m not alone.
The other day I was at work and incredibly hungry. Sadly, I didn’t pack enough food for the day so I decided to head to the food court. A lot of the restaurants that I came across didn’t seem safe/free of gluten. I became very dispirited and began to feel like no one understood what I was going through… until my boyfriend convinced me to try Jimmy the Greek.
I walked up to the counter a little leery, expecting the typical lack of understanding when explaining celiac disease and being gluten-free. To my surprise the woman behind the counter told me that she had celiac disease too and that everything in the souvlaki dinner was gluten-free. I was astonished – someone who finally understands!!!
She then proceeded to teach me a very good lesson, that I am not alone. There are other celiacs out there and those that understand the struggle. She also said something that surprised me – she told me to stop referring to celiac as a disease. “We are not diseased, we aren’t sick – tell people that you have an allergy. I’ve had this since I was born and I’m perfectly healthy.” It was nice to hear, “we are not diseased.” It’s easy to get caught up with everything that goes with the celiac disease label, so having someone remind me that I’m still healthy made me feel great.
So to all the celiacs out there, or anyone else with a gluten-related sensitivity, remember we are not alone – and we are perfectly healthy.