In today’s internet age, most of us who get a diagnosis to start a gluten free diet, hit the internet and hit it pretty hard. I remember, at the beginning, staying up late at night because I’d read some information that contradicted information I’d read earlier. What was wrong? Could sources not agree on the facts? If those in the know couldn’t agree, how was I ever to get it right?
After meeting with my dietitian, I was introduced to the website for the Canadian Celiac Association http://www.celiac.ca. She told me that this site is vetted by qualified doctors in the field and is well respected internationally. I later found out that other sites for different organisations have differing agendas and are not necessarily reliable. So now I had a reliable source for information, and I couldn’t absorb it quick enough. I wanted to understand all the terms, all the meanings of the bloodwork results, the definitions, the exact scope of intestinal damage, and what “parts per million” actually meant. It all seemed a bit much, but I had to get a handle on this thing.
The reading and investigating, and late nights on the internet, even on the reliable site, caused me such anxiety. How could I do this? How could anyone do this? So much to know. So much to change. I remember one day, very early on, I had made contact with another mother who was also celiac, and she suggested I come by for a visit and chat. The day before we planned to meet, was a busy one for me. I had a meeting in the morning, a playgroup with my youngest and later had to take both kids to their swimming lessons – regular busy Mom stuff. My mind was not really into everything yet and I thought, no problem, can’t stop for lunch, so I’ll throw a granola bar into my bag and have it while the kids are at swimming. Oats aren’t wheat, and I’d read somewhere that I could have oats. I was busy, this would work.
I ate the granola bar. The reaction was swift and brutal. I was not able to drive home. I was unable to function from the pain.
I rallied somewhat the next day and was anxious to speak to my new friend about what had happened. She taught me that not all oats are created equal and although oats were actually gluten free, as I had read, by the time they are processed, we can’t eat them.
I would go on to make more mistakes and learn more each day about how to manage my diet. It was a very happy day for me when I was actually able to buy “pure” gluten free oats that were specifically processed for people who could not eat gluten. Oats are now a regular part of my diet, but I will never forget what happened when I didn’t get it right.