relieved. happy. hopeful. positive. grateful.
that's how i feel today.

today has been the first time since i stopped eating gluten that i've really reflected on the changes i've made and how far i've come. 

i remember in elementary school, my doctor thought that i had food allergies, but since none of the maybe two that he assumed were the culprits were a problem, he decided it must be nothing.

it didn't really show up as a digestive issue for years, at least not one that i noticed on a daily basis. growing up, i was always sick a little more often that the other kids, and when anyone at school was sick, it was a sure thing that i would be too. right after high school i even got whooping cough. seriously? my neighbor called me and said "hey the 1800's called, they want their diseases back."  i even joined a group on facebook called "my immune system hates me". also after high school, my stomach was upset more often and i stopped doing a lot of things that i enjoy, like hiking and running. pretty much exercise in general.

fast-forward a few years to a bad end to a worse relationship, and i was sick for months. i thought i was just really stressed out, so i even went to a therapist. after a couple of weeks he told me that there was no way my stress was making me as sick as i was. i was projectile vomiting multiple times a day, not to be disgusting, but there's no way to put that mildly. i'll spare you the worse details of those what? like 6 months? at least.. it was terrible. (celiac disease can lie dormant as a digestive issue for years, until set off by a period of great stress)

i went to a doctor who did tests on my colon and gallbladder, and my gallbladder was shutting down. he said that this happens sometimes and they aren't sure why, but that it had "turned to sludge" and he was going to have to take it out. (note: i'm active on celiac forums and have heard a lot of people say they lost their gallbladder before their diagnosis as well. a couple of women said they refused the surgery and went gluten-free and that their gallbladders healed themselves over time. i have no medical proof, but i'm guessing there might be a correlation there.)

after my gallbladder was taken out, things didn't get better. i was still sick all the time and now even more depressed about it. seriously guys, chronic illnesses are SO depressing to the person suffering from them. so anyways, another fast-forward a couple of years to going gluten-free and then having the diagnosis confirmed by a new, competent doctor: i've been off of gluten for a little over a year now. and i feel amazing. not only has all that "terrible bloating that comes when you're constantly putting things into your body, only to reject it" gone away, but i eat a lot healthier, and that makes me feel great too. the best part? i regularly go on hikes now and exercise almost every day, although school sometimes leaves little time for it. AND last night i ran an 8minute mile in the cold rain! i know that isn't a great time or anything, but for me it's amazing that i'm even out there doing it again in the first place. :)

i feel good. i feel like i've come a long way in this regard. being sick held me back from doing a lot and from being really happy. it ruined my self-image for a while. now i feel like i'm reclaiming my body from gluten. that sounds extra dorky, but i'm extremely relieved that this is all working out. finally.

oh and in the past year and however many months? i've had maybe 2 or 3 colds. the only time i'm really sick is if i somehow accidentally ingest gluten.

[edit] i should also note that it hasn't been easy, and while sometimes it does get easier, it just goes right back to being a challenge. it's definitely not the easiest lifestyle, but i would so much rather live this way than ever go back to how i felt before. i'll take the hard road any day if it benefits me this much. :)

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