Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Even I Panic Sometimes

Back in high school, I was on the Dance Team and I was editor of the our school paper. When the status of whether or not Dance Team was a sport came under fire, naturally, I wrote an editorial describing our position. I remember quoting a Shawn Mullins song where he said, "Ain't it a blessing to do what you wanna do." I just heard another Shawn Mullins song, but his voice always brings me back to that struggle.

It seemed so insignificant to others, but gaining the recognition and status of being a sport had huge implications. My high school was ahead of its time in giving the Dance Team the status of "sport" rather than "activity" right from the start. The football team confirmed we deserved that status when they were completely incapable of completing a full dance team practice after we breezed through one of their football practices.

Back to the quote. "Ain't it a blessing to do what you wanna do." One of the biggest struggles with Celiac Disease is simply not being able to do what you want to do unless you change your viewpoint. We can't just run to McDonalds for a quick meal or order delivery from any restaurant that delivers. We can't go to any gathering that includes food and eat whatever we want without asking a million questions, and even then, we often can't eat anything.

The other day was our 6 month wedding anniversary. We were both busy trying to get stuff done all day, and when it came to the end of the day and time to eat dinner, neither of us wanted to cook. We decided to order takeout from a local pizza place that is very good about avoiding cross contamination for their sandwiches that are served on gluten-free bread. I sighed with relief after we ordered because I was starving, and now I wasn't going to have to deal with it. 15 minutes later, they called us to let us know they were very sorry, but they were completely out of gluten-free bread.

At that point, I didn't care if we got a nice anniversary meal. I just wanted to eat, so I went to the kitchen to make the turkey my husband had said was in the refrigerator. It wasn't there. It was quickly located in the freezer--frozen solid. All of our meat was frozen, our cupboards were fairly bare (except for a million gluten-free baking mixes and flour), and we didn't even have lunch meat to make a sandwich. My pathetic back-up meal when I'm in a total pinch has become crackers, cheese, and possibly lunchmeat. We had no crackers.

Neither one of us was dressed to leave the house, but we decided we would order take-out from Outback and brave the cold temps to pick it up. Unfortunately, they closed at 9:00 and it was 9:05. Every other restaurant that had safe gluten-free takeout available also closed at 9pm.

At that point I wanted to cry. I was starving, I felt like I was going to pass out, and I had no idea what we were going to do. I knew things could be worse and we could have literally had no food or money to even get food if we wanted it, but I was in a hunger frenzy.

We ended up with frozen hot dogs that had been in our freezer since our rehearsal dinner. I'm pretty sure they had soy in them because they wound up making me sick (my soy reaction is brain fog, horrendous gas, etc), but I have no idea because we didn't have their original packaging and I hadn't originally planned on eating them. The leftover hot dogs were supposed to be for last minute meals for my step-son because what kid doesn't like hot dogs.

It's been two days so I can laugh at how much I overreacted, but it also taught me a lesson. I like to think I'm very good at staying positive about the gluten-free diet. I think a lot of people overreact far too often, but this situation brought me back down to earth. It's been a while since I was in a panic over what I was going to eat because I'm normally so well prepared. I was definitely humbled.

"Ain't it a blessing to do what you wanna do..." We can't always do what we want to do. BUT, we can choose to want to do those things that will keep us prepared. We can choose to arm ourselves with knowledge to make the best of the gluten-free diet so we don't get sick. We can choose to keep our own homes stocked with a minimum of food so there is at least something to eat unlike what I did ;)

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