I went to a pizza party the other day in celebration of the Seahawks having their first football game of the season. Everyone ordered pizza from a local pizza place. At first, I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to participate, but then someone said they had also ordered some gluten-free pizzas. Now, this would be totally fine for someone who may have gluten sensitivity but not for someone like me who is so sensitive due to Celiac disease. The pizza place even told me there was a possibility of cross contamination from the wheat flour they use for other pizzas. They had no separate cooking facilities. I took a risk, because I was caught up in the social aspect of the day and decided to “push the envelope.” I, for the moment, forgot about the pain I’d experience and ignored the risk of more long-term damage. I guess we all do it. Of course, for the next three to four days, I had extreme stomach pain and inflammation–not to mention other symptoms! While it was fun for the moment, it was not worth the long-term effects of getting into it.
What many people don’t understand is that each time you get into gluten as a Celiac, it does more damage. Dangerous damage, I might add! This is not so with people who are “gluten-sensitive.” While something like this makes them are quite uncomfortable digestively, it doesn’t do long-term harm. Celiac disease, however, is nothing to mess around with for sure. It damages not only the digestive system, but also it causes things like thyroid disease, diabetes, arthritis, Sjogren’s disease, and central nervous system damage, just to name a few. I was told by one of my doctors, that it becomes an autoimmune nightmare! And yet, when you begin to avoid the gluten, all the crazy symptoms over time can go away. But once you develop one or more of these autoimmune problems, I’m afraid it’s usually life long. Hard to turn them around.
The longer Celiac goes undiagnosed, the more damage there will be to that person. Caught early on, however, there isn’t much permanent damage at all. I have had two cousins and a friend’s son die from not taking care of the disease. It’s very important to, “keep your eye on the ball,” so to speak. Because when you look away, the ball drops and the damage is done. So, be diligent, stay positive, and keep cooking fun, gluten-free meals with family and friends. It’s a blessing for both you and them. Anytime there’s a question or doubt, as the old motto says, “leave it out!” The only thing that will happen is you’ll feel better and stay strong. Be well! And thanks for sharing with me. (: