It’s been about a year since Janie’s diagnosis with Celiac disease and though many things in our lives have changed, some have not, like the fact that Janie still is on me all the time, even after I threaten her with violent acts of singing Carpenter’s songs.
Janie lost about 40 pounds because of her dietary changes and in stark contrast, I have taken on the tough responsibility of eating carbohydrates for two, because someone has to enjoy those cupcakes and grilled cheese sandwiches.
About six months into her gluten-free life she started to add things back into her diet that the nutritionist, whom I still think is a doody, initially suggested she eliminate. Apparently a life of gluten damage makes it harder on the body to process other things like dairy, peanuts, corn and thoughts about maybe not always being on me, for Christ’s sake. She hit the corn and dairy hard in the form of cheese enchiladas and hot chocolate from Starbucks. Despite the fact that the hot chocolate is gluten free, it makes her sick every time , which is no less than once daily. I know this because our bank statements are littered with charges for $2.95 at Starbucks. Once these charges showed up four time in one day and though she insists she would never overindulge like that, I find the circumstances highly suspicious.
I haven’t had to get drunk again out of anger and despair, which has been, behind Janie’s overall health improvements, the best reward. I was also going to mention that Janie’s debilitating leg cramps cleared up pretty well, but then last night a tender moment between two responsible and consenting adults turned into a painful leg-clutching scream-fest that was anything but pleasurable. I had to use some psychological techniques that I learned from Dr. Phil but am not board-certified to practice. Afterwards, I held a press conference to talk about the mental state of Britney Spears.
There have also been other gluten-related challenges. Recently we discovered that I’ve been poisoning her tooth brush with the wheat germ in my hair spray. We also realized that she’s been poisoning herself with the corn chips from Azteca that are, likely, fried in the same oil they use to make things like taquitos. One should note, however, that this doesn’t always stop her from eating them because maybe if they are covered in cheese and guacamole and called “nachos,” that will change everything. Water intake and nutritional supplements are key ingredients in the Celiac diet, and this is not what comes easily to someone who refuses to put things in her body that aren’t caffeinated or made out of chips and cheese.
The most difficult part continues to be teaching friends and family about what she can and cannot have. While my father no longer assumes she can eat it because it’s delicious, it’s not always obvious when it comes to contamination. Our friends and family make great efforts to understand and to keep things separated. We appreciate the thought people put into Janie’s dietary limitations and the attempts at understanding the effects that the smallest mistakes can have on her health, because the smallest mistakes really do matter. I can say I know this for sure because I’ve seen her the morning after ingesting some gluten when she isn’t so nice anymore.