Gluten Free Not For Me

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

A creative non-fiction piece I've written for an assessment. This is a first draft, but I'm happy with it.

Gluten-free Not For Me.

Who doesn’t like food? I know I love it. But what if one day you were told you can’t have your favourite food anymore? You can’t have that disgustingly greasy, but amazing-tasting burger from McDonalds. You can’t have the delicious mouth-watering sandwiches from Subway.

I went to the doctor one day, because I was sick and tired and a burn I had just wasn’t healing, despite six months of treatment. The doctor I usually saw wasn’t there that day, which I was happy about because I didn’t like him and thought he was creepy (but that’s another story for another time), so I had this female doctor. She was older and seemed kind of batty. She ran full blood-tests, which made my mum happy because no other doctor had thought to do that. When the results came back, my usual doctor was there so I had to go and see him. When I was in his office, I could see the smile lingering on his lips, like he wasn’t trying to smile. Then he told me I have low iron, and then he said “and I think you have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease. Let’s get some more blood tests.” So I did. He said he was looking for Lupus, but the test came back negative and said I definitely have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease (MCTD). I could see he was excited, MCTD is rare and he had just diagnosed it. That was probably the reason he didn’t tell me to see a specialist to confirm his diagnoses, he wanted to be right.
After my burn had healed, after a whopping eighteen months, I decided never to go back to that doctor. I didn’t like him. Not long after though, a new medical practice opened in my town, I took it as a blessing and decided to visit the new doctor. I was still getting tired and sick all the time, despite the iron tablets and meat I was eating.
This doctor was good. He was nice and he didn’t make me feel like I was making it all up. He ran some tests and said my iron was still very low, and he said it was weird because I was on iron tablets for at least six months by that point. He said “You might have celiac disease.” And I fought the urge to laugh in his face. But I got the test done any way.
It came back positive. I could have cried. No more burgers, no more croissants. Not without pains in my belly. I went home and told my mum what this silly doctor had told me, she told me her Dad’s Dad and his Dad both died from bowel cancer (you get that if you’re celiac and don’t go on a gluten-free diet). I laughed and laughed and laughed. For almost a year I thought I had some weird auto-immune disease, but all I had was celiac disease. Easily treatable. The doctor told me I would never be able to eat gluten again. Whereas if I was lucky and just had an intolerance, it might have gone away one day.
I lost a lot of weight after starting the diet. I didn’t want to eat anything but cereal and stir-fry, because they were the only things that didn’t taste like cardboard. I tried all the different foods and found some I do like, but they are way too expensive, I mean $10 for two tiny little meat pies that aren’t anywhere as good as the normal meat pies!

After being diagnosed with celiac, I got more blood tests to see if I was wrongly diagnosed with MCTD the first time. I wasn’t, it made me so sad. So, I became that weird girl who looks at the label of every single thing I pick up in the grocery store, unless it is clearly labelled as ‘gluten-free’. I am now the weird girl who asks everyone in a food-shop if what they’re about to give me is gluten free. I hate having to pay extra when I go out because of a disease I can’t control, and the food tastes like cardboard most of the time.

I remember how bad I felt for my parents when I was living with them. I didn’t have a job, so they had to pay for my food. My mum would go to Aldi and do a weeks’ worth of shopping for about $100, she would then go to Woolworths or Coles and get what she couldn’t from Aldi and the little food that tasted good and I wanted to eat and would easily spend as much in there as in Aldi and got not even half of the products.
One day, I thought ‘no, I won’t let someone decide my diet for me!’ and I ate disgustingly greasy, but oh-so-delicious cheese burger from McDonalds. I woke up in so much pain the next morning, but it was worth it. I really miss those burgers. I eat them a lot, now that I think about it.

A little while, maybe six months after first being diagnosed, I was still getting bloated and yucky, and crampy when I was eating, despite being pretty strict on my diet for two or three months, so I decided to try lactose-free milk, because I really didn’t want soy milk. I tasted good and helped my belly. I almost cried again, when I learned I now couldn’t even have plain chocolate, which is technically gluten free. Yeah, this diet sucks.

The point of this story is – eating gluten free really sucks and I don’t know why there are idiots out there who think it’s healthy and going to help them lose weight. No, it won’t, you’ll hurt your intestines and then you will have to eat gluten free for the rest of your life, so enjoy the cardboard restrictions, idiots.

Writing this has really made me crave a burger, now.

Submitted: August 21, 2013

© Copyright 2021 katechaa. All rights reserved.

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Criss Sole

My heart really goes out to you. When I was a kid I had some skin condition that doctors could not diagnose. Around the age of 6 I became a huge fan of cured meat, like prosciutto. We had moved countries and now more food possibilities opened up to me and I was excited trying everything. I lived for it. So what do doctors say? My skin reaction is most likely caused by the cured meat, even though I had it long before I even tried eating those tasty things. I was no longer allowed to touch it. Decades later my mom looks back on the moment and says she will forever remember how hard I cried. For me, it was the end of the world.

Years later I found out it had nothing to do with my diet and there was a simple cream for it.

As far as doctors go, I've had my share of quacks. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Mon, August 26th, 2013 11:39am

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