Monday, April 28, 2014

Living Gluten-free: The Beginning

My life consisted of three things; school, baseball and sleep. I was living the typical worry-free life of a high school junior. Waiting restlessly for spring to roll around and bless the 2012 Blazer varsity baseball team with beautiful weather, I had worked relentlessly during the offseason in preparation for the season. On pace to have my most productive year, I felt as if the Blazer baseball gods had blessed me with what would be projected as a remarkable season. About halfway through the season, things took a turn for the worst.

In the midst of a strong season, I became gravely ill. I was constantly vomiting all the food I ate and was unable to muster up the strength to go to school. It seemed as though I simply had a stomach virus, but we would soon know that was not the case. My sickness lasted for about two weeks. TWO WEEKS of laying in bed, not going to school but most of all not playing the game I've played since an early age. Within the span of these two weeks I became extremely frail, dropping about fifteen pounds. I had gone to numerous doctors but found no explanation as to what made me so sick. There were so many possible reasons why I was feeling the way I was, though doctors really didn't know what I had. Thus began the process of figuring out what exactly happened.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Living Gluten-free: The Journey to the Truth

Numerous doctors performed several tests on me. It was definitely the worst period of time I had experienced in my short seventeen years. Appointment after appointment no answers were given. It felt as if all hope was lost as I became too exhausted to care. Finally, we had one more test to go through, an endoscopy.

It was the morning of the procedure, I was eager to find out what had made my life a living hell. After undergoing anesthesia, all I remember was blacking out. About an hour later, I woke up abruptly from my medicine induced sleep. I was so out of it, I remember attempting to drink apple juice but I failed miserably as I spilt it all over myself. Finally, after this procedure we determined what was making me sick. I had been diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Celiac Disease is the inability to properly digest gluten; therefore, causing a various number of allergic reactions. I was relieved but had no idea the obstacles I faced in the near future.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Living Gluten-free: Living with the Disease

It has been a little more than two years since I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and I've experienced my fair share of ups and downs. As a junior, college was right around the corner and I worried that my disease would prevent me from going away to school. At first I couldn't accept the fact that I would no longer be able to indulge in the consumption of my favorite foods. Tasting gluten-free pizza for the first time, I immediately began to breakdown in tears because it wasn't the same. The anger that had built up inside was soon to break loose. After weeks of research and tasting new foods, I embraced my illness knowing that it made me unique from others. I now enjoy visiting different restaurants that offer gluten-free choices. Thankfully, I was given the opportunity to attend a prestigious institution such as Penn State, who has a great gluten-free program and has made my transition from home an easy one.

Rather than living in a world of sadness and denial, I became proud of being gluten-free and became somewhat as an ambassador. Through the tough times, my family was there to support me and I don't know where I would be without the support of them. I'm proud to announce that I've been successful in my adjustment to college life while being gluten-free. I realized that although things may get tough in the beginning, it is important to stay strong and never give up. Realizing that things aren't that bad will lead to a life of happiness and the ability to embrace who you truly are.