I can almost feel the shock when I think back to the moment in 2008 when I learned our glutenous lives were over. Well, at least Bryan’s was. We were sitting in a hospital room in Bangkok, Thailand and the results were in: Bryan had Celiac disease.
I was thankful he had a diagnosis. For months I had watched my husband waste away to the point he was losing another pound every day and barely functioning. I would wake him up at night to make sure he was breathing. It shouldn’t have gotten that bad.
This picture is the moment I knew he would be okay. He started acting like himself and goofing off in the hospital room. I remember crying in thanks to the Lord over “the robot” dance.
Bryan was released from the hospital on his 29th birthday. Bryan, feeling much better, wanted beef for his birthday. We lived in India at the time so we ate very little beef. (We had flown to Bangkok only for emergency medical care.) So, we went to Outback Steakhouse.
Bryan’s mom and I looked nervously at the bread delivered to our table. One of us told the waiter he could take it away. I loved bread! But I loved my husband more.
Over the next months, as Bryan had cravings, I would experiment in the kitchen. I like to cook and love to bake, so that was going for me. But back then, there were no Betty Crocker gluten free mixes or even gluten-free all-purpose flour mixes of any kind! There was no gluten-free pasta! You had to take a little rice flour, mixed with tapioca flour, mixed with potato starch, add a little xanthum gum, etc. Sometimes I felt like I was working in a laboratory! But it was a labor of love. I wanted to provide for my husband those things he loved but couldn’t have any other way.
Here’s Bryan a week before his diagnosis then 1 1/2 months after:
After many years of failed recipes and excessive experimentation, the gluten-free lifestyle is finally very easy for us. Plus, there’s an excess of gluten free goods even here now: pastas, flour mixes, bread mixes and cookies!
If you’re just starting out on the gluten free journey, be encouraged! The start might be rocky, but you’ll figure it out. And when you do, you’ll be able to manage your diet happily and healthily.
I’ll write later about why I’m now exclusively gluten free as well.