I did not mean to begin this particular journey.  I was not on a quest to heal my body.  My body has been broken for so many years it never really occurred to me that healing might be possible.   I learned to count as good the days that headaches were merely painful and not blinding.  I tolerated the way my bones felt like a rusty old tin man left out in the rain too long.  I thought everyone left work each day feeling drained and defeated, even when the job itself was a joy.

The journey began, unbenounced to me, when I fell in love.  You see, Sweet One prefers far healthier food than the southern dishes I grew up making.  No longer were my heavy fried foods laden in fats welcome as frequent guests at the dinner table.  Instead massive amounts of protein to keep up with his work out routines were required.  A balance of nutrition from vegetables was preferred.  I have never been one to back away from a challenge so I sunk myself into this new path and I began to gather recipes.  A few pounds dropped off as the frequent appearance of bread, pasta, and chicken fried steak at the dinner table diminished.  I was surprised by this, never before had the food I ingested made a difference to the bathroom scale.  The same, slightly too high, number had reflected back at me since those later high school years.  The slight shift spurred an internal challenge.  A challenge to use these long days of deployment separation to lose the pounds that have haunted for too long.  I set a goal, a number to reach, but the time his R&R came about in April 2010.

It was late March and I was well on my way to meeting that goal I had set.  Determined to spend as much quality time with him as possible, I wanted to make a few healthy recipes for our glorious R&R vacation in advance.  It was the hunt for recipes that led me to her site.  The way she artistically weaves words together tugged at me.  The fact that her food sounded wonderful was a bonus.  A few posts later she used words so familiar I could have written them.  Filled with a combination of shock and desperation I latched on, going back to the archives, to the early days of her blog, an urgent prayer on my lips. . . please . .. please tell me you wrote more about your diagnosis . . .please I have to know more about this celiac you speak of . . . and then I found it.  That click of the mouse took me to the post that explained it all, a post that was at once haunting and hope inspiring.  The original hunt for healthy recipes was officially abandoned.  All that mattered now was the need to understand, to really comprehend, the words she wrote.

I needed to figure out what this celiac she spoke of was.  I needed to know, if this could be what had plagued me all these year.

I dug in; doing what I do and making friends with Google once again I searched.  I found celiac.com and read “what is celiac disease”.   I found their page of symptoms, and I learned that different people react different ways.   Some break out in rashes, others have intestinal symptoms, others get migraines, and some get no symptoms at all yet their bodies are being denied life giving nutrition.  I found women writing of their own journeys.  I found scientific articles and read words I could barely discern having to go back again and again to Wikipedia digging an ever deepening hole as I learned which systems of our bodies affect another system.  Each click, each page, I came to the same conclusion.  Intestines matter.  They are nicknamed the second brain.  They are tied so heavily to arthritis, hormones, and endometriosis.  The more I read, the more I found my own story splayed out there among the words the people wrote.  For a little over a week I read.  I read of miracle healings.  I read about people walking away from the food they had known into this strange new world of gluten free and how within weeks they were healthier.  I read about how our intestines heal themselves after a year or so.  I read about how their headaches dissipated, the aches faded, and the guts quit rumbling.

I quietly prepared.

I shopped, filling my cart with a plethora of things I had never consumed before.  One Saturday I methodically cleaned out my cabinets, my pantry, and my freezer.   Four days later, I knew.  I had found the answer that those doctors never bothered pondering.  It was so simple all along.  March 26th 2010 I decided to see if my body would heal.  Now I know.  It can.

Now, this is my life.  A life without gluten.  A life filled with light and beauty, joy and laughter, exercise and playfulness.  This is life for me, and I would not have it any other way.