Normally, I laugh off my gluten-sensitivity as more or less the equivalent of hay fever. OK, I can’t eat some stuff, but I can’t have lilacs in my house, or even a lilac bush in my yard–well, really I can’t even walk by a lilac bush–but seriously, everyone has limits.
Growing up, I had a friend who had the really severe gluten-intolerance: diagnosed as an infant and on a restricted diet from her earliest days. That’s the kind of gluten-intolerance I think of when I think of disability.
But when I lose most of a weekend to lethargy, splitting headache, insatiable food cravings, and weakness, and my ears are ringing and I feel like they are stuffed with cotton and I’m starting to worry about hearing loss, I’m like, maybe I need to take this seriously. It’s true that in a different place and time where I would never have encountered wheat, barley or rye, I may have lived a whole life without even knowing I was gluten-intolerant. But I guess I do live in a wheat-dominated food culture and I have to deal with that. And I prefer not to lose days to “preventable illness.”
I remind myself that the origin of gluten-sensitivity wasn’t even confirmed until the 1950’s. Before that, some people just suffered. And 35 percent of pediatric patients died.
So, as in all things, to quote Dan Savage, “It gets better.” (copyright!)
And better and better and better. 🙂