Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter and the Power of Renewal ~

It's Good Friday already and the 2nd of April. How did this happen so quickly? I mean, wasn't it seriously just Christmas or Valentine's Day? The year of 2010 is already through its first quarter and as I sit here today gazing outside at a powerful "winter" storm blowing in, I'm reflective and thankful for my life...especially knowing how fast time really does pass us by.

I'm a practicing Catholic and always have been by choice, so Easter of course, is the most important holiday of our faith. It's a time to really look around at the budding flowers, the snow falling (in our case today!) and all of nature's beauty that's about to give birth to new life and hope. Whether you practice a religion, or believe at's hard to deny the power of Spring and the gifts that flourish because of its arrival.

April is a special month for me for another important reason - Ten years ago this month, in 2000, I was finally diagnosed with Celiac Disease after nine long and difficult years of searching for a diagnosis. It was also in that same month (April 2000) when I almost died. You see, shortly after my unexpected diagnosis by a family physician friend in Oakland, CA, I was admitted to a hospital for a serious injection of liquid Iron, due to my body being completely and utterly empty of the stuff! My Ferritin levels were at "1" and it was not looking so good for me. A body can really only take so much after so many years of struggling.

However, I happened to fall into the statistic that "1 out of like every 60,000 people" would have a reaction of any kind to an iron injection. Long story short, after the test dose was administered, I became faint and began to go into anaphalactic shock. The good news was, 1) I was already in the hospital and 2) My doctor was standing next to me, along with two nurses who were able to reverse the iron effects and stabilize me without me going into cardiac arrest. Thanks to God. That day had a happy ending and shorty thereafter, I began taking iron supplements, having learned the hard way that my body was just too traumatized to handle anything as invasive as an infusion.

A very long story short, I can say this: You haven't truly lived, until you've nearly died. At least that's been my motto every since that day in April 2000. I was actually given a powerful gift of insight that takes you out of "the norm" of life and creates an entirely new perspective that few share...but that's okay. It is all exactly how it should be and I seriously wouldn't change a thing.

I can say that initially, after my diagnosis of Celiac Disease, I felt that I had been cursed and how unfair this all was. How could I be the only one in my family with this affliction? But after working through a few years of experimenting with foods (though I honestly do not remember what I ate or was able to buy five - ten years ago!), finding so much support from family and loved ones, and renewing my bodily strength and stamina, I began to see the abundance and sheer blessings that have been given to me because of living this life and living as a Celiac. Though I certainly do NOT see this disease as a debilitation any longer, I also do not define myself by its parameters. No one should. We are given what we are given or perhaps bring upon ourselves, but if you choose to find the hidden blessings within every difficult situation, you will become a far more enlightened and grateful person.

Because of my diagnosis, I have found myself.

I have discovered a way to share my knowledge with others, and hopefully enrich someone else's life, offering them some tiny bit of guidance along the way, as so many others have done for me.

I have become an even more voracious researcher, reader and inspired writer.

I have grown into a teacher, in a sense, and learning to be my own powerful advocate in life.

Having Celiac has also inspired me to start a little baking business with my mother and give some folks the chance to taste something sweet, delicious and safe.

So during this spring and season of Easter joy I am truly grateful for the abundant life I have found as a Celiac, and for the sense of community it has inspired in my life. I celebrate these past ten years, though definitely filled with months of setbacks and challenges, they have primarily been years defined by moments of love, happiness and growth.

I am truly grateful.

If any of you feel so compelled, please share your diagnosis story with me, and in turn...with us...I would love to post some of your journeys.

In the meantime, go eat a gluten-free chocolate bunny or egg or Peeps this weekend and say a prayer in thanks for all of the gluten-free abundance in your life.

God Bless ~

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