All through April, I'm participating in WEGO Health's Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. In addition to my usual posts, I'm going for 30 days of activisty content. Today's prompt: Hindsight.
I always hated the saying "Hindsight is 20/20." Clearly. Woulda, coulda, shoulda has never really been my game. Mostly.
If I could go back to that day that I was diagnosed, when I took the call from a helpful nurse while I was in the middle of Jewel buying pasta (regular, of all things) for dinner, I would tell myself to breathe. It sounds trite, I know, but if you've ever tried to restrain an ugly cry in the middle of your neighborhood grocer, you will know that it's important to remember to inhale.
As I stood, shaking, in the pasta aisle (I still can't get over how fitting that whole thing was), I was terrified. I knew next to nothing about gluten, or celiac, except what I had Googled when the doc first mentioned it in passing. I'm sure fellow shoppers were at least curious about the sniffling mess hiding out in the Organic/Gluten Free aisle crying over boxes of quinoa rotini. But I rallied. Instead of panicking and running to Pizza Hut, I bought my first box of GF pasta and that was that.
I wish I could have hugged that girl (which is why I creepily approach people in the GF aisle at the grocery store - trying to be that helping hand, I guess). I would have told her that, yes, the next couple of months would totally blow. There would be tears. And thrown boxes. Maybe a couple of thrown punches. But it would get better. I would have told her she would have found a passion, and a support system, and a love for Nutella that was deep and unyielding. I'd have told her about all the good things that were coming her way. I don't think she would have believed me, but I would have tried.
And if nothing else, I would have consoled that poor, stressed girl with some Sweet Alis.