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: Say WHAT? What's the most ridiculous thing you've heard about your health condition?
I'm not really a "my suffering is worse than your suffering" kind of girl. I think we all have valid problems in our lives, and I'm not one to belittle the struggles that other people go through. Which is why it burns my gluten-free biscuits when people do that to me and my illness. Because the treatment for celiac disease is essentially food based, people tend to think it's not important, painful or serious. Apparently, you only have an illness if you take a pill. But there is no pill for celiac disease. No cure. There's no telling when you can have a flare up. I hate that I have to fight so hard to have my autoimmune disease taken seriously. What follows below are things people have ACTUALLY said to me, either exactly or in spirit. Let's just say my intestines aren't the only things inflamed.
"I would die if I couldn't eat bread any more! Seriously. I'd have to kill myself."
"Oooh, lucky. You're going to get so skinny!"
"Gluten? That's, like, sugar, right?"
"OMG DID YOU KNOW THERE WAS GLUTEN IN COFFEE? I HAD SOME COFFEE AND THEN I GOT A STOMACH ACHE SO CLEARLY THEY ARE CONNECTED!!!"
"Sure, we can do gluten-free here. Just don't eat the pasta and you should be fine."
"Psht, you're just gluten-free? You won't ever get better unless you are totally grain free. And dairy free. And vegan. And also you can't drink alcohol. Or breathe air."
"Come on. A little bit won't kill you."
"Seriously? I would crap my pants for a week to eat a piece of this cake. Worth it."
"I'm gluten free, too! It's like South Beach, right? Ooooh, since I had a gluten-free dinner, I'm totally splurging on this cookie!"
"What do you mean, flare-up? Take some Immodium and stop complaining. It's just a stomach ache."
"Why would your joints hurt? I'm pretty sure you're making that up."
"Why would you need a cure? Just stop eating bread."
"Too bad you can't eat what we catered. You can just pick the croutons off of the salad."
"Why are you complaining? You could have something much worse."
Moral of the story? Despite my gruff demeanor, I'm a sensitive soul. And if you get mouthy with me about my illness, I will cut you.*
* Not actually cut you, because that would be wrong. More like cut you with words. Mostly.