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Guest Blog

To My Brave Celiac Friend on Mother’s Day

Michelle ChowI’m not a big fan of amusement park rides: the kiddie train or a quick spin on the carousel horse is about my speed. On the day our son had his first anaphylactic reaction, I walked away from the emergency room in a daze. It seemed we had been given complimentary lifetime passes on the ultimate rollercoaster, with an epinephrine auto-injector prescription as our ticket stub. And the kicker was that boarding wasn’t even optional; this ride was in motion – we’d just completed our first loop-de-loop.

My husband and I felt blindsided by my son’s new diagnosis and overwhelmed by the realization that the world as we knew it had just changed. Yet, this was not at all the case for my friend Micheline on the day she was diagnosed with celiac disease. In fact, her experience was completely the opposite. Micheline celebrated receiving her celiac ‘ticket’ with utter gratitude for the gluten-free life that loomed ahead. She didn’t even wait for that train to come to a full stop before hopping on.

Why, you’ll be wondering, would anyone want to join a club whose members have to read the ingredients on every food package, spend countless hours researching safe foods and scour grocery aisles for “free-from” food products. Why would Micheline, a busy mom of two who works full-time, look forward to endless hours preparing that additional “safe” meal just for herself?

Let’s just say that Micheline’s story proves how much life comes down to perspective.

You see, in addition to being a mother, a navy wife, a nurse and a cherished friend, Micheline is a cancer survivor. A routine annual mammogram first detected the cancer she developed in both breasts. I will never forget sitting on her front steps three years ago as she shared the news.

We sat, we held hands, we wept, we clung to each other. Her fears were not for herself but for how her two children – Amanda (then 10) and Matthew (then 5) – would navigate life without their mother.

Next page: Celiac in perspective

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