“I got married last month! And, right before the wedding, wouldn’t you know it, I had a celiac attack.”
- Celiac Counsellor’s Corner* is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.
This is the story of how celiac disease helped me stop anxiously trying to control every detail, and instead become centred in the true spirit of the wedding.
In the nights leading up to the wedding, I was unable to sleep – I lay awake going over the plans, trying to think of everything. The sleeplessness was frustrating. My busy mind was sorting through my wedding preferences and planning how to make it all happen: “If we do the champagne toast in the garden, can we have a little table out there for the glasses? Or would it be better to do the toast in the house so the glasses can be arranged on the sideboard?”
I tried various meditation techniques to relax and stop thinking about it, but my mind always went right back to planning. I was losing a lot of sleep. It was crazy!
Then one night as I lay awake, I felt the familiar digestive distress of celiac disease. I don’t know whether I got “glutened,” or if the prolonged stress of the nervous wedding planning attacked my delicate digestive system, but I began to get cramps — just a few days before the wedding!
Strangely enough, the cramps were the only thing that worked to guide me back to sanity.
I know how to deal with cramps: at the first sign of cramping, I consciously relax my mind and my body, and allow what is happening in my body to happen. I do this because I have learned that resisting it hurts a lot. When actual physical pain is involved, I become very focused, relaxed, and attuned, moment by moment. This lets me experience cramping as strong sensations rather than as pain.
The celiac episode brought me back into the present and made me relax with what was really happening.
Celiac disease gave me a break from my mind. This was a really good lesson for me. It reminded me that the wedding was not primarily about details such as champagne glasses, but about being present, being connected, and committing to meeting the challenges of life with love and grace.
I had been approaching the wedding as an exercise in indulging in preferences. Celiac disease reminded me to let go of preferences and come back to the true spirit of the wedding. I’m grateful for that.
By the way, there is one detail of all my crazed planning that I’d like to share with you: I got a local catering company (Little Piggy Catering) to provide completely gluten and dairy-free food for me and all our guests, even though I was the only celiac there. That way, I didn’t have to worry about cross-contamination at my own wedding. Everyone loved all the food, and no one even noticed it was gluten and dairy-free!
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“Life happens! Why not love it?”
“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”
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- *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene for the accuracy of the information provided to it. The information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.