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Loretta - Copy



Food is a wonderful thing.

You eat healthy food and you thrive – simple, right?

I guess if it were that simple there wouldn’t be TV shows like “My 600 pound life”. For those people, food became so much more than a way to stay alive – it became a way to fix old emotions and hurts that they carried with them through life. I won’t begin to say that I understand that, because I don’t.

When I was little I didn’t like certain foods – mainly meat and potatoes – and when you grow up in a meat and potatoes kind of house that can be difficult. My Mom and Dad worked hard to make sure there was plenty of food on the table. We would all sit together at dinner time and eat ‘family style’ with all the food in dishes on the table (I love going to John’s mom’s for dinner because she still serves dinner that way). All that was fine with me, the part that didn’t sit too well was that my Mom dished up my plate each night.

With meat and potatoes.

I remember asking her if I could just have vegetables. She just kept dishing up what she thought I should have and handed me my plate. I remember thinking, I’ll eat the potatoes, but I’m not touching that meat. I could be quite stubborn.

I soon learned where I got my persistence from. I mean no disrespect to my Mom here, I know she did the best she could. She came from an era where food was a luxury not to be wasted. So when she put food on your plate, you ate it. Period.

Long after everyone had left the table, I would be sitting there, by myself. With what now was a plate of cold disgusting cow flesh staring at me (well, that’s how it looked to me at the time). I was sure I could see it staring back at me.

That’s also about the time I learned the art of deception. We didn’t have nice glasses for our milk with dinner. Just those dark plastic ones, the kind where you can’t see what was inside. As soon as my Mom was out of sight I would pretend to chew up the repulsive meat and spit it right back out into my glass.

The funny thing is, now I love meat and potatoes. But veggies are still my favorite.

Maybe my experience as a kid shaped me to be the kind of person who never made food a huge priority. I learned to like most things and always seem to maintain my health and figure. And I was always the person who didn’t care where we went out to eat, I was fine with whatever.

I never wanted to be ‘that person’. You know, the kind of person who when you go out to eat, the poor waiter needs to write down all of their special requests. They don’t just order off the menu. They want a Caesar salad, but hold the croutons, oh and the parmesan cheese too. No anchovies either.

Not really sure it’s a Caesar salad by the time they are done ordering it. You see the waiter rolls his eyes and you shoot him an ‘I’m sorry’ look.

So I’m that person now.

It started about a year ago. I began getting this weird rash. It came and went throughout the summer, sometimes really irritating me, but mostly just a nuisance.

And then in October, John and I went on our honeymoon to Ireland. It was a dream vacation for me. Filled with so much fun, and food, and family and sight seeing. Really perfect. I had brown bread with just about every meal, and of course tasted all the wonderful pub food and beers. I’m pretty sure I put on ten pounds during those two weeks.

By the time we got home, my rash was pretty much out of control.

John is that guy who if he doesn’t know how to fix something, he researches and researches until he has the answer. We tried everything. I changed our laundry soap to the mildest hypoallergenic kind on the market. I quit using any soap on my skin, just warm water. I changed my diet to a high alkali diet (I’m not sure why, but John said to try it so I did). I tried every different kind of cream on the market, even ones we bought in Ireland.

Nothing helped.

It got so bad that by the beginning of December, I was a mess. It was like I was itching on the inside. I was trying to keep a positive attitude, but that became harder each day.

John and I go out for coffee several times a week. It’s one of our favorite things to do. One morning in December we were at our usual place and when he brought me my coffee I just looked at him and started crying.

I couldn’t stop.

He is an amazingly patient man. At the time I didn’t have health insurance (thanks to Obamacare I now do), not to mention I’m the last person to go see a doctor. To say I hate going is maybe too strong – but I hate going.

John took me in to see a doctor, who really had no idea what was going on either. He ran some tests, but they all came back with no reason for my rash. He referred me to a dermatologist but when we got to that office we were told it would be about two and a half months before I could be seen.

John looked at the receptionist and said, ‘my wife needs to see someone now, today’. He can be very persuasive. She couldn’t get me in that day, but squeezed me in the very next day.

As we sat there listening to the doctor, I was so relieved that he seemed to know exactly what I had and what to do.

Turns out I have a gluten intolerance. Which is what caused the Dermatitis Herpetiformis rash that was driving me insane.

That was one week before Christmas. I stopped eating anything with gluten in it that very day. Within two days the rash was completely gone. I managed to make it through the holidays without bringing too much attention to myself by not eating all of the wonderful dishes that come to represent Christmas.

And now I’m ‘that person’.

That person who annoys the waitress when I order food that doesn’t contain wheat or gluten. I’m that person who, when everyone in the group wants to go out for pizza, I have to hope it’s someplace that has a salad bar. I’m that person who can’t eat what everyone else is eating.

It makes me feel like I’m back at the table with my Mom telling me to eat what I am served. And,it makes me feel like I need to hide it. Like I’m not following the rules and being like everyone else.

Maybe that’s how the ‘600 pound life’ person feels?