I remember the day I sat at my desk at work and received a phone call from my mom. For months I had been suffering with stomach pain during the day. I sometimes had to take walks around the block to try to relieve my bloated belly, or sneak out to my car after lunch to lie down and even fall asleep because I was so tired. I had also been seeing doctors for unexplained anemia and they had given me a bone marrow test with no conclusions.
I didn’t know how worried my mom was until much later, when she told me that she had worried about my health for all of my life. When I was one year old, I had spinal meningitis (the bad kind), then vitiligo, asthma and allergies as a child. Now here I was, her adult child, still worrying her with health problems. Her own experience of losing loved ones to cancer at young ages heightened her fear about what was going on with me.
After an internet search (or many), she called me and told me that I needed to read the information she had just emailed me about celiac disease. She told me that she thought I had it. Neither of us had ever heard of celiac disease. The phone call was quick — she knew that I would need to read the information myself, and within five minutes of reading, I knew that this was the answer.
The day I was diagnosed and had to start a gluten-free diet for the rest of my life, my mom did it with me. Just like that. She did it for herself, for she had suffered too with various unexplained health issues, but she mostly did it for me, and for that I am forever grateful. Though it was a bit like the blind leading the blind, having my mom go through this difficult transition with me was the best thing I could have asked for.
We have come a long way since then. I have followed my passion to help others suffering from the effects of gluten, and my mom has been my biggest supporter, whether it’s reminding me that it’s time for a new article on the blog, sharing ideas for gluten-free cooking, or letting me know about relevant medical news. She, too, wants to help people — she knows what it’s like to be in pain, and then to feel healthy again.
Mom, I owe my good health to you. To other mothers out there … let my mom be a role model to you. Trust your instincts. If someone tells you nothing is wrong with your child, and you know something is not right, trust yourself. If someone tells you that there is no cause, believe that there is. My mom gave me life, and then gave me life again. She will forever be my role model.
I love you, Mom!