Agony, misery, woe

Oh it’s different for each.

I fell in love with a 1928 brick Tudor. She was a grand dame and I wanted to bring her back to her full glory. The moment I set foot inside that house, I knew I was home. I was unabashedly in love. I could see the myriad problems, the dollar signs piling up, but I easily looked past all of those things and vowed in my heart to love this house forever and restore her beautifully.

After the husband and I talked it over, we called our Realtor and said, “We want it. Let’s write an offer.” He told us he’d call the listing agent.

An hour later, we got the call: she was under contract. Even as we walked through “our” house that morning, someone else was writing an offer. How could she do this to us?! I was so depressed I couldn’t even look at other houses. None could stack up. Finally, on Tuesday, I was able to lift my eyes to browse other listings. I found one close to our current rental. Not in love, but it’s cute and the price is great, plus we know we love the neighborhood. So I sent it to our Realtor.

Much to my surprise, he called me half an hour later and very seriously asked, “Can you talk right now?” I was a little concerned… were we about to be fired? But no. Our Tudor was under contract, but the listing agent was concerned his buyer might walk. So he called our Realtor and asked if we could put in a back-up offer. YES times a thousand! We took all of 15 minutes to make that decision. The listing agent disclosed a $4000 sewer repair found on inspection. Were we willing to lose our dream house for $4k? No.

Unfortunately, neither were the other buyers. They ultimately went through with the deal and we lost our beautiful Tudor a second time. The heartbreak of this house search better be worth it. I can’t imagine going through this multiple times.

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Here we go

So I had my follow-up with the GI doc yesterday. He is a celiac specialist, having studied under Dr. Peter Green at the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia. He was young, energetic and deeply committed to treating celiac.

What he told me was that I am on the more severe end of the celiac spectrum and that it’s time for my new life to start. I told him I had stopped eating gluten last week (save for one flub on Sunday that I paid for all. day. yesterday). So I guess it’s on.

Since I’m completely compulsive about things, I know I will get through this with flying colors. The official diagnosis was not unexpected at all, but hearing it in black and white was still a touch overwhelming. Luckily, I have a great support system in place with a wonderful husband, amazing friends, and an incredible family that knows nothing about celiac, but wants to learn.

I feel really grateful to everyone in my life. You guys have been so compassionate and understanding and supportive as I’ve continued to get sicker over the last few months, and all through the trials of getting this diagnosis. And I’m grateful to all the restaurants out there who aren’t going to treat me like a pariah; who will hand me a gluten-free menu with a smile and tell me all about your amazing flourless cake, or your organic gluten-free soy sauce, and who will gently steer me away from that incredible-sounding satay skewer because you’re not certain it’s gluten-free and you don’t want me to get sick. Thank you all for making my life easier.

Holy yum!

I know I just posted last night, but I made something else awesome, and I have to share it:

A perfect, quick, gluten-free, dairy-free lunch.

Cooked white rice, canned black beans, fresh tomato, fresh chopped cilantro, scallions, olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, sugar, cayenne pepper.  Tossed it all in a bowl, let it sit in the fridge overnight.  Bam.

I wanted to chop up some fresh avocado to put on top, but I was running super-late this morning and didn’t have time to cut up the avo.  It’s good without it.

I think it would also be good with corn and/or bell peppers.  I could see adding some crumbled Cotija on top (but then it wouldn’t be dairy-free obvi.  Good thing I’m not lactose intolerant too!)

Holiday food crafts

Because I’m a nice coworker, I made holiday food crafts for my colleagues.  I made white chocolate peppermint bark, dark chocolate bark, and semi-sweet chocolate-covered pretzels.  I intended to melt those colored candy melts and decorate everything, but the cake supply store was closed (boo!), so I used colored sugar crystals.  I think they still look pretty, but next year, it is ON.

The pretzels were a challenge for me because of the celiac.  Gawd do I love a good pretzel.  But whatever.  I withstood the challenge and didn’t eat any.  Hooray for me!

Yum!

And the pretzels (delightful looking, eh?)

In all, I think everything will be delicious and much-appreciated.  Who doesn’t love a good holiday treat?

Smelling like a rose

The job offer came this morning.  It’s slightly lower than I had wanted, but not so low that it was a deal-breaker.  I accepted.  My contract gig is now a full-time job, no small matter in this ridiculous economy.  And best of all, there’s not going to be any gap in our health insurance, which is awesome, especially in light of recent events.

Our elder statesman cat woke us up at least 3-4 times last night.  He’s almost 19 and I think he’s starting to lose his sight.  He’s generally such a sweet cat, so on the rare occasion he acts like a total dick, we tend to forgive him.  Despite what can only be called a rough night’s sleep, I have more energy today than I have had in quite some time.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still exhausted, but I feel less like I got run over by a truck, then backed over again.  The tummy is still rather upset (no details), but there’s a massive psychological difference between “oh my god I’m going to be sick forever because no one knows what’s wrong with me” and “at least this will only happen for another few weeks because we know what’s wrong and we’re fixing it.”  It’s pretty amazing the change in just five days.

On tap for the weekend: looking at another house, working a basketball game, baking my first loaf of gluten-free bread, and celebrating my “new” job. Can’t wait.

Everything changes

Day four of living gluten-free.  I’m finding myself feeling utterly grateful every time I find something geared toward celiac.  I almost started to cry when I found the GF cooking classes at PCC.  I almost teared up at Trader Joe’s last night when I found their little guide to TJ’s gluten-free shopping in the store.  I assume this bizarro emotional stuff will start to subside eventually… I’m guessing it’s all part of the process of coming to terms with this diagnosis.

You may have figured out that we didn’t wind up offering on the house in Bainbridge.  We still love it; it just needed more work (read: money) than we wanted to throw at it.  And so the hunt continues.  I’m still madly in love with our realtor.  I’m so happy we found him.  I’ll give up his name once our search is over.  I don’t want to get dumped for someone else mid-way through our process.

The hubs is officially out of work now.  Yesterday was his last day, so I’m not sure what to expect from him in terms of his mood and everything else.  He was a bit down last night, but three Netflixed episodes of The League helped tremendously.  I seriously think that might be the funniest show on TV.

I should hopefully get some great news tomorrow.  In the meantime, I’m just holdin’ it down, looking forward to my celiac symptoms clearing up in a few weeks, and gettin’ er done.

A new beginning.

I finally had my endoscopy and biopsy yesterday.  While I won’t get my official pathology report for another 1-2 weeks, the doctor told me during pre-op that she’s 95% sure I have Celiac.  She said my lab results were so utterly out of whack that there really wasn’t another plausible explanation and it was highly unlikely that my biopsy would show anything other than Celiac.  And so today is the first day of the rest of my life, I guess. 

I have to admit that I have some mixed emotions about this journey.  When I first suspected gluten as the culprit, I felt resolute.  I was going to find out what was wrong with me and fix it.  Then when my doctors agreed with me and ordered the tests, I felt slightly vindicated.  I *knew* this wasn’t stress.  I *knew* there was something medically wrong with me, dammit.  When the labs came back overwhelmingly jacked up, and Celiac was all but confirmed, I was sad and a little scared.  I’m Mediterranean.  I eat bread.  It’s what I do.  Plus I now live in the PNW, which is renowned for its excellent craft beers, which I have truly learned to appreciate.  No more wheat?  It’s like a death sentence!  But then my biopsy was scheduled, and I had to binge on wheat for almost three weeks.  Those were easily the hardest weeks of my life, health-wise.  I had to leave work early at least twice a week, because I had the worst upset stomach I had ever experienced.  I felt tired, nauseous, crampy, foggy, etc.  Absolute misery.

But now it’s over.  Well, almost.  There are foods I will miss, and I know my body will be purging itself of gluten for the next few weeks, but as long as I stop the intake, I should start to feel better within the next few weeks.  I’ll learn to bake good GF bread.  And I’ll start to play with food again, which will be a nice change.  I know there will be missteps along the way, and there will be plenty of sad moments as I realize I can’t ever eat another “real” cupcake, or bagel, or bowl of legit, homemade mac’n’cheese.  But overall, the promise of living a healthier life far outweighs the food-related grief.  And so it goes.  Today is my first day of being completely gluten-free and I can’t wait.  Here’s to the rest of my life!