Hi! I’m Ashley and I am one of the many people out there with Celiac Disease. Currently, I am a seventh-grader. I enjoy school a lot. My favorite subject is math. In my spare time, I like to listen to music. My favorite band is Linkin Park. I know a great deal about them! Anyone who has ever met me knows that they are my favorite. It kind of shows anyway!
I was first diagnosed with Celia Disease in September 2000. I was in fourth grade and I was eight years old at the time. I caught on very quickly. During snack time, everyone in class would have cookies or pretzels and I would enjoy my very healthy snack. Usually it was celery or carrots. Knowing that I had Celiac Disease didn’t change anything but my diet. I was still a regular kid and, in fact, was very happy.
Through the years, I would get salads and hamburgers and take them off of the bun. Later, I found out that eating hamburgers without the bun was not healthy. There was still a scare of cross-contamination. I also found out that just having a salad wasn’t very good either. I needed something else to be healthy and to have a full lunch.
In the fifth grade through half of the seventh grade, I either didn’t get a lunch, bought French fries or brought something from home, usually something cold. I went to the nurse to ask if there was a man handling wheat or gluten and then touching the French fries that I eat for lunch. She said that the man doing the lunch did not touch anything but the French fries. I guess that was his part in the cafeteria. The next day, I got my lunch thinking nothing would happen when I saw what we call the “French fry guy” touching hamburger and some other lunches. I got really mad!
The very next day, I went to the nurse once again and told her that I was eating those French fries and all along he was getting me sick. She told me that French fries weren’t healthy at all for lunch every day. I hated my diet at the time but then I thought, “This still makes me different and I can’t do anything about it. It is what I have to live with and I have to learn how to handle it.” Then, I would usually bring something for lunch from home like rice or leftovers from dinner. They were cold and disgusting. A few weeks later, I went to the Celiac Disease Support Group.” I learned that I could ask my school if they could alternate the school menu for me. I asked my school and, since I’m still the only one with Celiac Disease, they figured that they should not have to change the menu for one person. They also said that I could eat salads, French fries, chips and stuff like that. I know that I can’t eat the French fries; the salads aren’t filling and the chips are not good for me.
I went to the nurse a few days later and tried to figure something out. We finally came to the conclusion that I could have a microwave. I thought that was great! I actually could bring frozen foods in and heat them up. I’d bring in foods and come into lunch a few minutes late (which was fine with me) and eat a healthy, satisfying lunch. That handled my lunch problem.
At home, I would eat tortillas or some snacks and a good, filling dinner but I would often feel dizzy. One day at school, I was standing in the hallway and I fell down. I felt so sick that I had to have my dad come and pick me up. He said that I wasn’t getting enough nutrition or vitamins. So, I went to the doctor and he told me that I had to take some swallowing pills. All they did was give me some more vitamins and nutrition. So, right now I’m working on my diet and trying to find ways to make myself healthier.
In the future, I hope to be a chef at my own restaurant where people with Celiac Disease can come and eat any time. Hopefully, it will work out.
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