I really don’t need to write much more. But I will.
The fact that I am a Celiac means that I got it from somewhere. My cousin on my mother’s side is also a Celiac. This means I very likely got it from my mothers side.
And yet NO ONE in my family wants to get tested. My little brother (yes, the same little brother who used to eat all of my food) has always had the same issues that I had vis a vis the whole waking up feeling what we like to call “stomachly-challenged”*. He also has many other less-traditional symptoms that I myself suffered from. But he won’t get checked.
My mom has always said that eating white-bread makes her feel slow & bloated. She had to have her gallbladder removed, and she feels healthier when I force her to eat gluten free.I also will defer back to the start of this post when I mentioned that I am pretty sure I got this wonderful genetic-gift from her side of the family. But she won’t get tested.
My older sister ALSO had her gallbladder removed. At 30. After having so many strange symptoms that it took about 8 months to diagnose. She calls her youngest a mini-Sarah(that’s me!) for all of our similarities– which go beyond advanced reading levels & a strange fashion sense and includes slow speech development (despite great intelligence), being smaller than the rest of her age group, and lips so “chapped” that it extends all around her mouth & bleeds sometimes(this is actually a rash, guys. It’s called denial). Before any kind of invasive testing, my niece’s doctor had my sister remove wheat, eggs & dairy from her diet for a while & things started looking better — but my sister decided it was easier to give her allergy pills when she breaks out rather than continue living gluten-free. OH, and I guess I might as well mention that my sister herself refuses to get tested.
It seems that my entire family wants to deny the fact that this is hereditary. That I had to get it from somewhere. That the mere fact that I am a Celiac means they have somewhere around a 22%chance of having it, too. And with all of the stress that we are so often under, any of them could have triggered that gene & become a statistic. But they would rather live in denial, and instead of facing the possibility of diagnoses they choose to ignore me when they complain about something & I mention that used to be one of my symptoms. (Or better yet, they roll their eyes & think I am trying to convert them so I don’t feel so alone in my anxiety at holiday gatherings involving food, which is only about 13.8% true.)
I don’t get it, I really don’t. These are logical people. Well educated, degree-having people who watched me suffer for years & then stood amazed as I took gluten out of my diet & started acting human again. Oh, and one of them is a nurse. They have been given every reason to get tested & see if they are potentially destroying their insides, but they don’t want to deal with eating gluten-free.
I know for a fact that I am not the only Celiac with a family like this– I have a friend who is diagnosed & none of her family will even consider getting tested. But I am not really sure how wide-spread this is. Are all families as stubborn as ours are? After you were diagnosed, how open to getting tested were your family members?
*OK, OK– calling things “stomachly-challenged isn’t a thing. We have never called it that. But I am going to pretend.