It’s been just over a week since I got my braces put on. I allowed a grand total of seven days to be mopey and feel sorry for myself, because really, what good does that kind of thinking do? I know it’s not possible to bury how you feel or swallow feeling sad, but I wanted to limit the time I spent in that hole.
Thomas says it was very “Jack from LOST” of me to dictate the exact terms by which I allowed myself to feel sad and sorry for myself. And, having seen that particular scene again, I’m inclined to agree.
And as it turns out, I didn’t need the full week — I think I’ve adjusted pretty well and quickly, and this is just my new reality. They don’t look too terrible, and it has no marker on who I am anyways.
However, it has a huge impact on what I eat.
When I was in Edmonton getting the braces installed, I went out with my parents on Saturday night. Every Saturday, they go to the local legion and meet friends and family there for drinks, dancing, and shuffleboard. I was still sore and tired, but I wanted to see everyone as well, since I’m not in the city very often.
My uncle was diagnosed with celiac disease in his mid 50s, around the early 2000s (if I remember my timeline correctly), and his diagnosis is one that made me look at my own health last year. I was talking to his wife Saturday night, and was describing what happened the last time I knowingly ate wheat (two beers and a piece of toast. It was a big night for me) — everything was fine for 12-16 hours, and then when I ate something else, I started to feel like there was a rock in my stomach, making its way through my system. It was uncomfortable and painful, but not the violent sickness that I’ve heard and read about from other people with wheat intolerances/celiac disease. It made me question if I was maybe imagining the benefits that I’d been experiencing, and I actually no problem with wheat at all.
But my aunt just gave me a funny look, and then asked my uncle to describe how he feels when he eats wheat. And he has the exact same reaction. So this makes me feel more secure in what I’m doing, and was just a solid reminder that there are no hard-and-fast ways to tell if you have celiac or not. Many people have so many different reactions and symptoms.
While I’m still not willing to say “I have celiac,” I know this is something that I need to be avoiding. If I haven’t developed it yet, then there’s a chance that I might with my family’s history with auto-immune disorders.
But, it is very limiting when you don’t eat wheat, even with the variety of gluten-free options available in grocery stores and restaurants now. Often, sauces and gravies are absolutely off-limits, since they use flour as a thickener, and even some brands of soy sauce need to be avoided.
And now that I’ve put a whole lot of metal and plastic into my mouth, there’s even more that I shouldn’t be eating. Raw vegetables are largely off limits (goodbye salads), Doritios are gone (!!!), and corn on the cob, etc. Basically, I’ll have to cut up most things and eat them that way, instead of biting into things (for obvious reasons) and near everything will need to be cooked so that it doesn’t break my brackets or bands.
In the eight days I’ve had my braces, five brackets have already popped off. When I got them fixed, the woman told me that it’s nothing I’ve been doing, it’s likely that the bond they secured the bracket with wasn’t taking. If I keep breaking brackets like this in nine months, then it will be a question of “What have you been eating, how have you been caring for them” etc, etc. It was still unnerving to be breaking that many brackets so quickly after getting them glued on, so I was very careful with my food and brushing this week.
So between the braces restrictions and the wheat restrictions, I’m allowed to eat next to nothing. I think this is what will affect me the most, above and beyond the pain of sores in my mouth (and I have a couple of those right now as well, ouch), and the aesthetics of how I look right now. Those are two things I can do something about, but the food thing? I just have to find ways around it and deal.
In the meantime, someone pass me some chili. Or some salmon. Maybe rice noodles? I’m starving.