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Communion Wafers


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#16 Caeli

 
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Posted 06 January 2006 - 08:33 PM

I guess I need to make a confession, namely, thai I "caeli" am a Catholic Priest who only very recently (nearly four weeks) was diagnosed coeliac. So for me, as somebody who is daily celebrating Mass, this is an issue I need to resolve for my peculiar situation.

The option of receiving communion from the chalice alone would probably be the option I would take if I was lay person. The church teaches a doctrine called "concommitance", which essentially says that Christ is truly and completely present in his divinity and humanity in both the species of the bread and of the wine. Therefore, to receive communion only under the form of the bread or of the wine without the other is to receive Christ completely.

The diffiulty for a priest is that as the principal celebrant of the Mass, he is required to receive communion under both forms, that is under teh form of bread and of wine. Hence the reason that I have been using small low gluten hosts since being diagnosed.

The Church permits the use of low gluten wheaten hosts (apparently 0.01%), but does not allow the use of any other grain (eg. rice, barley etc) as this would be invalid matter and therefore, despite what any priest might want to think or say, it is impossible for a priest to consecrate (turn into the body and blood of Christ) a non-wheaten bread. It would be like him taking a piece of chocolate or the like and believing just because he uses the words of consecration the chocolate piece will become the body of Christ. Catholic doctrine teaches that for a sacrament to be valid the priest must use the proper matter (eg. wheaten bread) and say the prescribed words (eg. This is my my Body). Essentially I have no problem with this. I guess my question comming at it from a philosophical perspective (which is essentially the Churches approach), is gluten of the essence of wheat? In other words, if I remove the gluten from wheat, is it still wheat? A bit deep I know, but this is the question that needs to be asked and researched if ever we are going to resolve this question. I guess we could also ask, is it ever possible to remove all the gluten from wheat. I thnk probably not, but I am not a scientist. But if there is always a minute percentage of gluten in wheat, at what minuscule percentage does wheat cease to be wheat. Or to put the question another way, how much gluten is required for wheat to be defined as wheat? And upon what scientific fact did the Churc discern that 0.01% presence of gluten in wheat makes the substance wheat?

Like many of you, I guess I ask the theological question: If the Eucharist is the "bread of life" given to us by Christ, why would an all knowing, all loving God choose a substance that he knew to be dangerous to a proportion of the human race, and rather than improve their quality of earthly life would make it miserable? I guess another qustion might be, that jsut as the Church accepts variations in the words used for the consecration of bread and wine (between the various Eastern and Western Churches) why can't it be more understanding in terms of gluten content. There is also the issue of the Eastern Churches using levened bread and the western church using unleavened bread.

Finally, here is another thing that you might find bizarre, but prior to being diagnosed coeliac a few weeks ago, I was intending to go to Rome to do further study in theology, specifically liturgy. I think I have found a subject I could use as the subject of any research thesis I might write! For the past twelve months I have been studying Italian with the view of doing further study. My plan was to go to Italy in February to do a further few months study of Italian and then enrol in a Pontifical University in October to commence a licentiate in Liturgy. Given my very recent diagnosis, I plan to delay my departure until April to see if discern improvement in my health, as one of the things that was worrying me about going overseas to study was the question in my mind of why I wasn't feling all that well adn the fear if I went away I might get sick.

So, that is my confession and my questions. I guess I will continue with the low gluten bread and see what eventuates!

Thanks to you all for your contribution and suggestions. Perhaps God might be using me to make sense of all of this for the Church? Dare I beieve it?
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#17 SurreyGirl

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 02:24 AM

It's a privilege to meet you Caeli.

I do believe that we are on this earth for a reason and at times I get glimpses of someone above pointing me in certain direction. If your planned research helps some of us, then it's such a worthwhile step.

Just to add a note on wheat/gluten: I have read somewhere in recent months that gluten can be washed out of wheat and that there are gluten factories doing just that. Although I can't now recall what the precise byproduct of this is, it makes me think that some of wheat content will remain (ie the non-gluten part), so that it what remains should still be somewhat wheat.

Also, since the wheat has evolved through human interference in the last 2000 years, as the book Dangerous Grains says: development of more disease-resistant forms of wheat is no doubt one of the reasons of adverse health reaction in humans. The wheat of 2000 years ago would be quite different from today's wheat.
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#18 debmidge

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 03:06 AM

Caeli

You're situation is a struggle...hope you feel better soon so that you can continue with your studies.
Let me say that I was raised Catholic and was educated by the Sisters of Charity circa 1960's (old guard mixed with Vatican II) so I understand importance of transubstantiation and how it differs from consubstantiation.

Perhaps you can shed some light on this part of the "gluten free" host dilema....so my question is: why isn't rice, corn or potato accepted as an ingredient? Is it wheat only because there is a belief that during Last Supper Jesus used wheat bread?

And lastly, if I could use an argument (that is if I was called upon by Rome to beg for a gluten free host) on behalf of rice, corn or potato bread I'd say that God made all of these ingredients equally and therefore, we are disrespecting God to say one is better than another. God created wheat, rice, corn and potatoes and when finished God saw it was good. So who I am to question His works?

Debbie :)
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Husband has Celiac Disease and
Husband misdiagnosed for 27 yrs -
The misdiagnosis was: IBS or colitis
Mis-diagnosed from 1977 to 2003 by various gastros including one of the largest,
most prestigious medical groups in northern NJ which constantly advertises themselves as
being the "best." This GI told him it was "all in his head."
Serious Depressive state ensued
Finally Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003
Other food sensitivities: almost all fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, nuts, yeast, fried foods, roughage, soy.
Needs to gain back at least 25 lbs. of the 40 lbs pounds he lost - lost a great amout of body fat and muscle
Developed neuropathy in 2005
Now has lymphadema 2006
It is my opinion that his subsequent disorders could have been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner by any of the dozen or so doctors he saw between 1977 to 2003

#19 celiachap

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 04:14 AM

What would the pope do if the only type of wheat that was available, due to some kind of natural disaster or manmade ecological catastrophe, made everybody sick (like we get from gluten) - including himself?

As a person that attended several catholic schools from the 1 950's through the 70's, I can say, without a single doubt, that it would be a whole different situation and the rules would change immediatly, if they themselves were subject to what we go through when glutened.

Edited by celiachap, 07 January 2006 - 12:10 PM.

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Diagnosed with Celiac March, 2005: Positive endoscopy, blood tests and biopsy. Gluten free since March 2005.

Retested Jan. 2006: Negative blood tests: "Results do not support a diagnosis of celiac disease. Serological markers for celiac disease were not detected."

Results for 2006 endoscope/biopsy pending.


Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
-Thomas Jefferson

Give me the storm and stress of thought and action rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will but first let me eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
- Robert Green Ingersoll

#20 jerseyangel

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 04:57 AM

Caeli--I am happy you are with us! I read that you have been recently diagnosed with Celiac. If you had known before you were ordained, would you (or could you) have still chosen this path? I posted my opinions on this earlier in the thread. As you can tell from that, I am a bit torn about this. While I understand the facts of the matter, in my heart, I keep thinking that I'm not "welcome at the table" any more given my Celiac status. Because of the questionable saftey of taking only the wine, the (low) gluten content of the host and the fact that a host without gluten is invalad, I see no way that I would be able to take Communion again if things stay the same. I grew up in the Church, attending classes twice a week, became a CCD preschool teacher, brought my two sons up the same, and served as Godmother for my niece. My husband, for his own reasons-not the least of which to join the rest of his family, converted to the Catholic Church in 1994. Am I wrong to feel this way? Anyway, I wish you good luck and good health as you continue your studies.
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Patti


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"Bloom where you are planted"--Bev

#21 celiac3270

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:14 AM

"Caeli" -- of course! I knew it was "the skies," but I neglected here to connect its alternative meaning (the heavens) with the idea of priesthood. :lol:

In your predicament, it DOES seem that the only option is the low-gluten host.

If you had known before you were ordained, would you (or could you) have still chosen this path?

I can answer one half of this; to be perfectly technical, he could not have been ordained if he had celiac. Whether he would have wanted to only he can answer.

And lastly, if I could use an argument (that is if I was called upon by Rome to beg for a gluten free host) on behalf of rice, corn or potato bread I'd say that God made all of these ingredients equally and therefore, we are disrespecting God to say one is better than another. God created wheat, rice, corn and potatoes and when finished God saw it was good. So who I am to question His works?

Interesting point, Deb!

I keep thinking that I'm not "welcome at the table" any more given my Celiac status. Because of the questionable saftey of taking only the wine, the (low) gluten content of the host and the fact that a host without gluten is invalad, I see no way that I would be able to take Communion again if things stay the same

Amen (argh, stupid puns...)
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#22 Caeli

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:25 AM

I guess I don't want to get into a debate about all this before I know all the facts, scriptural, historical, theological and scientific.

The question of gluten free wheaten bread/hosts/wafers (if such is possible) needs to be looked at in terms of what constitutes wheat. The Church looks at these things in terms of Thomistic/Aristotelian philosophy in regard to issues of the essence - nature - accidents of bread/wheat.

I feel sure that the Church will never consider rice or similar alternatives, as this would go against the scriptural origins of the matter used for the sacrament of the Eucharist. The answer to this problem I think is to consider and determine what scientifically constitutes "wheaten flour", and what can be removed or needs to be present for it to be still considered "wheaten flour". That is, if we remove all discernable gluten from wheaten flour, is it still "wheaten flour"? Is it even possible to do this? I think a scientist needs to come in here! Also, what is removed when wheat is processed into wheaten flour? Is it just the husks, and might one argue that the husks are an essential part of "wheaten flour"? Which begs the question, is the highly processed wheaten flour we use today equivalent to the wheaten flour Christ would have used?

Thanks for your responses.
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#23 Caeli

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 05:40 AM

Reply to Patti and celiac3270.

celiac3270 - you are very observant about the word "caeli". On my email address I use the words caeli cola, which roughly translates to "heavenly dweller". I liked thje idea of playing with the words "coca cola"? I hope I'm not being presumptuos ;)

As I have only very recently been diagnosed, I think celiac3270 is right in saying that if this condition was known to have existed when I was ordained, I could not have been ordained, which makes me feel a little deflated. However, the fact is that I have been a priest for 27 years and the existence of celiac disease at the time of my ordination was not known (if it did exist at that time). In hind-sight, I suspect I have been suffering from the effects of celiac disease for at least 20 years if not longer. I guess this is another of my questions. Is one born a coeliac, that is, is it genetic?

Technically, I believe that if I am not able to receive the host at communion (be it the ordinary or low gluten), I am no longer able to clebrate Mass on my own. I have to concelebrate with another priest and I cannot be the principal celebrant. It is for this reason I am keen to find out if I can tolerate the small amount of gluten in a low gluten wafer. This I think will be a matter of medical observation.

I must be off now - I am rosterde for the 7.30am Mass here tomorrow morning - Feast of the Epiphany - three wise men eh! - lets hope wisdom reigns eventually in this question!
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#24 debmidge

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 10:31 AM

Caeli,

Noticed you use the other spelling of celiac...where are you from? Where do you work? Do you think that you've had celiac for all those 27 years and were misdiagnosed or didn't have symptoms?
  • 0
Husband has Celiac Disease and
Husband misdiagnosed for 27 yrs -
The misdiagnosis was: IBS or colitis
Mis-diagnosed from 1977 to 2003 by various gastros including one of the largest,
most prestigious medical groups in northern NJ which constantly advertises themselves as
being the "best." This GI told him it was "all in his head."
Serious Depressive state ensued
Finally Diagnosed with celiac disease in 2003
Other food sensitivities: almost all fruits, vegetables, spices, eggs, nuts, yeast, fried foods, roughage, soy.
Needs to gain back at least 25 lbs. of the 40 lbs pounds he lost - lost a great amout of body fat and muscle
Developed neuropathy in 2005
Now has lymphadema 2006
It is my opinion that his subsequent disorders could have been avoided had he been diagnosed sooner by any of the dozen or so doctors he saw between 1977 to 2003

#25 celiachap

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 11:08 AM

Caeli, Noticed you use the other spelling of celiac...where are you from? Where do you work? Do you think that you've had celiac for all those 27 years and were misdiagnosed or didn't have symptoms?



He's a Jesuit spy sent by the vatican to report the doings on this board, lol! :o
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Diagnosed with Celiac March, 2005: Positive endoscopy, blood tests and biopsy. Gluten free since March 2005.

Retested Jan. 2006: Negative blood tests: "Results do not support a diagnosis of celiac disease. Serological markers for celiac disease were not detected."

Results for 2006 endoscope/biopsy pending.


Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong.
-Thomas Jefferson

Give me the storm and stress of thought and action rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will but first let me eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
- Robert Green Ingersoll

#26 Jnkmnky

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 12:44 PM

Since we were all invited to the supper, we're supposed to feed the guests accordingly. God doesn't make mistakes. People screw up his intentions. Jesus didn't hand down a recipe, he handed down a Commandment which is being DENIED to dxed celiacs due to *fear* that God will be diminished if the current recipe is called into question... forgetting altogether that the Commandment is where our attention should be focused. I'm Catholic. My kids are being raised Catholic. I'm not upset or ruffled about this "problem". I think it's superficial, at best. If a person's faith is tested by this issue, there are deeper issues that need examining. My celiac child is being denied his righful invitation to a supper Jesus commanded we all participate in. That's no shame on my son. It's a privledge to display our faith during a crisis in the Church. :) He will receive the wine next year during his first Communion.

You cannot receive Holy Orders if you are a dxed Celiac. Celiacs and Alcoholics cannot receive Holy Orders.
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I believe in God.

#27 tarnalberry

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 01:47 PM

as for the scientific bit... (what we know, anyway)

the portion of wheat that bothers celiacs is a 33-amino acid long sequence that is a part of the protein we call gliandin (the main wheat protein). a very similar sequence is found in horedin (the main rye protein) and secalin (the main barley protein), and a somewhat similar sequence is found in avenin (the main oat protein). (collectively, we call these "glutens", as "gluten" refers to plant protein.) wheat is made up of a number of other chemicals, starch being the other main component. in theory, due to molecular differences (weight/size, chemical properties), it's "possible" to separate wheat into its components - you can separate out the protein (vital wheat gluten is often added to whole wheat bread to give it a better texture) from the starch (wheat starch is used in fillers for many things). the question is, how separated can you get them?

it seems your followup question would be, is the wheat starch, still "wheat"? in so far as it would just be a particular molecular formation of starch (if we have a completely 'purified' sample, I don't know that you'd be able to tell that it had ever been wheat, starches being much simpler compounds than proteins, and found more ubiquitously. but the same holds true for many other items, which may be more often synthetically derived chemicals that are identical to natural ones (such as vanillin).

I won't get into the religious issue, because once we deal with the fact that the church has failed to address the cause of the symptoms in a celiac who takes communion despite their belief in transubstantiation, there's still the issue of not using the wheat that the church so strictly believes we should use (what Jesus refered to). it seems there are too many factual issues to be resolved between 'the two parties' before the theological ones can be discussed.
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Tiffany aka "Have I Mentioned Chocolate Lately?"
Inconclusive Blood Tests, Positive Dietary Results, No Endoscopy
G.F. - September 2003; C.F. - July 2004
Hiker, Yoga Teacher, Engineer, Painter, Be-er of Me
Bellevue, WA

#28 jerseyangel

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 02:50 PM

Interesting.
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Patti


"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans"

"When people show you who they are, believe them"--Maya Angelou

"Bloom where you are planted"--Bev

#29 Caeli

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 06:04 PM

Caeli,

Noticed you use the other spelling of celiac...where are you from? Where do you work? Do you think that you've had celiac for all those 27 years and were misdiagnosed or didn't have symptoms?

Dear Debmidge,
I guess my spelling of Coeliac gives me away as either English or Australian. I am am Australian, Western Australian to be more precise.

I currently live in Perth, the capital city of Western Australia. For the past twelve months I have been relieving as the Catholicn Chaplain of Curtin University. Most of the young people I have been working with are from overseas countries around the Indian Ocean Basin (Africa and Asia).

As I said in other postings, I hope to do some further study this year with a view to teaching in a seminary. I have lived and worked in a seminary for eleven years (1992 - 2003), and would like to go back into that work in the future. I have been a priest for 27 years. Apart from my prirstly studies, I have also completed an honours degree in Arts, majoring in Cultural Anthropology and Australian Pre-historical Archaeology, although it is ten years ago since I studied and worked in these areas.

Thanks for your interest.

Regards
"Caeli"

He's a Jesuit spy sent by the vatican to report the doings on this board, lol! :o

Dear Celiachap,
Thanks for the compliment - I've always thought it would be fun to belong to the VIS (Vatican Intelligence Service) ( hope "VIS" isn't an oxymoroan??! - just kidding) B)

By the way, I thinnk the Jesuiats position has been taken over by Opus Dei - The jesuits haven't been too popular with recent popes! At least this is what the Da Vinci code would purport.

I like your sense of humour! :D
Regards
Caeli
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#30 Caeli

 
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Posted 07 January 2006 - 06:38 PM

Caeli,

Noticed you use the other spelling of celiac...where are you from? Where do you work? Do you think that you've had celiac for all those 27 years and were misdiagnosed or didn't have symptoms?

Dear debmidge,
I forgot to answer the second part of your question.

To be honest, I don't know how long I have been a Coeliac. I suspect most if not all my life. However, in 1986, I had a "breakdown". At the time I displayed lots of digestive problems, which were put down to stress, anxiety and IBS. Since then, I have been plagued with IBS problems. It was only because I was contemplating going overseas to study that I thought I would change my doctor and have a physical check-up. I decided to go to a medical doctor who worked at a Natural Health Clinic which takes a holistic approach to medicine. My thought was that if they didn't find any physical symptoms I could look to some alternative medicines. I have little or no time for doctors that play at being psychologists or psychiatrists and dispense anti-anxiety and anti-depressants. If you have to take these drugs, then you should first of all have to see a psychologist and or psychiatrists. I think General Praactitioners shouldn't be able to dispense these drugs as they are not qualified enough to do so (in my humble opinion). As a priest, I trained for seven years, and I consider myself a "Generla Practioner" when it comes to priesly wor. I have studied counselling and some psychology, but I would never pretend to be an expert in these fields. If I discern somebody needs psychological or psychiatric help in my ministry, then I senf them to the experts. Medical General Practioners should do the same. Perhaps also, if some GP's ercognised their limitations in regard to Gastroentology, they might refer people like me and many other celiac disease sfferers to GE specialists who might diagnode their complaints sooner and inflict less suffering on celiac disease patients. I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of people are suffering out there simply because of misguided faith in GP's or the arrogance of some GP's who wont refer patients on to experts. Sorry for the ranting, but I feel deeply about this as I consider that I along with many other celiac disease sufferers have been considered a hypochondriac these past many years. I had almost come to believe it myself!? At last now, I can say there is a real physical ailment. Perhaps my mind kicks in and exaggerates the symptoms, but now I can say to myself, yes these pains are not just in the mind and I can say to my mind, this is the cause, there is nothing to fear, you have perhaps inadvertantly taken glute - things will clear up and all will be fine again.

As a recently DX's celiac disease I am yet to feel any real iprovement, but I live in hope.

I think In have ad symptoms for many years. As a young child, I ermember feeling nauseous at movies and acually having to get up and go outside because I thought I was going to be sick. As a teenageer and young man, I found it difficult to put on weight. My mother used to give me a mineral/vitamin tonic as a teenager. In my mid-twenties I tried to take some pills to put weight on. When I had the breakdown, I was experiecing a lot of bowel problems. In fact, my first panic attack was preceded by feelings of nausea and wanting to go to the toilet. When I saw a GP and he said I was suffering anxiety (the consultation lasted about 5 minutes!), he put me on Ativan. I took these merily for about three weeks before I realised what they were - a type of vallium, at which time, foolishly perhaps, I stoppped taken them. In that short time I had become addicted to them and went through what I desceribe "cold turkey" symptoms, cramping in the stomach, nausea, sweating, tremors. I was curled up in ed in a fetal position, terrified to be seen or tio be in public. I dreaded the thought of clebratinf Mass, fearlful that I would embarrass myself by being sick whilst performing my duties - fortunately this never happened, although I often felt very nauseous and broke out in sweats. I became agraphobic for some time after my breakdown but gradually worked at overcoming this to the poitn where I could resume my ministry, but it took a huge effort and a lot of "silent" suffering.

Over the yaers I kept putting my abdominal discomfort down to anxiety and depression, but now I would say that each fed off each other, and I hope that perhaps the anxiety and depression will decrease as I am able to pinpoint the cause of my pains. Before my diagnosis I had become aware of changes in my bowel, particularly the presence of mucous. I was also becoming very fatigued but I was doing very little work or exercise. I noticed cramping in my legs and unexplained twitching in some of my muscles, including the eyes, legs and arms. I woudl also brusie easily and had rashes, but didn't take notice of these too much as they had come and gone over the years, and thought they were more to do with heat or the like. I would also suffered regular headaches but again I would put these down to anxiety or stess. I also noticed that in the mornings, I tended to be even more tired than when I went to sleep. I would often be depressed i the morning, but as the day went on I owuld improve. I started to wonder about the depression, as it wouldn't last for days, but more like a few hours. If I started to feel nauseous, I tended to withdraw form social activity and I would withdraw into myself and focus on the feeling, which I think magified them. At times, I thought I was going crazy. Over theyears, I have spent many hundreds of hours going to psychologists and psychiatrists, but never could we find anything that seemed to be the "key" to what I was going through. Idon't pretend that I will now have the answer to all my problems having been DX's as a celiac disease sufferer. However, I do hope that the near future will bring me some renewed health and energy. I feel I have something to contribute to my Chruch and faith but have felt frustrated and impeded over the past twenty years. Perhaps this might be a new dawn for me. I hope so, but in all things, I need to be realistic about all this and believe that in all this God has been at work. In fact, I can count my sffering and misdiagosis as a blessing, as a sharing in the sufferings of Christ, for it only when one endures the pain that others endfure that real empathy can be generated, and the energy receivded to fight for a brighter future. Perhaps this is what the resurrection of Christ is all about - New life - lets hope! Sorry for the sermon - nature of the beats I suppose.
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