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My in-laws do not understand & do not want understand what having celiac disease is like. They brush it off like it is nothing.

Both my husband & I have sat down with them trying to explain everything to them. But it is like they don't care.

I used to invite them over for dinner every once in a while but I stopped when I got so sick. I can't remember the last time we were invited over there. Maybe about 5 years ago or so.

Everyone complained that we don't get together for the holidays. So last Christmas, even though I felt terrible I invited everyone over for Christmas dinner. We both felt this would help the family get back together again. Easter came & went and no one invited us anywhere. My sister-in-law asked what we were doing for Easter & I told her that I didn't know. So she mentioned to me that they would probably end up going over to her mom's (my mother-in-laws).

Again this Thanksgiving we put something together & we are all going out for dinner. I was asked a couple weeks ago from my sister-in-law about what we are having for Christmas this year. I told her that I am not doing it this year b/c I am feeling really terrible. No response whatsoever.

I guess I just had to vent. Why are people so unwilling to understand?


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Unfortunately, its seems that they're willing to merely focus on themselves and not beyond. I know that may seem harsh, but, they don't understand nor make an effort to, becaues its not happening to them. Sorry you have to struggle with a group that's so understanding. If it comforts you any, I'm heading to the "in-laws" for Thanksgiving dinner, in fact his aunt's home. I know I will limit what I eat to probably the vegetables, and spend an entire day being fretted over for not having eaten enough. I imagine people would trade for the "overly" caring individuals, but at times it gets very wearing too.

I hope you start to feel better soon, and at some point have a break through with the in-laws. Just know you're not alone!


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I'm sorry you're having that difficulty. I guess they don't really need to understand, just accept. But if they can't even do that... then really, what are they doing?


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It does seem unfair that sometimes others don't or won't take the time or interest to become involved in what is going on in our lives, especially when it is a life or death situation, such as Celiac is. I often think that if they had to walk one day in our shoes, checking each and every label before letting any kind of food pass their lips, or constantly being aware of what is in each and every morsel we eat, then suffering tremendously when we make a mistake (mine reacts as asthma, so I am left gasping for air, or I break out in a rash, or I have up and down mood swings, all of which are uncomfortable and anxiety-provoking) they would understand better, but of course I wouldn't wish this kind of suffering and pain on anyone.

Here is the good part though. I have had this so long (since the age of 8) that I am now stronger and tougher than most people I know, and also more sensitive and caring about what other people are going through, since I have experienced pain myself. I think that even our closest family members don't really realize what it is like to never be able to eat certain foods again, for as long as we live. I have intolerances to all grains, all milk and dairy products, egg whites, and yeast, so I am basically left eating meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

I am finally, after a lot of years, getting to the point that what someone else says or thinks doesn't make that much difference anymore. Most people don't have a clue as to the discipline it takes to stick with the Celiac diet, much less one that restricts your diet even further. I used to get offended and almost cry at family gatherings and functions. Now I just take along my own food and quietly proceed on with my diet, knowing that most of my family members most likely have the same intolerances I do, but they're not willing to find out or admit that they do. I will be here when they get tired of gaining weight, having sinus problems, thyroid cancer, liver disease, migraine headaches and diabetes. What more can I do? I bought Enterolab test kits for 6 members of my family for Christmas last year, but only 3 have sent the tests off, and the one who learned she has Celiac hasn't changed her diet at all, even though she has already had thyroid cancer.

I love my family dearly. I hope that they, and your in-laws and others, come to their senses and appreciate us more. That would be a true blessing. In the meantime, just seeing how healthy, energetic, and upbeat we are, though we have a serious condition, will have to be enough I suppose. All we can do is try to teach through example and hope that they will come along. Welda


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I know that this website provides a great opportunity to vent, cry, learn, teach, chat and share. I do think that there are choices for you, it is just getting through the disheartened fact that people, sometimes family, won't, don't or can't share in your experience.

I make most of Thanksgiving dinner partly for the fact that I can control most of how the meal is made. This year my mother will make the stuffing and bring pumpkin pie. I will cook everything else. Although it only takes care of one holiday, it will suffice for now.

If you aren't feeling well enough to cook a large meal then don't but perhaps you could consider cooking a small meal or ordering take-out for everyone and then you eat whatever you have in the house for yourself.

I hope that you feel well and stay well very soon!


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Dear Lynn R.

I am so sorry that you are feeling the way you are. I have found that a lot of people don't understand what this disease does to us. It seems a lot of people assume that it is just a wheat allergy and not a big deal. It sometimes feels like people think that we just need to get over it. People don't understand that this rules our whole life, every decision we make is controlled by this disease. We can't go out and eat, stop by a friends or family members and have something as simple as a piece of cake, cookie or pie. Heck, we can't even eat a piece of bread! We will never make those we care about understand what this disease does to us. I don't know that we will ever educate everyone about this. It is still not understood by most of the medical community. It is kind of strange, since I was diagnosed with it the disease went from one in every 250 people to one in every 133.

I think the only thing we can control is how we feel about it. There are times it will really get us down, when we will feel like nobody can possibly understand, maybe even feel as if nobody cares. What you can take to the bank is that each and every one of us does understand how you feel! Things are looking up though, look at the new regulations that are going to help us see what is in the food we buy.

But most of all Lynn, know that we are here for you, anytime you want to talk, vent, cry or laugh.


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