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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

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Christmas Family Event. Beyond Frustrated
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I apologize ahead of time for the length of this message. I just need to vent to some people who may actually understand.

My husband's family and us are taking a trip to the mountains the day after Christmas. Well a 'girlfriend' with children in the family has been less than accommodating with the preparation of meals. Everyone wanted everyone to eat the same meals together instead of different families making their own. My husband and 9 year old son have celiac disease and everyone was ' oh we can get together and figure it out so everyone is able to eat it. Well that was until my fake sister in law realized that she would have to do some work to make sure it was gluten free. She basically said that this trip wasn't about them and that everyone has medical issues and they would just have to learn to adjust and make some different for themselves if they couldn't eat what she made. She actually compared the situation to making her Spanish children eat something that isn't Spanish.

I don't know. I was fine with making our own meals but no one wanted to do that. Now I am the bad guy either way. If I say no we will just make our own I'm the bad guy ( I am trying not to let the parents know of this discussion) and if I go along I am going to look bad because it will look like I didn't discuss what was okay or not with her ( and guys. What I am talking about is a simple as what brand of hotdogs and what brand/ flavor of chips we will have- that is it. I will be buying my own butter mayo bread snacks and whatever... That is it but apparently that is centering the world around only them.). Now I have to spend four days with someone making cookies and all sorts of other things ( probably on purpose because that is her attitude) and my nine year old will just have to sit and watch ( I will have snacks and such for him but they will be nothing compared to what she may make). Any ideas advice or whatever to help me deal with the four days I will have to spend with her. If my son and hubs don't end up glutened I'll be surprised- there will be 13 other people there). I am sure they will hate it if my son and hubs always get to go through first. And will think we are over exaggerating when we have our own toaster, mayo, butter, and so forth.

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This is simple. If you go, take your own safe gluten free food and prepare it, including treats, so your family isn't deprived or left out. It can be eaten at the same time with others. If this bothers other people, it is their problem, not yours. I wouldn't even bother to "discuss" it. This is a feature of your family, that you bring and prepare your own food. That's the way it is. End of discussion. If they tried to make an "issue" of it at the table, they would do it only once and never again, because they are going to get their drama- queen routine crimped pretty badly by the time you are done with them. After all, you are saving them work and the embarrassment of making their beloved relatives ill.. You're not there for their gluten food. Bless their hearts. And be sure to let everyone KNOW in the loop that you will bring your own food and be preparing it, as a short circuit around the drama- queens who have nothing better to do that to whine about somebody else's cooking.

Start baking now. You have cookies to make, freeze, and pack.

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This is simple. If you go, take your own safe gluten free food and prepare it, including treats, so your family isn't deprived or left out. It can be eaten at the same time with others. If this bothers other people, it is their problem, not yours. I wouldn't even bother to "discuss" it. This is a feature of your family, that you bring and prepare your own food. That's the way it is. End of discussion. If they tried to make an "issue" of it at the table, they would do it only once and never again, because they are going to get their drama- queen routine crimped pretty badly by the time you are done with them. After all, you are saving them work and the embarrassment of making their beloved relatives ill.. You're not there for their gluten food. Bless their hearts. And be sure to let everyone KNOW in the loop that you will bring your own food and be preparing it, as a short circuit around the drama- queens who have nothing better to do that to whine about somebody else's cooking.

Start baking now. You have cookies to make, freeze, and pack.

EXACTLY!

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I totally agree with the advice you've been given. Your food concerns don't have to be HER concerns. Bring enough home-baked gluten-free Christmas cookies to share with others, if possible, and bring ALL of the food that your family needs to eat. You'll only have to worry about cross-contamination....and it's probably better not to have your son in the kitchen when your relatives are baking cookies due to exposure to wheat flour in the air.

Try not to "engage" with your fake sister-in-law about this issue and remain strong in telling her that you're responsible for keeping your husband and son safe, and their health is more important than anything else she might have planned.

Good luck! I think you'll end up having a fun time...

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Me? I would be the b!tch-@ss passive aggressive.

*sweet, understanding smile*

oh, well, I talked to Maria about how to keep your brother from getting sick, and she didn't feel she could, so we agreed that I should make all the meals for our family. Maybe next year we can plan an activity that makes it easier for everyone. *still smiling* *kiss the 13 yo* don't worry honey, I made sure to buy the <brand> potato chips.

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Yes, but also:

It sounds like your husband's family is not really aware of what celiac is at all. It does sound crazy if you're hearing about it for the first time -- I think we all were like, "What can kill you? Wheat?!" when we first heard it, too. They don't seem to be aware that we're talking about something that can kill you and your children here. It's OK -- they aren't doctors, you can't sue them for malpractice.

Normally, I'd just roll my eyes after a conversation with someone like that, but it sounds like you just need to very kindly have a private conversation with the whole adult side of the family -- in person, if possible -- and read to them some basic literature printed out from celiac centers, which you also give to them to read over later.

Sounds tricky with the bad blood already around, but if they're drinkers then a glass of wine or two may help out (with you, too -- I know it would help me).

But there is a lot of Spanish (hispanic?) gluten-free food. Spanish tortilla, for example -- totally gluten-free, totally delicious. And rice flour works even better than wheat flour as a thickener.

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I wouldn't even bother being passive... I'd just be aggressive.

If it were my son and hubby being put at risk, I'd be a snarky b!tch and let everyone know how inconsiderate and rude her behaviour is. And how she clearly doesn't care about the health and well being of the family. I'd ask if she would insist on bringing peanut butter even if a child going was allergic to peanuts. "Because she couldn't do without" or some such nonsense. If the answer is yes, clearly she doesn't give a d@mn about the health and well being of others. If not (because that allergy is "serious"), I'd make it clear that what she really doesn't give a d@mn about is the health of your hubs and DS. And I'd be sure to share that with everyone attending.

But this approach likely isn't for everyone. I personally wouldn't care what someone who cares so little about my family thinks about me.

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Also, I think I understand from your post that you want to keep this conversation you had with her a secret, essentially. Is that correct? Why?? You're not being unaccommodating, she is. Maybe I'm old school, but she isn't really part of the family. You are. Your DH and DS certainly are. Just let everyone know matter of factly what was said (preferably with her there to witness it and "defend" herself). Then if she got all snarky, that's when I'd be b!tchy back (as above).

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Thank you everyone. You have made me smile and that has made some of my anger cease.

Basically we are keeping it a ' secret' because my MIL has stage 4 melanoma and this is a trip she wanted to take. As I said before, we were more than happy to make our own food, but this is a very close knit family and they didn't like that some of us would be eating something different. When my husband brought it up again the other night ( because we has yet to hear from my BIL and his little biddy about what they planned for their meal), he insisted that we not make our own and that it would all work out. I am not about to tell her that the other part of the family thinks my ' obsessiveness" about the meals is 'ridiculous' and that my husband and son should not expect people to give up anything for them. If I do that I keep the pot stirred and she would be devastated and she is already very emotional. She wants this trip to be perfect and I will just do my best to deal with it so that she will have great memory. What is interesting is my MIL would totally disagree with the biddy. My husband has been a type 1 diabetic since he was 10 and she has always made meals that he could eat-- if there was dessert it was sugar free and if the brothers didn't like it... Well they just wouldn't have dessert. . Nothing separate of course this person doesn't know that because she has only been around for 2 years. So I know if she knew she would be very upset.... But I am not going to stoop so low to upset her by telling her.

I think she feels that by calling me and discussing brands and ingredients , she is asking my permission to cook something. She is very dominant so I can see that she would not like this. Or maybe she just doesn't like my cooking haha. She actually told me to cook all the meals for just my family and she would provide the food for the other 13 people for the two meals I am responsible for.

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I am glad not to be the only one that goes through this type of thing. I say, sometimes you cannot live at peace with all men. Your families health is more important then a "perfect" time. My bringing my own to thanksgiving worked out okay. I was trying to shush someone talking about it, but it blew over and was forgotten. I did write in advance to say that I would bring my own.

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My MIL has asked over and over for a "perfect" holiday, most notably Christmas. My husband is one of 4 kids, 2 live far away (not reasonable for holidays far) and a sister lives nearby. That sister was horrid to both of us before we were married, tried literally everything to get us not to get married and clearly stated how much she can't stand that her brother was marrying me. She did a lot of really messed up stuff, which we are still living with the repercussions of. To this day my MIL still can't figure out why we don't want to spend our holidays with that sister. She has even tried the "I'm dying of cancer and don't know how many more Christmases I'll have" thing. Sorry, cancer doesn't give her the right to impose upon me to go through a living hell for a holiday. I know every family is different but this isn't even discomfort or putting up with a generally heinous b%$@#, this is your husband's and son's health at risk.

If you want to keep it quiet, I would recommend quietly bringing your own food and preparing your own meals. This woman is completely off her rocker and I wouldn't let my family eat anything she prepared, I wouldn't be surprised if you pissed her off enough at this point to make her do something on purpose to try to prove you're all hypochondriacs. I personally don't do quiet. Depending on the situation I choose between passive aggressive or just plain aggressive. I probably also qualify as snarky b%$@#.

In the end, I agree 110% that the health of your family is far more important than "a perfect time was had by all but the 2 celiacs fighting over who needed the bathroom more desperately." I'm sorry, but cancer doesn't make the world revolve around you and she can't expect her own son to spend the whole time sick and permanently risk his health just for a "perfect" time unless her definition of perfect is poisoning her own kid and grandkid.

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I am learning to just be as matter of fact as I can be, and let others read in what they want. I'd say something like we did discuss all sharing the same food, but it turned out too complicated. I know you wouldn't want x and y to get sick at Christmas so this time we brought our own. Would anyone like to try a gluten-free cookie?

If you get a chance to educate people a bit, great, otherwise keeping your family safe and happy is what matters. Maybe you could have some activities planned for when the others do baking, or use it as a chance to get out for a bit of fresh air.

I wish you a very happy trip. We'll all be behind you :)

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Thank you all! Trust me I won't eat anything she 'makes'. . If she doesn't show up with the right brand of hot dogs for her lunch and chips, I will go down to the store and buy the right type. I have learned that next time we will bring out own and if the subject does get brought up, I will say why and I will not mince words. She will get her due one day. I am not beneath doing a few things on my own to show her that she too will just have to learn to adapt!!

Thank you all for the support! I will let everyone know how it ends up working out!

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Just had to chime in. Even the most accommodating families can't figure it out. Last year we went to a huge family reunion in another state. We were told that there would be gluten free food for me and my then 8 year old daughter. Every single night while everyone ate pizza, or fried chicken or ...another gluteny meal my sweet aunt (who I love dearly) would direct me and L. to the salad with no croutons or cheese that we could safely eat. And by salad I mean lettuce and tomatoes with no dressing. And really didn't get that we were starving.

Luckily I was getting pretty good at the gluten free travel and family thing. So, I did insist on a place with a kitchen. I did pack my own food. I did find a Whole Foods with my WF app on my iphone and drove there straight away. Somewhere in the middle of the week I told my husband he better get me to a seafood restaurant because I was so dang hungry I was losing my mind. (This was the case even though we had some food in our kitchen. I just didn't buy enough to prepare a proper meal)

So...even if your fakey fake SIL was a sweetheart, you just have to do what you need to to protect your family.

OH...and I think people don't really understand what a celiac flare is. A little stomach ache and D? We all get that...what's the big deal? No...try 3 weeks of flu symptoms, or massive behavior problems (daughter), or rashes, or migraines?

I agree with talking and trying to educate your family members.

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Another coping thing struck me. My daughter and your son are both nine. We started a little game called McDonald's day. You know those days where you just want to drive through the drive thru instead of making everything from scratch? Or everyone else is eating treats and making cookies and while your gluten free cookies are okay...it's just not the same. Or you're like me or my daughter and you can't tolerate those either? Well, maybe we go to Target and buy a $10 little toy or goofy thing. Or we watch too much t.v. on a restricted day. When we were at TG last year (at our family reunion) and all the kids were going crazy at the TG buffet we went to, my husband let L. pick out a stuffed animal at the store the next day. I know it's probably bad to fill that hole with stuff, but man I feel sorry for my daughter sometimes when she's having to pass at every birthday party, pizza party, halloween, family dinner, dinner out. But as I said, it doesn't have to be monetary. Sometimes just saying....let's watch a movie on a Tuesday after school is very therapeutic.

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I can only roll my eyes. She obviously has no clue.... I would do as the others have said and just quietly bring my own food. YOU are not making a huge deal the fake SIL is, so just carry on :D

I have not really come across anyone giving me crap because I have to eat a little differently. We were invited to a neighbors house for a birthday party yesterday and they went to the store and bought me gluten-free pasta so I could have something other than salad..... hows that for friendship??

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