A 2012 Year in Review, or Not.

2012 was a wild and crazy ride… mostly consisting of me being sick, moving, new job, working every day, getting sick again, and then a breakup with the “Best Boyfriend in the World.” There were many good things that happened too: 

1. The breakup – now I know I’m still strong, and I don’t have to worry about cross contamination in my kitchen
2. Getting 2nd place (first for the females) at a work pie eating contest
3. Got a nice, safe apartment in a nice neighborhood
4. Learned the quickest way to get over being glutened – i5, Zipfizz, brown rice cakes, and a therapist/friend
5. Finally got diagnosed with a real medical problem: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and thereby Celiac Disease
6. More than halfway out of debt from “prior to 2011” – hoping to be free by 2014
7. Got my childhood dream job – I can officially die in peace for having accomplished all my childhood goals (But I’m trying really hard to not let that happen until after my dogs die – and yeah, I know, I still have issues to deal with there.)
8. Learned a lot about Celiac and the pains I thought were just a fact of life: were actually my intestines (back pain), leaky gut (bloating), corn allergy (“corn belly” bloat that lasts 2-3 weeks, leading everyone to think I’m pregnant), migraines/headaches (gluten interference and thyroid/hormone dysfunction)
9. Learned that my “food allergy” has now allowed me to claim ADA at work and food as a medical need on my 2012 taxes.
10. Learned who my friends were, and who still are, though almost all are far away from me now.
I did a lot of learning in 2012: a lot about myself and a lot about my illnesses. I am thankful for other bloggers out there who have inspired me to be better, and do better in the questionable faces of the glutened world. 
My wishes for 2013 are few and attainable:
1. Educate and enlighten the glutened in my life about Food and Mood
2. Be a better listener, and a better friend
3. Be happy 90% of the time, and sick/moody/brain foggy 10%
I’m not alone in this war. I am thankful. I am Angela, and I am awesome, and totally lovable!

Waiting at the airport, with a duffel full of food

Today, I am flying to So. Cal. to be with family and friends for the weekend. Christmas is next Tuesday, when I’ll be flying home to my personal family of fur-children. Aside from this trip, I really don’t have a lot to be anxious about. I’m already loaded on Starbucks’ Peppermint Mocha Latte with four packs of Sugar in the Raw, and a whole bunch of vanilla and cinnamon shakes too. Some days I feel a little ADD, caffeine in these lattes tend to calm my anxiety down a little. It’s like having a boyfriend tell me to stop freaking out: in liquid deliciousness.
Okay, I smell it… Blimpie (sub shop) is right next to me, and I smell the bread. I want the bread. I want a pepperoni and pineapple pizza with all kinds of cheese on it. I will be dreaming of this until I get my next Starbucks beverage.
While I’ve been waiting for this first flight, I’ve been surrounded by Army and Air Force men and women. I’m amazed at how young they are. Most are my age, but some seem so young and I kinda want to teach them about life: It’s hard, it’s easier to be in an institution like the Military or in Education than it is to survive in the business world.
The business world is where I am most happy, but I think it’s the vast and varying things I have done in it that intrigue me the most. I have been able to learn so much, from so many industries, and I love that. However, it has not been easy, until recently. I have been teased my whole life: from family, schoolmates, teachers, employers and coworkers. It’s been because of my stuttering, my looks, my personality, my age, and finally: my body’s inability to accept food. Since my condition has finally fallen into it being an ADA compliance issue, I have finally been accepted at work with open arms. Sometimes, coworkers, that I don’t regularly interact with, have come to accept and ask me about my food allergy condition. I don’t mind that it seems like “pity okay-ness” with my food issues. I think of it as awareness and hopefully someone else who has a food allergy will realize it too.
I remember the days when I was in love with Trace Adkins for his super sexy voice, but have remained a fan of his for his commitment to his daughter’s food allergies. I’m not sure what kind of allergies they have (my guess is severe anaphylaxis), but his passion for protecting them from allergens in food is really my inspiration for this life. I wish more people (Americans) would be concerned about what they consume as much as what they put in their vehicles, on their furniture, and give to their dogs. One of my weekend jobs is a vitamin-based energy, antioxidant, and electrolyte drink. I am always amazed at how many mothers are concerned more about how they will react to it, than how their children will. I guess it’s like one of those “pick your battles” issues, but really, I sometimes think they are lazy and careless.
Texas, and San Antonio especially, is unique. When I used to go to a local breakfast taco place, I would always ask if there was meat in something on the menu. The answer was typically: “no, it’s chicken,” “no, it’s just pork,” or “no, it’s just beef.” I like to joke about this with my veggie friend out here because only she really understands. Anyway, if they don’t know what meat is, how do you think they react when I ask about gluten? And corn?! It does keep things interesting, but at the cost of me getting sick, humiliated, or just looked at weird. I still love food, I just can’t eat it.
Well, the Hashi is kicking in… I’m freezing like a popsicle and gotta run to, you know where.  

New Life in Texas

Well, it’s been a couple more birthday’s since I last wrote. A few more jobs, two more city moves, and two moves within one of those cities, so far. In addition to that, I finally have a medical diagnosis for my food issues: Celiac and Hashimoto’s.

I’ve been in San Antonio, Texas for almost two full years. I have a few friends and, aside from my dogs, no family here. It’s pretty much just how I left Tennessee.
San Antonio has given me the opportunity to have two jobs I enjoy very much. I finally got my dream job working “for” animals and conservation, as well as “with” food. My other regular job sometimes takes it’s toll on me, but has made me a stronger salesperson and I believe I am better in the business world for it. I have been loyal to this position with this company for over a year and a half: this beats every prior relationship and career choice.
Being a better businessperson has not really made me better at relationships, but I believe being a workaholic has. I have worked just about every day for the last year and 11 months. When I wasn’t working, I was looking for more work, asleep, or just hanging out with the dogs and my former boyfriend. – I don’t want to call him “my ex” because that makes it seem like he’s a bad person. He was the most understanding, accepting, tolerant boyfriend I could have ever desired. I know all my issues took a huge toll on him in the last year and two months. He taught me that I did not have to worry all the time: that life is in the present, not the mysterious future I always worried about. Although I miss him asking me: “How was your day?” I know that he is happier without being with me through my daily struggles. I am grateful to him to allow me to trust him. He changed his whole life to accommodate my issues with food and acceptance. I really am amazed someone would ever do that for me.
San Antonio has given me a great doctor as well. She was willing to run tests to find out what I am actually allergic to and diagnose my physical illnesses as mainly a thyroid disease. So now I know I am allergic to: gluten, peanuts, shrimp, sesame seeds, clams, and have self-diagnosed my allergy to corn. So, this big belly I have not been able to lose: it’s corn. No more corn tortillas and San Antonio’s famous breakfast tacos for me! 🙁 Even with all these “new” allergies, I have been able to lightly introduce milk back in my life. – I’m not ready to risk real yogurt and cheese yet, but maybe one day I will. – Kangen (ionized, alkaline) water, liquid probiotics and Zipfizz (vitamin/energy/electrolyte drink) have really made a difference in my life over the last year. I am no longer malnourished, even though I am sure I still have a malabsorption issue. I’m still skin cancer free, even though I’ve had a few more procedures done since my last post. I also got a few more tattoos since then. I have a big yellow Texas star on my left foot, three small blue stars like the Tennessee flag, and still have my two pink Hollywood stars on my right foot.
Learning more about gluten and it’s emotional involvement with my life has really made me wonder about my extended family who also has suffered with bouts of depression. I am trying to not be a “Negative Nelly” all the time; it has always been a struggle for me. Just like stuttering: it’s a minute by minute thing to try to control and work through. There were fewer tears today, although more confusion regarding my future.
It’s my new life. Some days are much worse than others, however every day is a new start to something better. Maybe in this next year I will win the lottery. Who knows? I’ll keep you posted.