40 year gluten-free anniversary

mmmmm...... cake!
This year marks my 40th year on a gluten-free diet. To put the "gift" part in perspective for you I was severely ill for a year and a half, malnourished with broken bones and considered to have cystic fibrosis. When my diagnosis was finally delivered to my parents, it was as "very good news". 

But that, is not the real reason I see this as a "gift". The real gift comes from what life delivers alongside through the kindness of others.

Friends have kept rice bread in the freezer for me.

They tell me without having to be asked that all of the ingredients were checked before they serve me anything. If they aren’t sure they call me before dinner – or hand me something for ingredient approval before incorporating it into a meal.

I have had coworkers surprise me at the office with gluten-free birthday cakes. See that gorgeous cake to the right? My friend Lee made that for my 40th. The one in image above was made by Saskia for my 35th. Cake is a big deal. My mother still bakes me a special cake for most occasions.

Loved ones have showered me with gluten-free affection. They have chatted with the chef on the phone before making reservations…ensuring that I would have a fabulous and stress free experience.

When living in Italy, families that knew me started keeping gluten-free pasta on hand so that I could stay for dinner at any time.

One very dear Italian friend liked the challenge of making the perfect gluten-free pizza crust, and would surprise me with handmade gluten-free ravioli. He would spend hours experimenting – saying that the joy on my face was totally worth the effort.

One friend  always splurges and buys me the most decadent gluten-free treat she can find when she invites me over for tea. She takes it as a personal challenge to find me something new.

I'm constantly receiving emailed articles and being updated on gf products found in stores. On more than one occasion I have found treats on my desk or in my mailbox.

People are given another unique opportunity to show you how much they care about you. They know that your diet is not always easy. They know that their efforts will be more appreciated by you than by anyone else. Why would they go to the bother of baking a cake for someone who can get one anywhere? 

This, my gluten-free friends is what I mean by gluten-free gift. When I tell people about how lucky I am, they've asked "How did you get to have such good friends?"

Today, I can truly say that I'm a lucky girl in more ways than one... for those of you who don't feel the same - take heart, I didn't always feel this way either. More to come...

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