Wednesday, May 9

GF Grief Cycles - Anger

first posted 2-8-08 

"Ring, ring,"

I have a retro ring tone programmed into my cell.  The instant I hear that ring, I’m flung back into the past, I'm six years old and so excited because the call causing Grammy's big black telephone to ring, might be for me. Whee!

Today my telephone rings and the caller id. reads Mandy.[1] Telephone calls from Mandy, the Mom, are delightful, because she loves this disease. NOT!  

However, the diagnosis of celiac disease saved her little three-year old tornado from the very precipice of doom. Before her diagnosis, each day the child careened through life, with no regard for the detritus left in her wake. 

Mommy Mandy had tried to tame the tornado with every technique short of the lasso of Pecos Bill. And now, the diagnosis of celiac disease is the rope she clings to.

DX stories: Mandy’s daughter, Twila,[2] was diagnosed at three. She showed signs of failure to thrive, underdevelopment in motor skills on top of the normal hedonistic tendencies of a three-year old. (She was a terror.) Finally after minor tummy troubles, Mandy forced her pediatrician to order blood tests and voila, celiac disease.

Mandy’s grief adjustment was daunting and her learning curve steep—as she learned, assimilated and incorporated all of the information in a very short period of time. I was so proud of her as she remained humble and teachable—yet dubious and witty, amid the trauma of grief. 

She became ubber-enthusiastic when she saw the steep improvement shown by her daughter. She had the added benefit of past journal entries as a comparative. This is vital. Recalling how bad--how desperately bad it was--helps many of us press on.

Anyway back to the telephone call. I’m expecting some short question, “I’m standing in the supermarket, can she have…” Instead I hear Mandy’s short, curt pronouncement, “I’m here playing miniature golf with my in-laws. The doctor just called and I’m positive for celiac disease. I’ll call later, but I’m very angry.” Click.

My heart sinks and I tear up with the news. Then I get angry too and practice my transference. Isn’t it awful how some physicians have honed their bedside manner? Most celiacs are afforded the same treatment as patients with terminal diagnoses. 

“You have celiac disease. We can’t do anything for you, go away.”

Anger is a very real part of the celiac grief recovery process. So, embrace it, love it, express it and expel it. But do try to have your most vituperative rants in private, so you don’t get the comment that I hear most often from my friends, “Well, go on, don’t hold back. Tell us how you really feel!”

I'd make an effort to aim my anger at a constructive target, in advocacy, and on that rock hard brick of a celiac loaf that is your first attempt at baking gluten-free food!

Then move on. There is more to the grief process, and if I have it right, you’ll be back here soon, revisiting it anyway. YAY!

[1] Names are changed to protect people who like some anonymity after I’ve written about them.[2] Changed to Twila the Tornado – aren't kids great?

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