Macaroni and cheese, cheese pizza, and grilled cheese sandwiches were his favorites. After a rapid decline in his health, our pediatrician recommended an immediate removal of all casein and gluten from Nate's diet. Immediately. It seemed like everything that Nate ate was wheat and cheese. Later I learned that the body will crave the very thing that causes the pain. There is this cycle of pain, self-creating endorphins, relief, craving, pain, soothing and repeat. Nate had been medicating himself with the very foods that were creating the irritation.
Life became very frantic for a period of time. I would search the grocery store shelves and everything seemed to be filled with modified food starch, barley malt, natural flavorings, or just plain old WHEAT. Grocery shopping became a very emotionally draining adventure, especially with a preschooler who was confused about the sudden ban on his favorite foods. Tears would come to both of us and we would leave the store with vegetables and fruit, a can of tuna, and a bag of rice.
A few days after the tearful "Macaroni and Cheese" night, I also realized that Nate would be banned from receiving the host at mass. At this time, in 1999, there was no approval for low-gluten wafers in America, and so in a depressed state from the inability to find a simple box of pasta and yellow flavored cheese powder, I was circling further into sadness as I realized that receiving the Body of Christ was also going to be denied. In this mind set, I did not have the sense to ask questions. I did not know where to ask. Even the internet was not an option, as it was just beginning to burst forth with search engines and research files.
This was a very spiritually empty time in my life. I did not turn to God. I was not angry. I had nothing to rejoice. I was just very empty and tired. Nothing tasted good. When receiving Eucharist for myself, it was a very solemn moment reminding me of what seemed a very bleak spiritual future for Nate.
To me, the world was ever becoming smaller and darker.