I have had celiac disease for (…counting fingers and toes…) over 14 years and the support I have received from family, friends, and of course this community has been incredible. And for that I am grateful. But after I received the following email, I realized that in that 14 years, none of MY friends or family have been diagnosed with celiac disease. And for that I am
insanely jealous also grateful. Anyway, here is the email:
Now THAT is a good friend! We need more people like her in this world. My main piece of advice would just be to “be there” for him. Like any disease, getting diagnosed can be a shock to the system. And getting diagnosed with celiac, because of the overwhelming life change that must take place, can be really intense. Listen to his fears and concerns and help him off the ledge, so to speak. Like I said, it’s an overwhelming diagnosis. But it can be managed and it does get easier as time goes by. Here are some other quick tips:
Be patient. It’s a whole new world where gluten is now his enemy. He’ll need time to mourn the loss of his old life. And time to learn all he needs to know about his new life. Don’t expect him to waltz into his gluten free world without some bumps in the road.
Be strict. I remember the first few weeks after my diagnosis telling Mrs. Dude that I can’t make any promises that I won’t cheat. Well, she gave me the death stare and got her point across quite clearly. And I have never cheated…not even once. I’m not saying it has to fall on you to make sure your friend doesn’t cheat, but don’t make it easy either. Never give your approval. Never encourage him to just “take a bite” of your pizza. And if you’ve got a death stare, now is the right time to bring it out.
Be educated. As your friend is trying to digest the celiac diagnosis, it may be too much for him to learn all he needs to know. Read, read and read some more about celiac disease and gluten. There is a wealth of information out there. Know as much as you can possibly know. Knowledge is power.
Be there. He will need you now more than ever.
What about you folks? What advice would you add to this list? Thanks in advance!