You’re in constant abdominal pain, feeling tired and sluggish all the time, irritable and losing weight without even trying. What’s wrong? You visit the doctor’s office far more times than you want to, but they can’t find the problem for all this suffering. Feeling calm or happy are distant memories as you trudge through each day, sick all the time.

Back to the doctor you go, only this time she (he) has a diagnosis: celiac disease.

“Whaaat?” you think to yourself. On one hand, you feel so relieved to know you’re not crazy. On the other hand, you have no idea what to do next.

Your head fills with all these questions and concerns:

• Who will advise me?
• What can I eat?
• Where can I eat safely?
• What do I do in my kitchen?
• How will I ever eat at friend’s place or with family again?
• How do I know what I can and cannot eat?
• How will I learn to read labels?
• Can I survive without all my favourite foods?

You’re not alone. I remember the first time the doctor called me to tell me my son had celiac disease. I was horrified! A disease? What kind of disease? What did this mean? Will he be okay? Everything was a blur. You need to keep everything as-is until the endoscopy.

It’s alright to cry, get angry, lose your cool. It’s alright to mourn the loss of gluten from your life. But then, you have to pull up those big girl panties and get cracking on some lifestyle changes to bring you back to healthy and thriving. Breathe, accept the diagnosis and trust that you will get there. After a few months, life gets easier and the celiac patient starts to feel better.

Click here for 10 things you can do to help yourself or your loved one.