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New New Boyfriend With Celiac - Advice On Doing The Right Things And Sorting Thorugh My Own Emotions, Please!


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#1 MegStone

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 12:22 PM

I am needing someone on the outside looking in to tell me why I am experiencing some of the following emotions (inside myself) and also wondering how to best approach all this in a positive, respectful, caring way to him...Any suggestions on which steps are the right ones for me to take would be very helpful to me right now!!!

Here goes...

Hello everyone!

I met a man about 6 weeks ago and we had an instant connection! We are both vibrant and charismatic and get along very well. He did mention (briefly!) that he was allergic to wheat and had to eat 'gluten free' foods. He made it sound so simple - so, of course I just thought this mostly referred to breads and crackers and that sort of thing. (I was planning to make banana bread one week and even bought gluten free flour)...no big deal, right?! LOL!!! :0

Our work schedules have not been very compatible since we met, (which will change over the course of the next couple weeks)...and therefore we haven't really had too many opportunities to share many meals together.

Anyway...we were finally able to spend this past weekend together (at my apartment) - during which - he suggested that we order wings from St. Louis wings - and simply got bbq sauce on the side and a caesar salad with no croutons. He also consumed lays plain chips with some kind of sour cream dip that he had brought and also coca-cola to drink. He also ate some of the chocolate minieggs that I had laying around.

Needless to say that I listened to him through my thin apartment walls being horribly ill - (in every which way!!) - in my bathroom during that evening!

Not 'date' material - LOL?!

Anyway, after listening to him suffer so horribly - I suppose I was a little shaken by this?! (Hard to figure out the feelings I'm experiencing). When he finally did come out of the bathroom - I tried to comfort him - but he was far too uncomfortable after his hellish bathroom experiences.

I felt sooo badly for him and then felt perhaps even worse by being shunned from being able to do anything to help and/or comfort him afterwards.

I asked him why this was happening to him all the time - these consistent 'trips to the bathroom' (he had taken many trips to the bathroom during our time spent together over past weeks) and I asked him what I could do, etc - he said there was nothing I could do, that it was hard to explain and that he was a celiac.

Okay...so...The very next day (Monday!), I began my research online about celiac disease and have found a world of information about it!

I felt an (unexplained)overwhelming sense of sadness as I surfed the internet learning more and more about celiac disease. (HUGS TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU SUFFERING WITH THIS!!!)

When we briefly talked on the phone (crazy work schedules!) the other day - I told him that I had done some research on celiacs and he said commented, 'that I probably know more about it then he does now'. (whatever that means?!!) :(

He said that we could talk about it/him more in person...(which is great!).

I find myself constantly spending time now gathering information on celiac disease ever since!

I don't even know if he is aware of these very serious issues I'm reading of, re: self-contamination or kissing, etc?!

I did ask him how long he has had it - and was able to find out that he has had it for about 10 years now and was initially misdiagnosed. Apparently 'it is a long story' and that he will explain it to me. Although I get the feeling that he isn't looking forward to doing so?! (I don't want to push him - but this is damn serious stuff here!!!)

Anyway, my research for knowledge continues...(taking matters into my own hands, it seems?!) - I have printed out x2 copies of the following and filled two separate binders (one for him to take/keep in the car and the other to live at my apartment) - these binders include:

~Canadian Celiac Association Handbook (Guidelines for 'The Gluten Free Diet')
~Gluten Free Restaurant Guide - with map locations of gluten free places to eat
~Various articles
~Article on 'New Cosmetic Regulations', (re: toothpaste, hand soap, makeup, etc)


I am now having running thoughts of what to do with my kitchen. He does spend time here mentioned that he would bring his own food with him when he is here - and eating will be inevitable. I was thinking of simply giving him a little 'area' that is separate space/dishes, etc. Help...Good idea?!

I don't even think he realizes (or perhaps is in denial?!?) - about the severity of him needing to be on a respected gluten free diet. Also, does he realize that if he is to spend time here in my apartment with me, then I, too will have to adjust and accommodate him, too!?! :0

I want him to be comfortable and, of course - I want to be comfortable too.

I feel like a bit if a crazy person at the moment and I have an (unexplained) underlying very nervous feeling inside me, too. Is it fear or what??...I honestly just can't be sure right now.

I suppose I am unsure how to properly handle all this...

PLEASE HELP!!

~Meg
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#2 eatmeat4good

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 01:46 PM

Meg,

You are an Angel! How wonderful of you to take the time to find out about this and to want to learn! I am very impressed. If these episodes are happening to him very frequesntly then he may need to learn more about Cross Contamination just as you say.

I was sick for 7 years and then my ex divorced me and now I want to date. How ridiculous it seems to have to tell a dinner date that if they eat gluten they will not be able to give me a goodnight kiss. It sure takes the spontaneity out of it. So I totally understand the complications of dating and Celiac.

You are wonderful to want to help and be accomodating to him. You will need to wear gluten free lipstick if you do wear lipstick. Personal hygeing products etc. It sounds like you have educated yourself very well to be already comprehending what it will mean for him to eat at your house. It will be difficult but I hear it is manageable. I'm sure you are feeling overwhelmed by all the aspects of Celiac and gluten contamination, so feel free to vent or ask questions whenever you like. You will make a pretty amazing girlfriend and I hope everything works out between you two. You are right to start with the talk and then sharing the articles you have found. Maybe his Celiac will get under better control with your help and concern. It is of course his responsibility to take his disease seriously and one thing I noticed is the chicken wings you guys had. They were probably fried in the same oil that fries gluten foods and that could have been what made him sick.

Welcome to the forum! Take a deep breath and keep learning! I wish you the best of luck.
I hope he appreciates you.
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#3 domesticactivist

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:45 PM

I'm the same way - I just need to learn *everything* when something like this enters my universe.

It's hard to say how he will react to your enthusiasm about accommodating his dietary needs. From the way you describe his eating, physical state, and discomfort with talking about it, it sounds to me like maybe he hasn't totally come to terms with his diagnosis and what he needs to do to control it.

Rather than come at him with all the information you've learned, it might be better to start off by saying you've done a lot of research about celiac and are happy to keep gluten out of your shared experience. You could then ask him in a really open-ended way about his experience and how he would like to handle things.

As for long term future or the idea of totally changing your diet for him - it's probably best not to even approach that with him this early into your relationship. But for your own curiosity - many people do keep separate diets in the same household (with separate cookware and prep spaces). We've found it's much easier to just be 100% gluten-free for the whole family... but then again we are dealing with children and near constant cooking in a tiny kitchen. We also found that even though only one member of our family has celiac disease, all of us benefit from being grain-free, and once we got used to it it's not a big deal.
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Our family is transitioning off the GAPS Intro Diet and into the Full GAPS Diet.
Gluten-Free since November 2010
GAPS Diet since January/February 2011
me - not tested for celiac - currently doing a gluten challenge since 11/26/2011
partner - not tested for celiac
ds - age 11, hospitalized 9/2010, celiac dx by gluten reaction & genetics. No biopsy or blood as we were already gluten-free by the time it was an option.
dd - age 12.5, not celiac, has Tourette's syndome
both kids have now-resolved attention issues.

#4 AzizaRivers

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 02:48 PM

You are so good to be concerned and to want to help him. Also, you are completely justified in your feelings...it's a big deal for celiacs to need to be gluten free and avoid contamination. Since he's not living with you and just being over often, it's likely that you won't need to worry about having gluten in your kitchen, so long as you can clean up well and you aren't baking or playing with flour while he is around. It's so wonderful that you're thinking of giving him a little area! If you do that, make sure no gluten food is stored or prepared in that space, and keep in mind that cutting boards (especially wooden ones) cannot be used for both gluten and non-gluten, and neither can scratched pots, pans, cookie sheets, or wooden spoons (the gluten can settle in there and won't wash off). I know all that sounds scary, but that doesn't mean you have to buy him his own set of kitchen stuff. It's not a big deal for him to grab a frying pan from his house when he's on his way over, if you'll need it. At least, it's not a big deal to me. Sometimes we just have to do things like that. Dishes, in theory, should be fine as long as they are well-washed, and dried with a clean towel.

When celiacs eat out, we ALWAYS need to ask the ingredients of our food and how it is prepared so we know it is safe. Many of us don't eat out often simply because it's a hassle and may be low-risk without being completely safe. However, it IS usually possible to find trusted local restaurants and places that you have good luck at. I'm guessing he didn't check the preparation of the food he ordered.

Obviously I don't know him so this is just a thought, but perhaps he is feeling embarrassed about being so sick at your house and that's why he doesn't sound like he's looking forward to talking about it. But it's a good sign that he IS going to discuss it with you.

I agree with what has been said above. One more thing...Celiac is very misunderstood still by doctors, and so that might be why he doesn't seem to really know how to control it completely and why he made the comment about you knowing more about it than him. When I was diagnosed I was told "stay on that diet" and not given another word, no follow-up appointment, nothing. Left to fend for myself, like many of us are.

It's okay to be a little nervous, but don't let this turn you off from him. :) Maybe with a little encouragement you can help him get his health on track. He needs to understand that having celiac is not a life-sentence to be sick all the time--if you do it right you can feel great!
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Celiac diagnosed October-November 2010 (blood test negative, biopsy inconclusive after gluten-free for 6 weeks, miraculous diet results).

October 2010: Gluten free.
November 2010: No HFCS or artificial sweeteners.
March 2011: Gradually fading out soy.

#5 kareng

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:04 PM

Hey Meg!

I'm thinking the guy has had no education or training on proper gluten-free living. I hear about people that are told to eat gluten-free with no instructions. They think it's OK to eat at resturaunts as long as they don't order anything blatantly gluteny. They take the burger off the bun, etc. This may seem to work for some who don't get an upset stomach but it's really not working for your guy.

You didn't say what you drank but beer has gluten in it. Some have wheat and all have barley, even " rice" beers. There are gluten-free beers & hard ciders that are fine but different from regular beer.
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#6 MegStone

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 06:52 PM

Hey Meg!

I'm thinking the guy has had no education or training on proper gluten-free living. I hear about people that are told to eat gluten-free with no instructions. They think it's OK to eat at resturaunts as long as they don't order anything blatantly gluteny. They take the burger off the bun, etc. This may seem to work for some who don't get an upset stomach but it's really not working for your guy.

You didn't say what you drank but beer has gluten in it. Some have wheat and all have barley, even " rice" beers. There are gluten-free beers & hard ciders that are fine but different from regular beer.




WOW! You are all so wonderful!!! Thank-you!!

I appreciate everyone's input and I have decided to not overwhelm him with all my info and research just yet and keep my own personal feelings of 'helping' to myself - until I hear what he has to say first. I will be able to better gauge where he is at with all this after he 'shares' with me. The last thing I want to do is scare him by being over 'zealous' with helping?!

I will post more as my journey unfolds, as you all are very helpful and certainly supportive of my 'position'.

THANK-YOU ALL!!!!

Another thing that I should mention, too is that I am generally quite squeamish and look away during guts being yanked out in movies and don't appreciate farting and other gross, 'unladylike' behaviors. I could guess that he most likely knows this about me and perhaps that is maybe just another reason why he may have also hesitated in 'sharing' with me?! But, in hindsight - there is a big difference between having a disease and being rude and/or 'unattractive'...and I will have to find a way to make him aware that I will have to make some adjustments and get over myself with some of my more squeamish tendencies. So, I suppose that the good news is that I want him to spend time at my apartment, so I am willing??!

Geez - now I think of things that I have commented on such as his 'noises from the bathroom', etc and how I found it unattractive, etc...I feel horrible about that now! Grrr! Early on...I had initially just thought that he was being a 'guy' and I therefore wanted to set the precedent with him that I didn't find his 'guy stuff' very 'attractive'...from a man that I am being intimate with - makes sense, right?!

...Now I feel badly about it.
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#7 Jestgar

 
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Posted 12 April 2011 - 07:02 PM

Geez - now I think of things that I have commented on such as his 'noises from the bathroom', etc and how I found it unattractive, etc...I feel horrible about that now! Grrr! Early on...I had initially just thought that he was being a 'guy' and I therefore wanted to set the precedent with him that I didn't find his 'guy stuff' very 'attractive'...from a man that I am being intimate with - makes sense, right?!

...Now I feel badly about it.

Well, you can start with something like "I found this Celiac forum and I swear - ALL they talk about is what they do in the bathroom!! :o :o

Seriously though, it's not a topic I was ever comfortable with, but it is just a part of being human....
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#8 MegStone

 
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Posted 13 April 2011 - 03:05 AM

Well, you can start with something like "I found this Celiac forum and I swear - ALL they talk about is what they do in the bathroom!! :o :o

Seriously though, it's not a topic I was ever comfortable with, but it is just a part of being human....


LOL!

I think I'll choose to keep my conversations secretly safe with all of you on here - but good advice, though! LOL!

~Meg
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