1. Is it really necessary to get new pots and pans and plates and silverware?
Silverware should be okay, glassware should be okay, stainless steel should be okay unless it has tons of crevices that are impossible to clean. Sometimes that can still be okay. The ones that can be a problem are teflon if it has scratches, wood and bamboo, and plastics. These are porous to gluten and can release it back into the food. However, I know some people have an issue with this, and some don't, so you might want to see how you do at first, or use only stainless steel and glass and try the teflon stuff later to see if it affects you.
2. What if any books have been lifesavers while dealing with this disease?
I'm right there were Sandsurfgirl. The web has been the most useful for me. I got a few books/cookbooks, and I pretty much never use them. Information on Celiac Disease is changing constantly - lots of new research, which is good for us, yeah? But the books just can't always keep up with the new info. The gluten free blogging community has some awesome recipes that have been easier to search through than in cookbooks, so I've ended up using their recipes much more than the books'. One book I've heard others recommend, though, is Celiac Disease for Dummies. I never read that one, but I've heard people who thought it was very informative and useful for them.
3. How long were you gluten free before feeling relief?
I had a physical change within days. I know some people who took weeks or even months to notice a change, for better or worse, so it's very individual. For myself, I turned out to be allergic to a couple of the things that are more prevalent in Gluten Free foods, so it was making me sicker until we figured things out a little better. I hit the dairy and the soy problems, like was mentioned above.
4. If you have children, did you have trouble conceiving?
I didn't have trouble conceiving, but I was undiagnosed at the time, and possibly not even triggered. I was very sick during both pregnancies, though. What I have heard, however, is that if you are on the diet and being very strict about it, there shouldn't be any conception issues. I've also read that during a pregnancy was the time to be very, very strict about the diet, as the nutrient intake would affect both you and the baby, so keeping the villi healthy would be a big priority.
5.Do any of your family members also suffer from Celiac's?
Oh heck yeah. My father was diagnosed about 8 years ago, and he told me it was 'like an allergy,' so I never looked into it. When I got diagnosed, I pestered everyone to get tested. My brother and my daughter came back positive (no symptoms for daughter at all). My son had many of the symptoms, so even though he came back negative, I took him off gluten, and he has done much better on the diet. I've now contacted cousins and Aunts and Uncles and found out many of them have been having physical trouble or gut issues that no doctor has figured out yet, so many of them are getting tested now, too. Based on my family's experience, I'd very much recommend seeing if your parents, siblings, and any children can get tested. That population (having a celiac positive relative 1 degree removed) has 1 in 22 people test positive as well.
It's a weird thing. Myself and my daughter never had what I would have considered to be Celiac symptoms. No gut issues whatsoever, we were both a little overweight. So I'm glad I tested her 'just because,' as I never would have suspected she had it, just going by symptoms, you know?
Wishing you good luck, and, well, there's more in the email! :-)