I dunno, maybe I'm weird or something, but I don't hesitate to tell anyone why I can't eat their food. I'll say, "No thanks, unfortunately that type of food will make me sick." Of course it leads into other questions, but I'm not embarrassed or ashamed (I'm not suggesting that the OP or any of us are) and frankly I take every opportunity to educate someone on Celiac. If my two minute conversation could potentially help someone recognize their own symptoms (or the symptoms of a loved one) and get them help, then its all worth it for me. This is a very misunderstood disease and diet and I feel satisfied when I can correct information. Its all about confidence. If you explain Celiac with confidence, my experience has been that people listen better and accept what you're saying - the conversation also doesn't turn into a pity session or "oh my god I feel so bad for you." Yes I have Celiac, no, I cannot eat your food, and we can move on with the conversation....it also prevents the same food offerings at future events with these people.
All that being said, I'm not suggesting that everyone should go out with their "I'm a Celiac" t-shirt on and start preaching on street corners. It's all about your comfort level and if you even feel like explaining it that day (there are some days where I'm either tired or annoyed and I just decline food without saying anything else). I just wanted to share because I've never had a negative reaction for sharing why I couldn't eat someone's food - in fact it only led to more understanding on their part.
Welcome to the forum! You will get a ton of great advice on here - so many people are willing to help and share their experiences....it also may make you happy to know that going gluten free to help heal your system may also help with your fertility. A common symptom of untreated Celiac is infertility and you will see a lot of people on here had much more success with getting pregnant after they went gluten free. There's a pregnancy forum on here where you can get great advice. The good thing is that now you have a huge piece of the puzzle figured out - I feel very positive that a lot of those symptoms that you were describing will get better once you begin the diet. I had pretty bad eczema that would come out of nowhere. Started the gluten free diet and it disappeared. Same with the fatigue, swelling, and water retention.
Definitely read the Newbie threat - I know you mentioned stopping the breads and pastas, but there are TONS of other things that have gluten hidden in them - gravy, sauces, make-up, toothpaste, shampoo, play-dough, fake crab meat, etc. Remember, its not just wheat and the obvious sources. You will also need to cut out barley, rye, malt, and oats (unless the oats are labeled gluten free). So beer is off the table now because of the barley. There are some great free apps on smartphones that will help you in terms of checking ingredients and locating places to eat in the area. I use "Gluten Free Registry" which has been a huge help in tough situations. Best wishes to you!!!!
Arlene is right, this is most definitely a grieving process because not only are we giving up the food we love, but also certain social situations, events, and maybe even people that just dont quite understand what we go through. This disease is a life changer for sure - there is no pill to swallow to make things better. Speaking from personal experience, I didn't experience many symptoms at all, and my diet consisted mostly of chicken fingers, pizza, and pasta. When I was told that I had to change my entire life when I didn't feel that bad at all was very upsetting to me, and I still get upset sometimes when everyone orders pizza at work and I'm sitting eating my Rice Chex in the corner (this actually just happened yesterday)......but, here is the flip side....
No, there isn't a pill to make this all better, BUT, some modifications to your diet will save your life. After you've gone through this grieving process, you will begin to see that you will actually feel better, and things that you always considered normal about yourself were actually Celiac symptoms that have vanished or gotten better. If you keep reading posts, you will see that many people here on this forum were near death before getting diagnosed and changing to a gluten free diet. The diagnosis was actually a relief for most of them. As you continue on you will begin to see that a lot more gluten free foods are being made available to us that are actually pretty good - I love my Udi's bagels and I don't feel the urge to have a regular bagel at all....same goes for pizza and chicken fingers which I now cook in corn flakes (I've had multiple people tell me that it tastes better than bread crumbs).
KFC and LJS make some pretty yummy food, but its not worth getting osteoporosis, cancer, or diabetes over (among other things). Yes, it will take time to adjust to this new lifestyle, and even though it may be hard to believe now, you too will adjust in time. Keep talking with people on the forum, especially when you're feeling down - we all have been there and can lend an ear.....
Please feel free to personal message me at any time...no one should feel alone when dealing with this. I'd be more than happy to talk to you or even just to listen...best wishes to you and we'll be thinking about you!!