Needless to say, when Emma rushed into the house and said, “Mom, I just had the best celiac day EVER!” It really piqued my interest!
So I told her I couldn’t wait to hear. Here’s the story:
“Mom, my friend (we’ll call her Julie), came to school late today. So I asked her why she was late and she said she was diagnosed with celiac disease! I told her that was GREAT news! She said, ‘not for me.’ And I said ‘Yeah, true.’, but it’s not so bad.”
After Emma told me the story, she said, “I know I shouldn’t be too happy about it, but I just can’t help it!”
Is it bad to be happy for a celiac diagnosis?
Well probably yes and no. In Emma’s friend’s situation, Emma can’t really help but be excited. Despite being involved in our local parents’ support group, Raising our Celiac Kids, Emma doesn’t really have another kid that she knows well who has the same issues with gluten that she does. So from her perspective, I think it’s okay to be happy.
I also think it is okay to voice your happiness for the diagnosis –purely for health reasons. It’s hard to watch a friend or family member have so many health troubles. And if the celiac diagnosis will make it better, great! Emma’s friend and her family right now probably aren’t happy with the diagnosis, but hopefully they’re happy they can now treat her and hopefully make her feel better.
When is it not okay to be happy for a celiac diagnosis? — I’m not sure there is one, but I think you have to choose when the right time is to show the emotion that you’re happy for them. Right away, a family and patient may be grieving the loss of having gluten in their diets, and all the restrictions they’re learning about. So to tell them you’re happy for them and their new-found health, may not go over so well.
Instead, be as supportive as you can. Given the fact that this girl is 11, it will definitely be a more difficult transition than it was with Emma at 15 months old. While I don’t know the family very well, Emma has played with this girl for a few years now. So Emma and I will do what we can to help them make the transition easier.