Celiac Counsellor’s Corner – Sherry Scheideman RCC

  • My 9 yr old was diagnosed end of June, and all our meals became gluten free, and snacks etc. separate toasters, butter and the like. I felt bad when the few times we ate out, my boy had few choices from the menu, so I decided to join him so he wasn’t alone, and have been completely gluten free since Sept. 1st. I wouldn’t dare think of eating wheat period. I made a commitment to support him, and I will never look back. He keeps things inside but has transitioned well, checking labels and avoiding things with gluten, and avoiding foods even when he wasn’t sure. But I know he wishes he wasn’t celiac … Marianne

Sherry Scheideman Counselour

Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor

Celiac Counsellor’s Corner*is a place where Sherry Scheideman, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor, responds to your questions about the emotional and social issues that celiacs face. Diagnosed with celiac disease herself in 2001 in Victoria, BC, Sherry draws upon personal experiences and a Master’s Degree in Counseling to support you in transcending this ‘life transition’ and turning it into an opportunity to live your best life – ever.

Sherry’s Response:

Dear Marianne,

Your support and empathy for your son are beautiful! I can imagine the two of you out at restaurants like a couple of explorers looking for the same treasure – gluten free food! What a wonderful bonding opportunity you are making this celiac diagnosis into.

It sounds like your heart is breaking a bit, though, because you know “he wishes he wasn’t celiac”. Let’s look at this heartbreak. You can’t change your son’s wishes – they are his. But you can take a look at your own wishes. That’s where you have the power to change things.

What is your own heartbreaking wish? To discover one, let’s “turn around” what you say about your son: “He wishes he wasn’t celiac” becomes “I wish he wasn’t celiac.” Does this ring true for you? (I think it’s common in most parents of celiacs!)

Is it heartbreaking for you that your darling has this disease? What kind of images come to mind when you think of his future with this disease? Maybe you see images of him having few choices, feeling alone, keeping things inside, wishing things were different, and more – that’s a scary movie of your son’s future, running through your head. What kind of emotions do you experience? Maybe sadness, fear, and anger?

So… if, like so many parents of celiacs, you are wishing that your son wasn’t celiac, you may be living with a scary movie about your son’s future, and you may be sad, scared, and angry.

Now… imagine that it is impossible for you to wish that your son wasn’t celiac. Everything in this imaginary scenario is exactly the same – he still needs to check labels, avoid gluten, avoid food even when he isn’t sure, and so on – but without your wish that he wasn’t celiac, your scary movie is gone, and so is your sadness, fear, and anger.

What is still there is your son – your beautiful celiac son, living his unique life! And you, loving him, and taking care of yourself and of him.

Without the scary movie and the painful emotions that come with wishing things were different, you can be free and clear to just be there with your son (and with yourself!), enjoying doing what needs to be done. He might still wish he wasn’t celiac – and you can just love him (and yourself) while he does that. How wonderful! You can read labels together. He can read labels by himself! You can be so happy, you could pop.

And as he grows up seeing you living in happy acceptance of his celiac disease, he might learn from your example how to accept it himself.

Isn’t it amazing how celiac disease can help us notice painful wishes that take us away from the beauty of the present moment? Thank you, celiac disease!

And thank you for sharing, Marianne. We all learn from your experience.


View previous Celiac Counsellor Corners enter ‘Sherry’ into the search field at the top right of this page.

Sherry Scheideman, MA, RCC

“Life happens! Why not love it?”

“Being diagnosed with celiac disease and going gluten-free has challenged me to develop inner resources that I never knew I had, and I’m grateful for that. As a counsellor, I love to help other celiacs find their own gifts within the challenges of the disease, and to facilitate healing. Why not let your celiac disease motivate you to be your best self?”

Sherry writes about the issues that we as celiacs face in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner. The following topics – and more – will be addressed:

  • blaming ourselves or feeling guilty for having the disease
  • feeling frustrated and sad about all the food we can’t have anymore
  • facing social, familial, and workplace difficulties because we can’t eat what everyone else is having
  • being afraid we might not be able to get anything safe to eat when we’re out
  • having to ask endless questions about food to make sure we can eat it
  • having to endlessly refuse offerings of food in order to stay safe
  • occasionally getting “glutened” and then enduring not only the illness but possibly also the blame from ourselves
  • how to handle gluten-free shaming

sherry.scheideman MC, RCC

In her articles, Sherry will examine how we can feel like victims as we face the issues that celiac disease presents — and then will explore how these issues give us the opportunity to become our best selves as we rise to meet their challenges. We may find that we can even be grateful to celiac disease for giving us the challenges we need.

  • As Pema Chodron notes, “When we reach our limit, a hardness in us will dissolve. We will be softened by the sheer force of whatever energy arises – the energy of anger, the energy of disappointment, the energy of fear. That very energy pierces us to the heart, and it opens us. Reaching our limit is like finding a doorway to sanity and the unconditional goodness of humanity.”

  • *Information and perspectives provided in Celiac Counsellor’s Corner are intended to provide general information, without independent verification on the part of The Celiac Scene of the accuracy of the information provided to it, and the information is specifically not intended to be a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment by your physician or other health care professional. You should always consult your own physician or other health care professionals about any medical questions, diagnosis, or treatment, especially before trying any diet. The Celiac Counsellor’s Corner does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on any content contained herein.