Celiac Disease and Your Child

My Celiac Girl

My sick girl after eating something she shouldn't have.
My sick girl after eating something she shouldn't have.

Background

My daughter has been diagnosed with Celiac disease. It took 6 years of poking, prodding and misdiagnoses. 6 years of stomach pain, constipation, irritability and worry. 6 years of decayed teeth and bruises that wouldn't go away. To all the parents out there who still don't know why their child tells you they have a tummy ache before eating, after eating, at night, during the day, pretty much all the time, I have one word for you: Research.

My daughter was born with stomach pain, I'm sure of it. She was never a happy baby. She even had an umbilical hernia because of always trying to get rid of the gas and push out the feces. The doctor (a highly respected, book writing doctor by the way) said it was normal and not to worry about it. Needless to say, we did not go back to him.

I took away dairy, it didn't help. I took away sugar and gave her more fiber. It didn't help. I always fed her the best, organic, healthiest food available. It didn't help. When she was old enough to talk, her third sentence was, "Owie belly".

After 11 misdiagnoses and test after test after test, we were still hearing, "Owie belly".

Clue

One day, a new employee started working in my office. She turned down some of the homemade chocolate chip cookies one of the other employees had brought in. We thought it was the calories. Then she explained that she had Celiac disease and couldn't eat them. I asked her what Celiac disease was and how it manifested itself.

Answer

This co-worker explained in great detail how she had had serious stomach pain since she was a child. How no doctor seemed to be able to pinpoint the diagnosis. How one day she was reading a newspaper article about Celiac disease and the light came on. She got tested, she has it. It took her 24 years of pain and depression to find it.

She stopped all wheat in her diet. She stopped all gluten in her diet. Three weeks later, the pain she had lived with her entire life was gone. GONE!

Villi

The Truth

I began the research after that conversation. I looked at every web site known to mankind. I went to the library (an antiquated notion, but sometimes it still happens). The symptoms listed everywhere for Celiac disease were my daughters symptoms. Every one of them. She filled every checklist.

I started crying. I couldn't help myself. Six years of pain. unnecessary pain. My daughter had gone through hell in her short life, but I was coming to the realization that this could now change.

I took her to a specialist. They did the blood test that doesn't always tell for sure if it is negative. If it is positive, then they don't necessarily need to do an intestinal biopsy. The test was positive. Then I was tested. Same result. Celiac can also be hereditary I found out.

The truth is, Celiac disease is pretty much a mystery even now to the medical community. They know it is an auto-immune disease. They know it causes atrophying of the intestinal villi. Villi are the little hair like thingys (scientifically speaking) that help to absorb nutrients. So, if the villi aren't working, the nutrients aren't getting absorbed. This can cause severe problems later in life. Earlier in life too. My daughter has had 4 teeth pulled and has three crowns. No nutrients. She has had bruising that won't go away. No nutrients. I have had lymphoma. Possibly caused by Celiac never being diagnosed.

Help

Now that the sad/bad stuff has been explained, let me explain the good news. It gets better! All that is required is lifelong, total abstaining from gluten. A problem, you say? Not after watching your child go through what I have. Gluten-free foods have come a long way baby! Allow me to expand on that:

Amy's Rice Crust Pizza, Ian's Chicken Nuggets, Arrowhead Mills Mixes, Bob's Red Mill Mixes, Enjoy Life bars and cookies, Ener-G Foods, EnviroKids Cereal, Gluten-Free Pantry Mixes, Glutino crackers, cookies. Kinnikinnick bread, doughnuts, hot dog buns. Namaste mixes., Vans waffles. Even Lay's Classic Potato Chips and Bryers All Natural Ice Creams are gluten free.

I could go on and on, and believe me I have! You can bake your child's cookies and snacks from flour that has no gluten in it. For thickener you can add xanthan gum or an extra egg white. You can use tapioca or potato flour, rice flour, etc. You can combine them for a yummy mix.

Careful

Above all, when you or your child has been accurately (as accurately as they seem to be able to) diagnosed with Celiac disease and you have started your gluten free diet, watch for the nasty gluten hidden everywhere! Check vitamins. Check medicines. Check lip gloss and toothpaste and chapstick. Check all salad dressings and soups. Soy sauce contains gluten. Dextrin, Malt flavoring. Rye and Spelt are no nos. Durum and Graham flour are no nos.

There are web sites on line that sell oats that are not packaged in a factory where they handle wheat. Oats are still iffy anyway, but if you are going to try them, be sure they are not made with the same equipment.

I could go on and on here also, but I won't. I'm going to stop and let you do the rest of the research on your own.

Gluten Free Products

Easy

I'm not saying it is going to be easy. Kids want to be like other kids. They want to eat what other kids eat. Celiac kids do so and their very lives can depend on it.

As I have said, there are plenty of alternatives out there. If they love McDonalds, the ice cream sundaes with strawberry topping is gluten free. Check with the individual places, but the fries are generally gluten free too. Only McDonalds has tested their fries tho, not the other fast food places.

If they love cookies, you can bake em better then they do in the packaged world, trust me. Better!

Keep them on the straight and narrow gluten free diet and they will live a long and pain free life and have you to thank for it.

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Comments 2 comments

Kotomi 19 months ago

Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a whole lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or smetohing. I believe which you could do with several pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this really is wonderful weblog. A fantastic read. I


SavannahEve profile image

SavannahEve 18 months ago from California Author

Thank you Kotomi! Having watched my daughter's pain when she accidently gets gluten, I feel like I could write the book on it! I'll work on pictures. Thanks again! :)

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