Tina here is my story to share with you about my precious daughter, Leah:
Celiac Disease and 18 Month Old Leah!
A new mom, feeding journals, diaper journals, sleep schedules… all trial and error! Leah’s precious life started with a week in the NICU, but as a fighter she bounded out and has been that way for her six dear years. Leah never delayed her eating and loved noodles, bread, cookies and of course her fruits and vegetables. However, Leah seemed to have one cold after another, Eczema and vomited every so often. Again as a new mom, nothing seemed odd just part of the development course. At 18 months, however we realized that her shape was that of a bird and a food deprived child with an extended abdomen. Our pediatrician indicated her weight was declining rapidly and she was diagnosed with “Failure to Thrive”.
Obviously fear struck (don’t look up Failure to Thrive) we quickly tried to find what the cause was. Fortunately, two family members had heard of Celiac Disease and mentioned it to us. Having an amazing pediatrician, he requested a blood test which was an immediate indicator of Leah’s issues. Soon after Leah endured an endoscopy and received the diagnosis of Celiac. In just three months we went from scary to diagnosed.
Ok, so what now? Daunting! As a new mom and truly not a person who enjoys cooking, the challenge was on. We were on a mission, what was Leah going to eat, how were we going to establish a “typical” lifestyle for her, what resources were available? Needless to say we began our education process and we had tremendous support from our family. Once gluten free Leah’s health improved tremendously and rather quickly. Leah is an amazing child and has taken responsibility for her nutrition and diet, always asking if there is gluten in the item or just declining gracefully. We take great strides to make sure Leah fits right in to any food situation by contacting party hosts to see what food is served, we are in constant communication with teachers and we have open conversations with her about the food she will eat and why it might look different. As a positive being gluten free is a healthy alternative and the world today has become more aware of what it is to be gluten free.
For parents of newly diagnosed children I say take a deep breath and take it one step at a time! Become informed and join a local ROCK (Raising Our Celiac Kids) group online if possible. Know it is overwhelming at first, but there are some great resources. Try to make an event, holiday, or food based situation about the event and not the food! Having Celiac is challenging, but manageable.
From our home to yours, Tina Turbin.