We are coming towards the end of a busy Coeliac Awareness Week. My son has been handing out homemade badges at school, giving a talk in assembly and tomorrow we are making biscuits and cakes to sell in the playground. Phew! It has also inspired me to take up writing this blog again – I find it a useful place and record of our journey.
So how did it begin?
We always said our son ate like a bird – he’d pick at things here and there, complain of tummy ache often and hated trying anything new (much like most little children though!)
But when he was 5 and a half he got what we thought was a terrible tummy bug. He had diarrhea for about a week and lost a lot of weight. He seemed to get better then it happened again a few weeks later. Then again and again and he got terribly thin.
Our GP was sure he was just catching various tummy bugs but call it mother’s intuition or whatever – I knew it was something else because he was just so weak and pale.
After six months of this the GP agreed to a blood test (I suspect because I was so desperate and cried in front of him!). It came back with a possible positive for Coeliac. Then we went through the usual route to consultant, another blood test and then a biopsy.
The consultant phoned us a few days later to say yes, it definitely was coeliac and to start him on a Gluten free diet immediately.
My son reacted so well – only just 6 years old – and hard to explain it all to but he understood he wouldn’t be able to eat certain things and we had to be careful with what he did eat. I think at that stage anything for him was preferable to a tummy ache and that’s still what he says when he sees something he can’t have “well I don’t want tummy ache mum!”
I didn’t react so well – kind of mixed! I was really worried about preparing different meals, the cost of GF foods, having to become some sort of ‘supercook’ and just how we’d cope with it all. That said I was so relieved that we’d finally found out what was wrong and that it was sortable without medication or operations – so many possible illnesses were going through my head before diagnosis!
So just a change of diet and he’d be well again…never a truer word spoken! Today he is strong, fit, healthy, tall & full of life. I can’t believe the change in him just by cutting out gluten.
I’d like to reassure other parents that yes, it is tough at first getting your head round it all but once you have found tasty foods and got a bank of recipes sorted – life is not difficult at all. I don’t find it hard work and he loves his diet. If he ever sees something he’d like but can’t have, I tell him we’ll try and make an alternative, with mixed results. Cornettos good…jaffa cakes bad!
Also with a bit of nouse it doesn’t have to cost anymore. Use your prescription allowance – plan meals ahead and shop around. For instance Asian shops carry loads of different types of flour and so much cheaper than in the supermarkets. Lidl and Aldi also carry many GF foods.
So its been 2 years now and my husband has since been diagnosed – my daughter and I were tested and came up clear. We recently heard that a vaccine may be developed – it might just be his fear of needles but my son said “nooooo I don’t want it. I love being gluten free”!