Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Explaining Celiac Disease to Your Child

Army Men and Pirates join forces
against the Gluten Intruders!
When Jack would eat gluten, his body was at war with ITSELF. His immune system began attacking tissues in the gut, warding off the enemy - Gluten.  Gluten is the trigger to this war and it's the enemy no doubt.  Keeping the enemy away from my son is a challenge every day.  But with pre-planning, a gluten-free lifestyle is the ONLY way to keep Jack's body from experiencing an autoimmune reaction and causing havoc on his body.                                                                                        The best way to really understand what happens, is to create a visual for your child or even yourself, a grandparent or whomever. It can be confusing to say the least.                                                                                                                                                 Let's start by picturing: The Army Men and Pirates are Jack's Immune System.  

Before Jack was diagnosed with celiac disease, he when he would eat gluten. As soon as his body would register that gluten was in his system, the army men and pirates would attack his gut, pounding at the hairlike projections in his small intestines called "Villi".

The Army Men and Pirates were mistaking Jack's small intestines as the Intruder!  
Ready for Action!
In doing so, Jack's small intestines were damaged which caused his stomach to distend due to inflammation and with the villi damaged, nutrients and vitamins were not being absorbed into his body which caused him to be mildly anemic.

Fortunately, for the past 7 years, the Army Men and Pirates have been on reserve, while Jack has been eating gluten-free. 

Instead, they have been busy warding off colds and germs at pre-school and preparing for the fall and winter season.  The troops are on stand-by ALWAYS.  If gluten enters Jack's body, the Army Men and Pirates will be there to let Jack know: NO GLUTEN IS ALLOWED.


How will they let him know?? Jack may start feeling grouchy, get a headache, have diarrhea, complain his belly hurts, not sleep very well...the list goes on...

As Jack's Momma and Commander and Chief of his gluten-free diet, it's my responsibility to ensure Jack is eating gluten-free at ALL times. Until Jack is able to determine what has gluten and what doesn't and is able to ask questions as needed, I am responsible in making sure the Intruder doesn't prevail!  I will do my best son! And even when you are old enough to make your own dietary decisions, I'm sure I'll still offer my two cents...that's just what mommas do.

I hope this helps in explaining celiac disease to your child.

2 comments:

  1. Wow! That was a great depiction of celiac disease and how it works against our bodies. The way you explained it was like reading a story that kept me really involved and I understood even more clearly. Great article!

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  2. Thanks! My 9 year old has had Celiac for three years. This is the first explanation he understands.

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