Thursday, August 25, 2011

Intruder, Intruder!

When Jack eats gluten, his body is at war - with itself.  His immune system begins to attack 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. 

Army Men and Pirates join forces
against the Gluten Intruders!

My take on it is like this:  The Army Men and Pirates are Jack's Immune System.  Before Jack was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, when he would eat something with gluten, the forces would attack his gut, pounding at the hairlike projections in his small intestines called Villi.  The Army Men and Pirates were mistakening Jack's small intestines as the Intruder!  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.

Ready for Action!
Fortunatley, for the past 2 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 Mamma 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 the responsible party 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 moms do.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Preparing Jack (and His Teachers) for Pre-School

The school year has begun and Jack is off to play, learn and meet new friends!  I call it pre-school, but it's really wee school.  He's going to a Mom's Day out program two days a week.  Next year, he will be an official pre-schooler! With that said, we have to prepare for school!  

To make life a little easier for the parent, student and teacher, here's some guidelines that can get everyone on the same page and on their way to a great school year! 

  • Provide information about Celiac Disease (Pamphlet, website, etc.) to the Teacher and Pre-School Director
  • Provide Gluten-Free snacks so they are always readily available
  • Provide labels on your child's gluten-free snacks
Sticker to label Jack's Snacks
  • Provide a list of products that contain gluten, but may not be as obvious - for example, Playdoh
  • Participate in school parties (Christmas, Halloween, Easter, etc.) 
  • Allergen Bracelets - Allerbling - this company provides stylish bracelets for your child to wear.  (At school, I wouldn't mind my son wearing a bracelet that said "wheat allergy" - because I'm not there every minute to explain what celiac disease is - I'm very aware that celiac disease is not an allergy - just wanted to clarify :).  Another website, Star Allergy Alerts, provides stickers, tattoos, shirts and more - check it out!
  • And lastly, ask the teacher to please call with any questions!

As long as communication is open between the parent, child and teacher, there should be no worries about making sure your child sticks to his/her GF diet.

So here's to a great year in Wee School!  Good luck Jack, have fun at school, listen to your teacher and make sure to tell mommy all about it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Jack Turns 4!

Happy 4th Birthday Buddy!  WOW, are you really 4 yrs. old?? You are getting so big and growing up so fast! Jack LOVES Scooby and Spider-man so we had to celebrate with these two fellows in mind!

My 4 yr. old, Jack

Two years ago, just after your 2nd birthday, we found out you had celiac disease.  We were clueless, lost and confused.  Celiac disease?? What's that?  Well, 2 years later, you are healthy and taking the gluten-free lifestyle by storm!
We've seen a lot change over the past 2 years. Manufacturers, restaurants, and others are understanding the importance of providing gluten-free options for their customers.  The growing number of individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity is astounding.  Over 3 million people have celiac disease, which does not include those who have gluten sensitivity.  Gluten sensitivity are those individuals who have tested negative for celiac, but are unable to tolerate gluten.

In the past 2 years, raising awareness has been a passion of mine.  Seeing people feel better and finding out what's really causing their pain and discomfort has been inspired by you Jack.  Seeing what a gluten-free diet has done for you, only makes sense to share your story with others.  God has a plan for you Jack, and your story has only just begun!

Happy Birthday Scooby, I mean, Jack!