Sunday, June 11, 2017

Sweet Faces of Celiac Disease: Meet Valencia

Valencia is 4 years old and was diagnosed with celiac disease when she was 17 months old.

What symptoms was your child having before being diagnosed?

She always had a distended abdomen but was assumed to be a "toddler belly" because of her age. At 15 months old she had an X-ray that determined she was very constipated despite having no constipation symptoms. In the last few months before diagnosis she became very tired. She stopped wanting to read and learn. She would have sudden crying fits and lay on the ground for what seemed to be no reason. In the last few weeks, she started vomiting and became extremely tired. She wanted to eat but would scream when offered any food. She became so weak she physically couldn't walk.

Any other family members diagnosed with celiac disease?

Mom. Her younger sister is almost 2 and we are going to be doing the genetic testing for her.

How has your child’s life changed since being diagnosed?

We must always be prepared for food at play dates, school treats, birthday parties, etc. Traveling is also more of a challenge now. We try to always find hotels with an in room kitchen or rent a house. Val is very responsible about making sure her eating space is clean and her food is safe when we are out in public. She sometimes says she wishes she could eat gluten but understands it makes her sick. Overall she is very positive about being gluten free.

What advice would you offer a parent who’s child was just diagnosed with celiac disease?

It gets so much easier and becomes second nature at the grocery! Focus on everything you CAN eat. There are a lot of online groups to help you with questions!

Sweet Valencia, you're such a DOLL! I'm so, so happy to see you smiling and feeling so much better! I'm so proud of you for being such a big girl and understanding that gluten hurts your belly. Keep it up sweet Val and stay sweet and healthy!

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