Monday, June 12, 2017

Sweet Faces of Celiac Disease: Meet Andrew

Andrew is 9 years old and was diagnosed with celiac disease 
at 7 years old.

What symptoms was your child having before being diagnosed?

Andrew and all his siblings got a horrible stomach bug in February of 2015.  His stomach bug seemed to last for months, while the others got better.  It took us a few months to officially get his diagnosis. His main symptoms were bloated belly, abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea.  He also had skin issues that we believe were related to Celiac.

Any other family members diagnosed with celiac disease?

No other family members have been diagnosed with it yet.  However, the entire family eats gluten free to limit the chance of cross contamination in our kitchen.

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

Andrew has an amazing attitude about his disease and has adapted really well.  Our main changes have been his diet.  He is still a very active boy who loves baseball and basketball.  Instead of going to concession stands for food, we pack lunches and snacks most places we go.  We have to plan a little more when it comes to vacations to make sure we can find restaurants that we can eat at.  We have been extremely fortunate to have the best family and friends that have learned about his disease and try to accommodate at birthday parties and family get togethers.  He has attended several parties this year and each parent reached out to me to see what they could purchase or prepare safe for him.  While we wish he did not have to have this autoimmune disease, we are thankful that he is young enough that it will hopefully be easier as he grows up.

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

Find a support group. There are several on Facebook that are extremely helpful.  It's nice to have a place to ask questions about foods that are safe to eat or vent when things seem a little difficult.

Keep up the awesome attitude Andrew!! Jack's 9 years old as well and loves baseball and basketball too! 

Having wonderful friends and family members that support you on your gluten-free journey is such a blessing. 

Have a great summer Andrew!

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