Monday, July 31, 2017

Sweet Faces of Celiac Disease: Meet Poppy

Poppy is newly diagnosed and will turn 2 years old in just a couple of months.

At what age was your child diagnosed with celiac disease?

21 months old

What symptoms was your child having before being diagnosed?

Poppy's symptoms only really started to show after I stopped breastfeeding her completely at 19 months old. She started being violently sick out of the blue at least once a week. At first we put this down to her having just eaten too much, which was a crazy thing to think really as she barely ate anything at all. She became very thin, her arms and legs were wasted and her spine and ribs became visible but she had a bloated stomach. We didn't know what was wrong at the time, we thought she wasn't a very good eater, so we were getting her weighed and monitored each week by our health visitor. Every week her weight dropped. It was terrifying. At 20 months she was weighing less than 18lb. 

Poppy was naturally a very petite baby; only weighing 5lb 15oz at birth (she was full term), people would often try to reassure me by saying "Well you and your husband are small too", we are, but I knew in my heart that it was more than just being naturally petite. Poppy also became very lethargic and stopped wanting to walk anywhere, this was a huge shift in personality from who she was just a few months before, where she was always on the go. 

She also became very unhappy, she was crying a lot and wouldn't let anyone go near her except myself and occasionally my husband. She also had constipation and cried whenever she had to poo.

Thankfully it was my mum, who guessed she might be coeliac, I'm so glad she did as this definitely led us to getting the right kind of help a lot quicker.

Any other family members diagnosed with celiac disease?

None, although my husband and I plan to get tested.

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

The transformation is amazing! She's a different girl. She happy, full of energy, she laughs so much now, chats away, runs around, loves to play. She's eating brilliantly now she's gluten free and has thankfully put on over 2lbs since being diagnosed, which is just amazing. She sleeps better and just generally looks so much healthier. The relief we feel is incredible. We feel so lucky that Poppy got diagnosed while still so young and also so quickly, it would have been very dangerous for her to lose any more weight.

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

It's hard to explain to a child who's under 2 years old that they can't have certain foods, so my husband and I tend to eat gluten free too, just so if she wants to eat some of our food, she can do. It's less confusing for her that way and she doesn't feel excluded. And for those people in the UK, it's worth joining https://www.coeliac.org.uk, they offer some great advice.

Oh sweet Poppy, I'm so happy you're feeling SO MUCH BETTER!  You now can do ALLLL the things that 2 years old do without feeling sick. 

Thank you Mum for sharing her story. I love hearing from families in the UK! 

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