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It Started With The Flu: Toddler With Celiac

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It Started With The Flu

When a child is sick, all a parent wants is for her to be better. Katlynn came down with the flu in the middle of December, 2012. She was just two and a half years old. Even though the worst of the flu seemed to be over after a week, she continued to vomit once a day.  A trip to the ER resulted in anti-nausea meds and a diagnosis: virus.

The virus didn’t go away. The anti nausea meds weren’t effective. This poor sweet girl continued to vomit daily for 2 months. Two months! 

As a result, Kaitlynn lost a total of four pounds. While four pounds may not sound like a lot, let’s put it into perspective. Remember, she was just a toddler. She was only twenty-four pounds before getting sick. 

That four pounds sure sounds like a lot now, doesn’t it?!

Needing answers, Katlynn’s primary care physician directed her parents to a pediatric gastroenterologist. With a family history of celiac disease, the pediatric GI ordered a celiac panel. The biopsy of her small intestine that came next confirmed celiac disease. 

Complete Celiac Testing Prior To Removing Gluten

Please complete celiac testing prior to removing gluten from your diet or from your child’s diet. So often patients try the diet first to see if it benefits them. If gluten has been removed from the diet, however, it will need to be reintroduced for an extended period before testing. Please test first.

Celiac: An Answer
Gluten Free: A Way Of Living!

Once gluten free, the vomiting stopped and Katlynn started gaining weight again. Within two months, she was back to her pre-sick weight.

I love being able to share stories like this. When a parent shares their painful journey, however, the mom in me hurts for them. For those with un-diagnosed celiac, testing can give answers and bring back smiles like this one.

So many kiddos are still facing symptoms without testing—-for weeks, for months, and for years! While three months is a long time for this beautiful girl to be sick, the reality is, her answer came quickly.

Many live with symptoms for years (and even decades) before someone thinks to test for celiac disease.  

(I know. I was this child, this teen, this adult who lived for decades with undiagnosed celiac.)

Gluten free? This diet gave this little girl her life back.

What Happens When She Gets Gluten Now?

Of course, the only time Katlynn gets gluten is on accident or through cross contamination. Her family is vigilant about her diet. If she gets any gluten at all, she suffers from leg and joint pain and she vomits every two minutes for six hours! 

I had to reread what mom sent me: “every two minutes for six hours!” This makes me think of all those who wonder how just a few crumbs could hurt. They do!! It’s not always in this obvious way, but not all harm is something we can immediately see. This sweet girl relies on the important adults in her life to keep this from happening.

Katlynn’s severe reactions make her extra cautious about any food other than what comes straight from home. But as long as it’s safe, she likes many foods: gluten-free pretzels and hummus, gluten-free English muffins, gluten-free banana bread, and so much more. This doesn’t mean it’s always easy for her, however.

Education For Peers Required

After another student purposely contaminated Katlynn’s lunch, shaking his regular sandwich over her gluten-free one, she had to request her emergency lunch from the freezer (per her 504 plan). 

Good for her for asking for it! 

But the students needed further education. Her mom shared the books Hailey’s Gluten Free Surprise and Eating Gluten Free With Emily with the teacher so she could share them with the class. 

A lack of understanding can bring out some unkind actions from others. But kids can also be so very kind, caring, and giving. More often than not, they will help their friends and peers when they do understand their needs. 

Share A Story - Plant A Seed

Check out the Celiac Stories page for dozens of stories.
Be sure to request celiac tests before removing gluten from your diet.

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