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Diagnosed With Celiac: Facing The Challenge
Discovering the need to be gluten free can be (and usually is) a challenge for anyone. Of course, the degree of the challenge varies from person to person, and it depends on oh-so-many factors. Age can be one of those factors. And when it comes to age, teens with celiac, in general, often face the greatest challenge (I believe).
But challenge doesn’t have to be a negative word. Some of our biggest growth and strongest muscles are created through the effort we put into getting through something. And for a person with celiac, being gluten free is something our health requires. Facing a new diet is a more positive challenge than facing illness any day of the week.
Teens With Celiac
When Hallie and Rayna discovered they had celiac (five years ago) they turned their diagnosis into something hugely positive. Besides taking charge of their own health, they are now using their story to help others.
Diagnosed at age 13, they had their teen years to look forward to. And now, with a proper answer, they had their teen years to look forward to with their health. They took charge of their lives, and through their own efforts to face their new diet, they are now helping many others in this same boat: Teens with celiac.
A Diagnosis That Keeps On Giving
Rayna and Hallie, twin sisters, started dropping further and further on the growth chart. When they turned 13, their annual check-up found them at the lowest percentile for height and weight at just barely 1%.
Mom was concerned that something wasn’t right. She just didn’t know what. As is often the case, she could look back later and see other symptoms they were experiencing as well: fatigue, bloating, and a lack of stamina.
In an effort to find out what was going on, their pediatrician ordered a variety of tests. Included in his order was a celiac panel. OK, I have to say this again, (because it makes my heart sing). The tests the pediatrician ordered included a celiac panel.
This was the girls’ first order for blood tests and it included a celiac panel! The average length of time it takes to get diagnosed with celiac is 6-10 years, so, yes indeed, it makes my heart sing when celiac is recognized as a possibility from the very start. There are, after all, over 300 symptoms that are connected to celiac disease.
Of course, this answer doesn’t come without new challenges. Gluten free. But Hallie and Rayna took the bull by the horns. And through their efforts, they are now helping other teens with celiac.
Not Just For Teens
This book isn’t limited to just teens, of course. Learning we have celiac and need to make gluten free our new normal can stir strong emotions in anyone, whether 13 or 63.
The purpose for their book is to “normalize something that doesn’t feel so normal at the time,” according to their mom, Lori. “We wanted to create a character everyone with celiac, not only teens, can relate to in some capacity. We want readers to feel more understood, less alone and more confident in managing this life change.”