Monday, February 19, 2018

Listening to our gut

If anyone is still out there reading this, my apologies for the lack of posts. Apparently parenting takes like 30 hours a day, and we've only got 24!

The kids started school in the end of August/ beginning of September, and it went off without a hitch. We got our drop off and pick up routine memorized and life was good.

Then came November.

And a little boy complaining of stomach aches.

We went to our pediatrician at Kaiser, who diagnosed Sal with gas, told us about gasX and Tums and sent us on our way. A week later he was begging to go to the doctor because of his belly pains, so we went to Kaiser's urgent care, where it was suggested he just needed to go to the bathroom. Two weeks later, we went back to his pediatrician who then suggested it could be anxiety. Anxiety was a diagnosis I could get behind. Afterall, I was the kid whose mom became "room mom" in kindergarten because I would make myself sick if she were to leave me there.

 I definitely saw a parallel with my kindergarten year and what Sal was experiencing. HIS awesome teacher and I communicated regularly about what was going on trying to identify if something had triggered his feelings of dreading school. I won't lie, It broke my heart taking him to school.

Throughout it all, he insisted his belly wasn't related to being worried about anything and got angry whenever we suggested it was. December brought on uncertainty and stress for my Montecito family, evacuated for the Thomas fire, then reunited with their homes and weeks later, the area was devastated by mudslides and the loss of many community members. Life was stressful. I figured Sal was feeding off my emotions, and the lack of consistency with winter break and family in and out.

Our insurance switched from Kaiser to a PPO again on January 1st, so once we had our new cards, I gave Sal's pediatric gastroenterologist a call. We saw him a few years ago, and I was hoping he could ease my mind that we were in fact, dealing with anxiety and not missing something more serious.

We saw our GI doc and a battery of tests were run. A week later, while preparing dinner one night, I got a call from the doctor.

"I have a preliminary diagnosis for Sal." He says.

I'm nodding my head waiting to hear the A word....

"Sal has antibodies indicative of celiac disease. We need to confirm by doing an endoscopy under anesthesia. My staff will call you and set it up for Monday morning."

Click. We hung up.

Celiac? What the hell? He can't have celiac. Isn't celiac related to diarrhea? He doesn't have that. I googled celiac and was floored. So many of the symptoms fit Sal. Could it be? Could he have celiac?

Long story short, my brave little guy underwent an upper endoscopy the following Monday, and multiple biopsies were taken from his intestinal walls. Two days later, another call, and a final confirmation.

He does indeed have celiac
So, this pasta living Italian family has been crash coursing in all things gluten free,  as living 100% GF is the only way to treat celiac. We are two weeks into this lifestyle change, and it's been going well. My grocery bill has tripled, but I think within time we will only buy the items he shows a taste for versus right now I'm buying anything and everything I see that is certified GF in hopes that he will like  it. The last thing I want is for food to be a punishment for him, it'll be nice for him to find things he actually prefers over his old standbys that were making him sick.

If any of my readers are GF or have celiac, please feel free to share some of your favorite finds with us!

In ending this post, I am so very thankful that I listened to my son, and my gut, that kept telling me that something just wasn't right. My kid, who freaks out at doctors, requested to go back to the belly doctor and willingly rolled into an OR in hopes of fixing his belly aches. I feel mama guilt for shoving the idea of it being anxiety down his throat, and more so for not pushing our old kaiser doctors to let us see a GI specialist harder. While no mama ever wants anything to be wrong with their babies, I'd be lying if I didn't feel a bit of relief now having an answer and being able to do something to help Sal feel better.

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