My name is Amy and I would like to tell you about my daughter, Allison. Allison was diagnosed with Celiac Disease when she was two years old.
It wasn’t always easy, but the truth of the matter is, Allison knew no other life than gluten free. Today she is a healthy 17-year-old teenager who has amazing self- control along with many other attributes because she has grown up with CD. The past year, although, had been quite stressful. I’d like to share our story with you in hopes that it may help someone who has been unknowingly suffering from the same experience.
In the summer of 2003, Allison was participating in the Maccabi Games out in Houston Texas. As a soccer player she went down, as she would times, when playing such an aggressive sport. One week after the tournament she was back home in Cherry Hill, NJ and began complaining of back pain. My husband, Bill, and I related the pain to the fall in Houston. I took her to an orthopedist who put her on a steroid pack for five days and ran a bone scan and an MRI. The steroid pack produced no relief and nothing was found on any of the tests. We began getting her professional body massages. This seemed to help a bit. After two weeks the messues suggested that we take her to a chiropractor. Sure enough he found some misalignment in her spine and began treating her 3x’s a week. We informed him of her CD. She’d leave his office and feel better, yet the relief was never more than a few hours. Six weeks had passed and the chiropractor had given Allison a post treatment test. Her spine was looking good! She, however; was feeling no relief.
Her junior year as a varsity soccer player was not going according to plan. The team would practice and Allison would sit on the bench unable to participate because of the pain she was experiencing. As uncomfortable as she was, running only intensified the pain. The chiropractor’s response was, “Maybe you should reconsider playing soccer. Maybe it’s not for you.” In Allison’s mind that was not acceptable. Periodically she’d go out on the field and push herself to participate only to be disappointed again. She made it through the season not playing much. She continued to see the chiropractor. At times she’d count the hours until her next manipulation.
It was now December of ’03 and girl’s basketball season. Allison went out for the team. Playing ball, visiting the chiropractor, and getting body messages became a way of life. She wasn’t always up to participating because the pain would be worse some days than others. By February of ’04 it became all too much for her. She quit the b-ball team. This took a lot of courage. Quitting had never been an option in Allison’s life. Being such an avid athlete she started swimming because there was no impact when she was working out in the water.
In May of ’04 I took Allison to visit her pediatrician for her 17-year-old check up. Bruce Taubman, MD was who diagnosed Allison with CD when she was 2 years old. He asked her all of the expected questions like; “how are you doing in school? How is your gluten free diet going?” All of which she answered “Good” and “Fine”. She then proceeded to explain the chronic pain she’d been living with. I told him that she’d been seeing a chiropractor. His response was a bit alarming. He wanted me to take Allison to a pediatric orthopedic doctor that specialized in sports medicine. He felt that we needed a second opinion. I immediately made the appointment. We went to visit the specialist. He asked Allison many questions. He seemed to be very knowledgeable about CD. Included in his list of questions was, “How are you on your gluten free diet”? Naturally her answer was, once again, “Fine”. He wanted Allison to go in for some testing and blood work. We told him of the prior tests she had had. He suspected that she had fibromialgia. Oh my! We rushed home and got on the Internet to find out all of the information that we could about this disease. The treatment was scary. Allison thought she was loosing her mind! This was awful.
That evening while going through the mail I came across the new edition of Gluten Free Living by Ann Whelan. On the front page of the magazine were the words “From spelt to spice-We answer your questions”. I thought to myself, “spelt?” Allison had been eating spelt for about a year now. I quickly scanned the article to learn that spelt was gluten! I rushed upstairs to Allison’s room where she was doing her homework and we sat together and read the article word for word. It was the spelt that was causing this chronic pain. You can only imagine the guilt that I had (and at times, think I still do) that I had introduced this grain to Allison thinking that it was gluten free. I wish I could recall where I heard or where I read about this. I cannot.
The next morning I called Dr. Taubam and told him of the article. Celiac Disease had always been of important interest to him. I told him that before I made any of these appointments for Allison’s tests I was going to omit the spelt from her diet and see how she felt. He agreed. Within three days her belly felt good. She thought that the bloating she has been experiencing was just something that teenage girls were supposed to feel. She explained that she felt like she was premenstrual all of the time. A week later Dr Taubman had called to check in on Allison’s progress. He was delighted with the results, as were we. We kept in touch periodically for a few weeks. After omitting the spelt for about two weeks she began to feel relief in her bones and muscles. After a month she felt great! In no time Allison was back on the road running and on the soccer field once again.
Does this story sound similar to your or a family members? You might have celiac disease. Find out now, take our celiac disease symptoms checklist.