My husband Ken was diagnosed with celiac disease when he was 45 years old. For years he was ill with abdominal aches and pains and on a semi-regular basis vomited within hours of eating dinner.
When Ken reached the point where he always felt bad, his internist ran a series of blood tests and found that he was anemic, which led to a colonoscopy to determine the cause of the anemia.
The gastroenterologist diligently took Ken's medical history before the procedure, where he learned that Ken’s mother had recently passed away from lymphoma, but also had a wheat allergy. Immediately the doctor suspected celiac disease and scheduled an endoscopy as well as colonoscopy that day. Following the procedure, the doctor informed us he was fairly certain that Ken had celiac disease; his diagnosis was confirmed with the biopsy.
During the first year following Ken’s celiac diagnosis, we took our three children—one was age 8 and the identical twins were 5—to a pediatric gastroenterologist to have them evaluated for celiac, as well. The doctor drew blood from the children but the three tests came back negative for celiac. Ken also had a negative first blood test.
As we converted our house to be gluten-free, the children also stuck to the diet at home but were allowed to eat gluten products when away from the house. After a short time, we began to notice that the children were experiencing similar stomachaches when they ate gluten. There were a few other grey areas, as well. We decided to have them take a stool test thru Enterolab and each test showed a reaction to gluten leading to a “gluten-sensitive” diagnosis. As a family, we became gluten-free.
My husband's symptoms cleared within weeks of going gluten-free and my children—now ages 9, 6 and 6—have done incredibly well with their new diets. The family is a great support system for one another and we are surrounded by extended family and friends who are interested in accommodating our gluten-free needs.
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