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Posts Tagged ‘celiac’

In this episode: kid health, dog obedience and fat loss –

Maya is pretty much healed now, and stuffing everything not nailed down into her face to make up for those few days she could not eat properly. We now have an appointment at an orthodontist for the next step: braces. Ugh.

Asher doesn’t have an appointment with the tummy guy until March, but I’m rattling cages and trying to get it earlier. Meanwhile, he continues to eat normally and I continue to wince inwardly and resist the urge to web surf for answers I can only actually get from the doctor.

My mission to stop Jasper from becoming an annoying and humpy dog at the park is actually coming along very well. He still tries it when he first encounters one of his favourite dogs, but pretty much all I have to do is yell: “I’m watching you, so don’t even try it!” and he stops. If he starts in again, I leash him and that really calms him down.

Yesterday, I walked with another woman who has a doodle the same age, and the two of them acted like very badly behaved teenage boys. Every time they encountered a dog smaller or younger than them, they’d charge the poor thing. The other dog would sit on it and Jasper would yank ears and tails. Usually calling them off would do it, but once they ran ahead to a young Golden and were really knocking the poor thing around in their exuberance, and would not listen to orders to leave him. So I managed to get in front of Jasper and yelled, “Jasper, STOP!” at which he came to a screaming halt and lowered his head in that ashamed doggy way.

I find that lately he’s taken another cognitive leap with me and understands a great deal of what I want from him. For example, when we walk around the neighbourhood, I don’t leash him and there is one spot where we walk on the sidewalk on a busy road to cross at a certain spot for the park. He normally walks right behind me then, but a couple of times he’s jumped the gun and start to cross early. The first time, I was so surprised I said, “Hey! Get back here!” and to my amazement, he did. He does not understand the words “hey get back here” but he understood my intent. And while he will roam into the road on the side streets, when he sees a car coming, he now goes straight to the side and stays still until it passes (because I make him wait whenever a car goes past.)

See – the smartest dog ever.

As for Weight Watchers, so far so good. I lost 4.5 lbs the first week and I know I’m down a bit more so far this week. Thanks to all the dog walking, I get enough points that I don’t feel particularly deprived (so far). But I am aware that I am still in the weight loss honeymoon period and the difficult stuff is yet to come.

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but at least Maya is feeling better.

I haven’t written must about J’s celiac disease, mostly because it doesn’t much affect our lives. He had it when I met him and has had it since he was a baby. Of course, little was known about the disease back then and his parents were erroneously told he’d outgrown it when he was 6 years, but he was re-diagnosed when he was 19. This means he’s lived with it for over 20 years and we’d pretty much adjusted a lot time ago. He has been having fun with all the new gluten-free products that have come out in the past several years. When he was a kid, it was rice, rice and more rice.

Which doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected our lives at all. For one, whenever we go to New York, he drags me to all the gluten-free restaurants (which are actually getting pretty good). For another, we avoided giving our children anything with gluten until they were a year old. Celiac disease, the latest theory goes, involves a genetic component, but also requires some sort of trigger, or challenge to the immune system, to cause someone to develop the disease. In J’s case, it was the early introduction of gluten when he was an infant. For other people, it doesn’t happen until adulthood, and often people have no idea why it begins.

We have a great family doctor who is very aware of the issues and any time one of my kids comes in with some sort of stomach complaint or hard-to-figure-out illness, she sends them off for a blood test. The test measures the level of a certain antibody produced by the gut when it is reacting to gluten negatively – to put it simplistically.

So when I took Asher in to see our doctor a couple of weeks ago because he’s always tired and run down, is pale and has big dark circles under his eyes and loosing weight, her first move was to send him for the test. This time, it came back positive.

It still isn’t conclusive. The next step is a stomach biopsy to confirm it, but first we have to get to a specialist. And until he gets that biopsy, we have to keep feeding him gluten or the test won’t be accurate. This, of course, is driving me nuts. I look at his pale face as I hand him a piece of pizza and cringe a little inside, feeling like I’m poisoning him.

If he is celiac, it is probably one of the least awful chronic illnesses we could have to deal with, since we already know the ropes and as long as he follows the diet, he’ll live a normal life. So that is good. But I can’t help but think of him being unable to eat anything at birthday parties, having to watch everyone else eating pizza during pizza day at school, and going through his adolescence having to avoid all the fast food his friends will be eating (at least he’ll be a lot healthier). It isn’t the worst thing, but it still sucks.

And there’s my selfish distress too. Before we had kids, I used to experiment with baking for J. I perfected a GF banana bread and have several great cookie recipes. I was even experimenting with bread. But then the kids arrived and the stores began to stock GF products and I stopped making the effort (poor neglected J). But if Asher is positively diagnosed, I’m going to have to come up with more variety. I’ve already promised to work on challah and matzah balls. It’s going to be a lot of extra work for me, not wanting my boy to feel deprived. (My husband, sure. But my boy? Never.)

Asher took the news very calmly, for the most part, telling me that he’d always expected this to happen at some point. Weird kid.

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