Adjusting to Life’s Curve Balls

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It happens to everyone. Those turn-your-world-upside-down curve balls that seem to come out of nowhere. I can’t even begin to tell the half of it, so here’s the Cliff’s notes:

About a month after the big surprise that I was expecting our fourth child my youngest Miss {M}, slowly lost energy and became grumpy and moody.  Then started the severe diarrhea followed by occasional vomiting, both of which became more persistent and chronic over the weeks that followed. After visiting the Instacare and then the emergency room at Primary Children’s Medical Center three times, every time being told it was probably a virus and to wait it out, finally we were referred to a pediatric gastroenterology.  My poor baby had lost a third of her body weight, was listless, pale and in all reality slowly dying before my eyes. The most likely diagnosis….Celiac Disease. In other words, a gluten intolerance. 
People with celiac disease who eat foods containing gluten experience an immune reaction in their small intestines, causing damage to the inner surface of the small intestine and an inability to absorb certain nutrients.
Obviously we didn’t eat a bunch of junk food and the Paleo diet our family had loosely followed was already gluten free so just switching to a more regimented gluten free diet would turn it around and she would begin getting better no problem, right?  Wrong! Our 2 year old’s little body was already in a downward spiral and picking up pace and despite my relief that we finally had answers and a way to manage it came a little too late.
It wasn’t until we spent 20 days of the last month at the hospital with our daughter doing every plausible blood and stool test, endoscopy, colonoscopy, feeding tube and central PICC line with nutrients running straight into her veins that she finally began to improve. And the official diagnosis…Celiac Crisis.  

Celiac crisis is a rare, poorly understood, but potentially deadly condition in which patients with celiac disease suffer from severe diarrhea and other serious metabolic changes. 

Celiac crisis is specifically defined as acute onset or rapid progression of gastrointestinal symptoms, together with signs or symptoms of dehydration or malnutrition that may be attributed to celiac disease, and which require hospitalization and/or supplemental nutrition. 


However, they’re still not completely sure it was all due to Celiac disease or if there was some other autoimmune response triggered by a virus or bacteria.  Whatever the case we were finally able to bring {M} home, still with the central line providing needed nutrients her body is unable to absorb on it’s own yet. Guess I should have become a nurse after all. Despite that, I’m getting good at playing the part of nurse to prepare everything, flush the lines, hook and unhook her PICC line everyday.  
The best news is she’s improving and after months of frustration and heartsick worry I have my happy little {M} back and I am so grateful that I was prepared with an arsenal of healthy gluten free or at least meals that I could easily convert to gluten free.  Not only was I prepared with recipes and know-how, but so was my family.  My older two children, ages 8 and 5, were willing without feeling too deprived to join in as a family to support {M} in her diet change.  Our whole family now is 100% gluten free. This change is something that would have been way more challenging than it already has been if our family hadn’t been accustomed to eating a healthy diet. 
It’s never too late to make a change for the better! Thanks for everyone who’s visited Food L’amor while I’ve been M.I.A. Expect more fabulous gluten free dishes coming soon!  

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