I was shaken when I got the call from my youngest daughter’s pediatrician informing me that her celiac panel had come back highly unusual. My wife and I wanted to have our daughter screened at her annual physical because celiac disease has a strong genetic component. Even so, our daughter had never had any obvious symptoms, so we didn’t really expect the tests to be positive. But her counts were worse than mine were when I was diagnosed.
While it hasn’t exactly been easy or always pleasant for me as I’ve adapted to a gluten free lifestyle, the disease has never felt overwhelming or unmanageable to me. I’m a tad ‘strong-willed’ and that trait has stood me in good stead this past year. Discovering that my little girl (even if she’s not actually so little anymore) inherited a genetic disease from me has been worse than anything in my personal experience over the past year. I feel worse for her than I’ve ever felt for myself.
I am glad that I’ve maintained a positive and mostly upbeat attitude over the past year about having celiac disease. That tends to be my approach toward things I can’t change anyway, but I feel that my example may have helped steady my daughter when she got the news about her test results. And she seems to be trying to approach it in the same positive way that I did.
I was immediately more concerned about the changes and adaptations she would have to make than I ever was on my own behalf. Most of our dinners are already gluten free because of me, so we didn’t need to make that transition. She has never cared for school lunches and has always taken her lunch to school, so that made it easier to manage as well. Moreover, with just a few exceptions, most of her lunch fare was already naturally gluten free. So we really only had to worry about those few lunch items, snacks, and breakfast food. I’ll have several food reviews in the future about products I found specifically to fill those gaps for her.
She’s been to a school dance and a birthday party already since her diagnosis and managed both fine. At the dance, she won a cake on the cake walk, and gave it to a friend while at the party, she just skipped the cake. Her friends know about her newly diagnosed celiac disease and have started trying to help look out for her. Socially she’s doing pretty well. Food does tend to crop up all the time in social situations, as I’ve become much more aware over the past year. But that hasn’t been an obstacle for her.
She’s inherited a lot of things from me, but this is one thing I really wish she hadn’t.
I am very proud of her and the way she’s handled this hurdle, though.