22 July 2010
My Tummy Hurts!! has been Miss Fab's catch-cry for the past six weeks.
At first I thought she was anxious. We get a sore tummy sometimes when we're anxious, right?
So we talked about her worries. I asked lots of probing questions. We hugged.
"My tummy still hurts!"
OK, so not just anxiety then. Off to the doctor we go. My (lovely lady) Doc is overseas so it's a locum, and not a particularly chatty one either. To make things worse, it's a guy. He feels around her tummy and says, "She needs to do a poo. Try giving her more fruit. Oh and drink more water..."
We do that. It seems to help briefly. Then just before we are due to leave on holiday it starts up again...
"My tummy hurts!"
She's not eating as much. Won't touch her Weetbix. Refuses her dinner.
Crumples in a heap at every meal.
This is my Miss Fab we are talking about here!
My best eater. The girl who loves Sushi, who asks for salad and whose favourite sandwich is carrot and cheese with hummus! Soooo not like her to be off her food.
At the back of my mind, I think..."Wheat? Gluten? Could she be intolerant??" But it seems to have come from nowhere.
We agree to go on holiday and go straight to the doctor as soon as we return.
First day back, I take her to the doctor. My Doc is back in the country and she checks everything and says, "we'll run some bloods..."
I put forward my query about gluten intolerance and the Doc adds the Celiac test to the Bloods Form, but she looks doubtful. Most Celiac children don't grow properly, apparently. They are usually underweight and small for their age. My daughter is a big tall strapping girl, often mistaken for a seven-year-old. But we'll check it out, she says.
My girl is very brave at the Diagostic Lab. The nurse taking her blood says she's never met such a brave girl before. "Wish they were all like you," she says to Miss Fab.
My girl swells with pride, and displays her little sticking plaster like a badge of honour.
That evening my sister and brother-in-law drop round for a visit. I tell them about my girl and her sore tummy. Alarm bells go off for them.
My sister and nephew are gluten-intolerant. They have done lots of research into it.
Apparently one in ten people are Gluten Intolerant. But only one-in-ten of those are actually Celiac. 1%.
Probably nothing will show on the blood tests, they say. But it's quite possible that she could be Gluten intolerant. Does she have a little pot tummy?
Er, yes, but I thought all kids have that? No? Oh.
The symptoms affect people in different ways, they tell me. That's why it's hard to pick up early.
My sister didn't start having real problems til she was in her teens. My nephew was diagnosed only recently and he is 15. Both of them are tall and well-built. But once elimianting Gluten from their diet, their symptoms have gone.
They encourage me to give it a try. "I can help you!" says my sister. "I know all the best brands..."
Even the online shopping will be fine - they have a whole gluten-free section...
My sister encourages me that it can all be done gluten-free. She knows all the best places to get stuff, she says.
So I have started trying to eliminate.
No sandwiches. No weetbix, no Up'n'Go or cookies. We have rice crackers and brie, yoghurt and fruit squirts; cornflakes with chopped up banana and slow-cooked curry and rice for dinner.
This is a whole new world for me. The world of eliminating food.
It's a vast uncharted territory. It requires me to think and to plan. It's going to be work (and come on, we all know how much I love work!)
Maybe we will all become healthier through this process?
But most of all I hope to never again hear my little girl say at every meal, through her tears, "Mum, my tummy hurts..."
I'll let you know how we get on. Any suggestions??
Photo Credits: Photos taken in the Loo are self-portraits by Miss Fab. Thanks a lot, sweetypie!