22 July 2010

"My Tummy Hurts!"


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..."
Okey dokey.
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...

Then I realise it is Miss Fab's sixth birthday party next week. All my plans for a fancy high tea! I wanted to try Meredy's Rainbow layer cake! I've even bought invested in the expensive gel colours! All my simple plans of frozen mini-eclairs store-bought pikelets...

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!

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IASoupMama said...

Oh, I hope it helps! I have been trying to convince my hubby for years that he has a gluten intolerance, but it's like talking to a brick wall with him...

Weza said...

Honey you can still make the rainbow cake. I will email you a recipe for gluten free baking flour. It bakes just the same as flour. I use the white wings gluten free flour from the super market. Not sure if it is in NZ or not.

count it all joy said...

Hang in there, Simone. I've used the gluten-free flour with great effect. Almond meal (although expensive, so only for small cakes) is also fab. If you go online you might be able to find a wholesaler who can provide almond meal in bulk for a good price. Coconut flour is also excellent...again look online so you don't pay a premium. This post is also ringing alarm bells for my little Missy Moo who has just turned 8...lots and lots of sore tummy days and yucky No. 2's. Never a dull moment, right? Hope you're having a great week. Meredy xo.

Tylaine said...

Well I'm glad you found out what was wrong. Thank goodness your sil is such a help for you. I just came across a great gluten free blog the other day you might wanna check out. http://www.lisasglutenfree.com/
I wish you luck with your new food adventure. :)

Anonymous said...

I bake with nothing but spelt flour...does the same trick
I think you will find this transition much easier than you think
our Scientist needs to stay away from dairy for his ears, and though we are not "freaks" about it the day to day has to be dairy free, but you just adjust and before you know it it is second nature
you will find a difference in yourself too ...going gluten free....easier for the body to digest..
so all in all it will be good for.....all
so glad you are getting to the bottom of this, sometimes it takes someone else who has gone through it to recognize the symptoms...we discovered the dairy issue with The Scientist through the mother-in-law who did some research when we were going through tests for his hearing....

Hope Miss Fab is back to her FAB self soon!!!!!

Fiona said...

It's a GORGEOUS pic of Miss Fab on the toilet - her face is so beautiful that I didn't even notice the toilet 'til you mentioned it! Gluten free could be a challenge, but it's great that you have family and friends (above) who know A L L about it and are able to oblige with helpful advice, recipes and tips.

Gail said...

The whole gluten free thing is becoming quite a common intolerence these days - I've seen loads of products at the supermarket labelled gluten free, like others have said, I think the transition will be simpler than you probably think!

Glad that there is a solution to those sore tummies though - I'm finding the whole dietry-related thing interesting. Lots of people returning to simpler, more whole food-type eating due to intolerences/allergies. We've had to do it for O's skin.... once you get into the swing of it, it's just normal life!

Unknown said...

Wow! Simone, I was gluten intolerant right up until I was pregnant with Larissa. It healed itself.

Its wonderful that there are so many gluten free options in the supermarkets these days, as I used to have to make my own bread. Still got some receipes if you want them.x

Leonie said...

Hi Simone
I have Coeliacs and eating gluten free is now a necessity in our lives. I suspect my eldest is also gluten intolerant or coeliacs but in trying to get myself sorted I havent got the strength yet to go there. She also has constant sore tummies, an aversion to bread....
So if you would like some yummy recipes I am happy to pass them on to you. theres a few on my blog, my fave is the Apple Berry Crumble !! YUM!!!

I find that most recipes can be made fairly similarly with a substitute of Orgran gluten free flours (which I know you can buy in NZ too... just a bit cheaper here in Oz). Someone else mentioned spelt flour - but its not gluten free. The hardest part for me is bread - hard to find gf bread that tastes good - although when I was back in NZ last Christmas I quite liked the one from New World.
Hang in there, it is overwhelming at first but then you just get used to it. I lived on rice crackers and hummus for the first three months (yep, wont touch them now!!)
take care and all the best!
Email me on kiwiatheartdesigns@gmail.com and I'll send you those recipes.

Anonymous said...

I suppose the godsend is that she isn't fussy. I hate to think how we would cope if my eldest (who won't eat hardly anything) had these problems. Good luck and let us know how you get on.


Jen said...

im so pleased you have such a supportive sister

my thoughts and prayers are with your daughter

my youngests father has these problems

LIESL said...

You are now even more my hero....

A friend of mine has celiac's. When she came over for dinner a few nights ago I had to figure out what to feed her. I did A LOT of research. Even some spices can contain traces of wheat and her tum is super-sensitive.

There is a shop in Takapuna (I think it's near a petrol station) that sells a HUGE range of gluten free products. I recently bought psylium husk there and expected to pay over $20. It was about $6. I'm not saying they're cheap, but I think they're cheaper than most health food stores. Just googled it now - http://www.ieproduce.com/info.asp?pageType=11&InfoPageHeaderID=820

They look pretty dodgy from the outside, but really nice and clean inside.

Thinking of you and praying for you as you figure this all out. By the way, did you know that if she has celiacs, being a child, she COULD outgrow it within 2 years....

Shell said...

I hope that it helps!

Sorry it took me so long to get around to your post- I haven't had my computer since Wednesday afternoon!

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