We were lucky: our celiac diagnosis didn’t start with an extended mystery illness, or with painstaking trial and error. Nope, it came because of science. Shortly after our identical twins were born in the summer of 2008, we were asked to have them participate in a public health diabetes study. Yay, Science! We send in poop samples every month, fill out assorted surveys and diet logs, and take them in for quarterly weigh-ins and blood draws. Celiac disease is linked genetically to diabetes, so as part of their 2-year blood draw, they were tested for those antibodies. Since my dad has celiac, we weren’t too shocked when one of the twins’ tests came back positive. They hadn’t shown any symptoms other than slow growth, and celiac antibodies can get flushed out naturally before the disease affects the intestinal tract, so we decided to wait and see.
We’ve ben doing a lot of waiting-and-seeing.
We repeated the blood tests again before getting a referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He ordered yet another blood test which also came back positive. Based on that, he suggested an upper endoscopy: anesthesia for my baby!
Last week that one came back positive too.
It’s time to go gluten-free. Since our boys are genetically identical, it’s likely that the other twin will develop celiac as well (and it’s certainly possible that our daughter or I will too). So we’re working on ridding the house of gluten (aside from a secret stash for Mom and Dad), on developing healthier lifestyles for all of us. At first I thought it wouldn’t be too a big deal; if you have to have an autoimmune disorder, that’s a relatively easy one to treat. Besides, I’ve learned a lot about celiac rules and techniques from cooking for my dad and other wheat-free friends.
But they aren’t two and a half. Those folks don’t subsist on Goldfish crackers, chicken nuggets and pizza. They understand what the doctors and nutritionists say, understand the science of their illness.
So yeah, this is going to take some doing.