It's confirmed. It's done. It's truly happening. Ethan has Celiac Disease. Most of his villa are gone, meaning his little body is not absorbing the nutrients it needs to thrive. The cure? There is no cure. However, a gluten-free diet does keep the gut healthy and helps stops damage from occurring.
After Ethan's endoscopy on Friday, the doctor kindly told us to have one last hoorah over the weekend before going to gluten free. I know some people would wonder why we'd continue to feed our little one something we KNOW is causing damage. I get that. But I also know that this change is not a temporary change. For Ethan, it's a lifetime change. This isn't a fad diet. It's not a "healthy diet."
It is an autoimmune disorder.
It means there are no lazy nights for dinner. No take-out without intense examination. No Incredible Pizza. No birthday cake at the birthday party. No exceptions or nights off ever.
And so, as we look to the future, it seemed fitting to allow Ethan an opportunity to come to grips with his new life and eat all those favorite things. It gave us all a chance to discuss the changes ahead and why the foods we were eating are so bad for him. But I can tell the Celiac is in full force. He barely ate a thing the past couple of weeks. He complains about his tummy hurting after eating.
I'm glad we've started this journey to healing his gut.
No one has said this will be easy, but a good friend did say that if anyone had to do it, it's good that it's me. Why? Because I already know so much about food. I can read a label. I pay attention to the foods we eat. I make monthly meal plans. I buy organic when possible. I try to buy things with no more than six ingredients. I'm diligent about food. But I'm also a whole wheat kind of girl. I try to avoid refined foods/carbs, but there are tons of whole wheat/whole grain options out there. And I'm not perfect at it. I have days, weeks, months where I barely hit the mark because life is so busy or I am so tired.
There are no more exceptions.
I have to learn where gluten hides. I can't take a day, a week, or a month off. I can't slide backwards. Because every time I do, I will allow for a potential "gluten" event that is damaging to my child. This isn't going to be easy. Yes, there are tons of gluten-free options out there, but that doesn't mean they're safe for someone with Celiac Disease. I'll have to watch him to determine his particular sensitivity to miniscule amounts of gluten and to cross contamination. I'll have to be diligent at every turn.
And so will he.
Ethan is young. This will become his lifestyle. I know that. But he, too, will have to be constantly diligent about what he ingests. He will have different food experiences than I had. He will always be conscious of what goes into his body. Is that a bad thing? No, probably not. However, we all fall off the wagon. But for him, it will cause damage.
And damage to the gut affects the brain.
If you haven't heard of the gut-brain connection, you should look it up. Our guts and our brains were created out of the same type of tissue in the womb. There is a strong connection between gut health and brain health. And more and more is being discovered about that connection. It will be interesting to see how this diet affects him.
As hard as the transition will be, I am so glad we found out.
I know now that Ethan has always had Celiac Disease. Essentially, he hasn't felt good a day in his life and has no idea what it's like to feel good. I can't imagine that and I'm so happy I pushed so hard to find out what was going on. I'm thrilled that he will get healthy again and he will get to experience what it's really like to FEEL GOOD.
This journey is both terrifying and exciting.