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Pica behaviour leads to celiac disease diagnosis for Sadie.


Sadie, Age 8

“Sadie was demonstrating pica behavior at age 2 & 3 – i.e. she was eating chalk and crayons at daycare. That led us to a diagnosis of iron deficiency, which also coincided with Sadie losing a patch of hair. The doctors assumed her iron deficiency was from “too much milk”, but we knew there was no way that was the case, so we requested a full battery of tests for other potential causes of iron deficiency. Luckily, the pediatrician thought to include Celiac bloodwork (it was the furthest thing from our minds, as we ate tons of pasta and bread and never saw her have digestive issues. And she seemed to be growing just fine). Once the positive celiac tests came back, a lot more made sense. i.e. She had been very slow to grow as a newborn infant. She had also experienced leg cramps on and off for over a year, which was also a result of the Celiac disease.

— Sadie

Being a Celiac from such a young age

Nowadays, she finds she can’t always do everything she would like to be able to do. At birthday parties, we always bring our own pizza and cupcakes. It works for us, but when she sees a wonderfully decorated theme cake at the party, I’m sure she wishes she could have a piece of that. She often has to politely decline snack offers from others, which is sometimes crushing when she sees it’s a delicious-looking treat, or something that her friends are all enjoying. Occasionally, she will receive a gift that is not GF, and we don’t have the heart to tell the gift-giver that she can’t enjoy it. She’ll never eat from a family potluck – she has to bring her own little lunch box to most family gatherings.

When Sadie has had the rare exposure to gluten, she gets a migraine headache that causes lethargy and vomiting, and she’ll go to bed without dinner and sleep right through until the next day. It is heartbreaking for all of us when this happens to her. At school, she sits at the end of the lunchroom table, where she has fewer kids sitting around her, as she found when she was surrounded by friends, there were stray crumbs all around her.

Sadie often laments that the thing she hates most about Celiac Disease is that she can’t just eat something without having to check it first. She knows we are pretty adept at getting a gluten-free version of almost anything these days. But she has said she wishes she could “just eat” sometimes…. without having to worry.”

– Sadies’s mom, Mary.

Check out Sadie’s Gluten-Free Tips for Kids!
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