Gluten Intolerance & Wheat Allergy – So many symptoms!

When my son was 3 months old, he was diagnosed as a ‘Reflux baby’. He was put on Zantac for babies for 12 months. Unfortunately this didn’t get any better even as he got older, when we stopped the medication. He continued to get stomach cramps with a daily vomiting bout til he was 3. The doctors put it down to Reflux saying that some people never grow out of it. They described it as a weakness in the lower esophageal sphincter, which normally holds the top of the stomach closed, preventing stomach acid from flowing back up. They stated that they would operate when he was a teenager to fix it.

When he was 3 years old, we discovered he (along with the rest of us) is Gluten intolerant. To make things worse, we also discovered that he (and I) were both allergic to wheat. He was super-sensitive! So all the cramps and vomiting were not in fact reflux, but an allergic reaction to wheat! I was the one to work out he was gluten intolerant and then together with a new GP, who tested him properly, we discovered he was also allergic to wheat. Our family struggled (and some still do) to understand and believe such a thing. We persevered and managed to teach him to stay away from Gluten and in particular Wheat. The big challenge is cross contamination, kinder and this year school.

In October 2012, my little man suffered serious Asthma (he doesn’t suffer Asthma!) Despite a very stringent action plan with Kinder, we couldn’t stop the contamination. The class was planting seeds to watch them grow and become plants. Once of the seeds was wheat. My son’s plant was wheat! The logic was ‘he wasn’t eating it’! So he watered and pampered that little plant for a few weeks. He developed a cough; we had no idea what was causing the cough. Took him to doctors, no virus, no infection, no reason for him to be coughing. He continued to cough. This cough became worse over a few weeks. Finally I took him back to my new GP, desperate. By this point my little man was struggling to breath. He had no energy and was lifeless. For those who know my son, you know how scary that is, because he is normally an energizer bunny!

The Dr checked him over and declared he had chronic Asthma and needed to go onto the Nebulizer pump immediately. 40 minutes of this pump, my little man sat patiently and bravely. You could see the immediate improvement once it was finished. The only thing he complained about was that his throat hurt from breathing in the medicine.

After talking with the Dr and him checking PJ over thoroughly he declared that his educated diagnosis was that the Asthma had come from breathing in the wheat pollen over the weeks. He could confirm this by performing a biopsy of the lung. He stated that this was not only invasive but very risky. He also stated that if he had any doubt in his mind about what caused the Asthma he would refer us for the biopsy. However he was so certain, that to avoid such an invasive procedure he was more than happy to accept that cause and encouraged me to do the same. After much research I find that his diagnosis, did in fact have a lot of bearing in it, I left it be. I accepted it as it made sense. I spoke to the kinder about it and they removed the wheat from the room. PJ planted a daffodil.

Since that date, we have kept an Asthma pump in our home, ‘just in case’ but have not needed it again, as we have avoided wheat like the plague.

I am sharing this very personal story with you to show you, that you just never know what could be causing your child’s, or your own, ailment, unless you persevere. Don’t take the easiest diagnosis and medication or surgery for gospel. More often than not, nutrition WILL be responsible in one way or another.

My son has not had anymore Asthma attacks, no longer gets stomach cramps, no more vomiting, and no Gastro!!! No matter how much Gastro is going around, my kids simply no longer get it! A gluten free diet has worked magic with my family.

For all those non-believers, and critics, my only response to you is ‘may you NEVER need to go Gluten Free and I pray that you stay 100% healthy. I don’t need you to experience what we experience in order for you to grow a brain. I am happy for you to stay ignorant if it means you stay healthy.’

For all those who also suffer, please ensure that you stay up to date with your education, and read every single label you need to, to keep your family safe. Gluten (and/wheat) is in just about everything from food, to shampoos, moisturizer, make up etc! Read, read, read!

That’s it from me, for now!

Terri Batsakis