Diagnosed with Celiac Disease

In the hospital waiting room, the doctor comes in and says, “He is got Celiac disease.” My son was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.

It was an early morning at the beginning of August 2010. Our son was 11 years old. It was one of the saddest days of our lives for my wife Michele and I to hear that our son Cesar Michael was suffering from a rare condition called Celiac disease.

Perhaps he was suffering from Celiac disease for several years and we never knew.  According to the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center, in the US, it takes an average of four years for a person to be diagnosed with Celiac disease.

Cesar Michael Hernandez

Cesar Michael Hernandez

Just before being diagnosed, our son was not feeling well at all. He was losing weight so rapidly. He lost about 60 pounds in1 month. It is surprising to know now that weight loss could be one of the more than 200 symptoms related to Celiac. He was really pale, had iron-deficiency, fatigued. But most of all, Cesar Michael was so uncomfortable with his unknown sickness. He did not know what was going on. We remember seeing him sad. His eyes looking at ours trying to say help me.

As parents, you always do anything for your children. It was at the beginning of August of 2010 when he was getting worse, his pediatrician, Dr Mohamed A. Tantawi (A.KA.: Dr Mo), who is also diagnosed with Celiac disease, immediately sent us to see a Pediatric Gastroenterology Doctor – Dr. Erena Treskova. She immediately scheduled a colonoscopy with biopsy. On that day, our son Cesar Michael went to the hospital. While in the hospital waiting room, Dr. Treskova comes in and says, “He is got Celiac Disease.” At that moment neither my wife nor I knew what she meant. My wife and I asked “What is Celiac disease?”  Dr. Treskova explained that Cesar’s small intestine’s Villi, which are tiny finger-like outgrows, were “blunted”. The Villi is vital for the body to digest its proper nutrients. The Villi is basically the bridge to bringing in the good proteins to the digestive system. Unfortunately the protein called “gluten” was damaging the Villi.

At that moment we still did not know exactly what she meant. I remember asking her if there was any prescribed medication to expedite Cesar’s recovery. She said, “Absolutely not.” Cesar’s only treatment was to “stop eating foods that contain gluten.” We asked, can you give us one example of foods that contain gluten? Dr. Treskova said, “Pastas, breads.”

Now we were playing a different game. It was time for us to start researching more about what the disease was about. It was time for us, as parents, to learn how to deal with his condition. It was time for us to help him recover. Unfortunately, we have learned that when you stop eating foods that contain gluten, you also tend to lose weight. It is because you don’t get the full nutrients that you used to.

After more than a year that Cesar has been diagnosed with Celiac disease, he feels much better now. He has gained some weight and is in a full gluten-free diet. It is has been so hard for him to get adjusted to new foods such as breads, pastas, and much more that are gluten-free. He has experimented eating several foods. He has his favorite breads, cakes, etc.

We also learned that a good book or a gluten-free diet eBook written by people that have celiac disease also helps a great deal.

Any questions, comments or experiences you may have,  you are welcome to share them here.