Just when we thought that Levi might be growing out of his gluten sensitivities we have once again been reminded that this youngest son of ours is far more sensitive to gluten than anyone else in our family.
As a baby Levi’s gluten sensitivity showed up as eczema all over his face and also on his neck and arms. Later on, around ages two and three, it caused allergy symptoms and asthma flare ups. We spent more than a few times in the emergency room or the doctor’s office before we realized the connection. Lately we noticed that those symptoms were not happening so much anymore. We hoped that he was growing out of his sensitivities so we decided to gradually allow him to have some foods that contained gluten.
It seemed that all was going well, as far as we could tell. No eczema on his face and he hasn’t had any asthma flare ups in quite awhile This is unusual, especially with the onset of a cold. The last cold that he had I was just waiting for the asthma symptoms to hit. but they never did. I was so excited! What I neglected to look for were other possible symptoms, so when Levi started to complain of tummy pains every so often, I just chalked it up to gas pains. He also started to say that we was having burps and that when he did he had throw up in his mouth. Hmmm. That was a little bit strange, but not strange enough for me to put two and two together, because I just wasn’t looking for it.
The kicker came last Wednesday at Bible Study when I was called out of my small group. Levi had thrown up in his class. Not too alarming given the viruses that seem to be running rampant in this town recently. This didn’t act like a virus though. Levi didn’t have a fever, a runny nose, a cough, a sore throat, or any other symptoms. In fact, he was acting perfectly normal, and didn’t vomit again for the rest of the day. Later that night, at about 9:30 or so, he vomited in bed (showing EXTREME self control for a four-year-old and not even getting it anywhere until I came running with a bowl). It was then that I started to wonder if maybe his gluten sensitivities were showing themselves in a new way. I thought back to all of the tummy complaints and the digestive issues and realized that the last couple of weeks had been leading up to this. I even spoke to a friend (via text) who said that she had recently come off of her gluten free diet and had experienced those exact same symptoms. I felt terrible for not making the connection sooner. As soon as we got home from church that morning we went back to a completely gluten-free diet, and with the exception of the night time episode, he hasn’t been sick since and has only complained of tummy pains once, soon after. I haven’t heard of any nasty burps either.
This journey through gluten sensitivities is new to us. Although I have allergies to everything under the sun, we have never dealt with food allergies or food sensitivities in our family. It’s definitely a learning process for me my husband. Levi has not been formally diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, but it’s obvious to us that his body cannot handle it very well. It’s out job to make sure that we take care of his nutritional needs and help him to learn what his body can and cannot handle. He is such a great sport about it too! You’d think a four year old would complain and whine about not being able to have the treats and foods that he would like to have. Some of his favorite things have gluten in them, and when I tell him that he can’t have them anymore because they will make his body sick he just says, “Okay, I will never eat that again!” He’s very proactive about it all. We are blessed with a very sweet child.