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In 2007 my 5 year old son, Mason, was failing to thrive when we went to see our family physician. What was supposed to be a routine pre-kindergarten checkup quickly became a life-changing appointment. Mason had not grown in over 18 months, wearing holes in the knees of jeans he should have outgrown long before. He had also lost weight and constantly complained about being ‘hungrier than hungry,’ even after he had just eaten a meal. He was suffering from severe constipation, and cried a lot for no reason. We were extremely fortunate to have a family physician who did not take my concerns for granted and listened carefully to all the symptoms Mason had been experiencing. In addition to routine blood work, he ordered a celiac panel, even though no one in our family had ever been diagnosed with celiac disease. When the blood work came back positive for celiac, my reaction was bittersweet. Although the diagnosis gave our family closure to Mason’s ongoing medical issues, the subsequent lifestyle changes and lack of information seemed overwhelming. Since that time, however, we have been dedicated to continually educating ourselves on the disease, finding and making delicious gluten-free products, and realizing that celiacs can function in the “real world” just as well as anyone else….and have a happier, healthier lifestyle as a result! Mason is now 12 years old, and is thriving both socially, academically and physically. He lives by the motto:

At times, when I feel different from everyone else, I remind myself how lucky I am to be able to control my disease. I do not have to take any medications or receive medical treatment due to my disease. By sticking to my gluten-free diet, I lessen my chances of suffering from other diseases in the future. I do not have to give up the foods I love- only find new ways to make them gluten-free!

We are eternally grateful to our physician for swiftly and accurately diagnosing Mason at such an early age. If it weren’t for him ordering the right tests, Mason’s story would have been very different.