Wow. Just wow.
There was an article in the Washington Post the other day written by a mom whose daughter had just been diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. And because the mom wanted her daughter to be happy for as long as possible, she hid the diagnosis from her for several weeks, allowing her to eat as many peanuts as she wanted during that time.
Except it didn’t happen that way. The “healthy” daughter was actually diagnosed with celiac disease and the mom fed her gluten for several weeks because SHE was the one who couldn’t handle the diagnosis.
I’m not looking for anyone to bash the mom on the WP website, but if you’d like to help educate her and others who may be reading the article, here is the link.
The strangest thing about this? She seems proud of herself. Why else would she write an article about it on one of the largest newspapers in the country. Meaning she fully admitted to having a very crappy parenting moment to the entire nation. Who does that? As I was reading the article, I kept waiting for the AHA moment where she has some self-reflection. Nope. Instead, we got these gems:
She was happy, largely asymptomatic and growing like a weed. I worried that the burden of knowing about her condition might do more harm than good.
Dude note: Really? No immediate worries about her insides being attacked by her own body and being ripped apart? Ok then.
My friend casually suggested that I consider cutting gluten from her diet. Normally I would dismiss the idea but I opened my big mouth and raised this topic with my daughter’s endocrinologist a few days later and the whole diagnostic process was set in motion.
Dude note: You consider trying to help your daughter “opening your big mouth”. Hmmm…I consider it…parenting.
It was my daughter’s gastrointestinal system we were talking about, yet it was me that felt punched in the gut.
Dude note: Your 11 year old daughter just got diagnosed with a serious autoimmune disease and all you thought about was how it affected YOU? Mom of the Year you ain’t.
Countless well meaning people tried to console me. I appreciated people’s kindness but the truth was, I didn’t want to deal with it.
Dude note: Ahh…denial. I think they teach that the first week in Parenting 101. I must have missed classes that week.
My husband runs an association of gastroenterologists and I told him, “I want you to search far and wide and find me a doctor who says we can blow this off. Our child is perfectly healthy and asymptomatic.”
Dude note: [mouth wide open…trying to get words out…]
I had no such luck. They told us that while children with Celiac who eat gluten can appear to be fine, doing so continuously can cause damage in the longer-term that has been linked to an increased risk of intestinal cancers, osteoporosis, and infrequently neurological conditions like epilepsy.
Dude note: Yay…she saw the light!
Still, we held off telling her while she was away at sleep-away camp to give her a few more carefree weeks. We told ourselves we’d tell her when she came home and we went on our beach vacation. That didn’t happen. The days flew by and we all indulged in a gluttonous gluten-fest and she never asked about the biopsy results.
Dude note: So much for the light.
Finally, driving home from the beach — several weeks after my husband and I knew about the diagnosis — she finally asked. “Do you really want to know?” I asked her.
Dude note: Are you effing kidding me!? “Do you really want to know?” Does it matter what she wants?? TELL HER. Yes…I was actually screaming at my monitor. And what if she said no? Would you have not told her and kept up the charade?
We agreed to learn about the disease together, gently dip our toe into the Celiac waters and gradually make the switch to a gluten free diet. And that’s what we did.
Dude note: So you “gradually” made the switch to gluten-free? Knowing full well that every bite of gluten was poison to her body? I. Have. No. Words.
So here’s my question to the community. Why? Why would any parent feed their kid gluten after a celiac diagnosis? Is it because gluten-free is a fad (that can’t die soon enough)? Is it because those who eat gluten-free are the butt end of a barrage of jokes on TV? Is it because the conversation seems to be always about the food…and never about the disease? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe this is actually an amazing mom who just had a 3 week brain fart. Who knows?
All I know is if the diagnosis was cancer, diabetes, a peanut allergy or a laundry list of other diseases, I would assume she would have started the treatment immediately.
But celiac? Nah…we can wait awhile. After all, I need to protect my daughter.