Diagnosed with a Wheat Allergy

My 15-year-old daughter just got diagnosed with a wheat allergy. Although she is definitely bummed about having to change her eating habits, I am relieved to have finally found a solution to her problems.

Let me give you a little bit of back-story:

I have been taking her to the doctors for years. The first time was back when she was 8 or 9. She was having stomach pains daily, especially after she would eat. We have a history of diabetes and celiac disease in my family, so I wanted to have tests done. After lots of blood work and some other bodily function tests, we were told there was nothing wrong with her. Probably hormones, the doctor said.

We switched insurances for a time, and I was told by a couple other doctors the same things. Hormones, growing pains-only these doctors wouldn’t even do tests, assuring me that she was fine because her growth and weight were normal.

Flash forward a couple more years, and by this point I am tired of taking her to the doctors and hearing the same old thing. I let her lay down a lot after she eats, and give her Tums when it is really bad, even though that doesn’t seem to do anything.

Then last year, she started getting headaches daily. They would always come on after she ate. I was giving her ibuprofen when it was really bad, but finally made another doctor’s appointment. By now she had switched back to her original insurance and childhood doctor.

We took her in–she wouldn’t run tests. Instead, my daughter got referred to a psychologist. Her doctor was certain it was stress, even though I tried to argue that it definitely wasn’t. I was told that in young children stress will often present itself in stomach issues, and in teenagers as headaches. My daughter’s biological father is not in her life, and the doctor told me that was why she was so stressed out, even if we couldn’t see it. I tried to tell the doctor that my husband now is my daughter’s dad and has been for 10 years, but she wasn’t listening. Stuck on daddy issues as the culprit.

In the car on the way home my daughter insisted she did not want to go to a psychologist and that she wasn’t stressed out. I never made her go because I agreed with her, but I did try to cut out as much stress as I could, in case the doctor was right. I stopped asking her to babysit so much, and took away some of her chores.

But that didn’t help. The headaches and stomach pains only got worse, and now she was getting dizzy.

This was the last straw. Something was going on with my baby and the doctors were going to figure it out! I called her doctor and asked for an appointment with anyone but whom we had been seeing. They got us in the next day, with a nurse practitioner.

I gave her the rundown on the symptoms and how we were certain it wasn’t stress, so she ordered the tests. The same ones from when she was younger, but it was a start. She also threw in a urine test (I think to check for pregnancy even though we said my daughter wasn’t dating yet, but that’s a whole other issue I have with doctors and I won’t go there right now.)

The next day we got a call from the NP saying her urine had certain proteins in it signifying allergies. She said it was common this time of year with hay fever and seasonal allergies. The only problem with that is my daughter has never had seasonal allergies. Me, yes. My son, yes. But not her. I told the doctor that wasn’t it and asked if it could be from a food allergy. I was assured that wasn’t the case, but I pressed, so she said she would call the lab and see if they had any of her blood left over to run an allergy test.

The next day I got another call. She was highly allergic to shrimp (not a big deal since we aren’t big seafood eaters around here), and her blood also showed that she had an allergy to walnuts, egg whites…and she had a wheat allergy. But I shouldn’t be concerned “because it shows only a very mild allergy to wheat.” The doctor wanted us to cut out all wheat, eggs, and dairy for the next 3 weeks, just to see how she feels.

That was all the confirmation I needed. I knew it was food related, not stress.

I went out and bought her a couple days worth of gluten-free, dairy-free foods, for $43!! Man that stuff is expensive, and that was only 2 days worth. I have since taken a step back to figure out how we can do this without going completely broke in the process.

First, I wrote down all the recipes I already make that either have no wheat products, or can be adjusted very easily. To my surprise, there were quite a few. And for the ones with flour tortillas or bread, we could easily substitute a gluten-free choice for her without breaking the bank.

 I’m sure there will be plenty of gluten-free recipes posted around here in the months to come. Here are a few of my ideas, based on what I already make:

Homemade chili over baked potatoes

Chicken fajitas with rice, beans, and salad

Tacos on corn tortillas

Grilled chicken salad with gluten free dressing

Curry chicken with veggies over rice

Pork chops with sage gravy over fried potatoes

Crock-pot chicken

Posole

Stuffed bell peppers

Steak, potatoes, and veggies

Chicken kabobs

Beef roast or stew

Chicken in gravy over mashed potatoes

These are already things I make on a regular basis. And for the gravies or marinades, I can either omit the flour or use cornstarch instead. These can all be dairy-free as well. As I add the recipes, I will come back here and link them, so in the future you can find them all in one place.

She has been gluten-free for 5 days now, and the past 2 days were the first time in years that she hasn’t had a headache or stomach issues.

What is funny is that her original doctor called yesterday to check on her because she saw that we were in the office and had tests run. Right off the bat she told me not to worry about the wheat allergy, as it only showed up as mild. And she tried to push us into going to the psychologist again because she still was convinced it was stress. I firmly told her that it was not, and that since starting the gluten-free diet she has felt better than she has in a long time! I don’t know why she wouldn’t accept that there was something medical going on and it wasn’t in our heads.

I must have used my angry voice because after I got off the phone my daughter was giggling at me. It is just so frustrating that it took literally years of doctors visits for them to finally run the food allergy test. And only because I insisted.

Parents–you are your child’s only advocate. You know your child better than any doctor that see’s them a couple times a year. If you feel like something is going on with your child’s health, don’t stop pressing until you get results. I wish I had pressed this hard years ago. I am just happy that it wasn’t something more serious.

You are the advocate for the health of your child. Press on until you get results.
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If you have been diagnosed with a wheat allergy, or have to go gluten-free for any reason, here are a couple resources I found:

Sources of Gluten from Celiac.org

Strength and Sunshine-a celiac foodie blog

Remember, if you do get this diagnosis, it isn’t the end of the world. Take a step back and think about what you already eat and how you can tweak that to fit your lifestyle. If you have any other tips or resources, please share them in the comments.

You might find me linked up to some of these blogs.

  • Melanie Redd

    Wow! What a story!

    Isn’t it crazy sometimes dealing with those doctors. So sorry that you and your daughter have had to go through this! Grateful they figured out the wheat allergy though.

    We had a similar deal a few years ago with my daughter (who is now 20). She was feeling lethargic and weak and like she had mono a 2nd time. The doctor was just certain that she didn’t have it.

    I took her to another doctor because I was certain she did have it. Turns out, she had mono again. That second doctor listened to us and treated the symptoms.

    Thanks for sharing this post today. I think you will help many moms who need to be encouraged to be determined “advocates” for their kids.

    I’m going to share your post on Twitter today! (https://twitter.com/MelanieRedd)

    Blessings,

    Melanie

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thank you so much for sharing. It is so sad in this day and age that doctors won’t listen to parents when it comes to their children

  • Theresa Beauteeful Living

    I definitely agree with you how we as parents are the advocates for our children’s health. What an ordeal you and daughter had to deal with these years of doctors visits. Each day, I hear more and more people diagnosed with a food allergy. With more awareness out there comes more food choices as well as awareness on how to avoid getting sick. Good luck to your daughter. I’m glad this health mystery has been solved.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Thank you. Yes, you are right. More and more children have allergies than ever before. I truly think it has something to do with all the chemicals in our foods. Nothing is wholesome anymore.

  • Stacey Fowler

    No doctor understands allergies. No one, not even allergists. My son’s corn allergy was a Type 4, diagnosed by skin patch, which is what some consider an “intolerance”. Many doctors told me not to worry about it. It was causing rashes that were bleeding. Why would anyone continue feeding that to him and causing that much pain? He screamed all the time.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      I am so glad you found out what was causing the rashes. What a horrible thing to experience

  • aprilaakre

    oh wow I can’t believe all of the stuff you had to go through just to find out the real reason she wasn’t feeling well. I am so glad you finally got someone to listen to you. You are totally right that you are your child’s advocate. Have a good weekend

  • Rebecca

    So sorry you had to endure years of passive doctors but glad you have finally found an answer. My husband has been dealing with stomach issues too so we are thinking abou going Gluten free just to see if he feels better. Best of luck in the future. Visiting from Trying on Grace.

    • https://rahabtoriches.com/ Miranda Gonzalez

      Good luck on going gluten-free. Check out the resources in the post, maybe they will help. You also might want to get checked for a parasite…that was another test the doctor finally ran on her.

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting. Best wishes with your husband’s tummy troubles.