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Monday, June 17, 2013
Celiac Disease in 1986
When I tell people that I was diagnosed with Celiac in 1981 they are usually shocked. First there are the kind people that say "There is no way you are old enough to have been gluten-free that long!" (Thank you!) Then there are the skeptics that say "Your doctor actually knew what Celiac was all the way back then?" Finally, there are those that say "Wow, you are lucky that you found out so early on in your life. You don't know how hard it is to change to a gluten-free diet." I usually have a similar response to all three comments which is "I really do feel like my doctor saved my life when I was just 2.5 years old." It's true. Even if I haven't been the healthiest person in the world, I truly believe my early diagnosis saved me from years of misdiagnosis and illness that I see and hear all too often from my readers and friends.

When I was in second grade, I was in the gifted program at school. This meant leaving my elementary school on a weekly basis to attend an accelerated program at another school. It was challenging and honestly a lot of pressure for an eight-year-old. Nevertheless, I was in this program for a good three years throughout my elementary and middle-school years. My major project for the gifted program was creating an informational table about Celiac Disease for doctors and hospitals. I was to create an interactive display including information, diagrams, and educational materials about Celiac Disease.

Remember, I was 8 years old when I did this project in 1986. There was NO Internet. There were very few books, if any, on the shelves in the local library. Almost all of my research for this project came from interviewing my doctor who was only a resident and less than 30 years old at the time. This was a very difficult project for anyone to do at the time, especially a 2nd grader!

My mom recently discovered my brochures from this project in her basement and I thought I would share them with my readers. Who knew that more than 30 years later, I would share this with an audience of this size on a blog totally focused on living a gluten-free life.

I found some of my notes in this brochure rather amusing, yet spot on for an eight year old. "You don't want to walk around" after eating gluten is an especially amusing gem. Enjoy!





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4 Comments:

Blogger Janelle said...

Erin, I LOVE this! Your pamphlet is AWESOME. Such a cool post. People are amazed when I tell them I was diagnosed at 1 years old in 1992! We are very lucky to have been diagnosed at such a young age. My parents recently found some of the old pamphlets and brochures they were given when I was diagnosed - crazy to see. My mom even had a huge packet of food labels that she'd take to the grocery store with her to shop for me. So thankful for all the advancements we've made. Thanks for sharing!

Blogger Erin Smith said...

Reader comment via email:

I found your article very interesting! I was finally diagnosed in 1951 after many many doctors! They told my mother I had cancer and would be dead by age 2. My mom didn't give up and they finally found the reason I was so sick! As I grew older, we thought I outgrew it. But that wasn't the case and, at age 22, I was diagnosed again! It's a really crazy disease with many many side effects....that you NEVER outgrow, you can just control.

Blogger Erin Smith said...

Reader comment via email:

That’s an excellent (even if it is an 8-yr olds’) grasp and illustrative pamphlet, Erin. Classic, as it is all still true today in every detail. Love the villi drawing and the gut. Thanks for posting that – as seen through a child’s and a sufferer’s eyes.

Blogger Erin Smith said...

Reader comment via email:

this is adorable! and love your villi drawing!

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