Ivana is 16 years old today. She has been on a gluten-free diet for 15 years, well, we can say since she remembers. It all started when she was a baby. It was winter, not so cold. She got the flu, but her recovery was very slow, unlike other kids. She was dissatisfied, irritable, like something was hurting her. She started eating less and crying often. Doctor thought that as a consequence of a cold and predicted that it would pass soon.
However, instead of recovering, her condition deteriorated very fast. Her appetite was weaker, her mood and behaviour were getting worse. Then suddenly she started to vomit. All the time, everything that she put in her mouth. Even during the sleep. Doctors could not explain what was going on. She lost a lot of weight. Ivana was so weak she was not able to walk anymore, or to maintain balance while sitting. She cried almost constantly. All these symptoms developed suddenly, within a week, so the pediatrician urgently referred the child to the pediatric gastroenterologist. That led to a solution. At the first examination, the specialist gastroenterologist suspected a celiac crisis and performed blood tests for specific antibodies. The antibodies were very high, so no bowel biopsy was required. With adequate medication, recovery was fast, vomiting stopped, mood improved, and appetite slowly returned. Of course, the change in diet and the elimination of gluten contributed to the better health of the child. However, it took a long time for Ivana to fully recover. Implementing a gluten-free diet was very demanding, especially since at that time there were no products on the Serbian market specifically intended for celiac patients. Ivana grew up with many dietary restrictions, without sweets and snacks that small children love so much. That is probably why she is so happy today when she finds sweets in the store marked with the crossed grain symbol, which are more and more on the market, thanks to the efforts of parents and other patients in the Serbian Coeliac Society.