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IT TAKES TWO: ON THIS ADVENTURE TOGETHER
Christie McIver and her daughter Indigo both live with coeliac disease, and it’s a life filled with adventure, positivity, and meaningful moments.
Christie McIver, 44, lives in Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband Campbell and children Indigo, 12, and Cayden, 10. Christie was diagnosed with coeliac disease at age 30 after an extended honeymoon in India, and her daughter, Indigo was diagnosed at age five. The family shares an adventurous spirit; Christie and Indigo share the same positive perspective on living with coeliac disease – and have a beautiful bond.
“Coeliac disease was a complete surprise to me. My husband and I embarked on a three-month round the world holiday for our honeymoon: India, Italy, New York, Canada and Alaska. Unfortunately, I picked up giardia in India. After losing 15kgs and being incredibly sick while away, my parents at home were very worried but I was determined to continue on the trip knowing that it might be some time before I could get away for that period of time again.”
“My mum had arranged for me to see a gastroenterologist on my return, who diagnosed me almost immediately as having coeliac disease: a blood test, then endoscopy confirmed this. I also had to have regular iron injections as my levels were so low. I think it was a blessing to find out when I did as my husband and I wanted to start a family and not being diagnosed with coeliac disease could have led to unexplained issues in falling pregnant.“
“My diagnosis explained a lot. I was always low in iron, would feel bloated and some days was very tired. I was diagnosed as anaemic while living in London, but no one picked up or even tested for coeliac disease. Members of my husband’s family had coeliac disease, but this was something I never considered. This was not in my family, but since my diagnosis I noticed my aunt had typical symptoms and she was then diagnosed with coeliac disease.”
“Indigo was a healthy and happy baby, but when she was around three years old she seemed to be self-diagnosing herself by avoiding bread, cereal and pasta, which my mum later told me I had also done as a child. When I was young I would never eat cereal or sandwiches and my breakfast was always boiled rice.”
“At age five, Indigo was diagnosed with coeliac disease. Indigo was going to occupational therapy from age four for sensory issues; after the coeliac disease diagnosis this all went away and the therapist said that it has been known that certain issues requiring OT can be linked to coeliac disease. I wish I had known that earlier. She must have been feeling awful.”
“My husband and son do not have coeliac disease, but have a good understanding of it and are happy to accommodate us when we dine out. At home, we have a four-slice toaster where Indigo and I have two and the boys the other two. I’m conscious to always wipe down benches and everyone uses different knives for condiments to avoid cross contamination.”
“Over the years I have found myself in certain situations where there is no gluten free option or you might be invited somewhere that may not have food available, so I always eat before I go, take my own snacks or just go without and that’s okay… I know how important it is to stick with the diet. “
“I always remind Indigo to take some food with her. I pack gluten-free bread for sleepovers and she knows to always ask. People tend to go above and beyond to come up with something you can eat. I think I have taught Indigo that it is okay to miss out if it means not getting sick.”
“I get a lot out of life and feel very grateful for the life I have. My philosophy is ‘You have one life, make it a good one!’ We love holidays and do tend to go away a lot. We don’t shy away from overseas trips, having been to Bali, Fiji, USA and next year Borneo. We use a gluten-free app to research restaurants in the area and make sure we also post tips for fellow travellers. We discuss options with restaurant staff and if needed, we opt for rice dishes with vegetables and no sauces to be safe. We take bread and snacks that can keep us going and lean on each other as we have a mutual understanding of the disease and the importance of our strict diet.”
“I’m really proud of how Indigo manages what she can and can’t eat. She reads ingredients on packets, doesn’t complain about missing out and always finds a gluten-free option. We have so much fun each year going to the Gluten Free Expo being able to try everything and trolley out lots of food to enjoy. It’s a positive experience for us both to be doing together. ”
“I know how much children don’t like being the odd ones out, but Indigo seems to have taken it all in her stride and the disease has enabled us to share a close bond while we navigate this journey together.”
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