Kelly MeehanThe Voices of Celiac Disease

“While there is nothing fun about celiac disease, I am forever grateful for it giving me my child back.”

A portrait of Kelly.

My journey began four years ago when my 4-year-old daughter began having migraines, stomach aches, joint pain and erratic behavior. She would ride her bike 100 feet and cry that her legs hurt, wake up multiple times in the night, and experience allergies constantly. I kept being told by the medical community that her growing pains and stomach aches were common for kids and not to worry about it. She eventually stopped eating, began rapidly losing weight, could not focus, and became extremely emotional, to name only a few symptoms. After I began trusting my intuition as a mother and started pushing for answers, we got to the bottom of her diagnosis: celiac disease.

There was a steep learning curve as I soon realized how few practitioners had strong knowledge about the condition. While navigating my daughter’s new lifestyle was difficult, her diagnosis was a blessing in disguise as I was able to find the root cause of my own autoimmune conditions. For years I struggled with a variety of symptoms I believed were “normal,” and then after my kids were born things really got crazy. For almost a year I had countless doctors appointments, scans, and scopes, all ending in “everything looks good.” Meanwhile I was basically stuck in bed and lived in the bathroom. I was given medications to treat my symptoms, but treating symptoms was not enough for me. I struggled with Graves’ disease for years, and a year and half after her diagnosis came my own diagnosis. 

After putting in a lot of work to be on a gluten-free diet and encouraging the gut to heal came subsequent healing from Graves’ disease. What felt overwhelming at the time led to a complete change in our lifestyle and a wealth of knowledge for our family regarding gut health, diet and nutrition. I am now extremely passionate about educating families on how diet can have such a strong impact on our physical, mental, and emotional states. While there is nothing fun about celiac disease, I am forever grateful for it giving me my child back.

I am honored to be an Ambassador for Beyond Celiac so that I can continue to build awareness of celiac disease and provide support for other families.