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Calvin, Dylan Dreyer’s son, has celiac disease

Dylan Dreyer’s 6-year-old son Calvin has been diagnosed with celiac disease after experiencing excruciating symptoms.

“There was one time when the pain was so bad that we thought he might have had something like his appendix burst,” the meteorologist told in an interview published Wednesday.

She added: “He was bent over in pain.”

Calvin’s “sharp” stomach pains continued, so he went to several doctor’s visits and underwent several tests to find out the cause.

The family did not get their answer until March.

“Blood work came back with the results of his celiac disease,” Dreyer said.

“I didn’t know anything about celiac disease. I knew a friend of a friend had it, and she couldn’t eat bread. That’s basically the knowledge I had.

Dylan Dreyer's son, Calvin, smiling.
Her son also had other symptoms like hair loss and difficulty holding things in his hands.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease very different from gluten intolerance or wheat allergy.

“In this condition, eating gluten triggers an immune response, which can create a variety of symptoms for patients,” Dr. Lisa Fahey, co-director of the Center for Celiac Disease at Children’s Hospital in Washington, told Philadelphia.

The doctor, who is not involved in Calvin’s treatment, added that celiac disease can cause significant damage to a person’s intestines and does not always cause symptoms.

Dylan Dreyer and Calvin cook.
Once Calvin was diagnosed, they had to change his diet to exclude gluten.

However, stomach pains weren’t the only serious symptom little Calvin was experiencing.

According to Dreyer, he also reportedly had nagging earaches and he developed a rash on his scalp that caused his hair to fall out.

Calvin would also have trouble holding things and would constantly drop what he was carrying.

“He would be eating and he would just drop his fork,” Dreyer explained. “We used to joke with him and call him banana hands.”

Dylan Dreyer and his son Calvin cook.
They also had to make sure nothing in their kitchen was contaminated.

Once Calvin’s diagnosis was confirmed, their gastroenterologist performed an endoscopy on the little boy.

“They needed to send the camera into his intestines to make sure there was damage from celiac disease,” Dreyer explained.

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The family switched to a gluten-free diet to manage Calvin’s condition, but they also had to completely sweep their house of all traces of gluten.

Dylan Dreyer and his son Calvin.
“He finally feels good… [for] the first time in a year,” explained the meteorologist.

“Not only is he not giving her any wheat products, but that’s also a cross-contamination risk,” Dreyer noted.

“All my stuff in the kitchen had to be thrown away, all of our wooden spoons, our wooden cutting boards, anything that had a scratch…all the rivets inside the pot where the handle is. This all had to be thrown away because gluten can hide anywhere.

Fortunately, their efforts helped Calvin feel much better, and his stomach, ear and coordination issues all improved.

“He finally feels good… [for] the first time in a year,” Dreyer said. “He’s glad we found this out because it’s like, ‘OK, good. I can finally feel like myself.

Dylan Dreyer and his son Calvin having lunch.
Now Dreyer is focused on finding delicious gluten-free options that her son can eat and enjoy.

The NBC News anchor shares Calvin’s story to raise awareness about celiac disease, as it often goes undiagnosed.

“The misconception is that it’s something that makes you uncomfortable, like a dairy allergy, where it hurts your stomach,” she said.

“It’s so much more than that because it actually destroys his insides. He literally got a stomach ulcer from it. His hair was falling out from it.

Dreyer also debuted the “Today” segment “Cooking with Cal,” where she and her son cook celiac-safe meals together.

Dylan Dreyer and his son Calvin on  "Cooking with Cal."
Together, they host the “Cooking with Cal” segment of the “Today” show.

The meteorologist tested different flours and gluten-free products to replace bread, pasta and pizza dough.

“I’m trying to find his favorite of all,” she said. “I want him to still be able to enjoy food and not just settle for something.”

She added: “There are a lot of recipes that just don’t contain gluten. I can cook a lot of things that don’t involve breads and flours.

Dylan Dreyer, her husband and their three children.
Dreyer and her husband, Brian Fichera, share three sons.

The weather correspondent often posts his delicious creations on Instagram and recently shared a photo of oatmeal and spinach muffins, overnight oats and chicken cutlets.

“Every second I have at home is spent making sure the kitchen is stocked with food for the boys while I’m gone!” she captioned the photo.

Besides Calvin, Dreyer shares two other sons — Oliver, 3, and Russell, 1 — with her husband, Brian Fichera.

New York Post

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