Mom, what's a puma say?

Friday, January 29, 2010
I feel a little better now. I still have that rising up in my chest feeling, but D and I laid in bed last night and talked about everything and he reminded me to only freak out about one thing at a time, and to do it sequentially. So instead of picturing E in a little hospital gown laying unconscious on a cold metal table while doctors violate him rectally, I'm going to freak out about having to watch D restrain him while they draw vials of blood out of his arm on Monday morning. I'm just kidding. I'm not going to freak out about, as E would say, no anything.

Speaking of funny things E says, here's one for you...

"I'm a dinosaur. Roar. I'm a lion. Growl. I'm a puma. (wait for it...) Puuuummme."

BTW - Thanks to everyone for the emails and the FB comments. I appreciate the thoughts, words of advice and encouragement, and commiseration.

Insert sad emoticon here

Thursday, January 28, 2010
I want to puke. D keeps telling me to stop thinking about it, but I can't. I try, but like I told him, I don't go to work (outside the home.) I don't have other distractions. I live and breath our children. So while I might try not to think about it, I can't help it. Every diaper change is a reminder. Every glance at E's face elicits a visceral response in me.

Last week we went to Children's Hospital to finally see a GI specialist. Her name is Stephanie and she's really nice. And she's a mom, which makes a huge difference, in my opinion.

There is definitely something wrong with E. Stephanie listened to and transcribed every word we said with a knowing nod. She was understanding, patient and knowledgeable. She confirmed that our suspicions were indeed accurate and she ordered a litany of tests, starting easy (collect us some poop, please) and slowly escalating to frightening (endoscopy/colonoscopy under general anesthesia.)

We walked out of the office dizzy with information. I fought back tears. I wanted to cry for a million reasons. I was scared and sad. I felt guilty that it'd taken us this long to get to where we were, and validated that my suspicions had been correct...which brought me back to the suffocating feelings of guilt regarding our inaction. And part of me was relieved that Stephanie seemed to know more than I did, that I didn't have to go home and google the crap out of everything in case there was something she didn't think of or didn't know about, which I've read is often the case with some of these GI issues.

We took the elevator back downstairs and D took E for his xray. He said it was rough. There's a guy whose only job is to help restrain scared children. Which E was. He was a scared child who needed to be restrained by his father and a stranger.

As D waited for the valet to return our car (I just about had a nervous breakdown backing out of the 2nd parking lot we pulled into and ended up valeting - which I HIGHLY recommend to anyone who ever goes to the CH in Aurora because the parking lots are a nightmare!) E pooped. Now, I'm going to back up a minute. I mentioned that we had gone to see an allergist and that she put E on an elimination diet. It had been three weeks since we'd started the diet and the day before we head over to CH, E has two perfect poops. The stuff dreams are made of. The kind of poops that convinced D that cloth diapering would not be gross. And the morning of our appointment, E had another perfect poop. So back to the valet...D is waiting for the car and E, B and I are watching the super cool ball track. E poops and I freak out. I text D and he comes running across the lobby, scoops E up and grabs the collection vial from my hand. D later laments that his turn with a perfect poop was besmirched by the fact that he had to smoosh it into a plastic vial in a public restroom with a diaper bag that had NO WIPES.

The xray came back normal. The poop test came back normal. Well, the things they were able to test for came back normal. Turns out that the poop was too perfect to test for a few things. Which is why I had to catch his poop in a plastic diaper - turns out that a g diaper without the insert works much better than saran wrap inside a regular diaper - freeze it and run it down to the hospital this afternoon. The nurse was a bitch. But I got frozen poop smooshed into a plastic cup without making too much of a mess and bribed E for the maybe the second time in his whole life because by the time all was said and done, I was exhausted. Poor B was grumpy from an interrupted nap, E was stressed from being at the hospital again, and I was tired from sleep-deprivation and anxiety and everything else.

We got back for a blood test and another poop test next week. And if nothing comes back from those, we go in for the endoscopy/colonoscopy 2 weeks after that. When Stephanie called yesterday to discuss the lab results, she advised me to schedule the surgery. I spent 25 minutes pummeling her with questions. Basically, she suspects a malabsorption issue but has to rule out everything from Celiac to cystic fibrosis. Stephanie reassured us that E probably doesn't have any of the super scary and serious diseases on the list, since he's a generally happy and healthy child who meets all developmental milestones at or ahead of schedule. But she also can't promise that we'll find something with the fecal or blood tests. So after 25 minutes of questions and answers, I asked her what she knew was coming..."If my son was your son, would you do the endoscopy/colonoscopy if none of the other tests come back positive?" And she said that it's an unfair question. She does this every day, so she doesn't have the same fears and anxiety around the surgery as we would. But yes, she thinks it's imperative that we figure out what is wrong with E. That he's spent 2.5 years not absorbing nutrients, not growing to his potential and that we've come this far and we care this much and that if we catch it now, then maybe the damage can be mitigated.

D and I talked about it last night and we agreed that if none of the other tests give us any information, then we'll go ahead with the surgery. So...yeah. I wish I had a funny post for you guys, but I don't. I wish I could be all inspirational and positive-thinking, but I always have to wallow a little bit first. I've learned to honor my sadness so that I can move past it. So for now, I'm a miserable mess.

Seventh Heaven

Monday, January 18, 2010
Tried on my skinny jeans today. They're expensive by some standards, but now that I'm a grown woman, I buy jeans that fit well and will last and anyway, they make me look put-together...or at least, I think they do, and perception is everything. All my other clothes fit and have for months, thanks to a VI-OH-LENT! stomach virus that I got the week I came home from the hospital after B was born. Major suckage. It was a painful way to lose the weight, but I lost 20 pounds in a week, which only left about 8 pounds that have stuck to me like white on rice. Anyway, they're the last pair of jeans I'd like to fit into, especially now that both knees split on my other favorite pair of jeans (not expensive and not fancy but comfortable...and now raggedy.) And technically, they fit. Technically. But when wearing them I can not:
bend over
dance while doing dishes
form cohesive thoughts
feel anything below my belly button
definitely can't eat milk steak with a side of jelly beans
bend my knees to walk
dial the phone (I still put my iPhone to my ear to hear the ring tone before dialing...anyone else do this? Yeah, didn't think so.)
walk up or down the stairs
drink water
definitely can't sneeze
remodel our bathroom
tie my shoes
the list goes on and on...

So, while my spendy jeans fit, the only place I can realistically wear them is in my closet. Here's hoping that no wheat, dairy, yeast, sugar, caffeine or the occasional glass of wine will result in my rocking my Sevens. And watch out Hudsons, I got my eye on you.

You've come a long way, baby

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

This is what we were doing exactly one year ago today.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

That's my new tension releaser - GRRR!!! Lately, I've been very conscientious about how I model handling frustrations in front of E and whenever I can't dialogue my mental processes, I say GRRRR!!! Whenever I get upset and I am calm enough to discuss it, I say something like, "Aw, man. I forgot my phone. Now I have to turn the car around. That's really frustrating. I don't like when I forget things and sometimes it makes me feel angry. So I'm gonna take a deep breath, count to 3 and feel better." (Thanks, Wonder Pets for providing the deep breath count to three part.) And sometimes I just say GRRRR!!! instead of saying crap-damn-fart or dropping the f-bomb. And E totally gets it.

So my GRRRR!!! right now is regarding our pediatrician. I think he's steered us wrong again and that is really frustrating. So I say GRRRR!!!

This is how it all went down: Our good friend and her kids came over for a playdate last Friday. I knew Mr. N (the almost three year old) had had pink eye, thanks to a full disclosure email from M. He had finished a five day course of antibiotics and was assumed to be gook-free. Saturday night E spent the first three hours of the night ravaged by a night terror and then the rest of the night he spent coming down with what we thought was a cold, with a touch of laryngitis from screaming for three hours straight. Then Sunday he got progressively worse, bad cough and a kind of runny nose, plus a fever. Monday his eyes started seeping greenish mucus and his fever rose to 102+, so I called the doctor's office.

Thank goodness Miss S was able to boss around entertain the boys long enough on Friday afternoon for M (their mom) and I to talk about poor Mr. N's infection and the super strong antibiotics he'd been taking and how they'd given him five day's worth of diarrhea. And thank goodness M mentioned that the antibiotics were called Cefa-something at dinner the other night because when Dr. D tried to prescribe them for E's double ear infection/pink eyes, it rang a bell and I said, "Whoa." I asked about the diarrhea and Dr. D said something along the lines of "this doesn't cause diarrhea, that kid must have just had it." I fished around for a weaker antibiotic, especially since E's never taken antibiotics before and got nothing. I asked if he even needed antibiotics and Dr. D said no, that the ear infections would resolve themselves eventually and that a little breast-milk would clear the pink eye right up. The next logical question, which I asked in not so many words was, "Well then why the hell are we giving him antibiotics that will literally knock the shit right out of him?" He pointed to B and said, "To protect her." Well, crap. The dilemma that parents are constantly faced with - which child suffers and at what cost?

D took E to Safeway to fill the prescription while I ran B home to try and clean up the house a bit so that D could shove it up his ass when he says I don't clean up anymore come home to a clean house. When they got home, I grabbed the antibiotics and the pamphlet that came with it and guess what! "IF MODERATE TO SEVERE DIARRHEA OCCURS during or after treatment with this medicine..." (that is a direct quote, caps and all.) So...yeah. The Safeway pamphlet knows that diarrhea is a possible side-effect, why doesn't Dr. D? And when I called the pharmacist she confirmed that Cefdinir is a considerably strong antibiotic and that there are other antibiotics in the cephalosporin class that are not nearly as strong, do not have the same risks, and are more commonly prescribed to children. D thinks Dr. D is on the Cefdinir payroll.

If this were the first time I questioned Dr. D, then I wouldn't be so fired up about it. But Dr. D and I go back. Way back. Two and half years, to be exact. He doubted that E had a sensitivity to dairy, he's never admitted that E has reflux, he told me to treat his itchy nose with OTC allergy pills, even though it's not due to seasonal allergies, the PA in the office told me to treat my over supply by pumping more (I know!) and 3 out of the 4 nurses are crazy. As in answering-the-voices-in-their-heads crazy. The one asked me if I was sure B's first name was blahblahblah and I said, "Why, yes," and she didn't look convinced.

Anyhoo, yes I put some breast-milk in E's eyes and I gave him some ear drops and tomorrow morning I am calling that man and asking Why The Face?!? (for those of you who don't watch Modern Family, you're missing out.)
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A little background, please

Monday, January 11, 2010
Thanks to everyone for the massive influx of emails and phone calls. I've been posting on blogs and boards about E's issues for so long that I completely forgot that I'd never really talked about it on here. In a nutshell, E's got digestive issues. We don't know the root cause, but we've finally stopped listening to our pediatrician's* reassurance that it's nothing and he'll eventually outgrow it and we're currently seeing an allergist/acupuncturist and we have an appointment at Children's Hospital on the 20th.

Coincidentally, E also has his first ear infections and pink eye in both eyes, so if you called about that, thanks as well. Yes, we took him to the doctor and no, I am not giving him the antibiotics he prescribed. That's fodder for another post, which I'll probably start spewing as soon as this one is done considering how worked up about it I still am.

Back to the stomach issues...the allergist suspects a yeast overgrowth and so we're on the elimination diet. E tested positive for a bunch of food allergies (gluten and dairy were at the top) but the allergist said that often because gluten and dairy are so tough to digest that if your GI system is out of whack, it'll seem like you have allergies to those things when in fact you'd be able to tolerate them if things were running smoothly. And she said that people who crave sugar, which in E's case was fruit fruit gimme fruit, crave it because it feeds the yeast, which in turn grows and demands more sugar. The past week has been really hard but we're learning and managing and today we got to reintroduce blueberries in small amounts, so that was very exciting since they are E's #1 favorite food.

For those of you who want more details, E has had silent reflux since birth. He was also way sensitive to dairy in breast milk and has had about a dozen "normal" poops in his entire life. They're usually really explosive and soft and messy and stinky. He has gas that can clear a room and his breath used to smell really bad, but has improved lately. Also, he's always been in the 5-10 percentile for growth, which is fine...unless it's not. There's more, but I can't think right now, sleep deprivation being what it is.

*If anyone in the Denver metro area has a pediatrician they love and respect, please email me. I think we're finally done with ours. Love the guy, would probably be friends with him in real life, but enough is enough.

Miso Happy Salad Dressing

This salad dressing is: gluten-free, casein-free, yeast-free, sugar-free, vinegar-free and surprise! Delicious. Will remain in my post-dietfromhell recipe book.

Miso Happy Salad Dressing*

1/3 c lemon juice
2T sweet white miso (we used South River organic, available at our local Whole Foods)
2 cloves garlic
2t agave syrup + more to taste
4T water
1c sesame oil

Throw all ingredients except oil into a blender. Blend. Slowly pour in oil. Taste. Probably add a little more agave, but maybe not.

*adapted from the back of the bottle of miso.

Sugar rhymes with Booger

Sunday, January 10, 2010
This diet sucks. Five times a day I feel like the dad from A Christmas Story when the Bumpus dogs come tearing through the house and destroy the turkey. Or when Ralphie says, "Ooohhh fuuuudge," except he doesn't really say "oh fudge" he says THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word! Or when...I could quote that movie all day, except I can't because I have to go harvest some quinoa and ferment some tofu because that's all we can eat around here. We can't have wheat, dairy, yeast, vinegar, or sugar. Which leaves us with basically, rye crackers and cat crap.

What can we eat? We can eat all meats except pork as long as they're not processed meats. Which isn't a big deal because the only "processed" meats we eat come from Whole Foods and are nitrate- and sulphite-free. Except that E "can't like no meat" lately. He likes dippy eggs, but only the yolk and not really enough to sustain him, and I can't have eggs at all since they bother B.

We can't have any dairy. No butter, cheese, yogurt or other sources of protein, so that's rough. I've been mostly dairy-free since B was born since it seems to bother her and E's been mostly dairy-free his whole life since it definitely bothers him, but he would eat hard cheeses, goat's milk yogurt, and cream cheese in his sushi, but no more.

We can eat all vegetables. Sweet. Two-and-a-half year olds LOOOOOVVVVE vegetables. And E used to really like salad but has been kind of eh with salads lately. Maybe that's because our salad dressings all taste like ass.

We can eat rice, rye, quinoa, amaranth, corn, basically all the gluten-free flours and grains that are gaining popularity in this crazy, mixed up food world. I wonder if they make GF croissants? Hmmm...croissants.

Oh, and get this. We can eat as many chips and french fries as we want! Yippee! If it's good enough for the Irish, it's good enough for us.

We can drink very few things. Water and flavored water as long as it doesn't have any sweetners. We can drink any of the different fake milks, like rice and soy milk, but I worry about too much soy and rice milk tastes like...rice milk. So we bought hemp milk, the vanilla-flavored unsweetened kind, and E will drink it straight. I was surprised by and impressed with hemp milk, and it's definitely good enough to pour on cereal. And we can drink Oogave soda, which is actually pretty good. At least the root beer is. Haven't tried any of the other flavors, but I'm actually looking forward to it and assuming we come out of this fucking diet alive, I'll probably stick to the agave soda for good.

Now, other than not being able to eat or drink anything, what makes this diet so difficult is that everything has sugar in it. I'll repeat that. EVERYTHING. HAS. SUGAR. IN. IT. Spaghetti sauce you say? Yup. Salad dressings? Yup. Super healthy $5 a box crackers that promsie sunshine and happiness if you eat them? Yup! Gluten-free hippie fish sticks shaped like little fish have sugar in them. EVERYTHING DOES!!! So with a two-and-a-half year old who is sick (and sick and tired after not having many food choices after only a week on the diet) and a three month old baby who insists on having needs (how dare she?!?) I have to cook everything from scratch and learn to cook GFCF (gluten-free/casein-free) which never involves less than a dozen different ingredients, including about 6 different kinds of flours.

So, yeah. I'm not bitter at all. Actually, I'm not bitter as much as I'm frustrated and sad. E opened the fridge the other day with D standing behind him asking him what he wants to eat and E said, "There is no food for E in here." Heartbreak.

The bright side? Assuming this diet works, E will be cured of his digestive malaise. He will have normal poops, not have constant heartburn, not drool like a teething 6 month old and maybe even put on a few pounds. So we're doing it. D even voluntarily ventured out to the Asian supermarket and walked up and down the aisles reading labels and trying to find things we can eat. What a good dad. And now that I've vented about it, I'll start putting up all the good things we've found. D found a really good GFCF website and little by little I'm building up an arsenal of recipes that hopefully E will learn to love. If not, then chips and a hotdog for breakfast, lunch and dinner never killed anybody. Right?

Lesson(s) (Re)learned

Wednesday, January 6, 2010
- Do not kick guide the cat out of the kitchen with your foot and then get upset when the two-and-a-half year old does the same thing.
- Some things just can not be done one-handed. Taking out contacts and buttering toast are two of those things.
- Some people are nice, some people are not.
- Shaving your legs with a dull razor is only marginally better than not shaving at all.
- Taking a shower with the shower curtain open so that the baby doesn't freak the eff out is substantially better than not showering at all.
- People who don't have kids don't know what it's like to have kids. They may think they know, but they don't. It's not their fault.
- Marry your best friend. Then take the time to remind yourselves why you got married.
- Fix things that bother you. It'll take less time than you think and then your mind will be clear of the annoyance.
- Making time to do things you enjoy is of paramount importance.
- No one person can fulfill all your needs. Find friends that understand, inspire and challenge you. Then make time to connect with them. And if the waiter is insolent, tip him well.
- Everything contains sugar. We (E and I) are on an elimination diet. No wheat, no dairy, no sugar (including all fruits, fruit juices, natural fruit flavorings) and no yeast. E is on the diet in an attempt to isolate the cause(s) of his digestive issues and I'm on the diet for solidarity and to lose the last 5 post-pregnancy pounds. More on the diet later, but do me a favor and pay attention to what you eat and drink tomorrow...and feel sorry for us.
- Evoking the Wonder Pets can get an obsessed toddler to do just about anything.
- Sometimes, even the Wonder Pets aren't enough to get an obsessed toddler to do anything.
- Being a mother is hard, hard work.
- Sitting around a table with people you love and playing games (Cheaters with a Connect Four chaser, for example) are the moments that make memories.