**ive just been doing a little reflecting on how far we’ve come in a year. This was in my draft folder and I decided to publish it today to remember where we were and how our circumstances have changed**
There is nothing much worse than waking up to the sound of your 3 year old retching.
There is nothing more pitiful than realizing your 3 year old knows how to throw up all by herself and is past the point of even alerting you anymore.
Up until April of this year, mg had literally never thrown up in her three years of life. She wasn’t even a spit uppy baby. Oh how I dreaded the day of the stomach bug and did everything natural I could to prevent it. I’ve gotten a stomach virus every year since being pregnant with her and the thought of getting it again, in all how att, keeps me awake at night. Some people are good with vomit and bodily fluids and the like (bless your hearts, nurses) But as for myself, I just can’t and don’t. And pray it doesn’t come out way. Just the mere mention of those two words together and my palms start to get a little sweaty. I start to feel nauseous (sympathy belly) and I avoid that person like…well..the plague
I hope this isn’t too gross but there is something about vomit that is just so visceral. I like clean, calm,control (I’m working on it, yall) and the norovirus threatens to wreak havoc on all of that.
But anyway, back to the story. Just so we’re clear that I ABHOR vomiting…
Her first bout of it literally was one episode andfeeling great the rest of the day. I felt proud of myself for surviving that. I felt proud of her that she wasn’t scared when it happened (that is such a weird concept to explain to kids, huh?). And amazed that a stomach bug entered our house and we all remained relatively unscathed.
Three months later, she picked up another stomach bug. This one was easy to trace to a source and having been exposed we figured it was only a matter of time before one of us
succumbed. She was the first to go down but once again it only involved getting sick once and great spirits prevailed.
Forty eight hours later I was starting to relinquish a bit on my bleaching and homeopathic remedies for bug prevention. I thought we’d once again gotten off pretty easily considering and I felt my anxiety towards stomach bugs in general, lift a little bit. Maybe this was God’s way of showing me I don’t need to fear (I literally do fear these things) vomit in the house. By day 3 I was sure we were all clear.
So that’s why day 4 caught me so off guard when I woke up to a revisit from the bug, and the victim was once again MG.
And it happened again on day 5, and day 12, and day 18, 19, and 20 with good and bad days in between. Around day 6 I started to come down with it and then Bea and N both caught mild versions around day 8. So we knew it was a contagious bug but our guts (pun unintended) told us there was something bigger going on.
We visited her doctor a few times during all of the sick days. At first they told us that it’s normal for kids to take a while to recover from bugs like these. But then they too, started to grow more concerned, as the sickness stretched from a week, to two, to almost a month. We followed their advice and began to cut certain food groups out of her diet: unfermented dairy, gluten, and raw vegetables. This seemed to help, but it obviously didn’t cure.
We fell into a predictable pattern. MG would complain of a stomach ache upon waking up but then would be seemingly normal throughout the day. She would have a normal appetite and act completely fine. Then early the following morning, she would wake up, throw up mucous, and then experience stomach cramping, diarrhea, and more mucous-y vomiting for the next three days.
The lowest point for me was once again, the middle of the night, retching, after over a month of sickness. I begged N to take her to the ER (I was still breastfeeding Bea at the time). I was sure that a different doctor needed to see her (and was pretty convinced she had giardisis which requires antibiotic treatment)
He complied. And it turned out she didn’t have it. We were stuck again waiting. Waiting for her to be healed, but knowing that until something gave, we probably wouldn’t see that. We just didn’t know how to get treatment or answers.
All of the up and down was really grating on me and all of the sickness was really starting to make me panic. Even N, the ever calm one, was staring to worry about our sweet girl.
Finally after yet another bout of sickness, her doctor told us to once again follow the diet (which we’d already been doing) but even more strictly. If she gets sick again in the next four days, I will refer her to a pediatric gastroenterologist, she said.
So when MG did, the doctor immediately got us an appointment.
We didn’t have to wait very long to see this doctor and we were pleasantly surprised when she instantly diagnosed MG with “delayed stomach emptying”. Basically after a stomach bug, your body produces a high amount of acid for some time while it regulates (can be up to six months later). That seems to be the root of her stomach aches. The mucousy vomitting is probably caused by her intestines which aren’t fully healed and are reacting to certain foods. So for the next three months we were to put her on a low-acid, low-fiber, low-fat, no gluten, no dairy diet. (so what is she supposed to eat??) The doctor did say that processed dairy was okay, like cheese and yogurt. This was all MG heard and immediately began asking me if she could have cheese.
OKay, why not, I thought. If this doctor said it was okay. So I gave her a tiny amount with her lunch that day.
Sure enough, the next day she fell ill.
Well, we strictly adhered to the diet from that moment on and she didn’t become sick anymore! She did complain of stomach aches some mornings and we remedied those with a homeopathic heart burn medication.
I thought we were in the clear until this past week. The symptoms starting showing up and like clockwork, she became sick in the early morning hours. Something must have snuck into her food. That’s all we can figure. But it is discouraging, as now, three months later, it is another set back. And it means she isn’t as far along as I was hoping. The way the doctor described it, I thought it owuld be temporary condition, but now I’m starting to have my doubts. We go back at the end of Nobemebr, so I guess we will know more then.
She had amazed me with her discipline and strength. Said someone to her at a restaurant, “how about a grilled cheese or a cheeseburger?!” “No I can’t eat cheese.” She has only had one breakdown, and it was over fries. Fries are okay in moderation but this was just a few days after an incident and we had to watch everything, including her fat intake. She just looked at me with her hand pressed to her eyes (I suppose in a vain attempt to keep from crying) and said, “but I really want French fries”. And then cried quietly and bitterly for about fifteen minutes. That’s about how long she needed to grieve and then she was able to move on.
A few times she has slipped up (like in SS we were old they were going to eat a snack but someone served frosted cookes). At home she asked if it was okay she ate one. It broke my heart that she has to think about this things and can’t enjoy her childhood, gifted cookies and all, to the fullest. It definitely is impactful though when she pays the consequences for getting off track. And it helps us and others realize this isn’t something in our heads. We really don’t know what the doctor is going to say in November. Last time we left with good news but we’ve had a few bleak moments since then and certainly by now I thought we would be mostly in the clear. Until then, however, we forge forward and pray for the best.
I truly admire your strength and discipline, MG. you will grow beyond your years because of this