Monday, July 30, 2012

I wish I could say things were better

I posted a few weeks ago about how Noah has been having digestion issues. Without going into too much detail, let's just say that I've been changing an average of 6-10 poopy diapers A DAY. After a lot of troubleshooting, a round of expensive medication, two bottles of diaper rash cream, and multiple conversations with our pediatrician, dietician, allergist, and my mother-in-law (a NP), nothing has changed. It's been over a full month since this started, and we are getting desperate for an answer.

Fortunately for Noah, a bad diaper rash marks the extent of his suffering--to all outside appearances, he's a perfectly healthy, normal little boy. This is the one good spot I can be thankful for during this whole experience--that he hasn't felt or appeared to be sick. His oblivious cheerfulness makes everything easier to handle.

After trying all of the normal solutions, it's time to move into deeper testing. Today, we're going in to have his blood tested for wheat and corn allergies. We tested a few months ago for dairy, eggs, and peanuts, but we didn't test for wheat and corn since I had not yet seen any signs of a problem with these foods. Noah's been eating things like bread and graham crackers since he was 6 months old, and this is the first time I've ever suspected that there might be a problem with it. Now that this issue has gone on so long, though, I can't think of anything else it could be.

The thought that Noah is probably allergic to wheat has been extremely hard for me to handle. Is it silly to be so worried about this? I mean, it's just food, right? It's not like death or war or a hurricane or cancer. And there are so many resources for people with allergies today. Being allergic to major food staples like dairy, eggs, and wheat doesn't mean the same thing that it did for people 20 years ago. Alternative foods and ingredients are very accessible today, and I'm grateful for that.

Nevertheless, it's been really hard for me to put a positive spin on this. How is Noah going to feel, as he gets older, when he sees other people enjoying birthday cake and sandwiches and pasta and McDonald's Happy Meals and pizza and ice cream? How hard will it be to teach him not to eat these foods when he's out on his own? How can I teach him that things like this don't matter, when it matters so ridiculously much to me?

I've only been able to come up with three answers so far: First, I need to find a way to let go of it all. I LOVE cookies, and whole wheat bread, and french toast, and breadsticks, and pizza, and spaghetti. But in order for me to emotionally handle the fact that Noah can't have these things in conventional forms, I need to change my attitude about them. Spaghetti can be just as yummy with rice noodles. Wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free cookies and brownies can be just as delectable and enjoyable. And skipping out on the cake and ice cream at family birthday parties doesn't have to take all the fun out of it. In order to raise a child who is not emotionally upset by all the things he can't have, I need to find a way to erase my own emotional attachments.

Second, I need to stop thinking about all the things Noah can't have and focus on the things he can have. Ice cream made with coconut milk, for example. Corn chips and guacamole. Otter Pops. Potato chips. Popcorn. Maybe whenever I'm tempted to list all the can'ts, I should habitually list all of the cans instead.

Third, I need to remember that the important thing here is that Noah is healthy and happy. As long as he doesn't eat these few foods, he will be perfectly healthy. And as long as he is surrounded by loving family, friends, and given lots of opportunties to expore and learn and play, he will be perfectly happy.

Well, that's all I have time for right now. There's another poopy diaper to change. And then it's off to the hospital to get this blood test done. And even though I've started to be ok with another allergy, I'm still praying and hoping and crossing my fingers that everything turns out negative!


  1. My husband was diagnosed with Celiac disease right after our wedding in late 2009. It came as a shock and a surprise. He was a very rare asymptomatic case, picked up only by routine bloodwork and then endoscopy to confirm. He ate bread for 25 years without noticing a thing and then, bam, it all changed. I spent the first couple of days in bed, depressed as all get out, sure my life was over and so was his and everything was going to be hell. I was wrong. It's scary at first. We just had my 13 month old tested last month and I was miserable and on edge waiting for the results (negative) but I want to say it's not so bad. It really isn't. It's scary and daunting at first, but you learn to work with it. We eat Quinoa instead of pasta (or quinoa spaghetti!) and it's starting to taste even better. For breads, go for Udi's brand -- it's the best, tastes the most like 'real' bread than any others out there. It's an adventure but I promise it will be okay. And if you need someone to talk to about this, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. I love to help others out because without the help of others, I'd never have gotten through this.

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement, Lindsday!!! It is a very scary possibility to be facing at any time of life! I'm glad your baby tested negative, you must be so relieved! We got our test results back just barely and I'm happy to say that he doesn't have Celiac disease either! For a while there it seemed like a good possibility, so I'm feeling very happy about it right now. :)

  2. You could always just make your own breads and even pastas. Spelt flour instead of wheat, you can also grind oat flour and corn. There is quinoa and lots of options that are yummy! You could use spaghetti squash instead of your wheat pastas....good luck, that is hard!