Monday, August 1, 2011
Finding the Silver Lining
This is Little Miss Bliss, AKA Amy, my middle child.
I was a middle child and I've shared with you before how my Dad, also a middle child, used to call me his turtle, because "the turtle always wins the race" he would say. And it's true. I may have taken longer than most, but in the end, I always came out on top, a winner.
Back in January, right after we came home from the hospital with Baby Bliss and my hormones were raging, Amy looked me straight in the eyes and asked me, "Mommy, is something wrong with me? I'm different."
I answered her, and then sobbed for about a week. You see, Amy is different. She's different from other kids her age who are going into Middle School. She's still innocent. And that makes her different. Sad, isn't it?
She still has a blankie, she still sucks her middle fingers, she still plays with her dolls, she still "believes" in Santa, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny. We even sat her down and tried telling her the truth, but she refused to believe us. She still wants to be Mommy's baby, even though there's another baby in the house. She still has a child's body with no signs of puberty. She sees only the good in everybody, and evil doesn't exist in her world.
She still takes her cow backpack with her wherever she goes and sleeps with her little cow every night.
She loves nature and animals, birdwatching and hiking. And she has the biggest heart of anybody I know.
She's a turtle too.
For the past two years Amy has been suffering. Diagnosed with ADHD in Kindergarten, we took her to several doctors and specialists and by second grade had her on medication. That's when the pain started. At first it was just stomach aches. After a while it turned into cramps, followed by constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. Constantly. Unrelenting.
Our pediatrician thought it might be lactose intolerance or poor diet. We thought it was side affects from her medication. The school nurse just thought she was being a hypochondriac and sent her back to class, day after day after day.
Before long her joints hurt, her muscles ached and the other symptoms got worse. We had long since taken her off all medication and a couple visits to the ER only perplexed us even more. They told us to give her Pepcid.
Rich and I knew there was something more serious wrong with her and finally insisted that her doctor send us to a specialist. Blood tests and a GI scope confirmed that Amy has been suffering with Celiac Disease. Is it life threatening? No. Is it the end of the world? No. Is it life changing? Yes. Because of this disease, Amy's small intestines are so damaged that her tiny body has been malnourished and not getting the proper nutrients. It's why she has no signs of puberty and why she is so underweight.
While we are happy to finally have a diagnosis for Amy, we are learning just how difficult it is going to be to find things that Amy likes to eat. Of course nothing with gluten (wheat, barley and rye), but because of the severity of the damage to this point, she has to be off of lactose and some of her other favorite foods until her intestines heal. Fortunately, God has provided us with a wonderful neighbor who is also a nurse practitioner and whose own son has Celiac's. She has been a wealth of information and a great source of comfort.
As with all diseases, knowledge is key. We've been all over the internet, educating ourselves and finding recipes. There's a support group nearby that I plan to join too - just to meet other Moms going through this. Wegmans supermarket is a wonderful source of gluten free food and there are many restaurants that offer gluten free on their menu. Eventually this will all become second nature and life will go on as usual. But for now, I'm comforting my sick child and treating her like my "baby". I'll beat myself up about that later.
As for the silver lining, while at Wegmans I treated myself to this.
A wire cloche with a sweet little birdie on top.
After all, this IS a home decor blog ;)
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for listening.