Tuesday, December 02, 2008

G. I. Business

From the archives - PT Session Jan. 2007

I just came from school where Ethan's teacher informed me that today he was a totally different child. They were wondering how long he's been on his new medication because it appears to have really had a jaw dropping affect. I poked my head in and noticed that he was sitting on the circle with legs crossed paying attention to one of the aids as she was signing and telling a story. His aid was not seated behind him for some reason. I stayed and watched and he continued to sit still and pay attention. None of us have ever seen this type of behavior from him and we were all pretty taken aback by it. Not only that, he also focused on his work today and they were able to see (finally) that he has his ABC's mastered. He actually followed directions while his teacher assessed his knowledge, thereby showing her what we've known for months. During circle time he was asked to bring a numeral up front and match it with the corresponding number. I guess he followed the instructions and matched up the numbers, causing all the kids and adults in the room to spontaneously start cheering for him. 

His inability to focus and follow directions has been extreme. We've been hearing terms like ADD and ADHD and have been bracing for another hurdle, another mountain to climb. But if he has many more days like today, he may actually be able to get by without a one on one aid. 

Ethan has had a lot of lab work done recently to get to the bottom of what is going on in his gut and it seems there's a whole lot of ugly going on in that little tummy. He has a yeast overgrowth and 3 strains of bad bacteria taking up residence. He has begun developing intolerance's and allergies to foods the way I've developed a penchant for soy chai's at Starbucks. Poor, poor fellow. 

Shopping and cooking for Ethan has turned into a science. I contemplate the labels of every single thing that I buy and due to the extensive list of things we have to avoid, most of the items I look at go right back on the shelf. Basically, he can eat meat and veggies. Fruits and carbs aren't looking so good as they both feed yeast. Sugar feeds it too, so now I'm investigating the sugar content of nearly everything. He can no longer tolerate rice in any form, so that has seriously impacted our pantry as I was using rice flours and rice milk. He's allergic to all nuts. He's even allergic to sunflower seeds and safflower oil. I could go on, but you get the point. 

So the only actual medication Ethan is taking is Nystatin to kill the yeast. He's taking probiotics twice a day and eating a digestive enzyme tablet before each meal and snack. He continues to be on a gluten and casein free diet. He's on vitamin C and a B complex with folic acid. Eventually when his tummy is showing signs of healing he can start taking iron as he is also anemic. 

I've heard it said many times, that we were meant to become Ethan's parents, that somehow God hand selected us for the job. I used to just smile and nod at that comment, as if it were my duty to show some humility, some modesty. But now I can say with great assurance that yes, we were meant to parent this little guy. 

I don't know anyone else who is better suited to the task than his father and me. And we're so thankful that he's ours. 


Kyla said...

Because I am a nerd and entirely interested in this sort of thing, what sort of bacteria has colonized in his gut?

I'm so glad that all your research and hard work is paying off you Ethan and for you all!!

Kel said...

Though I am sure you've heard it a million times - you are incredible, you and Ethan's dad both. He is SO lucky to have the 2 of you.

Dave said...

Let me second (or millionth (?) Kel's comment: You are incredible parents indeed!
This post warmed my heart and put a huge pump me up smile on my face. Look at your little "Mac Daddy" rule the school now!
So great.
And btw: I am huge soy chai from Starbucks (Fourbucks) fan myself.

leahlefler said...

Yay for Ethan and attention span! You should get an honorary Ph.D. in dietary sciences- I don't think I'd be able to keep everything straight in my head with what was OK vs. not OK!

I love the picture from last year in the ball pit. It is amazing how fast they turn from toddlers to preschoolers (one of those bittersweet things, I suppose).

Julie said...

Yes, you guys are a match made in heaven... if my kids had those dietary needs I'd be stymied. (What, you mean I can't just make a pbj and all is well?)

But WOW! What a difference for Ethan! What great news!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on a great day Ethan
(and mom), Love misha

She said...

You are so awesome! I love coming here. I love how you embrace each challenge and are so grateful!

He is CUTE! (I say that every time. I can't help myself!)

KC said...

Babe, you are so awesome I can't stand it.

Laurie said...

Amen! You are great parents to Ethan and all your hard work and dedication will pay off someday in ways you never imagined . . .

Glad to hear E-boy is making good progress!

Cheryl said...

Goosebumps, pure goosebumps. You WERE meant to be Ethan's parents and what a blessing he is. You both are amazing parents (and people). He is also an amazing little guy, who is going to keep thriving.

I'm so glad that you are finally getting some informations about what is going on with his eating/stomach. It is a long time coming and is a challenge, but knowledge and is such a good thing.

Sending lots of love and prayers. I think about you all often.

Kristina White said...

Oh, Heather, what a lovely post. I'm so happy that Ethan is doing so well. It's so cool how the little guys keep our stomach in knots about what is going to come up next and then they just do stuff that makes us exhale and smile or laugh!

I'm amazed at how you are able to keep up with the diet restrictions. I'll have to call you for some advice - I'm running out of ideas for "not-so-solid" big girl food for Emma who only seems to have self-imposed dietary restrictions!

Here's to enjoying the unpredictable ride.....


carolann045 said...

As a mother and nana who raised her two grandchildren, too, I believe that all children are a challenge..some more than others obviously. I also taught second grade and saw so many challenges for the children's parents that I usually just shook my head in amazement at the wonderful coping skills that parents develop. I've seen a lot of parents who aren't too engaged in their children and it always depresses me beyond belief. You, however, are an inspiration and I have an awesome amount of respect and caring to share with you. I will pray for you every day that Ethan continues to grow because you love him so much...and sometimes, just sometimes, that is what it takes to make a miracle. God bless you all and may the holidays bring you happiness, love, laughter and joy!

Hetha said...

Thank you to all of you. I am so honored and humbled by your support!

Rich said...

Your son sounds like my grandson but without the hearing issues. My Grandson was looking very autistic and had the GI problems. My daughter and son in law, worked on diet and got tons of advice. My grandson is now improving in school and pro biotics as well as other things have been helping with the GI.

I am very impressed with how you handled it. You and your husband are great. It is well worth the effort. I teach special needs kids and it is so great to see people handling things as well as you.

I applaud you and your wonderful son.