What's Going Down

Monday, January 24, 2011

A long Story... Short. ish.

You remember my Anna?
Well, a couple of months ago, around the time school started, she began complaining about stomach aches.
Now, I think I need to tell you that Anna can be a bit dramatic. And so, I assumed that she was mostly just tugging on my sympathy chains. Which wasn't working. I largely ignored her complaints. I did mention them to the pediatrician when we saw her in November. The pediatrician agreed that she was probably just being a girl. So when she complained I told her to go use the bathroom, or lie down...

Right before Christmas her stomach aches began increasing in intensity and frequency. We also noticed that her belly began to look big... as in bloated. After a brief conversation with my husband we decided to have her avoid dairy and we'd see where that led us. (You can see her big belly in the picture below).
So, we did have her avoid dairy... sorta. When it was too difficult to worry about, we told her just to eat it anyway. Terrible parents, I know, but we didn't see any improvement when she wasn't eating dairy anyway.
When we got home from our trip over the holidays, we made an appointment for Anna. But since it was a consult appointment instead of a sick visit, they didn't have any available spots for almost two weeks. We finally got in to see the pediatrician who took one look at her big belly and referred us to a pediatric gastroenterologist, and encouraged us to LAY OFF THE DAIRY.

So, we did. We removed all the major sources of dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt, butter, etc) and again we didn't really notice a difference. Last Monday (the 17th), we went to IKEA as a family. We always eat there, and especially because they were running a deal where whatever you spent on food would be deducted from your furniture purchase (score!). Matt went through the line and ordered four identical kids meals and food for the grown ups. We ate and went on our merry way. About two hours later, Anna started complaining that her belly was REALLY hurting her. I took a look and it was the biggest I had ever seen her belly bloat to.  Bad.

I racked my brain but couldn't come up with what she might have eaten to cause that!  She'd had a bagel with peanut butter and oranges for breakfast.  She'd had meatballs and fries for lunch.  There could have been traces of milk in the meatballs, but I didn't think they could have caused this much of a problem for her.

On the way home, I called a friend. I was talking about Anna's problem and suddenly it came to me: HOLY FREAKING CRAP.  Matt had purchased four identical kid's meals. With a CHOCOLATE MILK.  Which Anna didn't even blink about.  Suddenly, I ran my brain through the last week... she hadn't once complained about a stomach ache.

We saw the gastroenterologist last Thursday and Anna's scheduled for a Lactose Intolerance test this Thursday, as well as blood testing for other food intolerances/allergies.

Here's to some answers. If you have a moment, and could say a quick prayer in her behalf and in the behalf of the doctors that we'll be able to figure out what's ailing her quickly, that would be great. Thank you!


Julie said...

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog, but I have been enjoying reading it for the last year or so... I can't even remember how I got to it originally. :)

We went through almost the identical thing with our 7 year old last year. She was having gas pains so badly and a bloated stomach and we could not figure out what it was. The wait for a Pediatric GI was long, so we decided to take her off of milk and see if there was any change. It was like night and day... and I felt like a dunce that it had taken me so long to figure it out.

We've found that for her it's just a milk problem, and she can still have cheese and yogurt and other dairy products in moderation.

Good luck with your allergy testing! That reminds me I need to get to the dr and get a new note for the school so they will stop telling her she has to buy the milk with her lunches- she's been buying them and just giving them to a friend- but she can get a water or juice with the dr's note that she has a dairy allergy.

Cheri said...

I hope it all works out without a lot of complications.

Anonymous said...

This is the first time I've read your blog, a friend posted your valentine idea and I'm totally stealing it! Thank you! Just wanted to tell you that I recently was diagnosed with celiac disease, please make sure they run the bloodwork for that. It is often overlooked because the symptoms are so varied. Good luck with everything! Amanda Collinsworth

J said...

I just found your blog. I feel for your situation. I'm actually lactose intolerant myself (among other things). I will say a prayer for you little one and the doctors. I know I'm a stranger and this may not mean much but she's going to be okay. No matter how many things she ends up being allergic to, there are ways to work around it.
(( hugs ))

- if it does turn out to be a milk issue, and you're interested in some vegan baking books, I have a couple of them I can no long use (since I'm gluten free now). I can send them to you! (of course if you're comfortable doing that)

syndi said...

Will do...

Wife of dastew said...

I'm a giver and I love you guys so in addition to the prayers I will eat some ice cream for Anna. Again, because I'm a giver.

Good luck with all this, it can't be fun or easy.

Sabra at Sew a Straight Line said...

you know I will, Liss. Good luck with everything.

Nicole said...

Poor little thing! I'm so sorry for you, and for her. Good luck with everything.

i said...

Same exact scenario with my 6 y.o! Come to find out, my 3 kids and I have issues too. I'm glad you are starting to figure it out!

Jen said...

I had a lot of the same problems and the doctors thought that it was dairy for me as well and i did feel better when not eating it but then i started to still feel sick. In the end it turned out to be Celiac Disease. More and more people are having it but docotors don't like testing for it because it is so life changing when it comes to eating.

Nancy Pechinski said...

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know what it is like to have a child that isn't feeling right but keeps going on. We don't realize how very strong they really are. When my 18 year old was very young he had health problems that didn't seem to go away even with a dr. Went for a second opinion and realized that he was being treated for the wrong thing which caused another set of problems. Take advantage of the internet and research so if anything you can ask more pertinent questions.

Amy said...

Have you asked your pediatrician about Celiac Disease? Many times it presents as a dairy issue, but there is actually a more over-arching issue of gluten problems due to Celiac. The initial testing is just a simple blood test, and from there they test further, if necessary. Celiac affects the cilli in the small intestines (as in, sort of does away with them) where nutrients are absorbed and, at the very tip of each cilli, is where dairy is absorbed. Celiac is different than a "gluten allergy" or "intolerance" it is an autoimmune issue that is super common, varies in presenting symptoms and is HIGHLY under-diagnosed. It's definitely worth asking about. My 3 yo niece was recently diagnosed, they changed her diet drastically and, within 2 weeks she was a different kid (in a good way). Hope this helps ...

Debbie said...

My daughter had a similar issue at 15 months, except she swelled up all over, including her belly was bloated. She ended up having a non-IGE mediated milk allergy and was loosing protein in her stool because her body could not digest the milk protein. As soon as we stopped the milk (which was hard because I already had 2 kids well into all things milk and loving it) but we have learned to do it and there is so much out there with soy and rice milk as an alternative. My daughter may outgrow hers, she is 3 now and we are trying the reintroduction of milk and will see how it goes.

I hope you get it figured out soon.

Elizabeth said...

Food allergies suck. My youngest was plagued with them until about 2.5. Now he's back on almost everything, but continues to have seasonal allergies and asthma. apparently they're all related. and you're not terrible parents. it's tough to cut things out. no fun.

Christie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Melissa said...

Hi, I came to your blog via Craft-o-maniac who showed your darling lollipop valentines when I saw this post. I immediately thought celiac as well. It's way underdiagnosed - and I had negative blood results, so please, please, please make sure the doctors look into this for your daughter. The good thing to know - living gluten-free is doable and possible! Best health wishes for your girl!

Laura in Poland said...

Ding ding ding!! Why didn't I think of this for my daughter? She's our 3rd child and has a rather large, sometimes hard belly. When she was a 1 yr old, and I moved her to milk, I noticed her large belly, and thought it was part of being a toddler. But.. I think it's something different, and I wholeheartedly thank you for this post.

I just found your blog via the valentine's day card (cute & easy!!), and kept reading because I think we have similar kids. Though i only have 3. My oldest is very sweet & loving yet a drama king... my middle guy tests me all day/night but is the most kissable, cuddly boy ever. When he's not pushing my buttons. Our baby, now 2, is God's grace on earth, the easiest labor, easiest baby, such a happy delight.

Good luck with the allergy tests. We live in Poland, and any sort of advanced medical anything is soooo difficult. Sometimes they've not heard about whatever it is I'm asking for. Think I'll just drop dairy out, then reintroduce yogurt to see if she can tolerate it. I've already noticed a difference in her belly as I gave juice & bubbly water with breakfast instead of our usual milk.

Again, I can't thank you enough.
:o) Laura in Poland

Jane said...

My 8.5 year old granddaughter was diagnosied with Celic Disease 2 years ago. After having diarrhea for 7 mos, and thinking it was lactose, my daughter finally begged the dr. to test for Celic. She saw the pediatric GI for the final diagnosis. After the initial shock, now the whole family eats gluten free. It's not the end of the world, it's become more well known. Within 24 hrs. of going off gluten, granddaughter was changed child. It's worth asking your dr. to do the screening test.

Tina said...

Like a lot of the other comments, I found your blog from your valentines (totally awesome!), but had to read this post as well.

We had my daughter tested for Celiac this past week. We should get the results back Monday or Tuesday.

Our suspicions didn't start with a bloated belly, but with a rectal prolapse (part of the rectum is pushed out of the anus). Not painful, but terrifying to a 4yo (and her unsuspecting parents). Her doctor just said she was constipated and recommended more fruits, veggies, and fiber (which we already eat a lot of), plus a laxative.

About a month later, she had a second rectal prolapse, this time worse.

Tons of research, cutting out dairy, a few tests, and a pediatric GI appointment later and they still tell me she is just constipated and to give her a laxative everyday.

Oh, and she can go back to regular milk.

I didn't agree, but I am not a dr.

Turns out the regular milk still causes her problems, though this time it was congestion. Within a few hours of having some milk in her oatmeal, she was stuffy. That night she couldn't sleep because she was so stuffed up. A full box of tissues and a little research led me to discover that for those who have a lactose intolerance, congestion is a symptom.

I also discovered that for many people, lactose intolerance is caused by a gluten intolerance.

With all the whole grains we eat, I began to wonder if this could be part of her problem.

We should find out in a few days.

I hope that your daughter feels better soon, whatever the results turn up.

The Wooden Spool said...

I heart your blog! The valentine cards you made are soooooo groovy!
I can't help but put my two sense in here on the stomach pains and bloating....three out of four of us in our house are gluten-intolerant! Same symptoms are you listed. Also, ppl. who are gluten-intolerant don't do well with dairy and sugar. I know you might freak out reading this, but honestly, give it a try! It's worth having a healthy, no more tummy aching child. See my blog for some delish gluten-free recipes. Hope this helps you out a bit!
Take care,

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