Sunday, February 6, 2011

Here's the skinny

Lu is getting skinnier. Skinnier and skinnier. We spent the past week trying to slowly introduce the new amino acid liquid food options into her diet and Lu responded to this, much as she did to our attempts at a GFCF diet so many months ago; with a hunger strike. She is now refusing pretty much everything but a few pieces of popcorn, a little bacon and some, not all, chocolate things. Normally she drinks one to two pediasures a day to help make up for the gaping holes in her diet. After trying to mix neocate chocolate into the pediasure, she has been flatly refusing both the mixed and pure versions. It is truly alarming. We're trying everything we can think of. We've even jumped to what I thought would be the last resort: steroid treatment. We've been doing the steroid/splenda slurry since Thursday with no noticable change. Each time she managed to spit some part of it out. This morning she fought harder than before, spit some out and then got so upset that she threw the rest up. We don't know what else we can do. We're out of ideas. Out of dietary options.

Which brings us to the new last resort: the emergency installation of a G-tube into Tallulah's stomach. We are not considering this option lightly. Cutting open her smooth, sweet, perfect little belly, oh god, it makes me sick just to think of it. I really did throw up last night as I googled and looked at photos of children with G-tubes installed. But what else can we do? Her normal intake was already below the nutritionist's minimum even before trying the new formula, and this new reduction places her in danger. A G tube could save her. It could allow her to get enough nutrition for the first time in years. It could even allow her to thrive. It's hard to imagine the word 'thrive' being used to describe Tallulah without the usual accompaniment of 'failure to' preceding it. I don't think anything we've had to do with either kid so far has been as hard as this. But here we are. What can we do but hope and move forward. Maybe she'll just need the tube for 6 months. Or maybe a year. Or two. Maybe by then she will be able to understand enough to make the decision to eat the foods she needs to eat to treat her EE. Or she can learn to use the inhaler for the steroids. It's not forever. It can be removed. But for now, it can save her life. We're leaving for Phoenix tonight and will try to get her checked in to the Phoenix Children's Hospital for feeding, rehydration, and to discuss the tube further with her doctor. She might even be able to have the surgery tomorrow. Then we get trained on how to use the pump and feeding equipment and how to care for the hole in her tummy. And then I guess we go home and start this new stage of life. My greatest hope is that with proper nutrition she will finally start to feel healthy. And that could make such a difference for everything. Without the pain she's been living with all this time, perhaps she will be able to focus better, learn more faster, take more interest in life, in other children, in the world. This could really make such a change for the best. I have to cling to that thought as we go forward. Here we go baby girl.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ahhhh Jen- I'm so so so sorry. Keep the positive attitude- you're right, getting her all the nutrition she needs should do a world of good.
I'll be thinking of you & sending you all my positive thoughts.