"Quod me netrit me destruit."
What nourishes me also destroys me.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Liquid Dieting a Form of Torture

I don't want to become political. However, those CIA memos on torture techniques while Bush was in power has been all over the headlines. One interesting point to note related to EE though is the fact that one of the memos suggests putting detainees at Guantanamo on a liquid only diet as a form of torture.
Here is the link in case you are interested:

That really hit home for me when I read it. Although, I knew it was torture. Kids with EE live that life everyday.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Steroids: The Ultimate Wonder Drug

Prior to Zane's diagnosis with EE, we occassionally had to use steroids on him for what we thought were severe sinus infections. Once we used them, it was like the parting of the Red Sea. Suddenly, Zane would be able to eat again, he had no stomach pains, his appetite was impressive and he stopped vomiting. At the time, I was completely and totally ignorant of the side effects of systematic steroid usage. Or maybe I really wasn't that ignorant? Maybe I was just desperate?

Zane's vomiting fits were absolutely horrible and they went on endlessly. I wanted to give him a reprieve from it all and just be able to eat and lead a normal life. His vomiting fits were so bad that someone had to sit in the back seat of the car with him at all times (even for short 2 minute drives) because it was almost a certainty that he would begin vomiting. I thought twice about leaving the house with him. He couldn't sleep because he would wake up several times in the middle of the night vomiting. He had exocist-style projectile vomit that was totally unpredictable and frequent. He vomited once on the second floor of our house and it flew over the banister, covered the walls, flew down the stairs and landed on the first floor. Imagine that twenty to thirty times a day.

Once Zane was diagnosed though and I became more familiar (and naively less desperate) with the effects of systematic steroids I decided to go this quest naturally though restricting Zane's diet. He went from vomiting twenty to thirty times a day to once a week. I was thrilled. But, gradually it increased in frequency until we were forced to eliminate all foods from Zane's diet and begin our food trials.

Since last summer, we have only been able to successfully complete one food trial: corn. After that, every food we have tried makes Zane vomit at some point or another until he is back to vomiting almost daily. He was beginning to become desperate to eat and began developing behavioural issues. He would beg total strangers for food at the mall in the most pathetic way. People would look at me, not understanding, and think that I was intentionally starving my own child. He began getting into fights at the park if he saw other kids with food. And when he did get his hands on food he would eat the way you see in those UN videos when you see starving kids in some far off African country protectively coddling their bowl of rice and scarfing it down as fast as possible. He would beg for food and when I told him no he kept saying, "But, Mommy, I'll be a good boy. I'm sorry."

I couldn't take it emotionally at times. It was hard. It was really hard. The doctor in Switzerland realized that Zane was having a hard time and suggested that we put him on a low dose steroid that is not systematically absorbed by his body. It is called Polmicort and it is .03 mg per 5 ml. Zane is currently on 10 ml but we will reduce it to 5 ml beginning tomorrow.

Zane has been off of school for two weeks now and has been on the drug for a total of four weeks. Today, his teacher's first day back from holiday she noticed the dramatic difference in Zane. She commented that he has an appetite and that he eats food without gagging. He hasn't thrown up once since he began his course of treatment. It's amazing. We have begun to allow Zane to sit at the dining table to eat and he was over the moon with happiness. He now stays the full day at nursery and sits down with the other children and eats lunch with them. He only eats four foods: rice, potatos, turkey and corn. But, it feels like he's having a feast. Hopefully his scope will be clean in May when we go to Switzerland. Say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed, send good energy and positive thoughts his way if you can. It would be much appreciated.