Thursday, May 28, 2009


So, my mom's birthday starts in a few hours and she has been struggling with foot pain all week. This has gotten me thinking a lot about feet, footsteps, and of No, not the fact that my mom has an enviable collection of black shoes that leaves my dad shaking his head. But- filling her shoes and walking in her footsteps.

Because my mom is THE mom. THE mom that every child should have. The kind of mom that I strive every day to be, the benchmark by which I measure how I am doing. I don't think she realizes how extraordinary she really is. Growing up, I can't tell you how many times my sister and I would hear, your mom is so (cool/nice/pretty/fun/wonderful) and we would pretty much have to nod our heads and agree. Even in the midst of being teenagers!
My mom will and does drop everything, at any time, for my sister and I. In medical school, I really messed up an exam. My mom was at my door in what felt like only minutes, with hugs and I'll admit, a few wine coolers. She has seen me at my absolute worst, more times this year than I'd like to count, and has been absolutely steadfast in her support and love. When I woke up from anesthesia, terrified, bereft, and feeling completely unlovable, I asked for my mother immediately. As terrible as I felt, and as much as I doubted anyone else's ability to forgive me, I knew my mother would not waver. I wanted my mom.

My mom is a lot of fun. Our "fearsome threesome" logged a lot of hours in motor homes and motels, going to horse shows across the state and country. I remember head lice in Allegan, my mom's witty comebacks (toothless and dog piles come to mind), turning up the radio and dancing. And when the girls got the out. She loves music and has amazing style. She has taught me so much about true love, generosity, class, patience, forgiveness. Not to mention all the myriad of practical stuff that mothers teach kids every day.

My mom is a GREAT bubbe. She relishes our boys with a passion that is amazing to watch. She is always up for a game of baseball, basketball, soccer. She jumps into the pool with them. She teaches them things that I didn't even think of. She has had faith when I didn't and has been right all along. They are so lucky to have her and adore her completely.

My mom is ALL mother. She stops to help strangers on the street and offers motherly advice to those in need. She told me once that she always thinks about how she would want a stranger to treat her children if she was not around and acts accordingly. How much better would this world be if we all did that!?!

My mom can't understand why her feet hurt, but I know a little secret. It's because she is the heart and soul of our family, and carries all of us on her able shoulders. And that's not always easy to do in cute shoes. I love you so much Mom. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Friday, May 15, 2009


So, what is it about the nighttime??? I am lucky...I don't suffer from insomnia nearly as badly as my dear friend who wakes at 4 am for no apparent reason, or as my mom who can be up half the night. No, once I am utterly exhausted, I generally can fall asleep and stay asleep. Unfortunately, for me, utter exhaustion doesn't come before midnight. And the boys are up early. And Aaron (currently nicknamed Nutty Bear) has his 3 am snack.

But really, it is not the lack of sleep that has me blogging right now. It is that every time there is quiet, there is no peace. We had a GREAT day today. DH's trial is over! He did great and I am so proud of his dedication and smarts. One small silver lining of him being gone is that it really highlights how much I love him and enjoy his company, even after so many years. So, anyway, he took the day off today. We had a great time, Brother Bear went to his grandparents for a little while, so DH and I had some time with Nutty Bear on our own, and then we all had a lot of fun the 4 of us. I thought to myself, OK, I obsessed over the new diagnosis all week, but now it is time to move forward. DH is home, I can relax a little, things will look more bright. And for a while, it did.

Then, the boys are in bed. Exhausted trial lawyer fell asleep next to me. I snuggled in, gave thanks for my guys, closed my eyes...and....envisioned Nutty Bear's ribs. And worried about whether he will grow to be at least average height. And whether he will ever be able to eat pizza. And then how our family will change, will he resent his brother, will he always feel left out, will we be able to travel, eat out, once he notices how different food is for him? Will he ever enjoy food? And then started thinking about how this shouldn't matter so much to me, when we have so much to appreciate about his recovery from his birth injury. Oops...don't think about the birth injury...too I start thinking about whether he is really on track like I think or am I in denial...and now I am wide awake and I give up and get up.

I am fine as long as I am running at full speed but I cannot be still/be inside my head. Maybe that's OK, maybe it isn't, but for right now,it is just reality.

Aaron updates...

He now says bye-bye, shakes his head no, and maybe says Ne Ne for night night. He took 7 ounces of formula at bedtime tonight (new record) but he had skipped ice-cream, so unclear as to whether this is improvement. He claps his hands and stomps his feet to "If you are happy and you know it..."

Sam's questions today

Why do the female lions hunt?

Why does water make you wet?

Why is rain only water? (As opposed to what buddy) Why isn't it lice?

What is the brown stuff in Nutty Bear's diaper? (Um, that would be poop)

Saturday, May 9, 2009


Well, we got the results of Aaron's endoscopy this week and we were pretty surprised. Basically, they were looking for a type of white blood cell (these are immune cells) called eosinophils which are active in allergic diseases like asthma and eczema. There are not supposed to be any in the esophagus. If there are more than 15 in a high powered field under the microscope, that is diagnostic for eosinophilic esophagitis. Aaron had more than 100.

My poor baby. I just feel so sad that he has been suffering all of this time. Most of the patient info I can find makes reference to kids having vomiting, which he never has had, but the nurse told me that the most common complaint of kids old enough to vocalize is painful difficulty swallowing their food. In researching this online, I have also found that the esophagus motility is compromised, so the food goes down more slowly. No wonder he feels full too early.

Treatment consists of changing the diet to eliminate potentially allergenic foods. Since we are already off of milk, egg, sesame, nut, seafood---they have decided to let us continue with his current diet. The other treatment option is mixing a small amount of steroid medicine with Splenda to make a "slurry" to coat his esophagus. That is what we are currently doing with the hope that it will help him to eat and grow. It is unclear what percentage of kids "outgrow" this and what the prognosis is. Some kids get it throughout their entire GI tract. Luckily, Aaron's stomach and small intestine looked ok. I did some research tonight, and the severity of some of the kids' illnesses shocked me. But, I think to be informed will help me to advocate for him. We will recheck his weight in 4-6 weeks.

I just could cry writing this. I am just so surprised---as a doctor, I suppose this diagnosis shouldn't be surprising, but as a mom, maybe I just felt Aaron had already survived so much, he should be "immune"! Ridiculous, I know, and it could be so much worse. We are so lucky for his great development and overall good health, in light of what could have been. But, just tonight, I am going to say it. I am really, really angry that he has to deal with this. Period.

We will take any and all prayers for a good response to his medicine...because the next steps are not fun...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Endoscopy update

Well, Aaron had the endoscopy this morning. He is such a trooper. He didn't seem to upset about forgoing his morning formula for apple juice and was quite cheerful at the hospital before the procedure. Once the CRNA did his pre-op History and Physical, we were ready to go. (It is interesting watching people's eyebrows raise when they ask his medical history and I tell them.And then, ever so cautiously, "So, how is he doing on his milestones??") I took him back to the area in the operative recovery room where they do these kinds of procedures (since there is no incision, he didn't have to be in the operating room.) Once again, I irrationally wanted to scoop him up, carry him away and forget the whole event, but I didn't, of course. There were lots of personnel there, an anesthesiology resident, the nurse anesethicist, a pediatric cardiology fellow who was probably there to practice IVs and intubation. I swallowed hard but just said, take good care of my baby. Then, I held him and sang while they put the mask on, he cried and struggled for a second, then off to dreamy land. I left before they intubated him and put the IV in. So, I think it was relatively peaceful for him. He looked so tiny on the strecher.
We waited about 45 minutes and his GI doctor came out and reported there was furrowing on his esophagus, which is suggestive, but not diagnostic for eosinophilic esophagitis. We won't know for sure until the path comes back Friday or Monday. He had done fine with no complications.

Then, about 1/2 hr later, we were called to come see him. As soon as we came into the PACU, I could hear him yelling. The recovery nurse said some kids just wake up suddenly and fighting mad, and that was our boy! Poor baby, I am sure he woke up scared. He settled downed quickly when I held him, slept a little, drank a little juice, and then we went home. Whew. So glad it is over. He seems to be doing fine now, he slept and is now eating a popsicle while I finish this post.

So, maybe a new diagnosis? I hope not, but I guess we will cross that bridge...
I'll keep you posted.