Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Not-So-Helpful Doctor Visit

I can't believe I've forgotten to post about this. Perhaps it's because I felt like such an idiot after that I just wanted to erase the whole ordeal from my memory. Whatever the reason, I figure it's time to write about it because it's good therapy and also because it might help someone in a similar situation.

So as you may know we have had issues with Isaac's digestive system since day 1. To recap, since he was a tiny newborn I could tell something was bothering him. He would reflux, squirm, writhe, grunt and groan. He would eat but in small portions and he constantly wanted to suck (hence the soother addiction-something we will have to deal with later). Anyways, the biggest symptom was his awful tummy discomfort, bloating and gas! The poor kid. In the depths of despair I took him to see our Naturopath who did a thorough assessment. Her initial concern was the trauma to his digestive system from having come into this world via c-section; which entailed getting antibiotics and not being introduced to healthy maternal bacteria in the birth canal. She also highly suspected food intolerance/sensitivities. So I began tweaking my diet. Since I already didn't eat much dairy the other things left to remove where soy (I also didn't eat a whole lot of it so that easy) and wheat. Well, when wheat was gone, he did so much better. At first I didn't believe it, so I would eat wheat products now and then. And I paid for it dearly. After a while my stubborn self had to finally acknowledge that yes indeed there did seem to be a link between wheat and Isaac having awful tummy pain, reflux and gas. So I said goodbye to wheat for good. Well, mostly. If you recall a few months ago I had a brief moment of weakness which I did pay for dearly...again.

Anyways, in spite of seeing a relationship between wheat and bad things happening to Isaac, I still wanted some definitive answers. There is a test that my Naturopath can do that may shine some light on this issue, but it costs money. Money I don't have right now. So I mentioned it to my family doc and she referred Isaac to an Allergy specialist. When I told my ND about the upcoming appointment she cautioned that it would probably not be helpful. She was right.

They did a history and physical and then did an skin allergy test for Dairy, Wheat and Kiwi (he had a reaction to Kiwi when he was 6 months). None of them were positive. Meaning that he did not react to any of them. Meaning that he is not allergic to any of those.

Does this mean he can eat wheat?

Maybe. But most likely, no.

As was pointed out very precisely by my ND, it just means he does not have an allergy to those foods. Allergy, as in hives, rash, anaphalaxis.

He does, however, have some kind of reaction, which is delayed and does not show up with those kind of tests. The next step suggested by the allergy doc was to do a "challenge": to feed him some bread and see how he does.

As I told my ND, that does not sit well with me. I will not just feed him some bread and watch what happens! I already know what will happen. So much for me wanting some definitive answers. I guess once again I am witness to the limitations of Western medicine. Don't get me wrong. I love medicine. Heck, my husband is a physician. But there is only so much and only so far you can go down the medical path. He will even admit to that. And when it comes to issues like food sensitivities and intolerance there are just not that many answers you can get from Western medicine approaches.

I am going to book an appointment with my ND to go over a plan. And we most likely will do the testing, just to make sure we aren't feeding him something he shouldn't be eating. But I think we have things under pretty good control as he has not had an episode in a long time.

I really did feel quite stupid after that appointment. I wish I had been able to have a coherent conversation with the doctor to ask about IgG testing rather than the IgM testing they did. But with Isaac there and only me to handle him it was basically impossible. Oh well. I figure we will get the info we need at our next ND appointment.

In the meantime we continue our wheat-free diet (which consequently is mostly gluten-free). And when we falter I have to say that we do pay the price. There are times when we just can't say no. And because Isaac is only nursing once in a blue moon, I don't feel so guilty anymore if I partake in a little wheat here and there. But, I don't do it often because it's not worth it. For example, last week my mom made a cake that was divinely delicious and we had to have some. But Ken and I suffered the consequences later that night; tummy cramps and all. But at least we know that when we stay away from wheat, we feel better. In fact, Ken has lost 10lbs. Not that he needed to, but he has anyways. He says he feels better. He used to have a lot of stomach/abdominal issues which have been absent recently. Just thought I'd share! I've heard that many people who are trying to lose weight and having a hard time letting go of those last few pounds see a huge difference when they drop wheat from their diets. And it's not as hard as it sounds.


  1. I'm glad Isaac is feeling better. Sometimes doctors are just not very helpful. They don't have all the answers. Glad you found someone (ND) that has helped you and Isaac.

  2. I had to go off dairy and peanut butter and it was really hard for me! But it made such a difference. Our doc said that it wasn't an allergy as much as his digestive system couldn't process the proteins. They expected him to grow out of it, and he did. He now drinks whole milk like a champ :)


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