In 2010 we got a diagnosis of ulcerative colitis for our son Isaac who was then 27 months old. For a year and a half we had been concerned about his persistent soft stools. Now that we're going down the road of living with IBD in our house, we want to be able to share our story, connect with similar families or individuals, and increase our awareness of the experience of others.

Some of our related interests are diet, kids and families with IBD, and discussing and sharing experiences.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

update series: the liberation

At our doctor's appointment just before thanksgiving we got explicit instructions to liberate Isaac's diet, which meant give him some animal proteins. He weighed a pound less than his previous appointment and his iron levels were low, so let's beef him up, I think they thought.

I was still pretty insistent on getting back to the vegan diet and using vegan tools to increase weight and iron. But around this time it got pretty heated again, between Bonnie and me. One of the factors that kept coming up were my control issues. Now, I will admit I have some control issues. I always like to analyze my self and make improvements when necessary, and I think I've handled my control issues fairly well since I was 17. This particular situation didn't seem to me to be about my control issues AT ALL, but after hearing it a few times, I said something like, "You (directed at any audience which thinks so) think I want to be in charge of all this? I would happily accept the care/instructions of somebody else who will do better. But I am completely convinced that there are other, more reasonable and scientific treatments to try before steroids or at least before assuming we can't make progress with diet."

So in my controlling way, I relinquished control entirely and told Bonnie that she was in charge of what Isaac was eating and taking and so on. And at most I would only frown upon what I saw, and put in my two cents.

He was actually having softer bowel movements ever since that first couple weeks of nice solid poops. but these bowel movements were completely formed and still definitely within normal and healthy, it would seem. He continued in this way for another week or so after we "liberated his diet".

update series: the deception

Well, it is my duty to write updates on our IBD experience. And a lot of time and drama has ensued since my last post. I will catch up in a series of posts which hopefully capture our experience chronologically.

The first day of our steroids resulted in solid poop. And we also, that day, went back to the basic elimination diet with the intent of various food introduction while keeping vegan. And the other important piece of information is that I, dad, was in charge of morning medications, which included the daily steroids.

Well, I was so tickled at that immediate response, and as I reported, uncomfortable about the steroids, that the next day I gave him 4.5 ml instead of 5ml to see if we could tell a difference. And day 2, also nothing but a nice solid poop in the evening. So day 3, I gave him only 4ml. Solid poop. On day 4 I realized that from then on I was going to be giving him only a little steroids, and not enough to be very significant. But I decided to go ahead and see if his reaction changed. And it didn't. For the next few days I kept reducing it to nothing at all, and meanwhile Isaac's poop was nice and healthy.

This was all good and well, except that I hadn't consulted with the doctor, or even Isaac's mom. So you can imagine how upset she was when about 12 days later I broke her the news. I had to tell her, because I was going somewhere and she was going to be giving him his morning medications, and I didn't want her to just give him full doses of steroids for no good reason. Well, she flipped out, and then I felt so sheepish I called the doctor's office to confess and see if they wanted to advise us differently.

Since Isaac's stool was nice and healthy they said not to worry about anything until our next doctor's appointment which was coming right up.

I will reiterate that this whole ordeal has been quite a strain for Bonnie and me. We keep reminding ourselves that we both want the same thing, but it is clear that I don't really trust conventional health care (pharmaceuticals, mainly) to get us to that point and Bonnie wants to trust it. So we butt heads about methods. However, let me say, it wasn't very good of me to pull what I pulled. What would have been better is clear communication with lots of persuasive reasoning, followed by an informed consensus between my wife, me, and the doctor.

Also in this span of time, Isaac went to his grandparents. And chomped on some bacon and I don't know what else, but I know that a vegan diet doesn't follow him around very well unless we're at home.