Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bye-Bye Eosinophils!

Caleb had another scope on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Everything appeared normal, just as it did on his first scope, when he was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Enteritis. After all, eosinophils are allergy cells, and you can't see cells with the naked eye.

So, the GI doctor took biopsies of every part of his upper digestive system (just as she did the first time) and tested them for everything under the sun (just as before). We got the biopsy results back on Monday morning and guess what...? NO MORE EOSINOPHILS! The diet of just an elemental/hypoallergenic formula along with apples, rice, grapes, chicken, tuna, white potatoes, and sweet potatoes (well, he basically only ate apples, grapes, and sweet potatoes for the past few months) worked!

"Bye-bye eosinophils"
"See ya [daddy??] eosinophils"
"No-no, all done, eosinophils"
You probably can't tell, but I'm happy to point out that he has cooked rice and pureed sweet potatoes on his chin and bib. :D

Now we just have to hope that he has gained enough weight to have a stronger small bowel so that he can fight off any new allergens as we introduce new foods. He has only gained three pounds in the last 4-5 months, and he's not even close to being on the growth chart, but the GI doctor thinks it's time to start new foods. I really hope that we're not moving ahead too soon. If he's not ready for new foods then we could lose all of the progress that we've made. I'm just scared that, if he isn't able to fight off the allergens, we won't know what the offending food is. After all, the only clues that anything was wrong before his diagnosis were occasional vomiting of huge amounts and refusal to eat. And even though at the start of his new diet those symptoms were completely resolved, they are now worse than ever because his body is rejecting the formula. So it's going to be hard to know what's going on.

So. We're going to take a leap of faith. Our GI doctor has seen a 100 percent cure rate with this type of eosinophilic disorder, so I've got to trust her. And it will be nice to have a head start on all of this by the time the baby comes.

So, what comes next? New foods! We will add one new food every three days and see how Caleb reacts. We've already started our first new "food"--a non-hypoallergenic formula. Instead of using a medical formula with completely broken down proteins that is impossible to be allergic to, we are now using Nestle/Gerber Goodstart (it's an infant formula that you can get at any store). It has partially broken down proteins, so it's still very gentle on his system. We're in the middle of day five on the new formula and we've already seen major improvements!! He only threw up once in the past five days and his appetite has increased! He is (kind of) swallowing food again and the other day he wanted me to spoon feed him an entire jar of applesauce!

I don't know which food we will introduce next, or how we will go about introducing the most common offenders (like dairy, eggs, wheat, and soy). But the GI doctor and I decided to wait for two weeks to offer another new food, just to make sure that he will continue to tolerate the new formula. After that, we will probably go with the "new food every three days" rule...depending on what we see, I assume.

And at some point, depending on his symptoms, he will probably have another follow-up scope to make sure that the eosinophils are under control.

I had no clue that motherhood would be about watching your baby suffer day in and day out. It's not supposed to be like that. You're supposed to watch them suffer when they get an ear infection, or a stuffy nose, or the 24-hour flu, or their first vaccinations...not when they take a bite of food. Not when hunger pains are more tolerable than eating pains. Not when they're so dehydrated that their lips crack and bleed. Not when they get surgery so that they can do one of life's most basic functions--eat. Not when projectile vomiting becomes a part of everyday life.

I'm just so thankful that my valiant little guy's happy spirit hasn't been effected by this disease. Today we went to the store and for no apparent reason he just couldn't stop laughing. He may be wild and crazy and uncontrollable at times, and his medical issues are certainly trying at times, but he is almost always happy. He loves to do things that please me. He hardly ever throws tantrums, and if he does, a quick time-out cures everything. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect child, medical problems and all!


Heather said...

I'm so happy for you guys!

Coffee Mama said...

What wonderful news about the clean scope! I'm excited to see Caleb get more foods.