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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

FPIES: Pie of Doom

Sometimes the title of my blog is a clever, sarcastic guise for how much my life really SUXX. (And yes, that's with TWO CAPITAL Xs, just so we're clear.)

Okay, my life doesn't really suck. We all have our trials. We all have to face something that everyone else, when they look at us, thinks to themselves, "Oh my gosh, I'm sooooo glad I don't have to deal with that!" Right? So, I will just go ahead and tell y'all what you are glad you don't have of mine. It's called FPIES.

FPIES stands for Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome. And I actually don't have it myself, but my 4-year-old son does, and its the worst thing EVER. Children with FPIES cant digest certain foods, so their bodies react by profuse vomiting and lethargy that lasts for days. The food can be anything (each FPIES kid has his own individual triggers) and just a miniscule amount (as in, can't see it without a microscope) will set off a reaction. Worse, the reaction won't occur until anywhere between 5 and 12 or even 24 hours later, so it's pretty freaking impossible to figure out which food was the culprit.

I try really hard to be positive about this most of the time, but right now, as I sit next to my son who is passed out on the couch for the bazillionth time after puking all day over some sort of mysterious food trigger that I can't figure out, I am going to take this opportunity to be bitter. BITTER! BITTER! BIIIIIIITTERRRRRRRR!!!

My son's FPIES triggers are soy, oats, possibly rice, and who knows what else, because he still gets sick even when we try to prohibit these foods from his diet. You might think it's not a big deal to remove these foods from someone's diet. Here is a non-conclusive list of foods he cannot eat that you might be surprised about:
  • All breads
  • All cereals except Kellogg's Raisin Bran
  • All crackers
  • All pasta
  • Most conventional meats, even raw meat
  • Sauce packets
  • Mayonnaise, BBQ sauce, salad dressings, etc.
  • Chocolate
  • Some juices (Minute maid, Simply Orange Juice to name a couple)
  • Pretty much any processed food you can think of, and any canned or pre-packaged foods that have soy, oats, or rice in the same facility--many times this is not mentioned on the label (especially where oats or rice is concerned because, really, who is allergic to oats or rice?)
Also, I have suspicions that tocopherols, mono-and diglycerides, and sodium lactate are all preservatives that are derived from soy. There are most likely over preservatives derived from soy as well.

Not only is it devastating to watch my son in this vomiting, catatonic state so often (about 2-4 times a month), but here are some other ways that FPIES limits our life:
  • We can't go on vacations, as traveling anywhere with our son means traveling with our own stash of food (most of it needing to be refrigerated and/or bought from special stores), as well as our own pots and pans because cross-contamination is just as harmful as if he ate the food itself
  • Eating out is stressful, since we have to bring a cooler with us and make sure our hands are thoroughly washed whenever we handle his food or something he might touch (if that's not hard enough, we now have to make sure his baby sister's hands are also washed, and you know how hard it is to keep a toddler's hands clean)
  • I am having a heck of a time coming up with enough food recipes that we can all eat that don't take all day to prepare from scratch
  • I can't come up with enough foods to fill our 72-hour emergency kits, let alone food storage
  • I am planning on homeschooling him until he (hopefully) grows out of this, because there is no way I can trust his school environment to be safe (this is what could happen: he touches a crumb of another kid's bread on the lunch table, licks his finger a few minutes later, and is out of school for three days)
So listen: I am grateful because I know there are worse things out there plaguing the lives of young children--life-threatening things that break my heart just thinking about them. And I am grateful FPIES is not life-threatening (though I imagine if he ate a whole lot of soy on accident--like a piece of bread, for instance--he would certainly end up in the ER). But right now, listening to his painful moaning and knowing there is nothing I can do to fix it--and maybe nothing I can do to stop it from happening again next week, as I still don't know what caused this episode--all I can think of is SUXX, SUXX, SUXX!!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Superheroes 101

Today during the drive home from swimming lessons, I caught this magic moment between my two kids in the back seat.

My 4-year-old son--we'll call him Superpower Man, per his request--is looking at his Iron Man sticker book. His 19-month-old sister, who we'll call Pinkie (per my request), is watching him with a wistful expression. (And yes, I am looking at the road. I don't need to see them to know what they are doing, I'm just that good.)

Pinkie: Spidehma! I wan' Spidehma!

Superpower Man (offended): This is NOT Spiderman!

Pinkie: Spidehma!

SP Man: MOM! She's calling my Iron Man book "Spiderman"!

Me: Blah blah blah, she's just a baby, blah BLEH.

Pinkie: Spidehma!

SP Man: HE'S. NOT. SPIDERMAN. Look at him. Does it look like he has a Spiderman head?!

Pinkie: ... Spidehma!

SP Man: UGH.

Me: (To Pinkie) Can you say IRON Man?

Pinkie: (Thinks.) Eye-di-dun.

Me: There, that's better!

SP Man: Mom, she said "Iron DUH."

Me: Blah blah blah, she's just a baby, blah BLEH BLEH.

(A few moments of silence go by, during which Pinkie says "Spidehma" several more times and apparently Superpower Man has turned the page.)

SP Man: See, look. This black guy (as in, dressed in black) is not Spiderman. He's a bad guy.

Pinkie: Bad guy?

SP Man: Super heroes don't have guns like these. This is a super villain!

Pinkie: Spidehma!

(Superpower Man groans.)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Happy New Year; or, My First Rookie Writing Mistake

Happy New Year 2011! Yeah, I know I'm late. I've been too busy trying to keep up with my already too-extensive list of New Year's resolutions. Maybe that's why I never actually achieve any of my goals--every year, I always have too many!

One of our new resolutions--me and the Iceman--is to stick to a tight-wad budget so we can start really making a dent in our student loans. (If you didn't already know, dentists have a load of debt the size of my resolutions list. No, actually, way more than that.) Ice has always been anti-budgets,and I've been pro-clueless about money in general, but we finally gave in. It's been really good so far. We even have a calendar whiteboard that we record every purchase onto. Nerdy, perhaps? Is it even more nerdy to tell you that it's hung up right next to our bed? Well, at least we are cheap nerds.

Another one of my resolutions is to write an entire first draft of a novel. Said novel is one that I have been working on for umm....over two years. I got the idea for it about the time that I was newly pregnant with my baby girl who is now 19 months old. I've thought about it relentlessly, but when I'd sit down to write, I just couldn't get past the first chapter. Finally, last fall I went to my writing group and shared a short story I had written. The ladies told me it was good but that the beginning was slow. Apparently I was boring them with too many background details leading up to the action. (ME? Boring? Pshaw. Okay they were right.) But I learned some great rookie writing advice: You HAVE to start a story where the action begins. Then you can go back and fill in *needed* background details later.

I realized that I had been doing that same thing with my novel. I was boring MYSELF with all the background details leading up to the action, to the point that I didn't even want to keep writing! (You can laugh at me, it's okay.) So I started over, right where I thought the action would begin. And BAM! I wrote three chapters in just a few weeks.

Now I am stuck again. So you see, this finishing the rough draft business is going to take me a while. But I had a great thought today that I think will get me out of the rut. Also, the belated Christmas present my parents got me arrived in the mail yesterday, and I think it will definitely make my writing easier. How do you like this little beauty?

Yes, it's even pink! I cried when I got it. Thanks Mom and Dad!