Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Sick children change everything!

Where have I been, you ask? Why, taking care of Emily! The poor little thing has had quite a year so far. She is doing much better (see her sweet smiling face) but for a while there she had us pretty scared. After 5 hospital admissions and a slew of tests (including a brain MRI!), doctors still have no idea what was plaguing her.

It all began after a 10-day round of antibiotics given for a mild staph infection in late December (doctors in Florida, where we were visiting, were a bit aggressive and gave her broad-spectrum IV antibiotics). I believe that her problems were a direct result of the antibiotics, but there's really no way to prove that one way or the other.

One of her symptoms was severe vomiting, so the pediatric gastroenterologist advised me to stop nursing and give Emily an elemental formula (one based not on soy or dairy protein but built up from amino acids, oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals). That recommendation felt like a slap in the face, given my commitment to breastfeeding and knowing that with all that she was going through, at least she was getting the benefits of my milk. I did understand that doing the switch would assist in diagnosing her with a food allergy, and, as science-minded as I am, I do have to admit that I was very happy when she refused the formula (even when she was starving due to having had fasted for a test). To make a VERY long story short, she is still being breastfed (exclusively) and never had any formula. And she has vomited only once in the last 3 weeks, a marked improvement.

No one knows whether she has food allergies. I do know that she tolerated my milk just fine for 5 months without as much as a spit-up, but in case she suddenly developed one or more (due to the antibiotics), I went on a strict elimination diet. For several weeks now, I have followed a diet devoid of soy, gluten, nuts, seeds, caffeine, and alcohol.

I have been cooking quite a bit and have created some wonderful low-allergen vegan recipes.

Being a vegan never felt that much like a sacrifice, since vegan food is so delicious, but I have to say, once you omit the wheat and soy (and nuts and sesame seeds) it gets pretty challenging. I am looking forward to being able to re-introduce some of these foods!

Meanwhile, I have been enjoying bean soups, GF pastas, fruits, GF granolas, rice products, chilis, and Indian curries.

So for a while, this blog will feature vegan, soy-free, gluten-free recipes. Stay tuned!


dreaminitvegan said...

So sorry about your little girl and you as well with not knowing what caused her illness. It seems like so many times doctors can't seem to figure what the problem is. Frustrating! Take care of that adorable little girl of yours and yourself.

Leigh said...

Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear that Emily has been ill. I'm glad you managed to avoid the formula, though. Hopefully you can get to the bottom of her illness or food allergies soon.

Dina said...

Thank you both! We're hoping she outgrows the problem and that soon this will just be a miserable memory.