Have you ever had an instinct? An instinct that begins as a gnawing...Then grows into a raging burn; a burning instinct that something is wrong...
Your baby continues to get sick from the very foods he is supposed to thrive on. I did. I am a mom of a little boy just diagnosed with FPIES.
And that burning feeling now? Extinguished. My instincts? Stronger than ever. Guiding me, with my faith, as we navigate through the murky waters of our new world created by something called FPIES.
"Faith is not about everything turning out OK; Faith is about being OK no matter how things turn out."
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Tailored Nutrition for FPIES?
After reading through some of Dr.J's research, and then the Nutrigenomic course. My thoughts go back to where I was before these readings, before hearing of the promising links with Dr.J's research....that FPIES needs guidelines for food introductions/trials, with a solid understanding of why but then each child needs their own individualized introductions. From the order of foods, to the days of trials, to the amount of the trial and how many foods you do in a set time period. Is this the missing link? A tailored nutrition program for food introductions and FPIES diet?
Even from the beginning- doctors were trying to put Little Man in a box he didn't fit in....am I trying to do the same? FPIES protocols have been developed but I also hear of mom's going "off the beaten path" and trying something new- and it works! Or just adding to current protocols, and finding success. The common thread is that everyone uses FPIES protocols as the base and adapts them to their child's needs, their lifestyle, their contributing complexities (genetic or environmental). What will work for our Little Man?
A few months ago, with thoughts of food trials whirling in my head, shortly after soy trial in which things seemed to go "ok" (some build symptoms but nothing major) for 3 days and then by day 4 everything fell apart and came crashing down around us. A thought came to me that maybe we are looking at it from the wrong angle for Little Man. Maybe he needs 3day trials, or 3 different foods at the same time?
His soy fail symptoms were no doubt because of the large volumes we were giving him had something to do with how hard he crashed but his body wasn't tolerating it- would a long trial have made any difference? But a pattern was noted, Little Man seems to do ok on a food for 3days (with other trials and before FPIES diagnosis), and then by the 4th day is when things start to cascade- is it build symptoms or yeast die off from gut microflora changes, or is it the body fighting to win the imbalance with the immune response? What makes his body want to accept a food, seemingly have developments of oral tolerance, and then hit with the attack mechanisms? Why the delay? Why the build? This is where our FPIES protocol needs to be adapted for our little man specific needs.....where nutrition meets immune response?....where nutrition meets genetics?.....click, click, click- I can't seem to make it all fit together....
Back to my thought a few months ago...I just kept thinking- what if we trialed something for 3 days and then switched it up? Not giving his body the chance to build the intolerance mechanisms? Or, what if we trialed 3 foods at the same time, 3 foods that would have different roles on gut response? We didn't trial hemp, arrowroot or safflower oil...why did those work out? Then again, tapioca was before arrowroot and that fail landed us in the hospital with a very sick little man with acidosis.
So, what do we risk? We risk a reaction. Well, we risk a reaction with every food trial. What we really risk is a reaction and not knowing what from; but with a build reactor- we risk that anyway already. We risk introducing foods and then having to take them away; but with Little man- he barely any foods anyway- so what do we have to lose? He isn't gaining weight like he should be, he is missing micro nutrients, he begs for food....is this just my desperation talking?
Right now, we are still trialing coconut. We had a chicken ingestion...not intended but I didn't stop him either...bad, bad mommy but I wanted to see if he would actually put it in his mouth or chew it, he did - we regretted it. The chicken had seasoning on it that was corn derived. He didn't directly eat the seasoning and really barely directly ate the chicken but he suffered for it. Not a full blown reaction, but enough for him to associate what he had eaten the day before with the pain and symptoms that followed. He stopped accepting the newly trialing coconut. Even stopped eating for a day. Restless sleep, wide awake sleep disturbance, acidic poop, diaper rash, rosy cheeks, ongoing fussiness, pallor....and he stopped eating. Stopped trusting food, even his formula (which most often he will consume more of when his tummy is hurting). So, was it the seasoned chicken (crock pot chicken sitting in chicken broth with seasoning salt on it- he got an inside piece, reached for it and grabbed it while I made dinner for his brothers) or was it a build from the coconut? We had done 3 days of coconut and then stopped for a day, this was the day of reintroduction, had planned to wait until the next morning but had to distract him from taking away the chicken (he wanted to eat more, but even knew he couldn't- put his hand over the plate of cut up chicken for his brothers and said "no-no" waving his hand over it....so sad). I gave him a spoon of coconut butter (a spread made out of coconut) to distract him- so the re-trial of coconut began that night instead of the next morning as planned. But, then he refused the coconut milk I had made for the trial for the next 3days; although he did eat his safe peaches.
We have also re-introduced the millet puffs. At this point, it came down to a risk vs. benefit decision. We do not know for sure if the potential cross contamination of wheat with these puffs is a real issue for him or not; we don't even know if he has an intolerance to wheat, except through suspicions from reactions through my breastmilk when he was still nursing (way before FPIES knowledge or diagnosis). He LOVES his millet puffs, including them in his diet gives him a consistent snack, a finger food, a texture practice...and he tries new foods much more readily when he consumes them daily. We don't see any consistent symptoms that we could relate to the puffs- we had pulled and re-introduced them many times before in the past as well to be sure; so for now- we will keep them in his diet....until something arises that will outweigh his benefit vs. risk. For now the benefit outweighs the risk.
So, right now he consumes millet puffs consistently. I still am making merry muffins with millet flour and peaches, oil, baking soda and arrowroot but he doesn't love them so doesn't eat them everyday. He doesn't even eat his peaches everyday. It's as if he knows, he can handle them every 2-3days but not everyday.
Millet puffs, millet flour, peaches, trialing coconut and without knowing if coconut is safe, we have started an apricot trial. In the middle of an apricot trial, we have given him raw organic carrot sticks twice. He has 3 foods, in TEENY TINY amounts that he is consuming, that I have no idea if they are safe....but I don't know they aren't safe...
What will I do if he reacts? I don't know. Fall apart and pick myself up again as I have done dozens of times throughout the last 20mo. But maybe too, we'll connect another piece to the puzzle. And maybe, just maybe he won't react and we'll build his tiny menu.
He has been sleeping better, playing well during the day but he had mucous in his diaper this morning and a pallor look to his face. But, he may have (likely did) ingest bath soap 2 nights ago! We have a "safe" soap for him of coconut oil but that night, his 3yr old brother dumped bath soap, regular Johnson's bath soap, in the tub before I could notice. No vomiting from it, so assumed he just got some drips of water washing over his face and not actually drank it. He had wet burps and hiccups almost immediately following the bath, disturbed sleep that night with stomach pains.
Are we tired yet? This is all just this week. How do we move forward when every food causes some symptoms? How do we introduce foods he won't eat? How do we get him to take his formula when he has symptoms from a food and associates eating with pain? How do we get him to sleep better at night when he needs more calories in his diet during the day? We need a break in this viscous cycle....will the missing puzzle pieces be that break? Will a tailored nutrition protocol based on Little Man's intolerances, his delayed reactions, nutrition from his formula, his personal gut microflora? Nutrition from functional foods, pre and probiotics, missing micrnutrients...all tailored for his specific needs within his FPIES.....what if this could work?