Monday, June 7, 2010

The Day Everything Changed

We are so lucky.  Haley is a very healthy girl.  She is hardly ever sick.  I think in the last (almost) thirteen years she has only had two stomach viruses that I can remember.  She gets the sniffles occasionally, but they don't last long.  The rest of us trade cold germs back and forth pretty regularly but they seem to miss her.

I am thinking about Haley's health today because her Big Sis has not been doing so well.  Big Sis has missed a lot of school because she is dizzy.  She has been to the doctor and had many tests.  We don't know what is wrong even though she can tell us how she is feeling.  She can describe her symptoms and put qualifiers on them, but even then we still don't know why she is dizzy.  It is very frustrating. 

I can think of something that would be even more frustrating.  Not knowing what she was feeling.  If she was suffering and she couldn't tell me. I know that would be worse because that is the problem we have with Haley.

There was a time when we weren't feeling so lucky.  Haley didn't feel good.  I know that now, but back then I didn't know what was going on.  Haley doesn't know how to tell me what she is feeling. There have been times when I could tell that she didn't feel well, but no matter what kind of question I asked her I couldn't get her to tell me where the problem was.

Haley spent a large portion of her young life constipated.  I had to keep her home from school because she couldn't sit down. I couldn't bear putting her on that bus knowing that when she got to school she would be miserable. She would scream and cry when she needed to go. It could last for days. She would hide in her room and try. She would lean over tables. It was torture.  I had talked to someone that I knew with a special needs child and she suggested mineral oil.  I tried that.  It didn't really help and it didn't seem like a very good long term solution to me.

Haley was angry a lot.  She had a short fuse.  If things weren't going her way she would have a fit.  She had what I call the Meltdown regularly.  The simplest thing would set her off and the bad mood would last for hours.  She started attacking me.  She would come at me and try to hurt me.  She either hit me or tried to bite me.  My husband would pull her off of me and take her to another room and try to calm her down.  She would break away from him and come back at me.

I was beside myself with worry, she was getting big and I didn't know how to defend myself without causing her harm.  I talked to our doctor, her teachers and my cousin who also has special needs children.  I started reading a lot of things on the Internet, I searched everything I could think of about behavior modification.  I even ordered a CD of music that was supposed to calm her down.

During my searches I ran across a lot of information about how diet can affect kids like Haley.  I read about casein and gluten free diets.  It made sense to me.  It didn't seem that difficult to try so I went to Whole Foods and bought dairy free milk, pudding, yogurt and ice cream.  We were ready to go. 

Haley went dairy free on January 1st 2008. 

I was amazed that she took to it immediately.  She actually wanted the new things in the refrigerator and didn't go for the old things at all.  Within a week she was a different person.  She was no longer constipated and she was no longer mad at the world and at me.  It was like a miracle.

My baby had been suffering and  she couldn't tell me what was wrong.  She didn't know how to tell me that she was in constant pain. When I was a little girl I remember telling my Mom that my stomach hurt, she didn't know how to help me, but at least I could tell her.  Haley didn't know how to tell me what she was feeling and it made her mad that I didn't understand. 

Sometimes it feels like I am all she has.  I know her Dad and sister and grandparents love her, but I am the one that she counts on and I wasn't getting it.  I am sure she doesn't realize that I figured out what was wrong and I fixed it, but it doesn't matter to me.  All I care about is that I did.

I decided that if it worked so well for her that I would give it a try myself. The week after I started Haley on her new diet I went onto it as well. The stomach aches I had been plagued with my entire life stopped. They just stopped. I did try a little milk a week later and sure enough that was what did it.

It has been two and half years. Haley's behavior problems are gone. She is almost always happy and so am I.

1 comment:

  1. Such a simple solution..but who would have known. Glad you figured it out.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...