Sunday, January 17, 2010

In Brown Family Health News...

We've had health issues and discoveries on both ends of the spectrum this week. I never knew I could be in pain, yet happy all at the same time. Well, except for during childbirth I suppose!

Right before Christmas I had a cancer scare which turned out NOT to be cancer, but a milder issue. Last week the doctor ended up doing some work on my lady parts and hopefully all is now well.

If that wasn't enough, I started having some pretty major tooth pain and had to visit the dentist. He found that two of my ancient fillings needed to be replaced but, because they were so large, the two teeth would need crowns instead.

All was well for a few days after that, then suddenly I was in a lot of pain in said teeth. After several days of this, one of the glands in my neck swelled up to the size of an egg and was so sore I couldn't turn my neck. The dentist couldn't find a reason for the tooth pain but he did put me on strong antibiotics for the gland.

That was Thursday night and, as of today, I haven't had much tooth pain for 12 hours. I think I'm on the mend! Thank goodness, because we were talking root canal to figure out what the problem was.

But the very BEST NEWS EVER.... I think we discovered that Fletcher cannot have milk. I know, you're thinking "Well why would that be good news!?!?"

Fletcher has always been a difficult child. At one week old, we took him to the doctor and said "Something is wrong with him!" and we've felt that way ever since. He's an angry boy, difficult, has lots of tantrums, power struggles, he's defiant, oppositional...the list goes on. Most people say "He's a kid; that's how kids are." and I agree, but he is this way to an extreme. (And now that I have three kids, I can definitely say that this is not how they act in the least!)

I describe it to people as feeling like I'm in an emotionally abusive relationship...with a 4 year old. In my darker moments I've found myself asking him "Why do you hate me? Why are you so mean to me? Why won't you just love me and be nice to me?" through tears.

Marc and I have read book after book, tried every parenting and discipline technique that we could find. We've tried to find a label or a problem with him - ADD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Sensory Integration problem - and while some features of each fit him, there wasn't one that we really felt described him to a T.

Last week I heard another mom describing her daughter as being moody, going from one extreme to the other in seconds, her daughter would swear at her, she was unhappy, couldn't concentrate, etc. She also worked with therapists and doctors to no avail. Then someone suggested that she remove milk from her daughters diet. She did and saw an immediate improvement.

It turns out that it's not a milk allergy, per se, but the inability to digest (or metabolize maybe?) the protein casein found in milk.

I took Fletcher off of milk the second I heard this. It's been 5 days and he hasn't had a tantrum, there have been no power struggles, he hasn't been in time out, he's been happy, he hasn't argued with me and he's had several "perfect" days (where he gets all of the stickers possible on his daily sticker chart).

He truly is a different boy. He's still a 4 year old. He still runs laps and gets into mischief when he's bored. He still pokes his brother and sister and gets into arguments with them. But he also listens to reason. He doesn't argue with me, he listens, he uses his manners, he isn't short tempered or demanding.

He's the child I always wanted.

While I'm being honest, I haven't really enjoyed parenting up until now. I mean, I love him more than anything in the world, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. But I'm exhausted and broken from 4 years of raising him. And I mad at myself for not figuring this out sooner. I feel like I missed out on what could have been a completely different baby and toddlerhood experience with him.

But regret doesn't change things, so now we move forward on a dairy-free diet with this newly discovered sweet little man. After all that's happened in the past two weeks, I feel like I have new lease on life.


Lisa Sharp said...

I'm a firm believer that all kids have to much milk. I know my whole family has milk issues and I only use it for baking and cooking. Glad you found a fix! Don't know if you took him off all dairy or not but I know yogurt and cheeses are not as hard on me as milk so he may do fine with those.

panamamama said...

Sorry you've had so much trouble lately, but good you're on the mend. I am wondering about my little guy. He did the same thing when he hit four and we found out it was SPD, but it didn't fit all the things on the chart either. We used to do only soy milk and some dairy but I found out he was allergic to soy! He is very hypoglycemic, and I keep wondering about dairy or wheat allergies. How did you figure it out? Just elimination diets?

Kellie said...

@Lisa - We took him off all dairy and anything that contains the protein casein. They did let him eat a cupcake at a school birthday party on Friday, which I would assume was made with milk. We didn't see a difference so after a few weeks of this I think we'll try adding some stuff back. I'd just like to get it all out of his system first.

@Panamamama - I was lucky that someone else figured it out for me. I just stopped milk and anything made with milk, plus anything containing casein, which is a protein in milk that's sometimes used in other things as well. This site pretty much sums it up for us:

Steph said...

Kellie- thanks for posting this. I don't usually comment, but I had to thank you for being so honest/open. I have a friend who can use this very info, I'm going to pass it along to her.

Stefan said...

You may be interested to check out the Free Sound Therapy Home Programme available from Sensory Activation Solutions. Their Auditory Activation Method builds on the pioneering work of Dr. Alfred Tomatis (Tomatis method) and Dr. Guy BĂ©rard (Auditory Integration Training) and has been specifically developed with the aim to improve sensory processing, interhemispheric integration and cognitive functioning. It has helped many children and adults with a wide range of learning and developmental difficulties, ranging from dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder to sensory processing disorders and autism. It is not a cure or medical intervention, but a structured training programme that can help alleviate some of the debilitating effects that these conditions can have on speech and physical ability, daily behaviour, emotional well-being and educational or work performance.

There is no catch, it's absolutely free and most importantly often effective. Check it out at:

Amy said...

It's hard to go dairy free at first, but in time it gets easier. Our youngest is allergic to dairy, we discovered it when he was about 4 weeks old and since I'm breastfeeding I go without dairy as well.

I have discovered that coconut milk is wonderful. There is coconut milk yogurt and ice cream as well. Galaxy foods has sliced "cheeses" that are casein and whey free. I don't like them plain but in a grilled cheese it tastes good. Follow your heart has some block fake cheeses that are good as well.

I hope that being dairy free helps you all.