“Mommy… I have a tummy ache” is heard more in my house that anything else.
It’s tough, because there really isn’t ANYTHING that I can do.
S has been dealing with it for almost a year. We honestly thought she was making it up, because she didn’t exhibit any tummy troubles. We thought it was because she was nervous about something, or that she was having problems at school, or just wanted a bit more attention.
J has been dealing with it since Christmas. We all got the flu around the same time, but both J and Steve had it the longest. Steve was diagnosed with colitis, and even though the doctor didn’t say that’s what J had, the symptoms were the same, so we’ll run with it. And we knew that it wasn’t just going to go away over night, it would be a small battle. So every few weeks, a fever would pop up, keeping him home from school, and his tummy would hurt.
S was different. The pediatrician told us to cut out dairy for a week, she assumed it was Lactose intolerance. So we tried it. Nothing changed. We tried gluten-free, and it improved a bit, but the minute she had a PB&J, the tummy aches were back. It was hard for me because I knew what she needed, but it seemed that everyone around me thought I was making it up.
Then her behavior started to change, she started losing her focus. She was still the same girl, but easily distracted. She couldn’t stay focused at her soccer games, and couldn’t run because her tummy hurt. I knew it was time to put my foot down, and this time Steve was 110% behind me.
So we cut it ALL out: no dairy, no gluten, no sugar, no artificial colors. All she’s eating is vegetables, rice, beans and meat. It’s starting to get a little boring for lunches – salad every day. And you can only prepare chicken so many ways…. But within a week, she began to improve. She could sit and do her homework without being easily distracted; she was sleeping better and not waking up tired; she was able to memorize her piano recital songs; she’s running and riding her bike faster too.
We occasionally ride bikes to school. It’s about a mile and a half, and was taking us 15-20 minutes to get to school. I’d have to slow down and wait for her. Last week, we did it in 10 minutes, and I had to keep up with her!
The thing that I’m finding to be the hard part is keeping her from eating the foods she shouldn’t when I’m not around. Even if I remind her right before I leave her, and remind the adults, she’s still a kid and doesn’t want to be excluded. I was so proud of her last week; there was a birthday party in her class and they passed out cupcakes. She told her teacher that she wasn’t allowed to have it, so the teacher put it in a plastic bag and she brought it home to share. I guess I’m going to need to find some vegan/gluten-free snacks for her to keep at school in situations like that for next year. Probably for birthday parties and other events, too…
I’ve heard many people scoff the ideas that what we it doesn’t really change our behaviors or how we feel. But you know what, give it a try for yourself. Take two weeks and eat nothing but what The Good Lord gave us from the earth, and see how you feel.