Tag Archive | food

Never ending- an update

I have been a little quiet lately. My poor husband has injured his shoulder quite badly, which means I have been helping out by covering his work in our cleaning business. It is going to take a while for him to recover, so if you don’t hear much from me over the next few weeks, that is the reason why.

I wish to thank everyone who gave advice about the constipation issue we have been having with my middle son (both on the blog post and on the Facebook fan page.)

Our GP has the series of these books displayed in his office since his name is Toby!

Our GP has the series of these books displayed in his office since his name is Toby!

We have started seeing our GP (general practitioner) doctor for the issue. This guy is awesome. He managed my pregnancies and tried to deliver my babies (if he made it there in time!) He also broke the news of my youngest son’s cystic fibrosis diagnosis, which affected him greatly, as it was apparently the first time he had to break “BIG bad news” like that, and he knew our family quite well. He apparently admitted to my mum the night of diagnosis while I went home to pack bags to be flown to the next hospital that he was somewhat glad that it was me that he had to give this heartbreaking news to. It’s absolutely not because he didn’t like us and wished us hardship…it was because he knew we could cope with the diagnosis, and that I was able to hold myself together while he broke the news (I guess in comparison to other patients, who probably would have fallen to pieces.)
He has since managed Cameron’s CF as best he can under the guidance of the CF team in Perth (since we are country patients), the team love him for his support and the fact that he follows their directions…apparently something not all doctors do in their experience.

I trust my doctor completely. I know that he will not stop until we have answers, and he is willing to go above and beyond for his patients. He also knows that if I come to him with an issue, it is a legitimate worry, I’m not just arriving in his office for a sniffle or a meagre problem.

Mutual respect is essential with your doctors!

When I arrived two weeks ago with Ethan in tow, and told him of the serious issues we were having with the chronic constipation, which has caused us to make three visits to the emergency room since the start of the year, numerous amounts of medication (laxatives, suppositories, enemas….tried it all), and the issues the fecal overflow/accidents in the underpants was causing both at school and at home…he immediately took action. We are currently giving high doses of different laxatives to clear out Ethan’s intestines. He is on Movicol twice daily, Actilax twice daily, and Parachoc twice daily. Basically, we wanted him to get to the point of diarrhea to flush out his system before we take the next steps. In no way was he allowed to get even remotely constipated in the next two weeks, or basically, we would have had to start all over again

It took about a week for all the laxatives to take effect. After two weeks of all this medication, we went back to our GP for another assessment (this happened only yesterday.) The doctor was very happy at how much better his stomach felt…nice and soft, rather than lumpy and hard in places. He was also very happy to hear that Ethan isn’t having as many accidents in his undies. It used to happen about six times a day. It now happens only a couple of days. Still a drama, but definitely an improvement!

We are to continue the laxatives for another two weeks, but this time, add Benefibre to his drinks daily, which will absorb some of the extra fluid in his tract, and make his stools a bit more solid. We return in two weeks for another assessment to figure out where to go from there.

We also saw a dietician, as part of a feeding team, to assess his food aversion. This woman told me that Ethan’s diet isn’t too bad. I really don’t agree with that (neither does my GP), but I have taken steps to change that. We have increased his water intake, and I have started making muffins/cakes to put in lunch boxes or to eat as snacks at home, which is loaded with fruit and veggies (recipe at the bottom). We are going to try different types of milk when he has finished his medications, just to test a theory that there might be a bit of an intolerance causing the constipation. Ethan’s main “homework” is that he has promised to try at least one new food before we see the dietician again. He has agreed to try chicken…not chicken nuggets, but real chicken (we haven’t tried it yet.) He has also had a bit of a nibble on a carrot, after our babysitter (who he has a bit of a crush on) enticed him with a promise of a hug and kiss if he would at least try it. Since he is very much a Casanova, the ploy worked!

Basically this is going to be a long, ongoing battle, but I will keep you all updated.

Bella 🙂

***Here is my cake recipe. It’s a bit of a “thrown-together” recipe, as I just add whatever I have in the cupboard until it looks about right, but feel free to make your own tweaks:

Bella's fruit and veggie cake

Bella’s Fruit and Veggie Cake

1 carrot, grated
1/2 small zucchini, grated

Large handful baby spinach, finely chopped

2 apples, grated

1 pear, grated

2 eggs

40 ml oil

1.5 cup Self raising flour

60 ml milk

1) Combine all grated fruit and vegetables in a large bowl. Add eggs, combine thoroughly.
2.) Add milk and oil to bowl, mix thoroughly. Slowly sift flour through mixture in parts.

3) Add more flour or milk to reach desired consistency
4.) Pour mix into a large, grease cake tin, or separate into muffin tins.

5.) Bake at about 160 degrees celsius until golden and cooked through.

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In desperate need of advice!

To all my readers, please help!

My middle son, who is five and half years old, has a massive problem at the moment. I will start with a long story to lead up to my question (and I apologise in advance for the information overload!)

Just EAT dang nammit!

Just EAT, dang nammit!

For the last few years, he has been an exceptionally picky eater. This kid doesn’t eat meat, fresh chicken (but will eat chicken nuggets), vegetables, pasta, rice and most fruit! For as long as I can remember, he has been living on bread, cheese, yoghurt, bananas, pears, chicken nuggets, hash browns and polony (only recently branching out to cereal and eggs)
Basically, the more processed it is, the better!
Of course, I realise this is a terrible diet, but the kid has to eat something! I tried to be tough on him, and that if he didn’t eat what was put in front of him, then he would not get dessert, and went to bed hungry. But he is just as stubborn as I am, and would happily go off to bed with his stomach empty. After a couple of days of not eating his evening meals, I would cave and give him cheese on toast, so he would at least have something in his belly!

It’s weird. If the other kids are having pizza, he isn’t interested, but would have cheese, ham and sauce on toast (go figure!?) He did recently try pizza for the first time at my Mum’s house, so hopefully I can convince him to eat it at home now!
At Christmas, we realised how much he loves eggs too, as he devoured about 7 boiled eggs! So now, he will happily eat quiche (but in our house, we have to call them “Eggy cakes” for him to eat them) I have tried to start hiding veggies in them, with zucchini making it down the hatch without any question. However, if I try putting carrot in them, he wont touch it! He wont even eat carrot cake because of 1.) the name, and 2.) because it has carrot in it!

A few months ago, my concerns for a balanced diet reached an all time high, as he was showing signs of malnourishment. He looked like an Ethiopian orphan…skinny arms and legs, spine visible, with a distended belly. So I started giving him a glass of fruit and veggie juice at least once a day. I made him pick out a special bottle and it became known as “Ethan’s special juice” (In no way was I going to tell him what was actually in it…but at least he was excited to drink it!)
About three months ago, I was talking with an occupational therapist, who was a guest speaker at my special needs support group, who recommended that we put in a referral to see a feeding team to get him to eat properly. This is a team of dieticians, speech therapists and occupational therapists.

A psychologist is being considered, as he will start making excuses as to why he cant eat if  he finds out earlier in the day that dinner is something he doesn’t like (ie. Im too tired to eat…etc) If he has the plate in front of him, he will actually start shaking as the food approaches his mouth. If (say, for example, a tiny piece of chicken breast) manages to make it into his mouth, he will gag on it, but hide it under his tongue and will say he swallowed it.

I jumped on board and got the paperwork started. We are still waiting for our first appointment.

We were so happy and proud when we didnt have to use these anymore.Do we need them again? :S

We were so happy and proud when we didnt have to use these anymore.
Do we need them again? :S

For at least a year, he would make a mess in his pants, but not know he had done it. If you asked if he had a “stinky bum” (code in our house for having done poos…sorry for the “too much information”) he would reply with an innocent “No!”
He would have a smear in his pants, but it would stink out the house with a distinctive and unmistakable smell. The problem was that he had no idea that he had done it. Doing wees on the toilet wasn’t an issue, however I couldn’t trust him to wear undies, so he was constantly in nappies or pull-ups.
I tried to give laxatives every now and then, thinking constipation was probably the issue. I thought it worked, but it would just happen all over again a few days later.

The crunch came around New Year’s, where one night he couldn’t eat anymore, not even his beloved toast, and was complaining of a sore belly. I poked around his belly, with possible appendicitis in mind, to find that his belly felt rock hard. I sent him to bed and decided to see what he was like overnight.

By morning, I could actually see his large intestine bulging through his stomach. I knew that there was a serious problem. I took him up to the emergency room at the hospital, where they performed an xray on his stomach. It showed chronic constipation, with a lump the size of a fist in his pelvis, and enough poop backed up the intestine to hypothetically fill a football! He was in some serious trouble! The small amount of mess in his pants daily was because of fecal overflow, where poop was leaking around the blockages. The reason he didn’t know it was happening was because the anal muscles were that stretched, they had lost the ability to tell that there was poop there.

The hospital staff gave him oral laxative, and an enema (which of course he didn’t enjoy) We were sent on our way with a warning that we had about 20min to get home before things started happening.
Unfortunately, I had to take off to work straight after, leaving him in the care of my husband…and Ethan screaming on the toilet over his ordeal. When I came home, my husband said that it seemed to do the trick. He was able to eat again, but we were still getting the smears 😦

About 5 weeks ago (around 2-3 weeks before he was due to start pre-primary) I woke up to a massive mess. I have never seen that much poop before…but it was obviously what he needed, because after that, he was consistently using the toilet, no accidents. We were jumping for joy that he was able to start wearing undies again.
By the skin of his teeth, he was in undies when he started school. A massive load came off my shoulders…until about a week and half ago…

He has started messing his pants again. Despite the advances in what he is eating, he is obviously “bunged up” again 😦

This is becoming an issue at school. We don’t want him becoming notorious for smelling and messing his pants. It can’t be comfortable for him, and it is a bit of a health hazard for the other children. It is happening daily.

His teacher has pulled me aside a few times to discuss the issue. She is an awesome teacher who knows all the dramas in our family (and feels so sorry for me because of this extra stress) She is going to speak with the school nurse for advice in the meantime.

I obviously need to put him back on laxatives for a while. I will also be booking an appointment with our GP. I am desperate for advice from parents who may have gone through a similar situation, as I am honestly lost as to what to do!

I am pleading...I am desperate for advice!

I am pleading…I am desperate for advice!

If anyone out there had any advice, whatsoever….please, please share! (Bare in mind, I have taken the steps to get professional medical advice.)

Bella 🙂

A Grand Adventure

What would you do if you were given $1,000 and told to spend it all within 24 hrs? (It doesn’t matter what you spend it on, just so long as you don’t bring any money home!)

Most females reading this will be rubbing their palms together, and salivating, while mentally screaming “SHOPPING SPREE!!!!!” (I admit, it was the first thing that went through my head!)

The conservatives reading this will say “Bills and/or mortgage”.

But what if you didn’t have to worry about work, or life, for a day, and you had all this cash to blow….what would you do?

After some serious thought, I have planned an entire day of fun for the family (with some health benefits thrown in there for good measure)

mmmm....cappacino

mmmm….cappuccino

First off, I would fill the fuel tank in my car. With today’s fuel prices, a good chunk of money will already be spent to completely fill my Mazda MPV, as there is a lot of driving ahead of us.

All six of us (hubby, the four kids and myself) would go out for breakfast. Dome cafe is probably the best option. My kids just about eat me out of house and home on a normal day, I can only imagine how much they will eat if they have an option of bacon, eggs, sausages etc.

I’m just drooling over the thought of all that coffee!! (*insert Homer Simpson style drooling and finger twiddling here!*)

After we have gorged ourselves on breakfast, I will drop hubby and my younger two sons to a play centre called Tumble jam to let the boys burn off some energy. I have no idea if hubby will be sitting back watching….but he will more than likely be chasing them around the equipment like a massive kid himself!

Mt. Romance gong session

Mt. Romance gong session

In the meantime, I will take my older two children to a place out-of-town called Mount Romance for one of their gonging sessions. I LOVE the gongs! You lie in a cone-shaped room, sniffing a silk handkerchief that is doused in sandalwood oil and look at purple lights (that look like little stars) on the ceiling, while a lady banging on a gong (ok, there is more of a technique to it than simply whacking a gong!) walks around the room. The vibrations feel awesome…especially when they hold the gong directly over your body. You can feel it in every inch of your soul! There are times when you don’t know if you are awake or asleep….if you snore, you will get a quick tug on the big toe so you don’t disturb the experience for others.

I think the relaxation therapy will be good for my older two kids…who need to just “WOOOOSAAAH!!!” once in a while.

Since it is recommended that you don’t drive for up to half an hour afterwards, it gives me a chance to do a bit of retail therapy in the store and buy a few products to take home.

On the way back to town, I will pick hubby and the boys up, where they have hopefully worked up an appetite. We will make our way to one of my favourite restaurants, The Venice. The food, service and atmosphere there is fantastic, and it is a family friendly restaurant (always a plus!)

The salt cave at Saltacious

The salt cave at Saltacious

After lunch, I will drop hubby and my older two kids at the ten-pin bowling rink, while I take my two younger boys to a place called Saltacious. You sit in a room, while salty air is pumped though. Salt therapy is very important with cystic fibrosis. My son takes all of his salt orally, so this is a different approach to help him. It helps a range of conditions from respiratory illnesses to skin disorders (which my middle son suffers from).
I have always wanted to try a session and see how much it improves our health.

After our salt therapy, we would join hubby and my older children at the ten-pin bowling rink and play arcade games until we start to wear out.

A quick duck into the shopping plaza to get a new outfit for me and maybe a new dvd for the kids before we head home (yeah, I guess hubby can buy something too!)

One of the rooms at Hideaway Haven. I don't think I will want to leave that bed in the morning!

One of the rooms at Hideaway Haven. I don’t think I will want to leave that bed in the morning!

We head home and have a bit of a rest before the babysitter arrives to look after the four kids overnight, so that hubby and I can check into our room at  Hideaway Haven. This is a 5-star, award-winning bed and breakfast. I have been dying to stay here. It is run by two lovely ladies who put the needs of their guests at top priority. I have seen photos of their cooked gourmet breakfasts on Facebook and I drool! The rooms look incredibly comfy. Kids can not be accommodated here, so it is an absolute parent’s retreat!

Hubby and I would take off for a while, and have dinner at another favourite restaurant,  a pizza bar called The Mean Fiddler. They make the best chilli prawns I have ever had!

We would then go to the cinemas and catch a movie together.

Hideaway Haven's outdoor jacuzzi ;)

Hideaway Haven’s outdoor jacuzzi 😉

No doubt, we will be absolutely exhausted, so we will head back to our B&B room. Before we retire for the night, we will have to take the opportunity to experience Hideaway Haven’s jacuzzi under the stars.

No doubt that will top off a long day, and we will fall asleep (wait….I mean PASS OUT!) really quickly.

So there you have it. That is how I would spend $1,000 in a day. A family day of therapeutic fun which is capped off with some child-free romance

Share what you would do if you had that opportunity.

Bella 🙂

***This is my entry for “A Grand Adventure” competition. If you would also like to enter follow this link :
http://www.moneysupermarket.com/a-grand-adventure/****

Insatiable

From a very young age, my daughter has had an insatiable appetite. I’m not talking about the ability to eat large meals. All of my children are big eaters.

No, my daughter takes it to the next level.

It started when she was about ten months old. She would crawl up to our pantry, open the door and eat whatever she could reach. At that stage she was only tall enough to grab from the bottom two shelves, which is where all my baking supplies are kept. So she was happy enough to sit and eat fistfuls of flour!

Lock #1

So being the conscientious parents we are, we put a child lock on the door, up the top. One of those little lever-types that you push down once it’s opened a fraction before you can open it fully.

Time went on, more children were born, earth-shattering diagnoses were made (CF and GDD) and the problem went ignored.

When she got to the age of about four years old, my youngest was crawling around, causing havoc with all cupboards he could find. Our house became Fort Knox, locks on absolutely everything (something we never had to do with the other children)

It was during this time that we realised exactly how big of a problem we had on our hands.

Our daughter would eat anything that was edible…even those that weren’t! I have caught her eating rotten food out of the bin. We had a George Foreman Health Grill (which has now been disposed of) and she would eat the grease out of the grease trap, and I’m not talking just a little bit, no…I am talking about three-quarters of a full container gone! Every day we would walk past where it permanently sat on our kitchen bench to find most of the contents of the grease trap missing.

Then there was the shopping trips. I would have to frisk my daughter before we left the store, often finding Chuppa Chups or small lolly bags in her pockets. The cashiers would giggle, not knowing how much of an issue it really was. I wasnt able to go into the fresh food section of grocery stores for a long time because my daughter considered it an open smorgasboard. It was difficult at times to find time to be able to go shopping “kid-free” to buy fruit and vege.

Once we got home with shopping, so many times while putting the groceries away, I would think “I’m sure I bought some biscuits (for example) for the school lunch boxes. Oh well, I obviously didn’t pull them off the shelf!”, only to find a few days later that the product in question was hidden in those little pouch compartments on the back of seats in the car, the biscuits eaten of course! This prompted a change around in our car of where kids sat so that she didn’t have anywhere to hide food wherever she sat. She is not allowed to sit next to shopping bags on the way home now.

Once the temptation to steal was removed from the car rides, she upped her cause at home. We started finding that she was stealing and hoarding food around the house. I would have to check her numerous hiding places several times a day. Under beds, in toy boxes, behind television units, in her wardrobe, even hiding in highly visible places like in amongst my husband’s numerous baseball trophies! The situation was becoming out of control!

Child lock #2

 

We realised, that although we had that lock on our pantry, her hand was still small enough to fit into the small gap before you push down the lock up top. The time had now come for a second lock on the pantry. This time, one that wraps around the door so she couldn’t get that gap open.

This helped stop the hoarding considerably. It still happens occasionally.

But if anything is left on the kitchen bench, you can guarantee that she will be into it. Nothing gets left on the kitchen benches anymore. I have just discovered in the last couple of days that I am not going to be able to leave my sugar/tea/coffee canisters on the bench anymore, as its beginning to look like she is hooking in to them as well.

If there is a spill on the kitchen bench that I havent wiped up straight away, she will be right there when my back is turned, using her fingers to lick it up. You just hope to God that it is an edible liquid, not chemicals!

My daughter is by no means overweight. She is well in proportion for her age, but if we let her eat the way she wants to eat, she would definitely be.

A lot of people thought we were over-exaggerating the issue, until they experienced it themselves. My mother was one who kinda felt this way, until she found a hoarding hiding spot at her business. Her school didn’t realise it was an issue until I brought it up towards the end of the year. After a couple of incidents there, it made them wonder how many times she may have had an opporunity throughout the year that they missed.

The balanced diet

When we found out that she had tested equivocal on her CF sweat test, there were a few of us who thought that there was a possibility that her eating habits were CF related. However, doctors were relatively confident that it was not CF related, that is was behavioural/psychological (this has recently been confirmed by the CF team, that she definitely does not have cystic fibrosis) About eighteen months ago, we saw a local dietician. We gave her a list of my daughter’s eating habits over a couple of days (well…the food that we knew about) who said she has a very balanced diet. But when she heard that my youngest son has CF and that my daughter was testing as a “maybe” at that stage, she got a bit excited, and told me that we needed to boost her meals with fats like we do with my son who does have the diagnosis. I walked away from the appointment very dubious, so I called our CF team, who were shocked and said under no certain circumstances are we to feed her the CF diet as we will make her sick! This is exactly what we were thinking, so it was a sigh of relief to hear it from the experts. The CF team said that they will deal with her diet until a diagnosis (good or bad) is reached.

We have been stuck in between a rock and hard place with this. Since the equivocal result, the CF team were saying “Not CF related, not to do with us” (even though they are helping us out now) and local psychologists have been saying “Well, it could be CF related, so we can’t deal with her yet.” But since the doctors have said no CF, but still has respiratory issues, they are working out referrals for us to see child psychologists locally. So I will let you know how that goes.

It has been suggested by a few people (non medical) that she may have the eating disorder, Prader-Willi Syndrome. I brought it up to our pediatrician (have I mentioned that I don’t like her??) who said, off-handedly, that she doesn’t show enough criteria for it. I don’t even know what the criteria is, except the overwhelming desire to eat…and eat…and eat.

I’m hoping to get in to see a child psychologist soon and get some answers. I’m worried about when she starts pre-primary in a few weeks. I don’t want her stealing other children’s lunches, nor do I want her to be this notorious child who is rummaging through bins while everyone else is in the playground. Thankfully, she will have the same teacher that my eldest son had when he was in pre-primary. She is a “no-nonsense” teacher, who will take my concerns seriously and will keep an eye out for us.

I will let you know how we go, but I would be interested to hear from anyone out there who is going through a similar situation!

Bella 🙂