I just want to apologize that I haven’t been blogging lately or making videos but I needed some time to regroup and get life back in order.
My sweet little farm helper got a new diagnosis from the doctor and it is more than I was expecting. AJ has Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE).
“Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic, allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). It occurs when a type of white blood cell, the eosinophil, accumulates in the esophagus and persists despite acid-blocking medicine. The elevated number of eosinophils cause injury and inflammation to the esophagus. This damage may make eating difficult or uncomfortable, potentially resulting in poor growth, chronic pain, and/or difficulty swallowing.” (Source: APFED)
In regular people terms it’s kind of like an ongoing internal allergic reaction that causes eating to be difficult for her.
There was a time in AJ’s life (from September ’16 to May ’17) where Asher couldn’t swallow any solid food. She would happily chew it and then spit it out. She was still breastfed during this time so she maintained her weight but she was 2 years old breastfeeding around the clock (every hour) like an infant. I knew she had reflux but she was on medication so we tried to chalk it up to her being a stubborn toddler (because let’s face it she IS a stubborn toddler), until I saw her repeatedly trying and trying in frustration to swallow and she physically couldn’t (this is called dysphasia). That’s when we had our first scope. I just knew she had EoE but lo and behold she didn’t have enough eosinophils to confirm. But acid damage was noted so we continued with acid medicine.
Over the next year she eventually weaned and she stopped spitting out as much solid food. The notable piece of information here is that she started becoming increasingly picky choosing to eat only soft foods. So she was swallowing all of her food but her diet was very soft. She is a three year old who lives on baby food, oatmeal, scrambled eggs from her favorite chickens, and apple sauce. So when it seemed as if her reflux was getting worse we tried the scope again and a Bravo PH study to see how bad her reflux really was. This is when tests come back showing that she does in fact have EoE.
Of course we got our diagnosis on a Friday evening and I just had to sit with that over the weekend. Waiting and worrying what was in store. (Little known fact: I am the least patient person I know) Would we have to start a stringent elimination diet immediately and reduce her diet down to nothing and work back from there? Would she tolerate this new medicine? There were so many unknowns swirling around my head.
So I did what I do best. I researched. I reached out to people I know (or know of) that have a child with this condition. I prepared lists of questions for our specialist appointments. I prayed. I worried, I stayed awake. I felt guilt that I had been “poisoning” my daughter with something she is undetectably allergic to for goodness knows how long.
So bear with me here while we navigate the new murky waters of upcoming lifestyle changes. I’m more than a little nervous for testing to come back and find out what foods we need to avoid.
I know that this isn’t homestead related but I do plan on keeping everyone updated on how my littlest farm helper is doing.
Thanks for your patience.