Sunday, September 16, 2007

Two surgeries and eight years later...

Okay, I want to jump from my first son to the history of my second son for this blog. When he was born, he was an extremely colicky baby. He would scream every night for hours at a time. This was a very difficult and dark time in my life. Anyone with a screaming baby can understand. In addition to the colic, he had recurring ear infections. Every six weeks or so, he would get another infection. He was constantly on antibiotics and his left ear drum ruptured twice. So, he was sheduled for surgery to put tubes in his ears. After his surgery, he could have no water in his ears for one year. We had to use special ear plugs for every bath. When he went to the pool, we put ear plugs in and then reinforced his ears with an ace bandage to insure that no water could get in. Everyone at the pool thought that he had a severe head injury:) But at least he could splash around in the water. (I believe that he was 2 or 3 during this time). A few years later, he was still having ear infections every few months. He had had a total of four ruptures in his left ear and was scheduled for a second surgery. This time they took his adenoids out as well. I was pregnant with my fourth at the time and as he awoke, he started vomitting blood. Apparently it had drained down into his stomach during the surgery. As I was sick as well with morning sickness, the nurse had to help both of us and clean up my son. It broke my heart to witness this. Since he was I believe 6 or 7 at this time, I thought that all would be well. Once again we had a summer with no swim lessons and had to take precautions to protect his ears. This was really hard for him. After the tubes fell out, I noticed that his hearing was diminished in his left ear. He was talking to his Dapaw on the phone and couldn't hear him at all. I then switched the phone to his other ear and he could hear perfectly. So we had even more visits to the doctor's office. As a side note, every time his ear drum ruptured, we had little signs and little warning. He would wake up at 1 am screaming, we would rush him to the hospital and by the time we got there, it would have ruptured already, if not then, then by the next morning. So, any time he said his ear hurt, even the slightest, I would pack up all the kids and rush off to the doctor's office, urgent care, or the hospital, depending upon the time of day. When his ear drum ruptured the fifth time, I sobbed. He woke up, said his ear hurt, and by the time we got to the doctor's office, it had already ruptured.

So...why do I bring all of this up? We finally found a specialist when he was eight who told us that we needed to take him off of all dairy products. What? I had never in my life heard of anything like that. His older brother had the severe milk allergy, not him. Besides, he LOVED pizza, ice cream, milk on cereal, etc. I decided to do an experiment. In the past he always had mucus and green stuff in his nose. After the fifth rupture, he was also getting infections every six weeks. So we took him off of all dairy. Completely. No whey, no casein, etc. His nose cleared up and he hasn't had an infection since.

As a side note, I brought him to an allergist and asked him about the possibility of a milk allergy and ear infections. He said that it has never been proven and didn't believe me. I don't think that I'll be seeing him again:)


calmingchaos said...

Experts don't always have all the answers. It's always important to do your own research and follow your gut instinct. After a quick internet search I found an article on mucus, ear infections and other milk related allergies. Below is an excerpt:

"If your kids suffer from chronic runny noses and sore throats, it might be time to dump the dairy. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, cow’s milk is the number one-cause of food allergies in children. According to the former director of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Frank Oski, there is evidence to indicate that up to half of U.S. children have some allergic reaction to milk. For these kids (and for adults who are allergic to dairy foods), milk is a mucus maker and can lead to persistent problems such as chronic coughs and sinus infections, asthma, and ear infections.

More and more physicians and dietitians realize that removing dairy products from the diet can be the solution to many childhood illnesses such as runny noses, constipation, colic, ear infections, and gas—and the list goes on."


Juventa said...

Thanks for looking this up! At least it validates what we were experiencing:)

1AllergyMom said...

Hi - I just wanted to let you know how much the details of our experiences are important to describe on these blogs...I first didn't think I needed to expand on my own latest incident that happened on our beach trip - but it can help others if they have something similiar.

Melissa said...

The very day Hannah had her first reaction a friend of mine with a son my age (so this was something she experienced many years before) told me about her son and the very same situation with his ears. She was telling me all this because I mentioned the anaphylactic reaction Hannah had when I fed her cottage cheese.

She also mentioned that at the age of 22 he still could not tolerate milk products - obviously he did not "out grow" his allergy.

When I took my daughter to the allergist the first time on a referral from our pediatrician he basically told me I was crazy, I did not know what I was talking about, that he would do the test if I really wanted him to but that he could pretty much guarantee that it would not come back positive for milk allergy. We almost left but I was desperate to have her tested. He did apologize but I moved on and found a doctor well versed in the adverse effects of cow's milk.

Juventa said...

It's so hard to find a doctor who fully understands milk allergies. I gave my 18 mos. old milk for the first time since I weaned her, (she tested negative for a milk allergy), and oddly enough she now has an ear infection for the first time in 18 months. I'm not sure what to believe anymore, but I'm definitely going to limit her dairy for the next little bit:)