Amy continues to do well. She has some pain and her knee swells from time-to-time but certainly nothing–nothing–like the struggles we faced a few years ago. The Lympedema in one of her legs is actually a little worse since the surgeries, but overall she is a thousand times better, and we are deeply grateful. She does her yoga, wears her compression tights, and pumps her legs and we’ve hit a new normal.
But last October, about the time Amy was getting her surgeries in Atlanta, Cooper’s stomach issues began to develop. Pain in his gut caused forced him to stay in bed in the fetal position many days. As a result, Cooper has missed soccer, church, youth group, time with friends and a total of twenty-two days of school this year! His grades have suffered and life has been difficult to say the least.
I wrote none of this on the blog because I wanted to manage my story. I wanted Amy to be healed completely and certainly didn’t want to write about another family member with medical problems. And yet, here we were and this was our reality.
At first we thought it was IBS but over the last six months Cooper’s symptoms worsened significantly. A number of auto-immune diseases were discussed: Ulcerative Colitis, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s disease, etc. It is not unusual for people with faulty immune systems to have multiple diseases (as in Amy’s case).
We did a little research and quickly became deeply concerned (click here for a sample). About 23-45% of people with Ulcerative Colitis and up to 75% of people with Crohn’s eventually require surgery to have their colon removed. That’s a tough road for a 16-year-old kid to walk.
Last Monday, Cooper had a colonoscopy at Children’s Mercy Hospital and the result of the biopsies came back. The diagnosis was nothing we had expected: his symptoms are the result of an allergy! The hospital called in a prescription to the pharmacy and Cooper began to feel better by the weekend!
We are relieved, grateful and ecstatic. I am probably not the only parent who can’t help but imagine the worst-case scenario, and I had half-expected us to march to to surgery wing make an appointment to have his colon removed. Instead, we gave him a pill and a glass of water.
Now our mission is to find a doctor who can help us determine what Cooper is actually allergic to. Traditional medicine is about treating the symptoms rather than eliminating the problem, so this is not something Children’s Mercy is willing to help us with. We have some leads of naturopathic doctors in KC. If we can eliminate the allergen, even the pills won’t be necessary.