Sometimes it seems hard to tell the difference between a Mother's Instinct and over worrying. Where do we draw the line? How do we know when we're not just being over protective and making a mountain out of a molehill? How do we know how long to search for the answer we know in our gut is out there somewhere? It's hard!
I can think of some specific instances in my children's lives when I have had to decide to stop searching for nothing or let others think I was crazy and continue in my search for whatever the answer was!
The first instance was with my youngest son. By the time he was one, he had started losing weight and gone into failure to thrive. He had no interest in eating real food. He threw up a lot. He suffered from constipation and terrible tummy aches. He had a serious lack of bladder control. He suffered from the worst type of *growing pains* that I had ever seen; to the point of nearly crippling him at times. We saw specialist after specialist year after year. Finally, when he was five, he was released from his *failure to thrive* diagnosis. Still, he continued to suffer and we continued to take him to these specialists. I'll never forget our pediatrician saying to me one day, "He's fine. There is nothing wrong with him. It's just a case of mom worrying too much."
Finally, we just kind of gave up taking him to doctors and tried to figure it out on our own instead. Last winter/spring, he started taking a serious turn for the worst again. I started taking him to different doctors again, all to no avail. He started having several instances of barely being able to walk, stomach pains, severe constipation and overall weakness and fatigue. The pain in his legs, heels, feet, arms and legs was almost crippling. One night I took him to the ER when we just could not watch him suffer anymore. I begged the doctor to figure out what was wrong with him once and for all. I'll never forget his reply. He looked me straight in the eye and said to me,
"If you really feel there is something wrong with him, take him to Loma Linda. If he was my child, I would take him to Loma Linda. They will figure it out."
I called Loma Linda Medical University the next morning and got him an appointment right away. They had suggested that he see a Pediatric Gastroenterologist there. I had written up three long pages explaining all of my son's past medical history. She read every page, went over them with me and talked to my son like he was a real person. It took her two days to figure out what was immediately wrong with him and a few more weeks for the rest of the test results to come in! It turned out that my son was suffering from food allergies and a gluten intolerance. Now that he is free of these foods, he is completely pain free! It took ten years, but it was worth it!
The next instance was with my youngest daughter, the drama queen.
She was born with a terrible looking *rash* that was later determined to be eczema. She was a great baby, but she didn't sleep well, suffered from what I call her *non-nursing* spells, and generally only wanted to be held by certain members of the immediate family. Again, I took her in over and over to the pediatrician, all the while being told it was just eczema or that she had a tummy virus. Finally, when she was five months old, a friend recognized that she had food allergies. I'd never really heard of them, but at last I had some hope! I followed his advice and took dairy out of my diet and noticed an improvement right away! It was short lived, but at least we were on the right track! I convinced our pediatrician to send her to an allergist despite his wanting her to see a dermatologist instead. It turned out that she had one of the worst cases of food allergies the allergist had ever seen! With much perseverance over the past eight years we have managed to keep her food allergies under control and her skin looking beautiful!
The next two instances happened with my older daughter. The first started when she was about six years old. She'd been home schooled for two years and was doing great in math, but she struggled with reading. My gut told me there was more to her struggles, but when I casually mentioned my concerns to friends and relatives, I was told she was probably just a little bit of a late learner. By the time she was eight, learning to read had become a battle she was quickly losing. I had taken her to different eye doctors who said her eyes were fine. I felt as if no one was listening to me except for my husband. Finally, I happened upon a conversation one day where an acquaintance was telling a friend of mine about her daughter's new optometrist. After listening for a few minutes, I explained a little about my daughter's reading struggles. She suggested I take her to this optometrist.
The day of the appointment I had a conversation with my dad. The appointment wasn't cheap and he knew that. He felt like it was a waste of time to take her to another doctor and was just trying to prepare me that maybe she was just a little slow when it came to reading. I took her anyway. After two long hours of testing, it was determined that she had a list of visual problems: visual perception problems, sequencing, her right eye was stronger than the left and basically shut it down, etc. I'll never forget going home that day. I was relieved that we were finally on the path to helping her, but shocked at how bad it seemed. My father told me that day that he was glad that I had not listened to him. I was, too! After much Vision Therapy it was also determined that she had dyslexia. She's 14 now and still struggles, but we face it head on together and make the best of it!
The most recent incident happened to this same daughter. God must most definitely have a plan for this child, because He has taught her to persevere even when the going gets tough! Almost two years ago, she started suffering from bouts of sharp pain. We thought that she was getting ready for puberty, so just kind of helped her to deal with it. But by the end of that summer, she'd been to the emergency room twice and did not seem to be getting any better. I decided to take her into my ob/gyn doctor (who'd delivered her!) and see if there was anything we should be concerned about. It was determined that she had a mass (which was later found to be a polyp) in her uterus. She was scheduled to have surgery to remove it. About six months after the surgery, she started to have problems again. This went on for the next few months with no relief from medications. She had her second surgery eight months after the first. By now she'd had a miserable summer and was just wanting to have a normal life free of pain suffering. Unfortunately, the second surgery gave her no relief. At this point, we were referred to a hematologist, a gastroenterologist, an endocrinologist, and finally a pediatric gynecologist. By now she was missing weeks of school and getting worse instead of better. Still suffering, we took her to see a specialist in Los Angeles. Nothing, she just blew us off. Night after night, day after day we prayed over her. I made phone call after phone call trying to get anyone to listen to me and possibly offer a solution for her pain. Finally, after weeks had turned into months, a pediatric gynecologist agreed to see her. The only problem was that she was located 1400 miles away! I had no idea how we were going to get there, where we were going to stay, or what we were going to do. But I knew that my gut was telling me that this is where we needed to be! I knew that if God wanted us there, He was going to get us there! At this point, one of my family members asked me,
"Just how far are you going to go? When when are you going to stop?"
I could only reply with my heart. "I will take her wherever I need to take her, however far I need to take her, until someone can help her."
Within 24 hours, God had provided flight tickets, a place to stay for two weeks, and the money needed for the trip and doctor. The surgery was successful. She was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. After the diagnoses and surgery, a specialist in our hometown agreed to take her on. She has spent the past three months getting back to leading the life of a normal teenager. She smiles, she's happy.
And me? I get to type this blog..ha ha. Ok, but seriously, I believe God has given mothers an *instinct* if you will, to know when we are to stop, and to know when we are to persevere. Sometimes we may start to question ourselves, but if we look deep down and ask Him to show us the way, He will!
My son was talking to me today about the faith of the mustard seed. He wants that kind of faith, the kind that moves mountains. I'm not there yet, but motherhood sure is bringing me closer to that tiny little seed!
B-Boo and The Man
Drama Queen (& friend)