“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
Last week I had a call with an Intake Coordinator at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. I was relieved to find out that Stanford is treating ARFID in their Eating Disorder (ED) clinic; a few years ago, when I called, that was not the case, so we sought treatment outside the hospital setting and found a naturopath.
I was emotional as I relayed the information about my son’s eating issues, his self-diagnosis, and our current method of treatment: letting him eat only what he felt safe to eat.
The Intake Coordinator was kind and reassuring as she told me that there was hope and that their program had provided positive results for ARFID patients.
I am hopeful and a bit cautious because I’ve traveled down this hopeful road before: Two EFTs, several nutritionists, hypnotherapy, and evaluation at UCSF’s ED clinic – all in order to help my son get past his food issues, all with very little progress.
The exception is neurotherapy, supplements, and removing gluten and dairy: there has been an improvement with his focus and anxiety and the OCD has diminished ever so slightly.
Once the intake interview was completed, I was given instructions to obtain an orthostatic vitals exam by his pediatrician to make sure my son was stable (not malnourished); then the information would be presented to a Director in the Eating Disorder clinic.
I could not help my tears, tears of gratitude, as the Intake Coordinator reviewed the process: if his case was approved, an appointment would take a month or two to secure.
Over the years, my son has blamed himself for his eating issues; he had believed there was something wrong with him. Last week he learned that ARFID was an illness, it was not him and it was not his fault.
My son is pragmatic; he wants to get well and fit in with his peers; he is the one who self-diagnosed himself at the age of 12 and now he feels as if he is on the forefront of finding a solution. He is.
I often wonder if it is the Bartonella that has caused the illness; my gut feeling is “yes”. I worry that a non-Lyme literate doctor would support our current method of treatment and wonder how the two will work together to help solve the eating issues.
This journey has been a series of ups and downs. There are days I feel like accepting the way it is, (that he would never be a good eater), and throwing in the towel, other days, I look at him and wonder what else can I do to help him.
I took my healthy pregnancy and delivery for granted. I was successful at breastfeeding, had two babies that hit every milestone at each pediatric checkup, and who always hit growth charts (height for both, weight for my younger son). I had assumed I had children with no known health issues, and here I am dealing with unusual health challenges. Yet it was the pursuit of treatment for ARFID that uncovered the Lyme and shifting my focus to more important things: family, health, spirit, and values which created a life of fulfillment.
I now see these health challenges as gifts that have allowed me to stand differently in my life and most of all, to be kind, patient, and present with myself and with others.