When mums DO know best...

Posted August 25th, 2007 by Penny Wise

Let me tell you a little story about a boy named Liam. For long-time readers you will know it has been an ongoing saga, but I will try and put it 'in a nutshell'. For months eleven year old Liam has suffered dreadfully from anxiety but this year has really taken the cake. On January 1st 2007, Liam woke up and was convinced he was dying. He was experiencing constant aches and pains, bloated tummy and cramps. I noticed that these became worse whenever he ate bread, so I took him to our GP and told him I believed he may be gluten intolerant. He was supportive, did not see the need for a biopsy to prove it at this stage and suggested we try him on a gluten-free diet for one month. On hearing this 10 days later, another GP on an unrelated visit insisted that I should not be 'mucking around with my child's nutrition' and demanded I restore him to his previous gluten-filled diet. This I duly did and for the last eight months Noel and I have gone through hell, watching our son slowly fade away into half the boy he used to be. Fran Sheffield the homeopath has proved a constant help and support during this time, propping him up emotionally but over the last month we reached a new low. From the moment Liam woke up in the morning, he would be in a constant state of worry about his health. Tears were frequent and Noel and I would receive a 24 hour running commentary about every twinge or pain in his body. The pair of us were becoming worn out through constantly having to reassure him that he was OK and find countless reasons why he was feeling these things. He went from being a star player on the rugby field to having to leave the field several times through a game, clutching his stomach or complaining about one pain or another. Every day was gradually getting worse. He was being sent home from school, feeling sick and inconsolable, he was permanently exhausted and we began to dread whatever each new morning may bring.

I'll admit, I had really started to think it was all in his head - that I had nothing more than a raging hypochondriac on my hands. Constantly reassuring Liam was taking its toll on Ali too, I couldn't get near the little guy without his big brother interrupting with some problem or another. We had even completed a course with a child psychologist but while it had been great for teaching some coping skills and rational thinking, it had done nothing to 'fix the problem'. I finally reached the stage where I could take no more. The GP's told me it was beyond their capability to help Liam, and I was going to have to wait months even to see the psychologist again, as his file had been closed and we were going to have to start the whole referral process from scratch again. I don't mind admitting, I was desperate and very fearful for the future and it didn't matter how reasonable I was, how comforting I was, or even how angry I got with Liam, the bottom line was, he just couldn't help it. I finally had a lightbulb moment when I spotted this thread in the Forum about Kinesiology. I had been a guinea pig for a friend of mine while she trained a couple of years ago and found it nothing short of amazing. I got online and searched for registered practitioners and found one just half an hour from me. We talked on the phone and I liked the sound of her very much, although I couldn't believe it when she went so far as to tell me she would actually be able to pinpoint what was wrong with Liam and do something about it. The thought of that was more than I dared to hope for!

So we went along and I was pretty nervous about taking Liam. I mean - after all the doctors and specialists we had already been to, the last thing I wanted was to drag him round the countryside visiting quacks and clutching at straws. As far as this was concerned, this was my last shot - and I wasn't all that hopeful but certainly interested as to what the lady may find. Almost two astounding hours later, Liam and I emerged, almost euphoric. The kinesiologist informed us in no uncertain terms that wheat and corn were to be completely eliminated from his diet, as these were what was causing the problems. We had kept a diet chart and could immediately see that he was consuming wheat or corn in some form or another as often as six times a day. All the time he believed he was being somehow poisoned, he actually was! I cannot begin to explain how good it felt to finally have some answers. Liam had previously been tested for gluten allergy and this proved negative - but that's because he wasn't allergic to gluten, just wheat and corn! This was also the reason that when we had tried to eliminate gluten from his diet last time, it hadn't helped, because a large number of wheat-free products are substituted with corn or maize. 'You see - Mum was on the right track all along!' smiled the Kinesiologist. When I enquired as to when our next appointment would be, she smiled again. 'I don't think you're going to need one'. Liam went home and enjoyed his first wheat-free, corn-free meal and for the first time in months, did not complain of any tummy pains. The next morning he got up, enjoyed a completely pain-free day, went to bed without tears for the first time in days and woke up the next morning rested and smiling. The morning after, he got up, turned on some music and bounced round the house singing!

Today he's out fishing with his dad and dog, Hubble. My little ghost of a boy has pink cheeks instead of white and the huge dark circles around his eyes are getting smaller. He still has a way to go before all the crap is completely out of his system but now the pains have disappeared I am hoping the worries will too. I still can't quite believe it's the same boy! The cost to get him this way? $140. A whole lot less than I have spent on doctor's bills over the past eighteen months. So this morning I have baked my first wheat and corn free cake. I can adapt most of Liam's favourite Sophie Gray recipes as suggested in her 'Enjoy!' book and Liam is enjoying making himself well by making the right food choices. At last he feels in control of his own body. Yesterday he went to play at a friend's house and happily packed a box of his own snacks to take with him. He knows that it is his choice whether he eats the same food as everyone else or not but says 'it's easier not to'. Like I have done so many, many times I am thanking heaven for this site because I know there are so many others who have gone through the same thing. With the help of the Vault and the Forum I know Liam will not have to feel hungry or feel as though he is 'missing out'. I know that any questions I have can be answered. Today I went to Bin Inn (an NZ-wide bulk 'no frills' store) and saved a fortune on wheat-free flours and baking supplies. The lady in the store was so helpful and even gave me a free booklet of wheat-free recipes. Before Simple Savings I knew nothing about food intolerances and how common they are but I have learned so much from the Forum and from newsletters that I feel completely confident that I can cook tasty, wheat-free, corn-free AND meat-free meals that will suit all of us. I can recommend to any Kiwis living with food intolerances to visit their nearest Bin Inn - their range is incredible and after checking out their prices compared with health shops, I don't need to shop anywhere else. When I mentioned that I don't get to my nearest branch very often, the lady even told me I could phone my orders through and she would drop them off to me! At last, things are looking up round here - especially for Liam - and as for my answer to that Kinesiology question in the Forum? Yes, yes, YES! Jings, what WOULD I do without this site!

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