Victor’s abdominal pain has been an on going issue for a long time now (which is pretty sad considering he isn’t even 7 years old). His bowels didn’t work right from birth. He had multiple necrotizing enterocolitis scares and required a tube to deliver food directly to his bowels, because his delicate stomach just couldn’t handle anything. With time he learned to eat, but suffered terribly from reflux and for almost 18 months projectile vomited out his nose after each meal. And that’s just his stomach. Through out all this he has also suffered from terrible constipation.
Almost every day Victor talks about his tummy pain. I am a chronic pain specialist, so the sad irony is not lost on me. However, knowing how to treat chronic pain has been helpful. I know that this is a largely functional problem and there will be no dramatic cures. A proton pump inhibitor for acid reflux has helped as well as an eagle eye about his bowels. I also eliminated chemicals, wondering if the hormone residue in commercial beef/chicken and chemicals in processed foods could be having a role. It means a more expensive grocery bill, but it has made a difference as well. We are also growing our own lettuce, herbs, and a few other veggies and trying to get the rest from a local farm or, as a last resort, buying organic from the grocery store. I even started buying the organic Newman-O’s for treats. I love to make cookies, but I will eat all the cookie dough, so home made cookies on any kind of regular basis is sadly out of the question.
So I had Victor’s diet under control. The only problem? I was swilling back 6 or 7 Diet Colas a day in front of Victor while telling him “Chemicals are bad for you.”
I freely admit it, I am a Diet Cola addict. And like any addict I refuse to believe there are negative consequences for me. Hey, my grandfather started smoking at age 8, was shot twice in the first world war, and still lived to be 98! We Gunters are made of tough stuff.
But, I do know that I have to model the right behavior for my kids. My 6 year old is doing his best so maybe I should too?
So last week I quit Diet Cola. It was hard, but not as bad as I thought. I make an iced green tea and sip on it during the day and have a latte at lunch for that much-needed afternoon caffeine boost.
Now, I feel a lot better about helping Victor make the right choices. We had a party this weekend and all the kids were knocking back juice the same way the adults were partaking of the frozen margarita’s. But not Victor. Before the party I told him he could have juice. because it was a special day. But he shook his head and replied, “Momma, juice upsets my tummy. It’s better for me if I have water.”
Victor still has belly pain, but it is much better. And has giving up diet cola helped me? I’m not really sure if I feel any better, although I bet my teeth have less tartar at my next check-up. But seeing Victor make better choices and complain less about his pain? That makes me feel wonderful, and I am sure the anti-oxidants from the green tea won’t hurt me either!