(warning: if you have a problem with the mentioning of my child's poop, then you probably don't want to read this post. I'll understand.)
I have never been so emotionally drained and yet full of hope simultaneously as I am right now. Where do I even begin? Let me see if I can explain.
Okay, so if you've been a follower of this blog & the rollercoaster ride we are on (otherwise known as our life), you might remember back to a month or so ago when we had the major turnaround & improvement almost immediately after starting zinc, right? Things started looking up at that point. Suddenly we went from NEVER having seen a "good" poopy diaper to 100% consistently perfect ones every time! It was amazing. (I know that is so wierd, but when you've got intestinal problems, poop is the clearest indicator of what is going on in your system. Not only have I become an expert in nutrition, but I can probably tell ya more than you ever wanted to know about poop now, too!) :)
Then we went to Texas, & Caroline came down with that wierd infection of her salivary gland and we needed to treat it with an antibiotic.
The antibiotic was great. In a matter of no time it wiped out the bacterial infection and the swelling in her cheek went down. We are so thankful that it was resolved rather quickly & that we have wonderful medicines to knock out the bacteria causing the infection. The only thing is...
While we were on the antibiotic, we noticed that the diapers began deteriorating again. And in the weeks to follow, we've felt like we were back to square one. That's the good & bad of an antibiotic-- while it wipes out all the bad bacteria out of your system, it also takes out all of the good stuff, too. That's why you've probably heard recommendations to get on a probiotic or eat yogurt after you've been on an antibiotic-- it's so you are literally combating the ANTIbiotic with the PRObiotic. (and by the way, if you are going that route yourself-- just ditch the yogurt and go straight for a good probiotic, preferrably one that requires refrigeration and has more than just one type of "strain" of good bacteria. Most yogurts are PACKED full of sugar, which is what feeds the yeast bacteria you are trying to kill off and avoid in the first place. Sugars-- even those of fruits & carbs-- keep yeast alive, so for people with yeast problems they need to be severely limited after antibiotic use in order to prevent yeast overgrowth. I remember the infertility clinic printing this stuff on all of their literature before we began a treatment cycle...)
Okay, so when you've got a problem with yeast, whether it's a yeast infection in women or a yeast overgrowth in your gut, you're prescribed an antifungal medication to fight it. And our doctor gave us the safest one out there- doesn't even get in the bloodstream. And in all the literature, all the websites, all the doctor's instructions, it explains that there is an initial "reaction"/adjustment period (usually somewhere between 7-14 days) where your symptoms get WORSE before they get better. Well, that is one thing to KNOW in your head. And a completely different thing when it is happening right in FRONT of you.
And sure enough. There it was before our eyes. TERRIBLE bright red eczema flare-ups all the way up and down her legs & arms like we'd never seen before. WORSE. And irritability. INCONSOLABLE-rolling-on-the-floor-screaming. Hysterical at the drop of a hat. TOTALLY out of control at times. Where did my sweet child GO?! It has been utterly heart-breaking and so painful to watch. (not to mention physically & emotionally exhausting.) And even after KNOWING this was going to happen and being told that when/if it DOES happen, it is a GOOD sign, (?!?) I STILL doubt it. THIS is supposed to be good??? Oh, today did NOT feel good. I know it's supposed to be "tough love" to keep going on this medicine & trust that things will adjust soon enough, (though the "mama" instinct in me says we're dropping the dose down a bit) but I can't bear to see the child I LOVE so much be so miserable and out of control. I mean, on our best days I probably second guess myself 100 times a day. But these past 5 days, I have teetered on throwing in the towel like never before.
And then came hope.
Suddenly when I ran my hand over her bald little head this week, it wasn't super slick anymore. I looked down and there were millions of little pore-like follicles appearing, like a giant army of minuscule dimples getting ready to CHARGE into battle! And if you click on this picture and look close enough, you'll see what simultaneously brings me to tears and gives me great encouragement to keep going: tiny white hairs (like peach fuzz!) beginning to surface. (when hair grows back in, many times it is white & hopefully it will get its pigmentation back at a later point)
And tonight... oh, tonight. After such a terrible day that included Marc & I sobbing over the bathtub together as we were FINALLY able to calm Caroline down out of hysterics, there was another sign of hope. The first perfectly solid & formed poop again. THANK YOU, JESUS. THANK YOU FOR GOOD POOP. THANK YOU FOR HAIR FOLLICLES. Those are two things I never imagined I'd be praying. (I look at other children now who all have beautiful heads of hair and think, "gee, I hope their parents are just SO thankful their kid has hair. I know I'd be.")
So who knows what tomorrow will hold. How much longer will it take before my child stops acting demon-possessed at times? Oh, we need grace and strength. And a WHOLE LOT of patience. But we praise God that it appears that He's using all of this pain and misery to bring us BACK on the long road to healing and recovery. (Thank you for praying!)