I’m Back!

Well hello. Yes, I know….. it’s been a while between posts. “So where the heck have you been hanging out these days!?” I hear you ask. Hmm, well that’s a bit of a long one to answer…. In a nutshell I’ve been spending my days consorting with various medical types, trying to get to the bottom of my two childrens’ various (and increasingly complex) health issues. Yes, I’m afraid Dr Google has made more than one appearance (despite my best intentions), but I can assure your that there have been a catalogue of far more experienced Paediatricians who have followed in his wake.

Keeping it brief (and without boring you all with the details), Mr 5yrs suddenly couldn’t eat anything I gave him without vomiting and complaining of a swollen, bloated and extremely painful tummy (he once presented his big swollen tummy to me and asked in a sad kind of voice “mum, do you think I’m growing a baby in there?”). He was losing kilograms by the second. At the same time (!), Ms 17months’ weight rocketed off the charts in the downward trend, despite being fed a highly nutritious and calorific diet by her increasingly neurotic mother. Her weight now officially doesn’t even register on the growth charts.

And breathe…..

I should mention here that we are no strangers to food allergies and tummy issues. Mr 5 has been allergic to dairy and soy since he was a wee baby, as has his sister. It seems, however, that both tummies have decided to up the ante over the past 6 months.

So, feeling completely and utterly up to my eyeballs in stress, I kinda decided to take a leave of absence from Mama Maru. Mama Maru is my calm space, and it’s no coincidence that I haven’t visited lately.

It’s also no coincidence that I’m back!!

So, I have decided that I need to take a bit more control of the situation. I have spent the last months in complete flight/ fight mode, reacting emotionally to everything that swung my way. What can I say, it’s been shit! Things needed to change.

So the other night, in an attempt to rediscover that inner calm I had been cultivating earlier last year, I got busy googling ‘mindfulness’. I came across Marie Forleo, who, it turns out is a bit of a personal development guru (she’s been on Oprah, and everything). Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not one of those Dr. Phil/ Oprah self-help types. I once refused to read a highly recommended Wally Lamb book because it was on Oprah’s Book Club list (in my defense I should state here that I was in my 20’s – I like to think I have evolved somewhat since then). I’m not sure what this says about me!? I guess I have always been one to steer away from popular dogma.

Anyway, Marie Forleo spoke to me the other night, in a way that my very well meaning husband and friends have not been able to. She’s wise, intelligent and a little bit funky. She’s my kinda chick. In one particularly goofy clip on YouTube, you will find her hanging out in bed with her husband. Stay with me here… They’re talking about an approach they use called “I’m back”. Put simply, when your mind is super crazy and worrying about this or that, all you need to do is tell yourself “I’m back” and waddya know, suddenly you’re back in the present moment and all that worry and stress is gone.

I’ve been practicing this for a couple of days and I’m converted. It really does work! For example, tonight while making pumpkin soup for my sons breakfast (seriously, this is the only thing he’ll eat for breakfast these days!), my blender had a major blow out. It looked like this:

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What you can’t see is the soup all over the clean dishes drying in the rack , soup spilling down the cupboards and all over the floor. A week ago, I would have cried, stamped my feet, cursed life for being so damn crappy, and then put myself to bed and not slept for hours thinking about how shit everything was and how there was no pumpkin soup for the morning. Tonight, as the glass jug shattered and my sons precious soup splattered all the way across our kitchen, I simply took a deep breath and told myself “I’m back”. And I was!

It’s good to be back.

Calling Doctor Google

Driving my baby girl to the ophthalmologist last week, I was bracing myself for the bad news. We had noticed a few weeks before that her right pupil was a lot bigger than her left. A quick consult with Doctor Google and the diagnosis was made. It wasn’t good news. Trusty old Dr G sat me down, held my hand and explained. He was certain it was an optic tumour. The prognosis wasn’t good. He went into great depths with his descriptions of the different types of tumours it could be. He explained that the treatment process would be lengthy. There would most certainly be surgery, which would then likely be followed by radiation and finally, months of chemotherapy. Even after all this, he couldn’t guarantee my daughters outcome.

ImageI was beside myself. I was losing sleep and struggling to keep my worries in check. The panic and anxiety was all consuming. After having worked very hard to kick my comfort eating afflictions this year, I was back with my hand in the cookie jar. I started buying large blocks of chocolate again, and not sharing. A trip to our family doctor for some reassurance was met with a distinct lack of commitment either way, and a hasty referral to the Ophthalmologist was made.

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It was a very long two weeks waiting to see the specialist. My ever efficient mind went to work, busying itself with the planning of logistics. We would surely have to go to Auckland for her treatment. Auckland is an 8 hour drive from Wellington. How would we juggle this? The best plan would be for me to go with my daughter and my husband to stay at home with our son. We’d have to arrange childcare for the days when Mr4 is not in Kindy. Should we just pack up and move back to Australia before the treatment? Would she get better care in Sydney? In all, it was a very productive 2 weeks. By the time our appointment came around, I had all the logistics very clearly mapped out.

Sitting in the clinic room while the Ophthalmologist examined my baby girls’ eye, I had to keep reminding myself to breathe. The palpitations of my heart were thumping at my eardrums, making it hard to hear. I had to work hard to concentrate on what the specialist was saying. He talked about all the different things he looks for when someone presents with an enlarged pupil (which of course I already knew about, thanks to Dr Google). He then said that our baby girl didn’t have any of the other symptoms that would give him cause for concern.

I had to ask him to say that bit again.

She was going to be fine. She simply had one pupil that was about 1mm larger than the other. It was called Physiological Anisocoria, and it was nothing to worry about. Casting my mind back, I recalled Dr Google mentioning something about it possibly being entirely benign. Interesting how we quickly brushed past that fact in our long discussions.

So, thankfully our baby girl is completely healthy. There will be no trips to Auckland for treatment, and family life can continue as normal. Reflecting on all the anxiety of those few weeks, I wonder why, oh, why I consulted with Dr Google over this? He never, ever brings good news; and it’s no secret to me, that he is so very often wrong with his diagnoses. It makes me wonder if he actually has a medical degree!?

Do you consult with Dr Google?

Has he ever given you palpitations?