Even Experts Feel Lost

Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Guide
  • Each week, I try to share with you what I have learned about acid reflux. My experience has been gained through my role as a caregiver to my son, a co-editor of a reflux book, and as a doctoral student and researcher of the psycho-social impacts of illness.


    But gastroesophageal reflux disease can be tricky. And sometimes, even after six years of immersion, I too feel really stuck. As an example, for about the last month, my son's appetite has decreased (the only time this has ever been an issue for him was when he was building up a tolerance to his medication, and then we were able to successfully cycle him off, and then back on the medicine again). But this time, going off and back on the medicine again, did not seem to provide the same results. He's eating, but not consistently, and we are finding ourselves working way too hard at it.

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    So, my questions are as follows:


    1)      Is this a typical phase for a six year old?

    2)      Is his reflux worsening, even though he is taking four different medications? (He told me today that his cake came back up into his mouth and felt squishy).

    3)      Is his reflux medication becoming less effective over time?

    4)      Is his lack of appetite due to a different stomach problem beyond his food allergies and acid reflux?

    5)      Is he just tired of his same, old, bland diet?

    6)      Is there something in his present diet we are giving him which we are assuming is safe for him, but that is really causing him problems?


    Our saving grace is this: our experiences with our son have taught us some valuable lessons.


    1)      When things get tough with our son, my husband and I don't take it out on each other, nor do we blame our son. We were given that good advice a long time ago.

    2)      This stuff comes in waves. We've gotten this far, and now we must have the confidence to know that this is just one more phase of this disease that we will tackle in one way or another.

    3)      We know to reach out to our friends. I have already told three of my friends this week that we are struggling just a bit right now with this situation. They're officially on notice.

    4)      We have our quarterly appointment coming up with our son's gastroenterologist. His approach will most likely be slow and methodical. He'll listen carefully, then maybe do nothing, or maybe make a modification of our son's medication. He'll most likely ask us to monitor our son's appetite over the next month, and let him know which direction the situation is going in.


    Just like you, sometimes I have more questions than answers.


Published On: July 08, 2008