Tween is sick. Except not really.
Poor kid has Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, also known as abdominal migraines. Yup, migraines that seem to mostly bypass his head and move straight to vomiting. And cyclic, because he throws up every morning, whether or not he’s eaten, until he’s exhausted and his belly aches from convulsing muscles. Obviously he can’t go to school, or do much of anything else, because who wants a pukey kid? Who wants to be Puke Kid?
This came on a year ago and we thought it must be an odd stomach bug. Until it bit again last fall. And winter. And this week. His shortest cycle has been three days (we’re on Day 3 now); his longest cycles have been two five-day weeks, separated by an apparently healthy weekend between.
Beyond the barf, he’s not actually sick. No fever, aches or pains, definitely not contagious. Blood tests have ruled out food allergies or worse problems. I’m keeping diligent notes of everything – any fun or stress leading up to a cycle, what time he has been unwell, what he eats, how he feels… So far no patterns. The new object of our suspicion: hormones. He is 11yo, stepping right up to the plate of puberty. As if puberty doesn’t have enough in its sick-o Bag o’ Tricks.
He is missing end-of-school-year fun. He missed the middle school Spring Fling/Open House – Games2U truck, friends, food treats. Worst of all, he has to miss out on his buddy’s promised birthday gift to him, a weekend trip to Santa Cruz – hotel + pool, beach, boardwalk, too much fun! [His parents are also missing out on fun, but this isn’t about us.]
So what’s a parent to do? Continue to find ways to thank God and stay positive.
* This kid is naturally predisposed to be a home-body. He loves pj days, cozy blankets, and snuggles.
* We have time for all that and more, especially as I have a fairly flexible job and understanding co-workers.
* We have been journeying with Bilbo and Dwarves for months as we’ve been reading The Hobbit and we’re almost at the end. Guy took Tween to Redbox and rented the last movie so we can see it tonight after we close the covers on the book.
* I stopped by the library yesterday and found a few new books Tween hasn’t read, entertainment for those stretches I have had to work, or at least take myself and the dog for a walk.
* I made a big pot of soup before this cycle hit and it’s been one of the few things that sound good to him and he’s been able to (mostly) keep down.
* Staying hydrated has been a struggle as, surprisingly, water seems to be one of his triggers. Then again, I couldn’t drink flat water when I was pregnant with him; it had to have ice and bubbles. So we’re putting our SodaStream to good use, making ice cold sparkling water. Fizzy bubbles add fun.
We know other parents have much bigger struggles, kids battling much worse ailments, and our hearts and prayers go out to them. Still, this struggle is ours and once this cycle ends we will continue to pursue answers and possible treatments and a better way forward. Meanwhile, soup, stories, snuggles, and sparkles – a cycle of their own, and prayerfully, a healing cycle for all of us.