Parenting Through Difficult Health Situations

Parenting is both the greatest gift and experience life can offer to many, but it is also the most difficult. It does not come with an owner's manual or certainty for success. It is an unknown world. Once you have multiple children you tend to ease up a little and feel a little more in control, but with more children come more responsibilities and pressure. The sound of a child's laughter coud melt your heart as it warms you completely. Many times we wish we could bottle that sound because it speaks of innocence, lightness and divine love. 

  Life has its bumps and bruises and it's never easy when our kids end up in the hospital. Photo by Libby McAvoy

Life has its bumps and bruises and it's never easy when our kids end up in the hospital. Photo by Libby McAvoy

When children get sick we want to wave a magic wand and help them feel better. It is heartbreaking to watch a child struggle. But, all we can really do is nurture and love them, take them to a doctor if necessary and pray for a quick recovery. Doctors are in a position of power as we take their word like gospel. But, most receive very little holistic education, especially when it comes to food as medicine. When choosing a doctor be sure that he or she has good “bedside” manners. How a doctor perceives an outcome often plays a powerful role in the outcome itself. For example, if the doctor is positive that the patient will recover they are more likely to do so. If the doctor gives a grim outcome, such as a limited amount of time to live, the patient is more likely to give up hope and often dies. 

After my first born baby experienced many wakeful nights and projectile vommited after breast feeding, I called my pediatrician and asked if she could be lactose intolerant. My pediatrican assured me breast milk was the best option and to just stay the course. After a couple more nights of my daughter crying, I too was crying out of helplessness and desperation for sleep. Finally, I took matters into my own hands, called the pediatrician and said, “either you come take care of her at night or I switch to a soy based formula and see how she responds.” My pediatrician was not happy. I tried soy and the very first night my daughter slept all the way through the night. She stopped vomittng and we were both much happier. The poor girl was lactose intolerant.  What I learned from this experience is that a mother's instict is critical during hard times like this. Listen to your gut feelings. Fathers too. We all have a voice within that guides us in the right direction.

 It's very scary when your child breaks a bone and is in deep pain. Your heart breaks for them and you are desperate to stop their pain. Photo by Libby McAvoy

It's very scary when your child breaks a bone and is in deep pain. Your heart breaks for them and you are desperate to stop their pain. Photo by Libby McAvoy

I am very grateful for doctors and we definitely need them, but know that you have the power within to heal many, if not all ailments through food, positive thoughts, movement and meditation. Doctors whose patients have experienced spontaneous and seemingly miraculous remissions from cancer can attest to what I am saying here. 

My son has a neoplasm on his brain that a nuerologist found three years ago after he experienced seizures, headaches, and visual and audio disturbances. The first MRI showed a neoplasm, an abnormal growth of cells. No parent ever wants to hear that there is a possibility for something majorly wrong with their child. It was my worst nightmare when the doctor said it could be indicitive of a brain tumor and we needed to repeat the MRI’s twice more to see if it either goes away or how rapidly it might grow. Corwin was terrified, not of the tumor possibility, but that he might continue to have episodes at school. Innocence protects us, you see, his concern was how others perceived him and he just wanted to be “normal.” But, what is normal anyway? So many children these days are afflicted with some form of autoimmune disease, ADD, ADHD or more significant diseases, such as leukemia and autism. We worked with the school, which was wonderful and assured him that we would always be there for him. The second MRI confirmed the neoplasm was still present, but had not grown. We were scheduled to do a 3rd MRI, but by then his symptoms had resided. My instinct told me it was not necessary to put him through the trauma again. I must confesses that part of me also did not want to find anything bad and he was feeling good again. Three years later…. His symptoms have recently recurred. We spent yesterday at the emergency room at Children's Hospital... Tomorrow we will revisit our Neurologist. And from there we have been instructed to get another MRI to check the neoplasm once again for any changes. 

 Children are so resilient and it is such a relief to see them smile again. Photo by Libby McAvoy

Children are so resilient and it is such a relief to see them smile again. Photo by Libby McAvoy

Like most people, I did the quick "internet doctoral degree" thing and researched it further. The thalamus regulates our vision, hearing and sleep. I NEVER SHOULD HAVE GOOGLED THIS! Now, I am terrified!! What if my 13 yearold baby boy has a brain tumor? It is unimaginable. The last time that he was diagnosed it perplexed the doctor so we treated for preventative migraines not knowing what else to call it and that worked. I suffer from migraines so that is logical to me, but the abnormal cells in his thalamus scare the daylights out of me. I feel confidant in our doctor, however, and love his demeanor with both my son and me.

If you ever go through any serious medical situations, please take the time to find a doctor who listens to you, who fully respects your input and thoughts and is willing to consider the entirety of your situation. In addition, never hesitate to seek a second opinion. Doctors are very busy people. Just because they have an "M.D." after their name and wear "the white coat" doesn't mean that they know everything. You know your child the most and your clear communication of your child's symptoms, behaviors, as well as your parental instincts are needed by your doctor to see the full picture and make an accurate diagnosis.

 Parenting has its ups and downs. In the end we do our best to raise happy children into becoming happy young adults. Photo by Libby McAvoy

Parenting has its ups and downs. In the end we do our best to raise happy children into becoming happy young adults. Photo by Libby McAvoy

In a nutshell, here's my parenting advice:

  1. Stay calm
  2. Do your research, but do not panic with negativity
  3. Find a doctor you relate with 
  4. Be honest with your child and yet do not tell them more than they can process
  5. Continue to love and nuture your child and live as normal a lifestyle as possible.

Our children teach us so much about happiness and resilience, and so much of what happens is a mindset. So stay positive and always have faith in the best possible outcome.

Humbly yours,

MOM McAvoy (A.K.A. Libby)

P.S. - Get your reading on! Paul will be reviewing "The Untethered Soul" this coming Tuesday for our TSJ Bookclub. This New York Times best selling book is filled with soulful wisdom that is sure to transform your life. If you found value in this blog post, please click on the "Likes" button below. This helps us to know if our topics are of interest to you. Thanks so much!


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