Food Allergy, Nervous Stomach or Late Effect? That is the Question

15 Mar
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The whole right side of Jackson’s tummy was the focus of his cancer treatment.

I always get worried when Jackson complains of anything physical. That’s the PTSD of cancer. I try not to let him know it worries me, but…he knows. He’s a smart kid.

This is why Everett and I make a good team. I tend towards the nurturing “Oh no, where does it hurt?” side and Ev tends toward the “Suck it up, I know you’re faking” side. Haha.

Off and on the last year, Jackson’s been complaining of a tummy ache. His labs, urine and physical exams have been fine. Believe me, they were checked. His pediatrician started him on Zantac the last visit for reflux, and I really hoped it would work, but it hasn’t. Jackson tells me his tummy hurts everyday at school after lunch. It hurts some after meals here too. I’ve seen his face, I know it really does.

I’m trying to figure out if it’s maybe a food intolerance? Or anxiety? The boy has a pretty intense personality. If it’s not those things, I’m guessing it’s a late effect from treatment. He did have a major abdominal surgery, plus his stomach was radiated. Jackson finished treatment when he was two and he’s seven now. Common sense says there’s been a lot of growing and shifting and scar tissue. That could be the culprit.

Since Ev and I have cut out gluten, dairy and sugar for the past three weeks, I’ve been surprised how much different I feel. Once I stopped sobbing in the corner of a dark room and uncurled from my fetal position…I’m kidding, the room was only half-dark…I felt more clearheaded. Maybe cookies and Frappuncinos have been my crack rock? Sweet, sweet cookies.

But I never feel bloated and the only time I had a stomachache was when I ate something I shouldn’t. I guess I’ve never cut out stuff to know that my body didn’t like it?

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He’s grown by leaps and bounds since treatment ended.

So, I think this week I’m going to cut gluten out for Jackson and see if that helps. He’s totally on board with it and has been planning his lunches. This will give us plenty of time before his April checkup at the oncologist to narrow down the issue. If his tummy still hurts without gluten, then I’ll put gluten back in and try dairy next. Those are usually the biggest culprits. After that, we’ll talk with Dr. Lowe and maybe go see a GI doctor.

And if all else fails, maybe a nervous stomach? We tried yoga last Sunday afternoon. Jackson picked the workout video “Yoga for Weight Loss” (based solely on the picture, of course), and after doing the warm up, he left me for monster trucks and I ended up doing it by myself. I almost died. Jackson told me you couldn’t die from working out, but I’m pretty sure I went towards the light at least once.

I’d love some comments on this one, guys. Any suggestions for try gluten free for Jackson? Or any other people or kids with this similar issue?

4 thoughts on “Food Allergy, Nervous Stomach or Late Effect? That is the Question

  1. Yes!! Noah is 8, April 20 he’ll be 9. Same exact thing here. Tummy hurts, tried Zantac then Prilosec, lab work etc….we eliminated milk (not everything dairy, it’s usually the protein not the lactose) and bought him a large water bottle to up his water intake. That meant him drinking half his weight in oz of water. Within a week he never said anything else about it, so I stopped eliminating there šŸ™‚

  2. Hmm, OK. Jackson drinks a good deal of water. But he loves milk. He had a milkshake last night and no tummyache. We’ll see how gluten goes! If not, we’ll try milk next!

  3. Hi Jessica, I may not have much to add but here is our experience. My son Caleb (who has short bowel syndrome from an intestinal infection at birth) was having similar symptoms along with others. A lot of stomach aches, cramping, body itching, face smacking among other things. One day, I dropped some butter on his hand and when I wiped it off, the same shape swelled on the spot I wiped. My light bulb lit up and we scheduled an appointment with an allergist, in the meantime cutting out that product. To my dismay, (I’m a jaded mama who would rather have a positive result to a test and KNOW what is going on than to be in the dark…) all his labs were clean, no indication of an allergy. The allergist didn’t feel he would benefit any further from the agony of a skin test since he clearly reacted twice (I tried again before visiting her with a heart shaped butter drop and it swelled into a heart). She told me tests were not always conclusive and he clearly has a food allergy. We cut out dairy and saw an immediate change. He still has issues due to other things, but saw a major improvement. If something works, I say go for it.
    I totally feel you on being hyper vigilant… it’s just what we mama’s do after what we went through. Hugs.

    • Thanks! He hasn’t had a stomachache since we started this week…it’s hard to tell when an allergy is an allergy!

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