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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another Record Setting Month...and an announcement.

Just wanted to take another opportunity and thank you, the readers, for another record setting month in Red Rider Sports Blog history. Site visits, pageviews, unique's a clean sweep. Up roughly 30% from the previous month, and up roughly 350% since the first of the year.

I'm not doing this for backpats, just to express my sincere appreciation. Your support and encouragement are humbling, and I will do everthing I can to continue to keep this site fresh, informational and unique.

You may notice a little less content over the next few months...and I wanted to share with you why. You may care, you may not, but I feel I at least owe a basic explanation.

My son Brennen was diagnosed with Celiac Disease back in January. Don't worry, it sounds worse than it is. It basically means that his body cannot process gluten found in a majority of foods, especially things like breads & pastas. Basically anything with wheat contains gluten. This is something he was born with, and will have for the rest of his life.

Thankfully, the only treatment is a strict adherence to a gluten free surgeries, no medicines, just the diet restrictions. Sounds easy enough, right? Here's a list of unsafe food and ingredients that he can never have, even in miniscule amounts, or can never be in his foods (note how many are building block type of ingredients that are used in a wide variety of things we eat everyday, that he can no longer have).

Back to why it's affecting us now. Due to being undiagnosed, we fed him what any kid ate...sandwiches, toast, snacks...all filled with wheat and gluten. This would result in stomach pain and him outright refusing food (relating his stomach pain with the food he eats). We knew we weren't dealing with something simple like stubbornness or a picky eater, it was something more. He never would put things in his mouth as a baby and would never show interest in food. Eating was a chore to him, he did not (and still doesn't) take any enjoyment from eating.

We got referred to a specialist who ordered bloodwork. The results pointed to possible celiac disease (which we had never heard of, but upon researching, it really sounded like a strong possibility that he may have it), a scope of his stomach was ordered to confirm or deny. The blood work was confirmed and we officially had a 3 yr. old boy with Celiac Disease.

So we removed as much gluten from his diet as we could, and became expert label readers. But we didn't see a quick improvement in his eating. He would still push away food, still equating food with stomach pain. The next step was a feeding therapy program to overcome this anxiety and fear of food. We could not get in until this past July. So he persisted on a diet of gluten free pretzels, grapes, strawberries, rice cereal for nearly 6 months. We just didn't know how to get him to try new foods in a way that wouldn't force it on him, or make it any more unpleasant than it already was.

We began the feeding therapy once a week and from the first visit, finally felt like we were making some progress. It wasn't easy, but we're seeing signs of improvement.

Unfortunately, it's not a the level of improvement that the doctors would like to see, so he was recommended to the day-feeding therapy program. Basically this is a more intense version of the once-a-week program. It will be from Monday to Friday, all day. He'll be fed 5-6 times a day to hopefully lessen his anxiety and get him to accept new foods. He and my wife will be staying in Cleveland during this therapy, and coming home on weekends.

Again...what's this got to do with this site? Well, while my wife stays with him during this intense therapy, I'll be Mr. Mom to our 18-month old daughter. That means much less blog time for the next several months. I may pop in from time to time, and I'd like to still at least do the game previews and weekly wrap-ups, but no guarantees. It'll all be as I have time, and I can already see it being less than a few hours a week....down from roughly 6-10 hours a week that I typically spend on the site.

Above all, family comes first. This is a mere speedbump. To be clear, my son's is not dying, my son is not facing major surgery, my son does not have cancer. This is a mere inconvenience and a short term struggle for a long term solution.

We have faith that God has worked and will continue working in the doctor's by providing wisdom, in our families by providing love & understanding, and in us by providing patience...and He will continue to work in Brennen and in everyone around him as he goes through this therapy.

Anyone is free to contact me if you'd like more information, and my wife has also started a blog to record her thoughts as she goes through this with my son. Here's the link. She'll be posting updates as time allows.

Thanks for reading. I'll still be around, maybe just not as much. Keep my little man in your thoughts.


Riderpower said...

Will keep you & Family in our prayers.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the success of your blog and good luck w/ you li'l man's sitch (not necessarily in that order).

Whatever updates you can post here (sports or otherwise) will be greatly appreciated.

Dean J.