At this point we were giving Ellie peaches, nectarines and blueberries, but we had not correctly trialled them. She no longer received a spoon and would only eat things that she could feed herself. This drastically limits options at 12 months old when there are texture issues. She would not touch anything, and she was also teething (seriously inconvenient when dealing with FPIES).
We had been feeling financial strain from co-pays, formula expense, time off of work, and medical bills. Deep down I knew I needed to put her on the more expensive Elemental formula to see if there was improvement, but her intake was increasing and we were talking an average of $45-$60 a can. Something was going to have to change. We were at the cross-roads, and I was not convinced we could do it financially. I expressed my thoughts to my new mom-friends online. I was looking for any insight to get the insurance company to cover Ellie's formula, and thoughts on moving to the prescription medical grade formula. One of the mom's offered to send me 7 cans of the Elemental formula Nutramigen AA. For the full amazing story click 'here'.
For an explanation of the different formulas click 'here'.
In the meantime I took Ellie to her next GI appointment on the morning of her first birthday. He has amazing patience and fantastic listening ear. We recapped her symptoms and discussed the new ones:
-reflux since birth, even in hospital had to be addressed by nurses
-fussy and seen for colic
-snotty clogged nose since birth
-upper respiratory issues
-can not hold her facing out with arm pressure on her belly or she will vomit
-never had a completely solid stool - always diarrhea and liquid
-always had sensory focused personality - sensitive to touch, likes soft, etc. hates dirty diapers, wont eat if diaper is wet, etc
-change from breastfeeding to formula meant more alert happy baby but no change in stools
-history of crying and pain
-straining at time to poo even if diarrhea. acts in pain, constipation.
-stool smells acidic and burns her butt sometimes
-vomit has changed to be partially curdy
-stool often has two separate ‘stages’, a liquid stage first, and then a goopy solid portion 15+ minutes later
-lots of hands in the mouth for sucking and putting things back until she gags
-no solids - periodic peach juice or smashed blueberry - yet stool stays same diarrhea
-spends the night fussy and up often after having any food
-often still just randomly chokes up stomach acid, but less projectile vomit
Our pediatric GI agreed it was time to look further. The radiologist had concern for colitis in her upper intestines, but the GI was not overly concerned. He said there would be more visible evidence in her stool (bleeding). It was time to take an internal look. He conducted a rectal scope and biopsy (happy birthday Ellie). The rectal scope looked great. Everything seemed to be in her upper intestines. He gave orders for stool sample tests and said to work on collecting them while waiting for the results of the biopsy. He recapped FPIES versus EE, and the idea that her specific problems could be in her esophagus. He mentioned a concern for sugar intolerance which he said was a secondary issue to FPIES, and why she could still be having trouble with the fruits. When I asked about Nutramigen AA (the formula being sent by the other FPIES mom) he said it was not one that he kept in the office, and the he would prefer she be on one that was designed more for a toddler nutritionally.
We left the appointment with instructions to try the elemental formula, samples of Elecare, a new reflux medicine, three large bags of stool sample kits, and instructions to wait for results of these additional tests. I took a deep breath, lots of notes, and made final preparations for Ellie's first birthday party in two days.