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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
you women seem pretty knowledgeable when it comes to nutrition and childhood illnesses. I usually lurk here but have posted a few times and I think you all seem to know what you are talking about so here goes...

This is about my niece. She is 2 1/2. I have never seen a child who seems that overall unhealthy in my life. She always has a cold and a sore throat. She supposedly has allergies but I wonder if that is really a symptom of something else. A little background info - she was never breastfed, only drank formula until she was 9 months old and then was put on cow's milk. (Forgive me if this turns into a rant about my in-laws). She was never a good eater, even as a baby on babyfood, but her diet since eating regular table food might be the worst diet I have ever seen. She only eats Kraft mac n cheese or spaghetti-o's. I have never seen her eat a fruit or vegetable. She doesn't like the taste of vitamins so she spits them out and my SIL and MIL don't press the issue. She is a terrible sleeper, definitely sleep deficient IMO. All she drinks is milk but for some reason unbeknownst to me, they have her on 2% milk so she probably doesnt get enough fat either. Of course she is fully vaxed (my in-laws think I am crazy for even questioning vaxes). Not only is she fully vaxed but I think she also got a flu vax this year.

Anyway, my SIL took her to the doctor because she seems tired all the time (I wonder why!?!) and because she looks pale and her gums are white. I haven't seen her gums so I don't know how white they really are, if they are just paler than usual or really white. So the doctor ordered a blood test, and mentioned that these are symptoms of leukemia. I didn't speak to my MIL or SIL directly, DH did and he is the type of person that freaks out about stuff like this so I don't think he asked any questions about what else she could possibly have.

I have been keeping my mouth shut about how unhealthy I feel she is because I don't need the headache. BTW, my SIL is pregnant again and has already told me she is not breastfeeding because "formula is the same exact thing as breastmilk" None of the women in DH's family ever breastfed, including his grandmother and they all believe that formula is perfectly fine. I know I am not the perfect mother, I allowed DS to receive all his vaxes up to 9 months b/c I didn't know better, but at least he eats a healthy diet (would be better if I could afford organic right now) and I didn't breastfeed as long as I should have but at least he had benefits from some breastfeeding. Now I feel terrible for not opening up my mouth. I have mentioned that she didn't look so hot the last time I saw her but they brushed it off. The differences in my son and my niece are unbelievable. I don't know if this is related but she is just a grumpy little kid and she used to be a happy smiling baby.

I am so sorry for the rant but I just want to know - how can I help her? Can you think of anything besides leukemia, maybe a vitamin deficiency that would cause those kinds of symptoms? I know that the vitamin k injection given at birth can cause leukemia, would it take this long for her to get sick if that was the case? I may be wrong but I imagine they would have tested her for anemia at her ped's office when they did the routine CBC so I would think that has been ruled out already.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Not as knowledgeable as many of the ladies on this board.... but it sounds a lot like anemia... many of the same symptoms if it is severe. Her diet sounds like it would be deficient, so it seems like a likely possibility.
 

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Originally Posted by lyttlewon View Post
I am in no way an expert but the first thing I though of was an iron deficiency because of the cow milk.
i agree, also shes not eating enough iron rich foods or even veges to get enough vitamins to sustain her. she needs to start taking some EFA's because shes on the low fat milk, kids at this age need fat, but i have heard of alot of peds and WIC etc reccomending 2% after 2.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by romans_mum View Post
the cold seems like its a dairy allergy, which would stick around since as you said shes constantly drinking milk.
That's interesting. When she was an infant she was on hypo-allergenic formula because she was so colicky. Maybe she did have a dairy allergy.

I *think* that she has been tested for anemia so I don't think that is the problem, even though the tiredness and paleness look like signs of anemia to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by romans_mum View Post
i agree, also shes not eating enough iron rich foods or even veges to get enough vitamins to sustain her. she needs to start taking some EFA's because shes on the low fat milk, kids at this age need fat, but i have heard of alot of peds and WIC etc reccomending 2% after 2.
What are EFA's? Forgive me for sounding ignorant, I am really stressed right now and I can't figure out what that stands for.
 

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Originally Posted by monkeysmom830 View Post
What are EFA's? Forgive me for sounding ignorant, I am really stressed right now and I can't figure out what that stands for.
esential fatty acids.....fish oil, cod liver oil, etc
 

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This sounds SO much like my 9-yo cousin.
She WAS partially breastfed (but supplemented w/formula from almost the beginning and on table foods at 3 months - both b/c "she was hungry all the time"). Her first "finger food" was m & ms. Her typical "breakfast" is 4 slices of heavily buttered white toast and a bottle of diet Pepsi. She eats mostly fried and heavily processed foods, but she loveslovesloves milk. She seems to CONSTANTLY have cold symptoms, and she's been overweight since she was a toddler.

Her older brother developed a suspiciously sudden (and supposedly lethal) allergy to eggs, at the age of 15.

Of course they are both vaccinated according to every and all recommendation. I reminded my aunt that her son should not get certain vaxes b/c of the egg allergy...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
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Originally Posted by romans_mum View Post
did they just test the hemoglobin or a full blood screen.........i was b12 deficent with perfect hemoglobin, had the same symptoms.
I don't know what tests have been done already. They may have only tested the hemoglobin in the past. I would think she is going to give a full blood screen now. Like I said before, I am hearing this after it has gone from SIL to MIL to DH, so I didn't get all the information. I really hope its something as simple as a vitamin deficiency.

The worst part about this is that my SIL and MIL are both nurses and it never occured to them that feeding a kid nothing but powdered mac and cheese and canned spaghetti would have an effect on her???
 

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Could be some gut issues going on, which can manifest as multiple food sensitivities. And a child with gut problems can be incredibly picky as an eater. When we adopted GFCF and I was still at a point of trying to keep DD vegetarian before we figured out what was going on with her sensitivities, there was a point in time that she wasn't willing to eat anything but potato chips and french fries. Even now, eating a very healthy diet of organic meats, fruits, and veggies, she suffers from deficiences from malabsorption of amino acids and other nutrients because of her gut issues.

Many doctors are under the impression that it is impossible to be deficient in nutrients unless you're starving and this is not the case. So they don't even think of testing for nutrient deficiencies.

Anemia is probably responsible for the white gums, probably again because of malabsorption as much as because of dietary inadequacy (although that's likely an issue too...but if the girl is eating a limited diet because of picky eating, there's not always a lot the parents can do...some kids really WILL starve themselves rather than eat other foods, especially if there are sensory issues in play. We had to use modified ABA techniques to get DD out of her unhealthy eating patterns that had developed.). I'd definitely recommend looking into leaky gut issues, but the parents would probably have to find an alternative practitioner because most mainstream doctors don't believe the problem exists:
http://www.leakygut.co.uk/

I hope that you're able to figure out what's going on, and that she does not actually turn out to have leukemia.
 

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I feel really sorry for your niece. IMHO, her symptoms and disposition is fully contributable to her diet. The fact that your niece can live on the kind of diet you are describing for so long without worse symptoms points to how amazing the human body is. I hope your IL's will exhaust other possibilities and consider nutrition if the doctors don't find any disease because they can't continue to feed her only a few milk and wheat based processed foods for long without long term effects.Your niece really needs real foods and good fats right now while she's growing.

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Originally Posted by monkeysmom830 View Post
The worst part about this is that my SIL and MIL are both nurses and it never occured to them that feeding a kid nothing but powdered mac and cheese and canned spaghetti would have an effect on her???
I hear your frustration. While away at DH's sister's wedding for a few days, we met our brother in law's older sister and her husband (now our distant relatives). Throughout the whole time we were there, their children were kept quiet constantly with candy. Ironically, the toddler kept having meltdowns the whole time we were there (which I'm sure was due to the candy), and the morning we all had breakfast together, we observed them feeding the baby chocolate sprinkles for breakfast. Both parents were doctors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for all the replies. Just a small update. My niece went in for her bloodwork and was told by the ped. that it is now extra important that she gets a flu shot. Of course my SIL gave her one. Seeing as how they don't yet know what she has, whether it be a vitamin deficiency or something worse, I can't believe she let her get a flu shot. I don't even think she got a thimersol-free one. If she does (God forbid) have leukemia or something equally as serious, couldn't a flu shot cause a lot of damage? Do they routinely recommend flu shots for kids with auto-immune disorders? I think they do but my brain is a little fried right now. Just ridiculous. As a pp pointed out, her already over-taxed body just got some extra crap to deal with now. I am sick about this. It just sickens me that the poor kid's family can't be bothered to try to feed her some halfway decent foods and get her to get some decent sleep and now because of this, the poor kid needs bloodwork and gets flu shots. Oh yeah, the ped. also told her that instead of feeding her fruits and veggies, she could just drink pedialyte five times a day. I don't understand why they can't just attempt to feed the kid some fruits and veggies, instead of just mac and cheese cause its easier. I know I am super busy, broke, and not much of a cook, but steaming some veggies and cutting up some fruit is not that big of a deal. Heck, even frozen or canned veggies cooked for a minute in the microwave is better than the crap they feed her now.

Thanks again for the support and ideas. Unfortunately my advice to them will fall on deaf ears because I am not a doctor.
 

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Oh yeah, the ped. also told her that instead of feeding her fruits and veggies, she could just drink pedialyte five times a day.
so just give her fruit flavouring, and artificial dyes instead of real food?!?
 

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Originally Posted by monkeysmom830 View Post
Oh yeah, the ped. also told her that instead of feeding her fruits and veggies, she could just drink pedialyte five times a day.
I'm guessing they meant pediasure- one of those shake like drinks that can be used for supplements or tube feedings. Still, yuck!! Real foods would be so much better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
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Originally Posted by azdesertrn View Post
I'm guessing they meant pediasure- one of those shake like drinks that can be used for supplements or tube feedings. Still, yuck!! Real foods would be so much better.
You're right, I did mean pediasure. I've never looked at either of them so I wasn't sure which was which.
 
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