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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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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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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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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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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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