Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Leave of Absence

One thing that always brings a smile to Lindsey's face: Beauty.
Nothing has yet solved Lindsey's GI issues. Not the detailed food diary she's been keeping that we are pouring over, looking for potential food triggers. Not eating small, bland meals every two hours. Not the GI specialist, with whom we had probably the absolutely worst visit with a physician that I've ever experienced. Not a daily dose of Zantac, herbal teas, probiotics and other medicines.

Of the four full weeks in February, Lindsey missed school for three of them. She missed two straight weeks, went back to school for a week, then the stomach issues came back again full force.

I felt guilty leaving Lindsey home alone for hours at a time while everyone was at work or school. And I know she wasn't taking the best care of herself. We would come home to see the doses of medication still sitting on the countertop, herbal tea packets unopened, and for lunch she had a bag of gluten-free chips. Yes, she's a usually a mature, responsible girl, but when it comes to caring for her health, she is still 13.

The stress for our family became apparent when what was supposed to be a "quick" run for a blood draw over my lunch hour turned into a 4-hour ordeal. We ended up waiting in the emergency room for a blood draw, because that was the only place in the hospital that would use a "j-tip" for the procedure, which makes it completely painless.

Guess what waiting for a procedure you're already nervous about does? Yep, it increases your anxiety.

Lindsey nearly passed out during the procedure. It's a good thing she was already prone, or we would have been picking her up off the floor. She actually doesn't remember much of it because she was so out of it.

Instead of going back to work, I ended up stopping in the office to pick up my laptop so I could work remotely for the latter part of the afternoon. I missed a strategy meeting that I was looking forward to participating in. Lindsey apologized to me for taking so long for what should be a simple blood draw.

My child, apologizing to me, for having anxiety around a condition that is causing her pain. This was too much.

That evening Wayne and I decided that I would take a leave of absence from work to manage Lindsey through this, whatever "this" is. I was trying to work a full-time job while working another full-time job as Lindsey's healthcare and education manager. It wasn't fair to my employer, to Lindsey, and especially to me.

Unfortunately the timing is bad at work, with a couple of people having recently left the organization. I was willing to work some hours at home to keep projects moving along, so we arranged it so that I am working part-time on a temporary basis, able to come back to more hours when things get better at home. I am so grateful to work at a place that is so understanding and accommodating.

And so this week our new reality begins. We are all hoping that we can get to a diagnosis and a solution for her soon. I do not wish for this to become our "new normal," I'd rather go back to our old normal, thank you very much.


  1. You're a great mama. Lindsey is so lucky to have you. I'm hoping you get answers soon so Lindsey can breathe (and eat) easier. XO

    1. Thank you, dear friend!

  2. Jenny,
    We know what it's like to have your family life completely turned on its side. For me, working part time helped with taking some of the anxiety away. Even if for a short time, immersing myself in work took my mind partially away from the horrifying reality that was taking place.

    I pray you get some answers and a plan. That way you can move forward.

    Take care,

    1. Thank you, Craig. I know you understand. I hope your family is well.

  3. Hang in there Jenny. It is good that your employer can be flexible and help you out in this time of family stress. I hope you find out what is going on soon.

  4. I had a 6 week ordeal back in the fall - sounds so similar. I was diagnosed finally with ulcerative colitis. But her journey reminds me of me. The anxiety of the pain and feeling like such a burden is terrible. Please for me, a stranger to her, tell her that she's not alone in GI issues.. there are many of us that waited for a long time for an answer. But she does needs to take care of herself mentally. Journal like her mother. take time to understand food as nourishment right now. Hugs to both of you. There is a light at the end of this. It was for me. stay strong

  5. There's nothing worse than a hurting Cub, when you can't make it better. Thinking of you and yours Jen. Prayers up, hand of God down on your family. Keep your spirits, take care.

    Hugs to you and yours,

  6. Katie8:33 PM

    Oh Jenny!!! And Lindsey!!! I am so sorry to hear how uncomfortable she has been and kudos to you all for taking it on to figure it out and to keep putting one foot in front of the other!!! Loads of love and healing!!

  7. Anonymous8:50 PM

    I hope you get some answers soon. Kerri

  8. Lindsey such an awesome young lady! I hate she has to go through this. You are a wonderful mom and Wayne a wonderful day. Hugs and kisses to you all each day.