I love that they use the term graduate in these programs. Kind of silly, but also kind of a great way to express spending years in a place learning and working hard and graduating on to bigger and better things.
So please join me in celebrating Owen's Graduation from the feeding therapy program at UNC Hospitals. (And no, do not refer to him as a UNC grad in these parts, unless you're looking to get shot.)
Yesterday was a good day.
A good day indeed.
My boy has worked so hard these past two years.
Here was what Owen looked like before our first trip out to UNC children's.
This picture breaks my heart on so many levels. One, I now know he is all kinds of allergic to everything sitting on that tray and two, toddlers are not supposed to be that tiny. They're supposed to have chunks and dig into spaghetti and garlic bread like there's no end in sight. But this was Owen, perfectly content to sit and stare at his food. Or cry if you tried to make him eat it. He was referred to UNC about a week after this pic was taken and we started the long grueling road to multiple diagnoses and a slow and steady recovery.
And when I say slow and steady, I mean slow and steady. A two steps forward, one step back type of recovery. Just getting him back on the weight chart was a huge hurdle, and once there, we still struggle to keep him there. He now, with a lot of work, hovers between the fifth and tenth percentile. And after a three hour appointment yesterday, we agreed that that is an okay place for Owen to be. Because of his limited diet options, he still has to drink his special formula for awhile longer to get extra nutrients and calories, but our frequent trips to a hospital 45 minutes away for feeding therapy are over. And yes, that feels good.
Once every two months to see GI specialists? Oh we can handle that. We'll rock that out like it's nobody's business.
Our last morning waiting for our feeding therapist:
Here's Owen and Krisi. She's been through a lot with us these past two years. She is the Madonna of Feeding Therapists. She gives work shops and writes articles and travels all over the world sharing about esophageal disorders. We love her and we will miss her. She brought Owen as far as she could and then was not too proud to admit that she was at a loss and he needed more help than she could give. She got the ball rolling for St. Joseph's. She changed our lives.
Here she is with my boy two years later:
Thank you, Krisi! (Or as Owen calls her, Ms. Christmas).
We love you and I'm sure we'll be stalking you in the halls when we're out there for our other visits.
Way to Go, OWEN!!
You now have your bachelor degree in the Science of Eating and Esophageal Disorders. And your dad and I are so proud of you! (Even though you did your studies at UNC).....
Now let's move on and see if we can get our Masters in Toilet Training.