Micah has not been a fan of school. This year he seems to have made peace with reality, and has decided that it's not entirely horrific, but it was a long road in getting here. School stressed him so much that he would get physically ill. He was sent home from school numerous times with diarrhea, and on occasion he'd wake up in the morning with it at the mere thought of going to school. For this reason alone, I heavily contemplated home schooling that boy this year, and had a plan in place to send him a partial week to see if that would help.
But then at the start of the school year, Micah decided that he loved his teacher and aide. And yet, he developed that much-dreaded loose bowel thing. Generally by the midway point of the school year the stress has gotten to him and he started with the weekly illness induced, but this year it started within a few weeks. And he still loves going to school, so I had to deduce that it wasn't stress causing him to be sick, after all.
Back to square one, we were. And quite baffled to be there. Also grateful that he wasn't really that stressed over the years, because that was quite a concern for me.
I had a plan over summer to systematically take random foods out of his diet to see if perhaps he had a food allergy, based on the frequency of his sick bouts toward the end of the school year. But then summer happened and I completely forgot about my plan, and didn't think of it at all until it was nearly time to start school again. When I did remember, it occurred to me that Micah had been healthy all summer long. Not once did he have diarrhea. And I'd know, because he still requires me to wipe him when messes of this nature happen.
This made me seriously contemplate what on earth was going on at school that wasn't going on at home. What food was he eating, what was he in contact with, what on earth could be causing him to develop diarrhea so frequently. And it generally hit toward the end of the week. That last piece of the puzzle finally clicked with me. It was a build up of something. And that's when I remembered that Micah is lactose intolerant.
Please don't judge me for subjecting my son to illness needlessly for a few years. In my defense, Micah hasn't had issues with lactose intolerance since he was about 5. When we weaned him off the bottle (at a year old), he would only drink milk and nothing else. No juice, no water, no kool-aid. Just milk. And it bothered him, so we had to purchase special milk for him to drink. But about 6 years ago he finally decided that water was the preferred drink and has since completely turned his back on drinking dairy. He has had regular whole milk on his cereal (that he eats daily) for the past 5 years with no ill effects, as well as all the cheese products and ice cream. I just forgot that lactose intolerance is a thing for him. It's a mild case, but my mom, my sisters, my daughter and myself all have this exact same pattern. We can't drink a glass of milk without paying the consequences, but we can have all the cheese we want. It's weird, but it's the way it is. Micah suffers the same fate. Clearly, it's genetic.
I had to sign a few papers and make several phone calls and stop at the pediatrician's office. I talked to the cafeteria staff and Micah's aide and the school nurse. It was a week long ordeal that should never have been as difficult as it was, but we have finally taken milk (and milk only) from Micah's school diet. After questioning how much milk he was getting, I learned it was 2-3 cartons daily, so it's no wonder he would be sick by the end of the week.
I waited a week. Two weeks. Three weeks. It's been a month now, and Micah has not been sick since we took his milk and replaced it with miniature bottles of water or juice. I think we finally have a breakthrough, and perhaps he can attend school more this year than ever before.