Either I’m Italian, or you’ve been having too much milk!

12 July , 2012

Photo cath-up first:

  1. Nicola making “tea” – at first she wanted to play with my mom’s porcelain tea pot but I convinced her this was the way to go for now.
  2. The Oupa-swing
  3. Nicola put this outfit together herself (it might actually look better now without the diaper on, but it was still cute!)
  4. Serious face that often goes along with “Mamma, hou op fotos neem van my!”


Right, back to the topic at hand…

Firstly, thanks for all your comments on the previous posts regarding the tonsils and blood tests. It means a lot to me. Things aren’t necessarily as simple as they seem though, which I kind of suspected due to the fact that we were reffered to another specialist to devine the meaning of the results instead of just getting a recommendation for an iron supplement and a new due date for the tonsilectomy. I must confess that the moment I got a call with the words “white blood cells” in the conversation I panicked because TGC’s mother died of cancer and if I remember correctly it was leukemia. It’s not that though, which is already fantastic news in itselfΒ (breathes a massive sigh of relief!).Β 

We went to go see this new doctor yesterday. The main concern is actually the small red blood cells, and according to her there can be two possible explanations for it. The first and least serious is just a lack of iron. Nicola is on a very intensive course of treatment for that right now. What could cause such an iron deficciency at 2,5 years you might ask? Well, the doctor thinks that drinking large quantities of cows milk could possibly make it worse because there is no iron in it, unlike formula. Could she get the iron replenished through regular diet or eating iron rich foods (and drinking far less milk). Yes, but it could take up to 2 or 3 years to get it back up to where it should be with diet alone. So…after a week we need to go get a new test to see if the supplements have made any difference and if that’s the case we just continue with it at the regular dosis instead of the double dose we’re doing for this week and all will be well (I’m really rooting for this diagnosis).

If it makes no difference in the results then it’s likely that Nicola has Thalassemia (I know right? Never heard of it before either). It’s a genetic blood disorder more prevalent in people of Mediterreanian descent (which is why the doctor asked my if I was Italian…and I’m not, as far as I know – but anything is possible I suppose?). Even if it is this there is some good news. Firstly, based on the blood tests so far, if she has it she has it in a minor case (people who have this in a major case need multiple blood transfusions and bone marrow transplants, and they generally do not have a long life expectency). She is in no immediate danger. The disorder also provides the carrier with resistance to malaria and heart disease. If she has it she should probably stop taking the iron though because it interferes with the absorption and could poison her kidneys and whatnot (it’s all in the Wikipedia atrickle I linked – fascinating stuff).

In any case, we just don’t know yet – but by end of next week we should know, and also what the next steps are in treating it. If it is the second thing then I will need to have a bloodtest too to check out my hemoglobins (I feel like I should wear a lab coat with all the terms I’m slinging around πŸ˜‰ ). And if she has it but I don’t have it, I should probably tell TGC (aka Bio-dad) to have the test too (and also his son) – all bridges to burn when we get there, if we get there at all.

It’s probably not serious. I’m probably stressing for nothing. But STRESSING I am (don’t be startled if you see me without any eye lashes, I’ve noticed one of my stress responses is to start yanking them out!). This is my baby we’re talking about. My world! If she needs help I want to know about it and I want to be able to give it to her. (also, it would be great if I didn’t give her the problem to begin with, just for my own peace of mind and so on). I know it’s a bit premature to worry about the worst case scinario, but I’d rather be prepared than not – I’m sure you can all relate.

Okay…so now that I’ve got it all written down I can calm myself down to a mild panic and just take one day at a time till we know for sure what the problem is and what to do about it.



  1. Lots and lots of love! Will be thinking of you and yes, it is just iron deficiency. SHe is not a great sleeper, which also correclates with iron deficiency – not true? And feed her lots of dried fruit – iron supplements tend to give constipation

  2. Health issues and our kids. Oh my gosh, the worst part of being a parent…! I know all will turn out positively. You will deal with it and Nicola will be okay. Positive energy and prayer coming your way.

  3. Hectic!! Guess you’ll be introducing her to lots of spinach and broccoli. Hope the supplements work, and glad it’s treatable… at least you know what it is!

  4. I can surely understand your panic especially with all the family’s medical history as well as the test results and everything. I can’t stop you from worrying – this is what us mothers do.

  5. I had a stern talking to from a paed who treated Megan in hospital for a severe bout of gastro when she was 2, because she was also severely anaemic. In our case, it was caused by an imbalance in the nutrients she was receiving from her diet, which was very high protein, very low carb. (I still battle to get her to eat anything other than the meat parts of her food!) Fish oils – specifically cod liver oil (which tastes vile but is fabulously healthy stuff) did the trick. I’m sincerely hoping (and fairly optimistic for you) that you’ll manage the anaemia with dietary changes.
    Staying tuned for updates!

  6. Shooh…I had a lot to catch up up. Your nerves must be finished. (sorry, I am feeling a little flat lately and cannot express myself well)….thinking of you

  7. My friend, try and relax (I know, I know) for now.

    Yes, iron messes with sleep. We specifically buy vits with iron because I can’t handle non-sleeping kids πŸ™‚

    I soooo hope it’s the one option and that this dose sorts her out!

  8. This would also explain why my family would automatically speak French to you whenever you visited my house. I knew you were secretly Mediterranean.

    I am glad that you have a better idea of what is causing this. I am holding thumbs for the the tests next week.

    If you need fake lashes, I can send them from Japan. They have them right up the wazoo here. I can send you pink Britney Spears ones too, because I know those will resonate with you the best. πŸ˜‰

    Thinking of you and N. *HUGE HUG*

  9. Cat, you know…I didn’t actually think she was a bad sleeper, but she’s definitely an even better sleeper since she’s been taking the iron supplement.

    Momcat, thank you! πŸ™‚

    Jenty, yip…and more red meat (we tend to do a lot of chicken and fish). She likes broccoli fair enough but so far she’s not been very keen on spinach so I’ll have to find a way to sneak it in somehow.

    blackhuff, I do worry a lot. More than i have to probably. But writing it all down here is a fabulous coping mechanism for me. I felt instantly better after I hit post. That’s why I don’t feel bad talking everyone through all the possible worst case scinarios either. If i don’t mention them they stay with me where I obsess over them. Now it’s all out there and I feel better. Whatever the results are, we’ll deal with them. As freaked out as I was, I am quite calm about it now. πŸ˜‰

    MeeA, wow…I can just imagine how much “fun” it must have been to get that oil into her! Thanks for the support, I’ll post an update as soon as I have one.

    Melinda, they are. Talking about it helps though – share the load and all that. πŸ˜‰ Are you okay?

    Marcia, thank you – I hope so too. I’m a lot more relaxed now too. You should have seen me before we saw the specilist when I still anticipated the very worst of potential news. Basket case. But at least I know she’s not in any immediate danger, so that helps too.

    Freddy, hahaha! Don’t you dare send me pink lashes! *HUGE hug back* I’m going to have to brush up on my French for your next visit then because if you thought my prenounciation was funny before you’ll tear something laughing if I had to say something now. πŸ˜†

  10. Sjoe honey. This is quite hectic. I would also be panicking. I hope though that you get the results that you need so that you can both deal with them.
    Thinking of you and Nicola.

  11. Thanks Julia…two sleeps till test day and then a day or so till we get results.

  12. I’ve been so out of the loop that I’ve had no idea what you’ve been having to deal with. I think I’m fairly caught up now. I’m sending you both big hugs and lots of love. Please shout if there is anything we can do, even if it is just to provide some moral support. xxx

  13. Thank you my friend. xxx

  14. You never ever want to be told there may be something wrong with your child!

  15. I’m okay now that I know she’s not in any immediate danger from this – still, it hasn’t been a fun experience. I spent most of two weeks in tears everytime I thought about it.

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