Good news. Yesterday Gavin passed his second feeding study, and is now cleared to eat certain textures! For the moment we are limited to thin purées and thickened liquids, but we are all ridiculously over the moon about this new development. Both Craig and I had suspected for some weeks that Gavin was capable of swallowing something, but because of the danger of aspiration, couldn’t allow him to try anything at home.
The timing of the feeding study had to be just right too, at a point when he felt a bit better after chemo, and also far enough away from his doses of vincristine, which adversely effects swallow, and he also had to be rested and in a good mood. In order to achieve that I spent one and a half hours yesterday trying to get him to sleep so that he wouldn’t be cranky for the test. He snoozed for an hour and we headed back to the hospital to meet Craig who was going to accompany him on the test.
The feeding studies are done under videofluoroscopy, which means barium is mixed with foods and fed to the child whilst they are x-rayed swallowing. The occupational therapist then examines the x-ray to be sure the child is swallowing the food properly.
It is an intimidating test, but apparently Gavin was a superstar, doing everything that was asked of him and remaining quite calm under Craig’s guidance. The first time we did the test was a disaster, with an exhausted Gavin crying his eyes out in the chair, unable to swallow anything. This time, he tried thickened milk, applesauce and yoghurt, and was very successful with the milk and applesauce.
When we met up after the test, both Craig and I cried tears of joy and relief. We’ve waited over two months to see him eat something again, and are so thrilled now to start introducing foods again, although we are starting from the beginning. Every liquid that he eats has to be thickened with an agent called “Quick Thick,” but over time he should be able to move on to thinner liquids, and eventually, regular foods.
Gavin was quite pleased with himself and was really playing off of our elated energy. Bubby and Da met us at the hospital and we all did happy dances through the Atrium and bought celebratory balloons. (Boons.) Of course, now that he can eat things, Gavin immediately wanted a piece of cheese when we got home, but had to settle for a glass of thickened apple juice. Patience, grasshopper.
To top off a great day with many highs and lows, Gavin was reunited with Nana and Pop who’d arrived from Australia the night before, but agreed to a 24-hour quarantine period in case they’d been affected by some nasty plane-virus. He hasn’t seen them for a year but immediately acted like he sees them every day, and was soon baking cakes with Nana.
Because Gavin’s counts are still incredibly low, we’ll be at home for all of next week apart from one clinic visit on Monday. Which means, we’ll be home for his birthday on Friday! I’m thinking chocolate mousse instead of cake?