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  • Raygen Magiera

A Mother's Journey: Navigating Challenges, Advocacy, and Triumphs

As the season of exams descends upon us, it's a time of heightened stress and fervent prayers for positive outcomes. In the midst of this, my household is not immune to the academic whirlwind. My eldest son is currently grappling with his matric finals, and the fervour of hoping for success has reached its peak. Surprisingly, it's my younger son, tackling his grade 10 exams, who has recently caught my attention for reasons beyond the academic realm.


This weekend, as he approached me for assistance with his C.A.T exams, I anticipated the usual struggle associated with Excel and formulas. To my surprise, he confidently declared, "Mom, I am a wizard with the formulas," showcasing a skill set that impressed me. Excel, a program often regarded as a professional asset, demands adept navigation and an understanding of formulas—an art that requires analytical thinking. His proficiency left me pondering: why was I taken aback by his competence?


Reflecting on his journey into this world, I vividly recall a turbulent beginning. From the moment he entered the world, his persistent cries signaled that something was amiss. It wasn't the typical colic scenario, but rather an instinctive feeling that my maternal intuition couldn't ignore. Seeking professional advice, we encountered a pediatrician with impressive credentials who, unfortunately, dismissed my concerns, attributing the constant crying to overfeeding and going further by questioning my mothering skills. This unwarranted accusation left me seething with anger, but it also prompted a change in approach.


Connecting with a fellow parent during a vaccination appointment, I shared my experience, and she suggested exploring lactose intolerance (not a term that I had been exposed to). Switching his milk to Isomil brought about an instantaneous transformation (Having him on formula and not breast milk is a discussion for another article).  Unbeknownst to me at the time, this was merely the beginning of a journey marked by challenges that extended beyond infancy.


As the years unfolded, new challenges emerged during his primary school years. Academic struggles and anxiety persisted, culminating in a recommendation for assessments and a disheartening diagnosis of being "slow."  Concurrently, my son grappled with precocious puberty, a complex issue seemingly disconnected from his academic hurdles. Professionals insisted on addressing each issue independently, but my intuition urged a more comprehensive approach.


Despite the odds, we pressed on, seeking assistance to navigate his primary school journey. Simultaneously, weight issues arose, met with skepticism from medical professionals who attributed it to overeating, again! My persistent conviction that an underlying issue existed was validated when a friend's observation led to a blood test, revealing that his body was severely insulin resistant, and would lead to type 1 diabetes if we didn't act on it. Consultation with an endocrinologist shed light on the profound impact of insulin on his body, affecting both learning ability and hunger signals. In subsequent investigations, I discovered that elevated insulin levels could potentially trigger precocious puberty, a phenomenon more frequently observed in girls and relatively uncommon in boys.


With dedication, guidance from a pediatric dietitian, and unwavering support from friends and family, my son, now in grade 10, has shed 25 kg, achieved a remarkable academic turnaround, and mastered complex tools like Excel. This transformative journey tested my patience, challenging my interactions with medical professionals and my constant reassurance to my son of his abilities.


This narrative underscores the complexity of issues our loved ones may face, often defying simple categorization. It serves as a reminder to advocate for a holistic understanding, listen to intuition, and fight for accurate diagnoses. Throughout this challenging journey, a community of supportive women provided invaluable insights, demonstrating the power of shared experiences and advice without judgment.


It's crucial to note that no medication was used in this transformative journey, a conscious choice. For those seeking more details or facing similar challenges, feel free to comment below, as sharing stories can provide solace and guidance in navigating similar paths.


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