Ethan's South Africa trip update

We mentioned some things in our prayer letter, but let me take a moment to update the rest of you on Ethan's follow up with the endocrinologist. As background info, our kids are all small, but they've all stayed true to their growth patterns. They usually hover between the 3rd-20th percentiles. No problem. Except suddenly, Ethan almost completely stopped growing between Dec 2008 and now, making him fall from the 20th to well below the 3rd. We were seen by a pediatric endocrinologist in July of last year, and it was determined that his Growth Hormone (GH) levels were normal, so we waited and prayed.

Despite reassuring growth between last July and November, Ethan's growth velocity (cm/month)for the year as whole was slow enough to have him drop further off the growth chart. After much discussion, the endocrinologist finally convinced me that it's time to start GH treatment. I was really resistant, because it's such a big step. It's expensive, we have to travel to South Africa every 6 months to get the supply of meds, it's only available as an injection... But then I got this mental picture of Ethan in college at 110cm tall, trying to get a date! I know it's a bit drastic. But I have had to accept that, as much as I hate taking drugs, sometimes they are needed. And would it be fair to potentially "short-change" Ethan because of my desire to avoid a temporary discomfort??? So, we'll do a 6-month trial to make sure he responds to it. Assuming he does, we'll continue it for a year or so, and then try taking him off of it. If his own growth hormone starts functioning again, we're home free. If not, he'll have to go back on GH, probably until puberty! While there is no clear reason WHY he's stopped growing, it may be that his naturally produced hormones are not active for some reason.

Whatever the reason, it means daily sub-Q injections for the next year. I was terrified about adding that into the mix of homework and being nice to siblings. Could I handle one more daily fight??? But Ethan has been an amazing trooper! He cried in fear for 5 minutes the first time, but by the 3rd day he was doing it himself! He often reminds me that he needs his shot, and we haven't had a single fight over it. In fact, he proudly announced to his whole class that his mom started stabbing him in the leg each night, and now he's allowed to stab himself. That got me pull-aside by his teacher, as you can imagine. But I'll take bragging over screaming any day!

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