Once the doctors had given us a diagnosis of cancer in our son, Jude, while heartbreaking, it was also oddly reassuring. We had endured over a year of severe gastrointestinal and growth issues with him, and no doctor had been able to determine why. Now we had a diagnosis, and even though it was the embodiment of our worst nightmares, at least we knew now what we were up against. We knew what we were fighting, and we could form a plan.
For months, it was as if a phantom monster was attacking Jude. We couldn’t see it, but the evidence of its presence was with us always: Jude’s sunken eyes, the bloated, distended belly that made our two-year-old look pregnant, the limp, thin strands of hair, the constant vomiting and diarrhea. Something was obviously wrong. Most doctors seemed to think it was a strange food allergy, some protein that Jude was unable to digest, or some adverse reaction to cellulose that caused his intestinal transit to occur far too rapidly. We had tried all sorts of various diets: gluten free, dairy free, lactose free; and gone through all manner of food and protein supplements. (All of them taste horribly. Trust me.)