I contacted you from here in Minnesota several years ago (2001) regarding my daughter (with then-undiagnosed reflux) and received wonderful support from you which contributed greatly to our helping with treatment both for our daughter and for our son who was also born with significant GERD and other GI challenges. Every once in awhile I realize that I don't take the time often enough to tell you how much we appreciate all that you did not only for our family but also for the cause of ped reflux recognition and treatment altogether.
For a few years after our experience with our children's reflux, I found myself supporting and educating MANY other parents locally as I came into contact with others in the same situation. Over recent years, however, I've discovered that reflux is now readily recognized by most pediatricians and that GI specialist referral and treatment often come to parents through medical professionals with little effort. Every time I hear a story about someone with this "easy" access to diagnosis/treatment, I think of you. I'm so grateful that ped GER is now widely understood among medical professionals; this outcome is definitely attributable to your commitment to the cause, Beth, as well as Jan and others who have stood behind you as you pushed on through the years until you finally (FINALLY) saw results.
New parents now have no idea that not even a decade ago most of us couldn't get help from the medical community no matter what we tried -- that we were at (or beyond) our wit's end trying to cope with the stress, despair, fear, isolation, and exhaustion. You have single-handedly changed the face of pediatric GERD recognition, support, and treatment in the United States and beyond. Although I realize you are fully aware of that, I just want you to know that there are others of us out here who stand in awe of all that you have done; I am so incredibly grateful that other parents now have much greater access to care for little ones with reflux!
Our daughter, Annalise, is now 8 1/2 and our son, Luca is 6 1/2. Both have had significant sensory integration issues to address which I realize now contributed greatly to the symptoms we saw with them when they were babies. I have learned over the years that there is rarely one certain, all-encompassing answer to significant physical/behavioral symptoms with infants/young children -- no "magic bullet" -- but rather that it's like working on a puzzle; you slowly and methodically find one piece after another that help you put together a bigger, broader vision of all that's happening within their little bodies and how best to address each issue.
I've learned over time that I need to follow my own instincts in pursuing help for my kids and yet maintain balance within the framework of understanding that effectively supporting my children with their uniquely individual needs will likely remain an ongoing learning experience throughout my life as a parent. For the first few years of parenting I kept thinking that if I just read/learned/researched/asked "enough," I'd have all of the pieces put perfectly together and be able to move into confident and knowledgeable parenting... Ha.
To be a mentally and physically healthy parent, we must face one day at a time -- no more and no less. Reflux was the first major hurdle in our puzzle, and I don't know what we would have done without your support and advice. Having the right people behind one as a parent makes ALL the difference, doesn't it?!!! As we've moved through the years learning more about GI and diet issues, sensory integration, and autism spectrum disorders, we've worked along the way with so very many other specialists/professionals/friends who have blessed us in truly amazing ways just as YOU did in our family. I know it is true that you have touched many, many other families, Beth, and I just wanted to take the opportunity again to say "thank you" from all of us out here who have benefited from your enduring fight for our children's GI health (and for the sanity of their parents)! :)
Joe, Jeanne, Annalise and Luca