Friday, December 31, 2010
I think about Blaise being a short-gut kid a lot – I worry about her weight, I fret when she gets sick, I see the scars on her belly every day. Still, two years later, it’s thankfully a very different set of concerns than it was on New Year’s Eve 2008. It’s hard to return to the events of that night (and the following morning) but I also find it hard not to as her birthday approaches.
Moving to a new city makes it a little different: There are places in Boston and Cambridge that have a weight associated with them that no place here does (and that I hope no place here acquires). Still, there are little things…when Blaise was admitted to the hospital in Fargo for IV fluids overnight, carolers came and sang to her in her room and a nurse brought her a donated toy as a present. Even though we were heading home in a few hours, both Erin and I found both of these things remarkably tough to deal with. The nice things people did for us always had a way of getting to us the most. I could usually deal with singing to Blaise during bag changes and other not-fun things, but when some friends came by to give us an envelope full of donations they’d collected for us, I was a total wreck afterwards. Having people at Sanford do these things for us didn’t have quite the same impact, but echoes of things that happened before can take you back.
Letting myself remember B’s first New Year’s Day can be difficult, but today I find that it also makes it easy for me to see and appreciate the accumulation of happy developments over two years. When Blaise was born, I was struck later by just how rapidly our lives changed profoundly – this is always true with a new child, I suppose, but the maelstrom of activity surrounding Blaise’s birth meant that hour-by-hour our lives looked completely different. Today, even following a move to North Dakota, the tempo of our lives is so much steadier. There aren’t numbers that we hang our hopes on every day. The changes we talk about after she’s in bed are things like the books she likes, the phrases she comes up with, and the things that she thinks are funny.
There are other indicators of how far B’s come: Around this time last year, rice mum-mums were the main food of choice because they barely had any ingredients…this year, we know Blaise would rather eat Saag Paneer than pretty much anything else. Walking wasn’t on the horizon for another few months on New Year's Eve 2009…this year, Blaise does a vigorous happy dance in place before she tears off to chase after me, Erin, or her favorite stuffed friends. As for language, Blaise chatters away to us all day about all kinds of interesting and funny stuff she sees going on. These things sometimes make it difficult to believe that Blaise’s life began the way it did, but never so difficult to believe that we forget.
This all means that this New Year’s Eve, I still find myself thinking about days gone by and remembering how tough they were. But, I’m also thinking about days to come and how much fun they’ll be.
I’m going to close by giving you all a version of the same pitch we gave you last year: Blaise’s first birthday present was donated blood. Anybody can save a life. Please give blood if you can.
A happy and safe new year to all of you, and as always, thanks for reading!
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
So, now that the dust has settled, how are we doing? Overall, pretty well - those of you who see us on Facebook already know that we got nailed with a bad stomach bug last week, though. The bad news about that was that we ended up with our first hospital admission in Fargo so that B could get some replacement IV fluids overnight after a very bad day of gut trouble. The good news is that she's been having a great time the last few days and seems to be very close to back to normal (see evidence below).
The other good news is that visiting the hospital gave us a chance to suss out the pediatric floor and our new pediatrician in the context of a fairly mild short-gut moment. I felt so much better hearing that our nurses and our pediatrician have treated short-gut kids before and were very knowledgeable about what Blaise's numbers and history meant. I'd rather stay out of the hospital altogether, but I think these folks can take good care of her.
Besides that extremely not-fun stuff, we've managed to do some fun things, too. We have a Christmas tree that Blaise is VERY excited about, and a pile of presents under it that she is actually less excited about.
The empty house was fun to run around in, but the reunion with all of her stuffed animals and books was a very happy one (I think she may have actually thought that some of those things may have been gone).
Christmas also means that one gets to wear funny hats.
All in all, it's been a good first week or so in Fargo. We got here, our stuff got here, the moving crew on this side was a riot (for any "Newhart" fans, we somehow got both Darryl and Darryl, but not Larry), and the Fargo Public Library has a great children's room. Grandpa Tom paid Blaise a very fun and very helpful visit that has left her with the lingering desire to see pictures of his dog Buddy at all hours of the day. Aside from having been sick, we're all enjoying settling in, though Blaise clearly has been thinking about some of her old friends: we've been hearing a lot about going to visit Aunt Kate and Uncle Andrew and she's spent some time looking at pictures of old friends like Siri, Leo, and her buds from day-care. Still, even if she's missing people a bit, she's also been having a blast seeing all the snow and sticking Christmas decorations all over the house. We've been reading about how "Da Gunch" stole Christmas, spotting "Kissmass Tees!" everywhere and singing Frosty the Snowman over and over and over.
Finally, for those of you who are going to ask: It is indeed wicked cold up here and everyone keeps telling us that it only gets much MUCH worse. Strangely enough, I kinda like it...nothing like the threat of mild frostbite to keep you on your toes (given that you can still feel them). Seriously though, it's just winter up here - nothing too bad, just a little more snow and chill than usual for Boston. I'm sure it's going to get more intense, but for now we're all looking to buy us some sleds.
Friday, December 10, 2010
I’m writing this from the 6th floor of Building 46, which is the home of MIT’s Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. I’m sitting in the Teuber Library, which is one of my favorite places at the Institvte - it’s filled with old, dusty books I probably should read, and PhD theses that their authors probably don’t want me to read. Sitting in front of the big floor-to-ceiling windows in the front half of the library, I realized that it might be true that all the buildings I can see from here weren’t here when I got to MIT (OK, I have to lean a bit to make sure I can’t see Building 40, but let’s not nitpick). Twelve years is a long time and it’s visibly not the same MIT I arrived at when I was 18.
People keep asking me if I’m excited or if I’m sad. The answer’s both and I don’t see how it could be anything else. Leaving here is hard. Blaise and I were reading “Make Way for Ducklings” last night and I realized you can see the tree in the Public Garden where I proposed to Erin in the very first picture of the book. We’ve walked between Harvard and Porter more times than I can even begin to count. We’ve done improv at clubs and bars scattered all over the city. We HEARD the Red Sox win the world series from underground at Park Street. We’ve run all over every inch of campus solving Mystery Hunt puzzles and I’ve run the bridge loops on the Esplanade so many times that I automatically steer towards the good water fountains even when I’m walking.
And of course, there’s Blaise and all the things we’ve loved being able to show her here. We’ll miss the Museum of Science (monkeys!) and the Children’s Museum (bubbles!) immensely. Mr. Bear at Porter Square Books and Mrs. Bear at Henry Bear’s Park got their goodbye hugs a little while ago, and I think one more croissant from Beantowne Coffee will be in order after daycare. Ah, and brunch – the good folks at Johnny D’s will need to see to it that someone else demolishes their pancakes on Saturday mornings and claps and cheers for the guy playing acid-jazz versions of Green Day songs on his guitar.
All this we leave behind, and other things that are both smaller and larger – all the friends who befriended us when we were at our best and took care of us when we were at our worst. The doctors and nurses who saved our daughter. The waiters and managers at our favorite restaurants who noticed B’s feeding pump but didn’t say anything until it was gone and they wanted to tell us how happy they were for her. All her friends at day-care and the teachers who helped Blaise learn to speak her mind and run around like a crazy fool. The colleagues and advisers who gave us room to break on days when we were broken and then let us put things back together in our own time. Wind that’s too strong on the Harvard Bridge. Snow on Mass. Ave. The view from the Red Line going over the Longfellow. The infinite corridor. Smoots.
But y’know what? None of it’s going anywhere. Some of the people will go, some of the places will change, and MIT will build more (and weirder-shaped) buildings after we go. The thing about moving is that we leave behind an amazing place to come back to and we’ll know where to get the best coffee, where to see the coolest stuff, and what friends we’re going to see when we do it. And in the short term, the new adventure begins with labs to build, a new school for Blaise to take over with her charm, and a Christmas tree to put up in Fargo.
So we move on. Madeline and Atka will be belted in beside Blaise tomorrow and we hop our way from Boston to Fargo. It’ll probably be a crazy week or two while we wait for our stuff, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun. For now though, so long Boston – and thanks. We'll leave you with B and I singing a song that she's been pretty into lately - so much so that it's hard not to think she has a better handle on what's happening than you might think. Anyway: enjoy and our next post will probably be from the Dakotas!
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The look on the other mom's face was pretty priceless. All I could think to say was "It's a long story, but everything's okay now."
Maybe that plan to convey positive messages about Blaise's scars is working a little too well.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Blaise is herself: cute, quick, crazy, smart and ornery. Not doing so well with the eating, especially of calorie dense food. She only really digs in for homemade mac-n-cheese and "tikka-sala rice" (she asks for tikka masala for breakfast). Otherwise, it's cheerios and grapes. We think it's just typical toddler disinterest in sitting still for any but the most awesome foods; we're trying to stay patient. Trying is the operative word.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
"Blaise, I know you CAN stand on that, but please don't." -Ben Balas
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Last week, we made a short trip to Pittsburgh to see Ben's family. Blaise ate tons of watermelon and chased a lot of bubbles. The FisherPrice parking garage, which has a cool ramp for cars to roll down, was a huge hit. She enjoyed seeing family she already knew and also met a few new extended family members, including, best of all her COUSINS! They're big enough to read books and help her do lots of things (young teenage), but much, much more fun than grown-ups. Thank you, Colin and Brendan, for being so great with her.
Also last week, we ended our time with Early Intervention. We had already decided to reduce our visits from weekly to monthly, but in the first month between visits, Blaise knocked out almost all of her 6 month goals. Her therapist, Leslie, basically said "Well, you qualify for services because of her diagnosis, but, really, I have no idea what we should work on." She's in a giant developmental burst: running, eating with utensils, talking up a storm and driving us crazy. Go, Blaise, go! We'll miss Leslie. She's awesome to the millionth degree. She now joins the ranks of people who have done their jobs so well that we no longer need their help. We will never be able to thank her enough.
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
For any fellow short gut parents who are wondering: Yes, we will be seeing all that fiber and sugar again soon.
We're back from our trip to Kansas City, which was very fun and involved farm animals, watermelon, a scraped knee, a screaming fit in the middle of O'Hare Airport, lots of books, grandparents, great-grandparents, an aunt, an uncle, other extended family, friends-n-neighbors and an over-excited dog named Buddy. Oh, and we forgot to bring the camera, so until one of the aforementioned relatives sends me some pictures, none of this was recorded for your photo-viewing pleasure.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Today, however, we had a double-header of appointments. First up was Blaise's 18 month well-baby check-up. 18 months! How did that happen? We love our pediatrician because he has no reservations about declaring Blaise's progress to be amazing. Who doesn't want to hear things like "She's just amazing! I've never even heard of any kid doing so well after all she's been through!" Her growth continues to be good (possibly because she keeps eating entire avocado halves) and she's very healthy. She got a couple of shots with hardly any fussing and then we hit the Au Bon Pain for a croissant.
Then we went home for her 1-year Early Intervention re-evaluation. They didn't tell us anything we didn't already know. Her gross motor is almost completely caught up. Her fine motor is, and always has been, pretty solid. Her social development and receptive language are ridiculously good. Her expressive language is age-appropriate, as is her cognition. The only thing she's still behind on is feeding. We knew that and it makes some sense. She didn't start eating normally (as much as she wants by mouth) until she was 6 months old, solids were start-and-stop while we resolved the colitis issues last fall and we've been rather conservative with what we let her eat (we're getting more relaxed). So she has the feeding skills of a 14 month old, which isn't disastrous and will probably improve rapidly, especially since daycare has been a real boon to her eating. We've seen big improvement with her drinking from a cup even in just the 3 weeks of daycare so far. Hooray for peer models!
Friday, June 18, 2010
In case you're wondering, here's how a g-tube removal works: They just take it out, slap a dressing on it and tell you no food or drink for 4 hours. Then you change the dressing and monitor for leaks. The g-tube site is like a piercing in that it closes up on its own when you don't have anything in it. Because the tissue it goes through is very blood-rich, it closes fast. For some people, it doesn't quite close right on its own and they do a small surgery to stitch it shut. Blaise's appears to be closing appropriately on its own.
So that's it. It's gone. No holes in my kid other than the ones she was born with. My mom asked me last night how I felt about this and the truth is, I'm not sure I really feel anything except maybe a sort of quiet pride. I didn't really mind the g-tube. It was the first thing I learned to take care of after Blaise was born and the first aspect of the whole thing that I made my peace with. It wasn't a troublesome or dangerous thing, like the central line was. It was a mild annoyance with of couple of actual perks (like "venting"). So I'm not wildly overjoyed like I was when the central line came out. I'm glad the tube is gone, but I think I was taking it for granted that it was going to go someday, if not yesterday, then in 3 more months, or 3 more years or whenever the time was right, and in the meanwhile, it was no big deal. The most salient emotion for me is pride, but I've been so proud of Blaise her whole life that yesterday didn't feel all that different. My girl is a champion and a rockstar. She always has been.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
So she seemed a little confused and disappointed this afternoon when her doctors decided that her rapper name can no longer be G-Button.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
We raised $3491 (so far; you could make the $10 donation to put us over $3500). Thank you so much to those who donated! Your generosity will go a long way to helping kids like Blaise thrive. There are some more pictures here.
Friday, June 11, 2010
We just got home a little while ago from having dinner with Faith and her mom and Ellie and her parents. Ellie, a smart, funny, active 4-year-old who just happens to be missing lots of intestine, is something of a poster child for Omegaven. Faith comes to Boston from Colorado, originally to get Omegaven and, now that she's off TPN, to check in with the CAIR and Omegaven folks at Children's. I'm pretty sure no one in the restaurant could tell that the three girls were anything other than happy, healthy kids, which is pretty incredible, given some of the things all of their parents had once been told.
All of them, along with some excellent long gut friends, will be joining us in the Walk for Children's Hospital Boston on Sunday. So far, Blaise! has raised over $3200. Excellent! Thank you for your generosity! If you haven't donated yet, now's the time to help some other families beat long, long odds.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
She continues to be fun and silly, with occasional bouts of toddler temper. After a stretch of serious eating, long naps and short temper, she's grown about 3 inches in the last week or so. But she's not as pathetically skinny as she used to get after growth spurts, so hopefully we're doing well on the weight gain front, too.
On a blog housekeeping note, we've turned comment moderation on for the blog. We were having a lot of issues with spambots. Please don't let the moderation stop you from posting. We love to hear from you all and your support means the world to us.
Friday, May 28, 2010
We didn't have a party for Blaise's birthday. We had a soy-free, icing-free vegan cake, some pink champagne and a quiet day at home. To be honest, Blaise's birthday was very hard for us. It was the anniversary the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced and the absolute worst thing I have ever experienced. It brought back a lot of feelings and fears that had been suppressed. I know that the tangle of emotions and memories will fade with time and be replaced with happy birthdays and good memories, but this year, a party was just not an option. There was too much to work through.
We had talked about having a party on Blaise's due date instead, a sort of "supposed-to-be" birthday party. But that didn't feel quite right. If we've learned one thing in the last 17 months, it's that "supposed-to-be" doesn't matter; you have to work with the world as it is. The Coming Home-iversary, however, seems like a great thing to celebrate. That's an easy day to remember: excitement and nervousness and frustration (Just bring the damn paperwork and let us out of here!), but mostly joy. The end of 21 endless weeks and the beginning of the new normal. 52 weeks home have made 21 weeks inpatient more than worth it.
PS Happy 4th Birthday, Max!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Blaise had a great time dancing, clapping and waving at the band, although she didn't quite get the concept of the encore and tried to leave. Her reaction to the confetti machine was excellent (brief startle, then calm pointing). We didn't know whether she would recognize the songs, but she definitely perked up for the ones from the CD we have. We'll be signing her up for accordion lessons just as soon as we think she's stable enough on her feet to hold an accordion.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Aside from this obsession, things are pretty quiet around here. The toddling is progressing well. We're still trying to figure out daycare options. And we're making great fundraising progress for our walk in June. If you can help out, even with just $10, we'd appreciate it. I can't think of a better way to honor Blaise, her progress and the care she received at Children's than to help other kids in similar situations. Thanks to everyone who has already donated!
Friday, April 30, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
The nice weather means plenty of time for Blaise's favorite hobbies: walks and swings. She takes a walk (holding onto someone's hand) to the end of our block at least once a day. It's a long block; her therapist was very impressed. Lately, we've been turning onto Mass Ave at the corner and walking a little more. Blaise loves Mass Ave because it is full of people who smile at her and have friendly dogs. On our way down the block, she likes to touch all of the dandelions. There are a lot of dandelions, so it takes us a while. The big new on the walking front is that Blaise took her first real unsupported steps this morning! She took a couple of unsupported steps a few months ago, but those were uncontrolled and accidental. This morning she was steady and deliberate for two steps and then grabbed a chair. She lacks confidence in her ability to walk, but that will come and once it does, we'll be even crazier than we are now.
Related to our craziness, we've begun looking for a proper daycare solution for Blaise. Except for a brief period with a somewhat irregular daytime sitter, Ben and I have been playing baby catch during the day for almost 11 months now. It's exhausting and leaves both of us feeling like we're not really spending any time or energy anywhere. It's also time for Blaise to spend more time with other kids. We're a little apprehensive, as I think any parent is when it comes to relinquishing care of their child to someone else, but we'll find a good situation for all of us.
Apologies for the lack of photos. Our somewhat lackadaisical babyproofing makes it hard to take pictures now that Blaise is very mobile. Also, ever her mother's daughter, she tends to either run off or try to grab the camera whenever we get it out.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Blaise's supported walking is progressing nicely. She can walk the full length of our block and back holding onto our hands. More fun than walking, though, is dancing. She does some planned hand gestures to a few songs, including 6 Little Ducks, Itsy Bitsy Spider and Single Ladies. ("Put your hands up!") More fun that that, though, is freestyle boogying.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A year ago yesterday, Blaise had abdominal surgery to take down the ostomy she was given immediately after her birth and re-connect her small intestine to her large intestine.
Big day. Biggest day I ever had.
We had no idea what to expect, and no particular reason to hope for much. Oh, we knew a few things, like that she had a lot of large intestine to work with and at least 20cm of small intestine or so, but that was about it. Blaise was a serious black box on April 5th, 2009 and if nothing else, we knew that we’d find out a lot about the rest of our lives on April 6th, 2009. Here are Blaise and I that morning, having some quality time before the big event:
What we found out that day was and continues to be wonderful. Blaise’s prognosis changed from dire to excellent in the space of about 8 hours. As those of you who follow the blog know, the year since the surgery has brought a series of milestones that we believed we might never reach. An infant who was potentially unable to eat is now a toddler who eats Cheerios by the handful and eyes chicken parmesan with the look of a predator. Blaise has grown bigger and stronger, learned to crawl, take steps, and dance, and knows the names of at least a dozen or so stuffed animals to say nothing of all the books and other toys she can identify when asked.
It’s a pretty great story, and it’s hard not to replay some of its more dramatic moments now that the seasons have turned back to where they were a year ago. A lot of things are the same: the weather is beginning to get nicer, some of the same friends have visited. Of course, for all those similarities, everything is different now.
A good friend of ours asked me a question a few days ago that I think nobody else has asked: “Do you think you realize what happened?” This is a very good question and doesn’t have an easy answer. I certainly don’t feel like I was in denial about the severity of Blaise’s condition at birth and Erin and I have always made sure we understood the choices we had to make. We read about kids who had numbers that looked like Blaise’s, we talked to as many parents as we could, and I frequently wore the CHB badge that said “Ben Balas, PhD” when I thought it would get us more or different information. We learned all we could about what we were facing and tried to prepare as best we could. The night before her surgery, we talked about what we thought might happen and I had decided that the most likely thing was that Blaise would have an ileo-cecal valve on her large intestine, but that we’d not be able to keep it due to the absence of more small intestine. I forget what Erin’s guess was, but my point is that we weren’t being overly optimistic…we felt like we understood the odds and understood what was at stake and were trying to stay rational about the outcome. Still…with all that preparation, all the studying GI textbooks and reading short-bowel blogs, do I actually realize what happened this time last year?
Sometimes I think I do. I catch myself watching Blaise eat or drink from a cup and think that these were the things that may not have been possible had things gone differently at various points. Something catches in the mind and a combination of relief and fear hits. Relief because we’re where we are, and fear because it could so easily have been different.
It’s the last part of that sentence that makes me believe that ultimately I don’t realize what happened. Not really. Things could have been different, and I have no way of understanding what that would have been like. One of our biggest pet peeves is how many people try and tell us that they know how hard parts of the past 15 months have been. They don’t. They can’t. Likewise, I can’t pretend that I know what it would have been like to care for Blaise under different circumstances. Part of realizing what happened when you dodged a bullet is knowing what it would have been like to be hit. This I lack, and this I am comfortable with.
There’s a word many people use when they talk with us about Blaise, and about her surgery last year in particular. I dislike this word for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, I feel like it obscures more than it reveals. Second, I also think it fails to give credit where credit is due. For all I don’t think I fully grasp what happened last year, I do think I learned some things from it, and it’s these facts that I think matter more than anything else: My daughter is an amazing person, as are the surgeons, doctors, and nurses who have taken care of her.
A year and a day later, thanks again to all of you who spent April 6th checking the blog for updates 12 months ago. It meant a lot, and we’re still so glad we had good news.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Cute pictures of Blaise with her friend Erin are forthcoming.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Blaise has gone a week without her feeding pump. We haven't weighed her, but we have her 15 month well-baby check-up on Friday, so we'll see how she's doing then. We've begun the whole milk trials. So far so good. The nutritionist told us that, theoretically, Blaise has adequate intestine to tolerate regular milk. Then she paused, grinned a little and said, "Theoretically." We know what she meant. Short gut kids are total enigmas because none of them are enough alike to provide good, generalizable data. We're scientists; we get that. It's still a pain to not be able to make real predictions. But, so far, whole milk seems okay.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Last week, we were telling someone the story of Blaise's first few months and we realized that it's been nearly a year since her second surgery and more than a year since the prescient fortune cookie. The progression since has been slow and steady and positive pretty much all the way. The tube is the last outward sign of all the craziness, giant scars notwithstanding. Now we have to learn to be parents of a more-or-less healthy kid. I'm reminded of the day we had to teach Ben to change a diaper on a baby *without* an ostomy. It's pretty easy by comparison.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
We hear our friends and family in Kansas City are getting snow again today. So, yes, we are gloating.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Her weight is up to 17 lbs. 10 oz (8.0 kg) and she is 28 1/2 inches long. So still a beanpole, but a bigger beanpole and sticking to her growth curve, which is all we ask. We made the decision to switch her formula from Elecare to Pediasure. Pediasure has higher caloric density (30 kcal/oz), but is more widely available and isn't elemental. Blaise is going to have to start dealing with those complex proteins on her own. It's also milk-derived, so closer to real food. We've been cleared to begin introducing regular cow's milk as well.
And then there's the really big change. Remember the g-tube? "Learn to love the g-tube?" "Enteral feeds encourage intestinal adaptation, so we'll be using the g-tube for a long time." "The g-tube is no big deal." We may be saying goodbye. We're going to try discontinuing her overnight tube feeds. This is the last step in getting rid of the tube. If she goes 3 months without tube feeds and is gaining weight appropriately, they'll remove her button.
I'll believe it when I see it. And even then I might not believe it.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Anyway.... We abandoned the project of convincing Blaise to eat yogurt. She's not interested in being spoon-fed and we're not interested in cleaning yogurt off the walls, so we're calling a truce. Next on the dairy list: cheese. Cheese is nice and low in lactose, the sharper the better. Blaise wasn't sure at first, but she ate some. Today is day 4 of the cheese trial and so far so good on the gut front. She'd better continue to tolerate it because I just watched her completely scarf half an ounce or so of Vermont cheddar.