Thursday, February 7, 2013

Panic & Anxiety, is there an App for that?

I got up twice in the night to take Ativan, after waking up and thinking about my youngest's weight and going into full-on panic attacks.

I've spoken about her health issues here. Part of the way I control my anxiety surrounding her weight is by not weighing or measuring her except for on her birthday.  Well, it was her birthday on Tuesday so I weighed her for the first time in a year.  She turned 5 and she is 43 1/8" tall and 33 lbs.  On the CDC growth charts that puts her at just a touch over the 50th percentile for height and right on the 5th percentile for weight. 

Her position on the chart has regressed from last year. 

My brain went from dead asleep to full-on warp speed as my mind travelled down various tangents, trying to figure out why it seems like she eats alright some of the time, but isn't gaining weight.  She constantly complains about her stomach hurting, and takes Prevacid for ongoing GERD.  Her iron is also low (you quickly learn how to recognize this in children with poor nutrition), so I've been giving her Floradix everyday, as well as a Vitamin D supplement.  I try to make her eat yogurt with probiotics, to help with her gut bacterial flora.

Of course it didn't take long for my mind to arrive at Celiac disease, since a hallmark of that is the inability to properly absorb nutrients and calories.  We have other autoimmune disorders in the family, which puts my kids at a higher risk of developing them at some point in their lives and I am ever watchful.  My 5 yr old has been tested for Celiac before, however, a diagnosis for that is complicated by her immune deficiency which gives false results on the Celiac blood test, and requires a gastroscopy with biopsy to actually determine if she has it or not.  She has already had one gastroscopy, which required going under general anaesthetic, and the test came back negative.  But her Pediatric Gastroenterologist told me to come back if she started losing weight or having gaining problems again.  I definitely do not want to put her through that again.

So this morning I decided I am going to start tracking her every mouthful of food and figure out if what she is eating is enough for her to gain properly, or if the issue is that she isn't absorbing the nutrients.

The problem with this is that I don't want to have to go through the USDA Nutrient database and figure everything out for myself all day.  I need an app.

This is where you come in.  Do any of you know of an app that has these features:
  • Uses the USDA nutrient database for calculating calories and nutrients.
  • Allows you to enter the person's age, gender, current weight & height and desired weight for an algorithm that...
  • Figures out how many calories a day the person should be ingesting.
  • Lets you choose from a comprehensive list of foods (including processed foods, like Ritz crackers) and portion sizes and then figures out how many calories and daily value of nutrients have been consumed.
  • Allows you to add multiple reminders with alarms throughout the days to remind you of medication times (things like calcium and iron supplements can't be taken together, calcium blocks the absorption of iron, therefore many supplements need to be staggered through the day based on mealtimes & other supplements. Also, her Prevacid impedes the absorption of vitamins, since it reducing the stomachs ability to breakdown foods because of less acid production.)
After the initial set-up, I would like to be able to just go into the app, pick a food & amount and add it to that day and immediately see a calorie & nutrient running total until the end of the day when it gives a final total.  Then when she is seen by her doctor I could just show daily calorie totals from any date and he would see if it seems unusual that she wouldn't be gaining based on the amount of food she's consuming.

If this app doesn't exist, someone needs to develop it, maybe my brother Jordan?! Hint, hint. This is an app I would happily pay for, not the development of it mind you, but the actual app from the app store.

UPDATE - I had several people suggest the "My Fitness Pal" app.  It appears to meet all the criteria except for the reminders for medications/supplements.  I used it today and was surprised by how difficult it was to get the required calories into her.  I felt like I was force-feeding her all day, it was like traveling back in time to when she was 1 and we were trying to teach her how to eat solids and I spent every waking hour trying to figure out how to get her to eat.


  1. Oh, Alison, that is a heavy load to bear. We do whatever we can for our kids...especially when it comes to their health!! I will be praying that you will find what you're looking for - or something to make your job easier to track all of this. And I will continue praying for Leah, that she will be able to absorb the nutrients & gain weight... Praying the Lord will give you peace & much wisdom & that you will find the support you need as well.

  2. Alison have you considered putting her on the Celiac diet? If she is indeed Celiac the diet will prove that for sure. My mom was Celiac and she found improvement in her health within a few weeks. It is a challenge to follow the restrictions but it is doable. I hope you find some answers soon.