At last! A book(let) about pyloric stenosis!

Child in library1When I started high school I also began to visit my school library.  I was hungry not so much for novels or books on cars or dinosaurs, but I had become desperate for any information I could find about pyloric stenosis (“PS”).  All I knew about PS at age 12 was that the discomforting scar down my belly was the result of being afflicted by this condition in the days after my birth.  Sadly, as often happened even in the best families in those times, my parents had stonewalled my questions.

At school I drew a blank.  So I started scanning bookshop shelves and used what I’d learnt about catalogues at high school to search the local library… and later the university and State libraries.  By this time I had found that Dr Spock’s compact medical encyclopedia (which was in many homes in the 1960s) had a brief but useful section on PS.  And I have mentioned in another post that one of the homes where I sometimes did some babysitting had a red-covered paperback on 30 or so of the most common surgeries – including a chapter about a PS baby.

I still have never found a whole book on infant PS.  Only in recent times have I gathered that if there are such books they are part of medical school libraries and inaccessible to the public.  I am grateful that there are many journal articles and medical reports on PS, and these (as well as the stories posted online by parents and survivors) have given me the kind of schooling I actually needed as I was growing up.

The above will explain why my wife, a few friends and I were more than excited when Dr Ian Rogers invited me last year to co-author a modest book that would present each of our PS stories.  Ian has worked on the causes of this condition for much of his professional life as a surgeon and professor of medicine, and has written several academic articles presenting and arguing what he has learnt.

His thesis (stated simply) is that the over-production of the hormone gastrin (due both to the baby’s constitution and its earliest development) sets up a process that stimulates the pylorus muscle to over-grow and ultimately block the passage of food.  He also shows that this process can usually be stopped with medication and without surgery.

Dr Ian has decided to add the book form to his articles about his work’s conclusions, and it means so much to me that after reading “My Story” on this blogsite (find it on the banner above here) he chose to include the thrust of this in his book.  The title reflects our combined interest: The consequence and cause of pyloric stenosis of infancy: two personal stories.

PS book coverThe book was published late in February, and Dr Ian added a note about it to my previous post (last week’s).

Interested readers can find more and order the book by clicking on the above link.  I do hope that some of our readers of this blog will decide to get a copy.  I had hoped that the book could be published in a way that makes it freely available to everyone interested, but because an academic publisher is needed to give the book its “wings” and because its main market will be the medical world, there is a €24 charge.  I will donate any royalties in full to a medical research body that works on improving our understanding of PS.

The book is richly illustrated, although sadly the colour of our illustrations and charts has been removed.  It is also indexed, includes references, and comes to a modest 80 pages, of which the first 20 are my story, edited with a view to the book’s intended readers.

Readers can look out for another post about Ian Rogers’ “message” in the book soon.

5 thoughts on “At last! A book(let) about pyloric stenosis!

  1. ian rogers

    Dear Fred, Glad that you mentioned your book on this recent blog. I am disappointed that your illustrations [in the book] are not in colour. Some books arrived at our house yesterday! Otherwise OK. I have amended the WIKIPEDIA bit about cause of Pyloric Stenosis of Infancy to include the cause, and referred to our book. Will keep in touch if any royalties should emerge.

    Thanks for all your work. Best wishes,


    Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 11:47:35 +0000 To:

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thanks you, Ian, for these remarks, and also for asking the book’s publisher about the quality of the illustrations and a digital version of the book for “the people”. We would value an understanding response.
      Thank you for your initiative in this publishing project, for your invitation to add a personal story like mine, and for putting this part of your life’s work “out there”, so important to many like me (and parents).

  2. Wendy

    Very exciting! Amazing! Finally, some professional attention is being paid to this early, dangerous condition for infants and proposing something be done for these babies before surgery is deemed necessary. My question: Is there a link between the hyperacidity of a mother while pregnant and the tendency toward hyperacidity in the baby? Is this covered in the book? Let’s hope a new trend may be beginning–one in which surgery is the last option. Surgery to correct pyloric stenosis is not risk-free as is touted. Many adults suffer physically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually as a result of infant surgery. How we hope we would have been 100% repaired, but that is often not the case. Bravo to you two brave pioneers. And thank you for your all your effort, passion, skill, dedication, and caring.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thank you Wendy for your continued encouraging comments. Progress in the ways we’d like to see happen is slow, but as I keep noticing, things are not what they used to be, and we’ll both do what we can to keep the flow of new and already published information flowing, and I’m very glad and grateful that Dr Ian is also doing this.
      I don’t know the answer to your question, but if it emerges, I’ll certainly be posting it here. I remember that in past articles Ian has spoken about gastrin in mother and baby, and I expect he will be covering this part of the PS puzzle again. I’m working my way through Ian’s part of the book and making it available to the audience that like us does not have a professional medical training. Knowledge and understanding give power.


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