When 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.
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.