About me

Fred Vanderbom is a retired church pastor who is enjoying a varied and productive life with his beloved in the beautiful Land of Oz.  Check out my Flickr photos and Fred’s Pages blogsite for more about me. And if you’re on Facebook, I invite interested readers to “friend” me on Facebook – but with a Message please, as I query friendship requests from folk I don’t know or recall and who don’t introduce themselves.

For many years I have reflected on the various effects of the very early surgery that saved my life but messed me up somewhat psychologically.  This process, together with the ease of learning, networking and interacting via the internet, have all “come together” in this blogsite.

For most of my life I’ve been intrigued by the surgery I had as a newborn.  I don’t remember a thing, but it has affected me deeply, as my “somatic (body) memory” recalls in several definite ways that something traumatic happened in my past.

Since linking with the web in 1997 I have consumed many information websites, blogposts, and on-line medical journal articles about this subject and its ramifications.  I have read countless online comments by others similarly affected and had some fascinating, affirmative, heart-rending and heart-warming correspondence with fellow survivors and their parents, as well as with medical and counselling professionals.

The passing years had already increasingly assured me that I was far from unique in having a scar about which for much of my life I knew almost nothing and had trouble embracing.  I now realized also that I was not “strange” or alone in my experience of what was clearly trauma.  I imagine the same “Aha!” moments have happened to many others whose infant pre-verbal trauma was differently caused but similar in essence.

All this has taught me that I am not the lonely freak I long thought I was: I belong to a small but still sizable minority of those affected by PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) – which I’m grateful has been relatively mild in my case.  It’s been found that PTSD can result from several of the circumstances that can come with surgery of my vintage or other horrible experiences of infancy – and including, yes, some “procedures” such as circumcision today.

110815-6wDespite having no formal medical training and professional medical experience, I have read widely in this field over many years – with the mind and heart of somebody with good “people-skills” who has had 50+ years of pastoral training and rich life experience.  My university training and family love of writing have enabled me to blog in a way that has (so far) brought only appreciative and affirmative response.

So what you find here must not be read as personal professional medical advice.   Rather, it is a sharing of published information and personal reflection, I trust responsibly put together and tastefully spiced with something of others’ and my own personal experiences.

I have told something of my own story also: click on the “My Story” tab (at the right end of the bar at the top of this page) if you are interested in how pyloric stenosis affected somebody born in the mid-1940s – and what I and others have learnt about managing this.


Below are two forms:

  • Use the first  to contact me by email (off-line).
  • Use the second  to Leave a Reply or Comment on-line.

3 thoughts on “About me

  1. Darlene Anderson

    Hello, my son had PS surgery 32 years ago. The experience was horrible. My husband and I went two months trying to get help; finally the third DR figured it out. By this time my son weighed less than at birth (thank god he was 10 pds at birth). The DR ran our son, literally, to the hospital. When the surgeon came in he said “this baby is fine, take him home,” and said he sees more ps babies in a month than that other DR will see in his profession”. My husband got mad and demanded the needed test, a simple xray! Emergency surgery was done and the same surgeon said he wouldn’t have lived a week. I have wondered about the effect that starving your first 2 months of your life would do to you. My son has always had a problem with eating habits. He has always sleepwalked to the kitchen at night and eating there. I have found him many times and there’s no doubt he is asleep. I just wonder if there’s others out there that have this issue.

    1. Fred Vanderbom Post author

      Thank you for adding your and your son’s story here, Darlene. Your experience certainly fits a sorry story we hear sooo often. I wish I got a dollar every time a surgeon says, “Just as well you brought your little one in… your baby would not have lasted another day!” Why doesn’t the medical world address this continual sloppiness in recognising PS?
      Yes, there are reports showing that the malnutrition of PS if serious enough does affect the development of the brain. I have a post on that on this site.
      Sleepwalking is quite common and I have not seen any reports linking it with PS. But an “attitude” to food?Certainly, all sorts of mixed messages: many have reflux or IBS problems to do with a high gastric acid level. Many report that they eat lots but gain no weight (a fast metabolism), or eat until they are sick (no “full” signal). And some have the opposite: an overweight problem – but this could also be caused simply by over-eating.
      I hope you get some more feedback. If you are on Facebook you could also ask your question on one or more of its PS Support and Awareness Groups’ pages.

    2. Matthew Jowett

      I had the PS op as a baby and used to sleepwalk to the kitchen to get milk from the fridge and drink it. This was accompanied by terrifying recurring nightmares. It was amazing to read your post as I had absolutely no idea the sleepwalking and PS could be connected but it makes perfect sense. Thanks so much for posting. Also, the family GP apparently insisted I was fine but I turned grey and my father took me to accident and emergency and they said I needed to be operated on straight away or I would die.


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