Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Do you see what I see?



Click on images, then click again to see them in full view. Feel free to glance at our last results (which were awesome!) in this post.

The main thing we were testing for was to see if wheat (gliadin, gluten, and whole) rose on the test - why yes, they did! Also, it seems a month of wheat eating likely caused inflammation (celiac?) which caused a LOT of other foods to rise as well. I'm not going to lie, dudes - this sucks.

BUT, I have to remain realistic. Small signs were beginning to reveal themselves (change in skin texture, anxiety, less smiles) and I was trying to convince myself that I was paranoid. Mama-instinct cannot/should not be silenced. I'm very grateful for our naturopath (speaking with him tomorrow), these tests, and the symptoms that alert us that something is amiss. I vow, to myself, not to let others' opinions derail me from what I know is best for my child. I'd like to think he's like other kids who can eat everything other than their major allergens but the truth may be that he is not. Either way, I'm fighting for what he needs to heal, to the best of my ability.

Back to the drawing board. I was in a food rut anyhow, time to get back to BASIC basics.

ETA: Keep in mind that IgG and IgE are completely different. IgG levels indicate a delayed reaction whereas IgE (peanut, egg, dairy, etc - in our case) are immediate and not related to this test. This test is mainly a gauge for gut health, this change is likely a result of inflammation due to diet change (wheat/gluten being the change).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Banana buckwheat muffins

AKA: A slight variation of every cake-ish recipe I create...

Light crispy top, ooey-gooey paper wrapped edges - YUM

These turned out light and fluffy, moist and sweet, and they are made of really healthy stinkin' stuff! They are top 8 (plus corn) free.

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp aluminum free baking soda
2 tblspns cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 smashed up ripe banana
1 cup vanilla hemp milk
1/2 cup olive oil

Mix together dry ingredients well, add wet ingredients and mix together until combined. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups 80% full and bake at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes.

Cleaned up all our Christmas garb! It's beautiful for the first few weeks but the pine needles and sparkle make me pretty Grinchy after a while. Harvey managed to break at least ten ornaments and he and Jack dismantled a stuffed Santa. They unwrapped his "gifts" (oh boy, styrofoam!) which then of course turned into "snow" all over the living room. Blessed creatures.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Ten things I didn't have to ask Santa for:

LOL kittehs...
1) Happiness
2) Health (mental and otherwise)
3) Loving family/beautiful babies
4) True friendship
5) A new year (without resolutions)
6) Wheat!
7) Progress
8) Hope
9) World Inner peace
10)Faith

Wishing everyone a peaceful and positive Holiday Season! Looking forward to watching the boys' excitement in the morning, an evening with my family, and a full week with my husband at home!! With close to a week of record worthy rainfall, it seems we'll have a sunny So. Cal. Christmas after all...

Backyard beauty - Merry Christmas Everyone !!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Still allergic (duh)

About a year ago, Jack had a reaction to a product with these ingredients: rice, rice bran oil, nori, sea salt. I've suspected a nori (seaweed) allergy ever since. We didn't skin prick test it at his allergist appointment the following Spring, seaweed is an easy food to avoid for a three year old.

Last night I fixed easy food for the boys (applegate farms lunch meat rolls, carrot sticks, muffins) and Justin and I ordered sushi which came with a cucumber/seaweed salad. About an HOUR after we ate, a patch of hives caught my eye, on Jack's forehead. I was checking him out muttering "that's weird" when Justin told me he had kissed Jack above his right eyebrow. Ah! Mystery solved.

Now, Jack has been tested for shellfish so we know that wasn't the culprit. And he has previously reacted to nori so I'm pretty positive that's what it was. Thank goodness this was just a case of "wash him up" and nothing more taxing on his body. Contact hives used to happen a lot, especially when he was an adorable little baby that people couldn't not put their allergy laden mouths all over.

I felt a little unsettled. I think I was getting over-confident. I was so sure that eggs were the only thing that Jack was still contact reactive to. This just showed me that he's still sensitive and allergic, we're all just managing it really well and seeing less reactions due to that. I've been reading a lot about the inaccuracy of skin prick and RAST (blood) tests and trying to convince myself that Jack may be less allergic than previously thought. Those are nice thoughts but when you've seen your toddler covered in hives (after benadryl) from his eyelids to the bottoms of his feet and you've changed bloody diapers and helped him to master booking it to the potty again and again, there's just no peace of mind in test error statistics. He is allergic.

I find myself in a strange limbo of believing that he will outgrow his allergies, that his immune system will balance as he matures.....and then I feel the intensity of his reactions and shudder. It was recently concluded that allergists can no longer diagnose an allergy based on test results. I can't say for sure, but I doubt our allergist would consider giving Jack an oral food challenge based on his test results (and history). So unless the old one still stands, I guess this means we are without diagnosis. I hope we can still get our epi-pen (snarksnarksnark)!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Food Allergies and Me


Remember so long ago, when I mentally noted that I ought to write a Children's book on food allergy awareness? Well....I did !! This is obviously a subject matter that is so dear to me and I wanted needed to provide the market with a book that helped families like mine. The books I did find were about specific allergens, which is great, but my kiddo is allergic to many foods, and ones that aren't "mainstream". They were also about insects and woodland creatures who weren't necessarily the voices my child needed to be able to relate to and learn from.

My vision was to write about a child who is allergic to some top allergens and who demonstrates how that affects a child's life. I wanted it to be simple but fun, informative but not fear-inducing, and most of all empowering! I wanted the story to be appropriate for a child who has allergies and for children who know others who have allergies and want to better understand what it all means. I hope you'll enjoy it. This was not a profit building endeavor but a true desire to educate allergic kids and their peers. You can see it on Amazon here (the "look inside" feature will be activated soon): Food Allergies and Me

Friday, December 17, 2010

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Don't tell them to grow up and out of it
~David Bowie

I have been noticing some shifts in these boys o' mine.

Jack has developed a strong need to express himself, especially when he's been angered. He's even *ahem* violent about it. If you know Jack, you know this is very opposite to his nature. Sure, sure, he can pitch a fit about something but he never expresses that anger toward the individual, even if it's me. It's hard to discourage (though we try) because his "hits" are about as forceful as a falling leaf. The positive spin on this, is that it is providing more opportunity to discuss feelings! It's a window into the mind of Jack, and that is powerful. As he explains to me what I (or someone else) did that upset him so much, I get a new sense of how he interprets others' feelings and how those feelings affect his own.

Last night, Jack's preschool put on a Christmas pageant. It was an evening of adorableness all around, and Jack did well through the excitement and crowd. Toward the very end, as things were wrapping up and people were beginning to leave, Jack came up to me with tears in his eyes saying that someone had yelled at him. I held him for a bit and then we made our way to the car. As we were leaving, Mrs. M asked him if he had a good time and he shouted "NO" (sorry Mrs. M!) and I knew he hadn't let the incident go. We got home and he was STILL fuming. We got jammied, we put Harvey to bed, we snuggled - he was STILL angry. We talked, he told me he was looking and looking for me at the party and couldn't find me. So it wasn't just that someone hurt his feelings, he was also angry that I wasn't right there to help him. We sat quietly for a while and Jack snuggled in to me and said "I'm sorry I yelled at you mama". All was well again. I'm confident we'll strike a balance, this surge of expression will calm a bit as he masters his new found ability. Miasm work? Maturity? I dunno.....steps in the right direction either way.

Harvey is quite the opposite. He is a force to be reckoned with. Some days he wins, some days I win. Last night was evidence to what we already knew - this kids WANTS preschool. He loves the atmosphere, the other children, and he ferociously absorbs the energy. All of a sudden (and hopefully for good), he has stopped crying for me in the night......he simply makes his way into our room when he needs me. He's still waking me often but it's much more peaceful. Waking to crying is nerve wracking! He is self weaning and asks for Justin at times for comfort! He also just finished cutting his final two-year molar which could be cause for the night time shifts. I'll take it!!

I love the hindsight of parenting. I'm learning (always learning) to really accept these stages of development. It's like anything else in life, you can't always see the purpose in something as it's happening. It's only when you stop digging for the purpose that you can step back and take in the beauty of God's work unfolding. We all grow and change in mysterious ways, I'm finding less need to pick and fuss and fix, and just let it be. Because what it IS, is good.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Makin' me a sandwich...


With real bread (aka - wheat bread) in the house again, I have recaptured my love of the sandwich. My only annoyance with making them has been the mayonnaise. I fear kissing Jack with my mayo lips. I keep meaning to pick up some veganaise...Jack can't have that either but at least it's egg free. I don't think he'd eat mayonnaise if given the chance which begs me to question: what came first, the allergies or the aversions? Is your allergic child naturally suspicious of foods they shouldn't eat??? Mine sure is.

And the mustard you see in the picture isn't very good either. Jack picked it because it has a hot dog on the label (those clever marketing execs), that's what happens when a four year old does your grocery shopping. Wait, I think he was three back then - ewww, I should really replace that mustard.

Another sad truth: you see that beautiful avocado? It's from Costco. Last week I bought some teeny tiny organic ones and they were bruised and stringy (ultimate blech to my sensory side) and tasted a little funky. So, non-organic it is, because I am going to ENJOY this sammich. Every wheaty bite!

Where's my flashlight?

Justin let me sleep in, yayayay...after several nights up with sick babes I needed it and that followed by several cups of coffee and my adrenals are pumpin' (can you tell??) which is good because the living room was pretty trashed by the time I got downstairs and of course after I picked it all up and managed to escape to the bathroom for a minute (heaven. forbid.) I was greeted by this disaster:

Ooh, he. is. pissed.

and he is the irritated one....because he dropped his blanket. *deepcalmingbreathing* I'll get right on that, Sir. Harvey. Who's anxious for Harvey to be feeling better??? I am I am I am!!! Then maybe I can switch back to half caf.

Jack's right as rain now and sleeping pretty good again. The light at the end of this tunnel is a faint but definitely visible glow!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Miasms

I promised to get deeper into my explanation of miasms in regard to our use of homeopathy. I think I've been avoiding it because it's a yogic mind stretch and my brain has been lazy. As you know, we have sequentially treated both boys by giving homeopathic remedies for traumas (injuries, drugs, etc) that have occurred in their lives. We first created time lines of those events and then treated from most recent to birth/pregnancy. At that point, we began the next level of the heilkunst protocol which is treating for inherited infectious diseases, or chronic miasms as named by Dr. Hahnemann.

I have heard miasms described as susceptibility - each miasm predisposes a person to a certain kind of dynamic in illness. The eight chronic miasms are: Psorinum (Psora), Malaria (Malaria), Tuberculinum (Tuberculosis), Ringworm (Ringworm), Medorrhinum (Sycosis), Carcinosin (Cancer), Syphilinum (Syphilis) and Lyme (Lyme). (got that? there's a quiz later!) The names were given by Hahnemann and some are quite obvious in nature while others are more mysterious - Sycosis is the Greek word for "fig" which is a shout out to small genital warts, apparently they looked like figs to Dr. H. I will never look at a fig the same.

So, in understandable language, let's say you are susceptible to sinus infections, acne, depression, or allergic reactions. You inherited that susceptibility and that is what miasms are targeting. Exciting no?

Jack is on the first miasm, Psora. Harvey has already trudged through psora, malaria, and is now working through tuberculosis. Now that I'm caught up on my homeopathy homework, time to give these poor sick kiddos some much needed mama snuggles!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jack eats'a pizza!

He managed to eat around the sauce and veggies. Bah. I'm going to have to get craftier. Calzone? We sure had fun though and they were delicious. Didn't miss the cheese one bit.

I thought having a hand in decorating ("like a Christmas tree" he joked)
might encourage consumption.


Our pretty pies in my trusty oven.

Mmmmm....crust.

The fun ended around 8pm when he had a massive attack of congestion and fever. He also complained that his throat hurt which concerned me because strep is going around at his preschool. I googled a bit and found some comfort in reading that congestion points toward a virus, not strep. This morning his fever is gone and (skeptics skip over this section) our homeopath gave us a paper remedy for strep just to be sure. You write down the exact remedy and attach it to the body.


It's energy, folks, and it can't hurt! Besides all of that, Jack's recent miasm remedy typically produces heavy nasal congestion (we've been seeing this off and on for about a week - hence my dust mite rampage) and flu like symptoms. So it could be one of many things but we are armed with many resources and Jack is handling it beautifully. He even sipped on some sambucus for me this morning! I have a terrible fear of antibiotics (they wreak havoc on the gut) so we will do all we can to avoid them while keeping a close eye on our boy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Conflict Resolution

Jack was hit on the head repeatedly last week by a brand new boy in his preschool class. We talked about it a lot and I could tell he wasn't too traumatized. These things happen. Especially when you're four years old.

Well, the boy and Jack had a discussion about it today and lucky for me, his teacher was tuned in to the whole thing.

Boy: Jack, will you play with me and be my friend?
Jack: No, you hit me.
Boy: Will you play with me?
Jack: No, you really hurt me.
Boy: I'm sorry. Now will you be my friend?
Jack: Okay!

If only our world leaders had the diplomacy of these two!

Monday, December 6, 2010

What brings this allergy mom to tears?

My boys are eating fish sticks. The meal started a bit unorthodox - I smushed one all over Jack's back and waited ten minutes, just to be sure that hives didn't appear. He's been tested for cod but you never know what kind of crazy cross-contamination could be at play. We've seen that first hand.

Then I worried "will he eat fish??" but there they sit, devouring their sticks o' fish. And I'm crying. Tears of joy, for my boy, who once lived on bananas.

NO-TRATOR JOE'S

My faithful companion! Tomorrow, we eat pizza.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

How wheat it is....


After four days of stuffing Jack with wheat and seeing NO SYMPTOMS, we're feeling pretty confident about incorporating it back into his diet. Sweet!

I believe I can fly,
I believe I can touch the sky!

We're hoping to run another IGG test very soon just to be sure that ingesting wheat doesn't cause a dramatic spike in delayed reaction. I'm also still analyzing for digestive, behavior, and skin reactions. Losing reactions to wheat feels like pretty convincing evidence of gut healing!! And a healing/maturing immune system.

My "plan" is to use wheat as a vehicle for getting more nutrients into Jack rather than as a new food group of pre-packaged processed conveniences. Though it will be tempting! I need to find a pizza dough (mix or recipe) that is dairy, egg, soy, corn, and nut free. I think it'll be a great way to get some veggies into him. Anyone with ideas on that!??

This still isn't going to be EASY but we now have more options. And GOOD bread !!!! So, for today, I leave you with these wise words: rice bread SUCKS, man.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Going APE

Jack had his first A.P.E. (adapted physical education) today. The class had gone on a field trip so the teacher decided to take the opportunity to assess Jack a bit and give him a chance to get used to the facility before joining the other kids next Friday. Jack responded really well to "Mr. Chris". He wouldn't talk (he needs 15 min or so to warm up to someone and we were only there for about that long) but he nodded and participated about as enthusiastically as I've ever seen him. They played catch, galloped, hopped on one foot, walked across a balance beam, etc. Mr. Chris said Jack's gross motor skills looked really good. We'll see how he does when other kids are there next week, he tends to "pull inward" in social settings so this will be great for him once he gets comfortable! He happily waved goodbye to Mr. Chris and then as I was buckling him into his car seat I asked "Do you like P.E.?" and he said "Yeah, but I was too shy and couldn't talk, it just didn't work". I told him that each time he goes he'll be less shy and that he can talk when he's ready. I hope that gives him the reassurance he needs. I can tell he wants to talk so badly but needs more time to get there and in today's quickity quick quick society he rarely gets the warm up he needs to get comfortable socially. It's happening more and more easily over time and that is enough for me. So proud of that boy!

His A.P.E. class is at a nearby elementary school, the school he'll attend half a day next year if he's accepted into their PEP program (here's hoping!). We were leaving right as lunch time was happening and we had to walk directly through the lunch table area. It was hamburger day. There were buns on the ground to prove it. Kids crammed around tables full of chocolate milk and other obvious allergens. Totally freaked me out but I tried to keep my head on straight. Harvey chanted "Hardy need chee-burger" all the way to the car. Jack was absorbing the sites and sounds of so many kids, not paying any attention to what they were consuming. We're nearly two years away from that setting and the school that Jack will go to has a designated table for those with allergies if you choose that route. And who knows where Jack's allergies will be by then.

One day at a time.

No reactions yet to the wheat. I gave him some more today. I have so many fun ideas for nutritious food options should he tolerate it well!! Recently ran into this blog, just look at the gorgeous lunches this mom has created for her food allergic little guy! So inspiring! No reason to eat another kids food when you have an amazing lunch like that. The only concern would be keeping other kids' hands off it!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wheat Trial, take two!


Deets to follow - send prayers!

Jack gobbled these up and asked for more. Repeat, repeat. I finally applied the breaks because this is a trial after all. Then he said "maybe Santa will bring me more cookies?". Oh I really hope he tolerates these!! I want so badly to expand his diet to all things skin prick and blood test negative. Gave enzymes before and directly after. Hoping this trial isn't questionable like the last. So tricky when "reactions" are delayed and subtle.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sleeping with the enemy...

Got dust?

Not only do these guys look like an attacking sci fi alien army, they're real....and they're kicking my kiddo's butt. Jack has been waking every morning sneezing and congested. I suspect it's disrupting his sleep as well. Poor fella! So I'm going on the defense and washing every possible article of bedding, dusting, and vacuuming today to see if his symptoms lessen overnight. It got really bad when we pulled out our winter bedding and threw heated (dust mites lurve warmth) blankets under our comforter. We have covers on our mattresses/pillows and have an anti allergen duvet so I think the culprit is our heavy winter blanket (please please fit in the washing machine!) and mass reproduction due to the added heat. Plus even if it's the wrong environment for the mites or if you kill them with high temps or sunlight, their pellets (doo doo) are the main source of allergen so "Lucy, you have some cleaning to do!!". Nasty.

Wish me luck. And give me tips if you have any!! This. means. war.

ETA: That blanket did NOT fit in the washer. Had to wash in in the bathtub then run it through a couple spin cycles but it is clean as can be. Easily weighed a hundred pounds - giving new meaning to the term "wet blanket". Sheesh. Did my darnedest on those mites so I'm crossing fingers for a better night's sleep and the ability for Jack to breathe in the morning.