Catching Up

Since its been so long since I’ve written, a little “catch up” post seems in order.

Jed and Zac have both been in Occupational Therapy for their Sensory Processing Disorders for most of the year. The benefits have been amazing! My children are blooming, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

We decided to begin using Classical Conversations for our homeschooling curriculum. It’s only been 6 weeks, but I’m already a total believer in this program and we plan to continue it through graduation. The boys are proving to be intellectual giants (ahem) and absolutely adore school!

Last week Jed finally began reading. He’s BEEN reading for ages, but it was almost as if he didn’t understand what he was doing when he was sounding out words. Last week, it finally clicked in his mind and he got  it. He proceeded to read two stories from a primer book and looked more excited than he does on Christmas morning.

It was better than Christmas morning for me, too.

Turns out, Jed also has quite the artistic bent. He’s amazing at creating artwork! I never saw this side of him before the summer, but now, he can happily sit at the table making beautiful art for hours. I’m running out of wall space for display!

Oh, he’s still young, so his technique is still immature, but his artwork tells stories, he experiments with different techniques and mediums, he catches on to things in our art class quickly and without explanation sometimes, and he gets better every day. It’s amazing!

True to form, it is September, and the boys have come down with stomach bugs. Again (last year it happened in October, but that was a fluke). So far Darrel and I haven’t caught the bug (yet), but we’re both already sick with other things, so, the whole family is still down for the count. I hate September.

Jed lost his first teeth this summer. Other than the blood, it was fairly nonchalant. He was very excited about the Tooth Fairy!

We had another great birthday party for the boys in June, this time with a few new friends they’ve made this year. It’s been wonderful watching them make friends and learn how to be kind and thoughtful over the long term with kids their own age!

Beyond stomach bugs, my health has not been doing well this year. Without the nursing hormones in my body, I’m reacting almost non-stop.

Reacting? Why, yes! Turns out I likely have (95% sure, awaiting further tests), as suspected, Mast Cell Activation Disorder. I’ll write a lot more about that in the future, but suffice it to say, my immune system is out of whack and I react to typical things in ways normal people don’t.

It turns out I’m a “leaker”; an MCAD word meaning someone who just slowly reacts all the time (as opposed to a “shocker”, which is someone whose reactions are instantaneous and often anaphylaxis). I’ve been “leaking” my whole life, apparently, except when I was pregnant and nursing.

It appears I’m one of the rare MCAD women whose health improves  with pregnancy. Far more common is women who suffer greatly during pregnancy.

Think I’m too old to be a surrogate? (Joke. Sort of.)

Without the pregnancy and nursing hormones I’ve been slowly reverting to the way I was before the TED for Zac, and it stinks.

No. It doesn’t stink. It’s miserable. Terrifying. Horrifying. Depressing. And stressful. Which is really bad, because it turns out that stress is one of my major reaction triggers. 

Stress isn’t good for anyone, of course, but stress literally makes me physically sick almost immediately.

Yay…because our lives of food and other issues is just so easy and carefree, donchaknow??

I’m dealing with that, and growing to accept the fact that the glorious health I enjoyed during the TED for Zac may have been the only 3.5 years of my life where I feel like the majority of people feel on a daily basis, and that feeling lethargic, sick, emotional, and being fat is simply the way my life will be. Forever. Til I die.

I kind of want to cry.

I guess I shouldn’t give up hope, yet. There are some medications that can help with this condition. While I’m happy for that knowledge, I’d really rather not be dependent on daily medication before I’m even 40. That thought is kind of a bummer.

Well, I’ll adjust. New realities are normal for us by this point.

Darrel and I decided our lives were too stressful and we needed a break earlier in the summer. We planned a “staycation” in June for just the two of us. The boys went to my parents house for a week while we stayed home alone.

It didn’t work.

The air conditioner went out. Some things came up that needed to be dealt with. We ended our staycation just as stressed as we started, if not more so.

So we decided to ease up on food vigilance for a while. Maybe not having to be so paranoid all the time would make things less stressful? As long as the food was corn-free, known-trigger-free, and organic, we pretty much let both boys eat whatever they wanted.

So did I. Forget the TED!

For the boys, it went beautifully! Zac is chowing down on rice now with no ill effects. That’s opened up lots of pre-packaged snacks for us (crackers, rice cakes), which is wonderful.

Both boys adore pumpkin seeds and pistachios, which, again, opens up snack options for us.

We aren’t brave enough to trial oats on Zac again, nor cow dairy on Jed, but otherwise their diets have expanded considerably this summer and they’ve shown no ill effects. It’s glorious!

One negative came this spring, when we figured out that Jed actually reacts to corn. I don’t know why it took so long to see; I suppose his reactions were being hidden by other things.

But we finally determined that maple syrup and cocoa are no good for him, and straight sugar is fine but any kind of processing on the sugar makes it bad, and once we got that straightened out his corn reactions became very, very clear.

That made feeding Jed more restrictive, but with the lessening of restrictions on Zac this year we have an overall net positive on food consumption in this house, and that makes life a lot easier. (Though, really, eating a diet that must strictly avoid corn, wheat, egg, cow milk, and is limited in fructose, salicylates and histamine isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.)

FPIES isn’t gone, but it does appear that Zac’s only trigger at this point is oats. I’m happy to hold off on those for another year before we retrial.

It’s an unbelievable relief to no longer worry if my son is going to end up in the hospital if he eats a new food!

I, on the other hand, was triggered mightily by something (or somethings) I ate this summer, during this “de-stress experiment”, and I’m still trying to get back to baseline. Of course, I could have been set off by the stress I’ve been under, but still. Food always fixes things in my family, so I went back on the 6 item TED (beef, potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and stevia) on August 1 in an effort to get back to normal. 7 weeks later and my body is still as bad as it was this summer. I must admit to feeling somewhat betrayed that food hasn’t fixed me; eating properly has fixed almost everything in my family over the last 4 years, so this is quite a disappointment.

I’m tired of feeling awful all the time.

This year found us entering the world of farming. We now have rabbits and dairy goats. The rabbits are for an affordable meat source, and the dairy goats are because we spend SO much money on goat milk every year and so much time procuring milk half the year, it seemed like a good experiment to see if we could handle milking our own goats. We are still waiting on our doe to give birth, after which it will be a couple months before we can start taking any milk from her, but our fingers are crossed that this works!

Oh, and we have barn cats. LOTS of barn cats. (Anyone need a kitten? I have lots!) It’s kind of out of control. Bob Barker was right: spay or neuter your pet!! (Though the boys LOVE having so many kitties to play with.)

That pretty much hits the highlights of the year. What’s been going on in your world?

Tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Catching Up

  1. Pingback: Allergic to Living: Mast Cell Activation Disorder -

Comments are love! Tell me what you're thinking!