What We Learned From Our Date Night

What We Learned From Our Date Night CradleRockingMama.com

As prayed for, last week was much better than the week before.

Both kids stayed safely on their respective diets, and reactions faded slowly away.

I worked for much of the time, which was exhausting (as usual), but everything plodded along quite well while I was gone. When I returned home, the kids were happy to see me and we were back in our holding pattern…wait for baseline, wait for some gut rest, resume trials.

Honestly, I struggled trying to think of what to share today. Monday is usually the day I give an update on the kids, and, frankly, there wasn’t a whole lot that happened last week.

Then I realized that something DID happen last week: Darrel and I had a date night.

Ever since we put such effort into our marriage, we’ve attempted to keep it going strong.

We were failing.

The stomach bug, the sicknesses, the different reactions, the heavy work schedule on my part to try and make up some lost pay…it all added up to us neglecting each other – again.

Friday afternoon we’d planned to begin the sweet potato re-trial, but we had some errands to run first.

As we left the house, we remembered that we had forgotten Zac’s amber necklace at my parents when we picked the kids up after I’d gotten home from work. When I called my parents to see if we could swing by and get it, the thought popped in to my head that maybe, just maybe, they’d be willing to play babysitter for the night.

In short order, we’d arranged last minute child care and designated Friday night date night.

It’s the first time we’ve put our marriage purposefully ahead of anything the kids need in over two years. (Yes, all we did was delay the start of a food trial by a single day, but this is HUGE for us!)

What did we do on our date night?

We came home. Cooked dinner together. Ate together. Talked. Watched a couple episodes of a TV show we’re woefully behind on (thank you, Netflix!). Relaxed. Got a good nights sleep.

Wild stuff, I tell ya!

But it was SO good for us. Without the pressure of having to plan an evening out (which is logistically challenging with my TED) and without the kids around interrupting, we managed to have the sort of in-depth conversation we used to have on a daily basis.

Once upon a time, Darrel and I TALKED. About everything and anything. Constantly.

We met online, after all; our first month of interacting was strictly by email and phone. It wasn’t uncommon for us to – no exaggeration – spend 8-10 hours per day on the phone.

We love talking to each other. It’s kind of our “thing”.

And we’ve had limited opportunities to do much of that over the last four and a half years, particularly since FPIES came in to our lives.

I mean, we talk, sure. But it mostly involves logistics, anecdotes about the kids, discussing food trials, scheduling issues, to-do lists, and other highly un-romantic and impersonal things.

When Darrel and I get a chance to actually communicate like we are naturally prone to do, we easily share thoughts, feelings, analysis, random anecdotes that don’t involve the kids, and jokes. It’s FUN to talk with my husband. FUN.

We don’t have a lot of fun any more, generally speaking.

For the reconnection with my husband, for the fun we had, for the ability to sleep a good nights sleep, for the reminder that – doggone it – my husband is a really high quality human being and I’m blessed to be married to him, the date night was necessary and valuable.

But something else happened that night, too.

For the first time in over two years, Darrel and I took the time to sit and just…be.

We purposefully didn’t do anything productive. We avoiding anything that took effort. We focused on us. Us as a couple, and us as individuals.

We breathed.

And in that breathing, in that conversation, we realized that our food issues are a little bigger than we thought. (Not that they aren’t large enough already, you know.)

I’ve already commented several times that I’m so focused on the kids health that I hardly register my own. Even with my practice and habit at noting food ingestion and behavior and connecting the two, I don’t often do it for myself  – unless it’s so obvious it hits me upside the head.

Something has been going on with me for a long while this year, though, that was incredibly subtle. So subtle I hadn’t really noticed it.

Until Darrel and I took the time to breathe, and talk.

And we realized that I probably have histamine intolerance (HIT), too.

We realized that Darrel possibly has some of these intolerance issues, as well (FructMal, Salicylate Sensitivity, or HIT). That’s a little tougher to figure out, since he hasn’t eaten the completely Real Food elimination diets the boys and I have been eating for two years. Darrel still grabs nasty fast food at lunch, so his system isn’t as cleaned out as ours.

The symptoms? Well, for me there are three things, really. My emotional state has been a LOT more…dramatic…since Spring. Secondly, I’ve been a lot more itchy this year. The third is a little more complicated to explain.

My entire life I suffered greatly from sinus/allergy problems. At one point I had so many sinus infections in one year the ENT was at a loss to explain it and offered to do exploratory surgery to see if there was something going on in my head that didn’t show up on the many tests and procedures I’d had done with her.

Once I started this TED for Zac? NO sinus/allergy problems. Zero. Nada. Zilch. I’ve been perfect for the first time in my life.

Until this spring.

What happened this spring? We started eating eggs. And pork. And I returned to work.

Eggs and pork are wonky histamine foods, and traveling between different cities all the time certainly isn’t easy on a body. When I’m at work, I rely heavily on dehydrated foods due to the fact that I have to carry everything I eat with me when I’m gone. Dehydrating meat takes the histamine level of the meat through the roof!

The summer before, when I returned to work for three months, I didn’t have any sinus issues pop up. This year, I’ve had almost constant sinus pressure. Constant nasal drainage. Lots of sneezing. Watery, itchy eyes. Ear pressure issues.

It isn’t as bad as I used to be, but it isn’t as good as I was the first year and a half I was on the TED.

I’d been blaming all of this sinus stuff on season changes, on traveling for work, on airborne allergens (even though I’ve tested negative to all allergens for the last 5 years).

And I’ve been blaming the emotional stuff on the stress of returning to work, and the itchiness on weather changes.

After taking the time to talk through mine and Darrel’s general well-being, though, this struck us both as odd.

Now it seems logical to think that, while traveling all over the country isn’t helpful, the addition of these increased histamine foods is stressing my body and making me sick-ish. And histamine is known for causing behavioral problems in children; why wouldn’t it cause emotional problems for adults who are sensitive, too?

Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do about it at the moment.

I have to stay on the diet for Zac, and neither of us can afford to NOT eat a food that is FPIES safe if it doesn’t make us blatantly, viciously sick (like the sweet potatos did for me) right away. This subtle histamine thing (for me) is something I just have to tolerate for now.

But it’s good data to know.

One day, when Zac’s diet is so enormous we can afford to be choosy, I can eliminate histamine foods to make myself feel better.

Until then, I’ll try to limit the histamine foods I consume as much as my nutritional needs will allow, and Darrel and I will just ride whatever emotional roller coaster comes our way. I’ll keep doing saline nose rinses and trying to get as much rest as I can.

Oh, and we’ll keep trying to get date nights. They’re important. If you’re in a good marriage, that person is your best sounding board; the person most likely to have noticed things about you that you may not have even noticed yourself.

Sharing your thoughts can not only bring you closer together and strengthen your marriage, but help you discover sneaky health issues that lurk and linger.

It’s so good to be a team again.

Oh, and we did re-start the sweet potato trial this weekend on Zac. So far, so good. We had a bit of a rough night with sleep, but nothing else concerning. Fingers crossed!


Have you had any sneaky food issues take you by surprise? How did you figure them out?

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