When I was a senior in college, me – the very studious, organized journalism student – made a very bad mistake. I returned to my apartment at about 7:00 on Sunday night after visiting my parents for Thanksgiving Break only to realize that I had mixed up my exam dates. The test I had studied for was not the following day as I thought; it was later in the week. What was in fact due, was a 25+ page paper in another class … and I hadn’t given it the first thought.
My class was mid-morning on Monday and therefore, I had about 12-13 hours to crank out that paper with a professor named Conrad Fink – the experienced, retired AP reporter, who was known around campus for his ability to butcher your words with a red pen.
I will never forget that night. The nervous, focused energy that coursed through my veins, fueled by a pot of coffee, and that terrible overwhelming feeling that I had too much to do and not enough time to do it. Even though there was certainly a fear of failure, not giving up and producing a paper worthy of Fink’s editing drove me onward that night.
I share this experience because it best describes how I’m feeling these days … only it’s not a 13 hour adrenalin rush … it’s all day, every day … and there is no simple due date where I can simply turn in a paper and know that I can kiss that stress goodbye. It’s that moment in my young life times ten.
I have big news to share.
My little Jake, at age 5.2 years old, has tested out of speech therapy. In December of 2010 at age 2.3, we began work with a SLP and three years later the battle to speak is essentially over. I often wondered what this moment would feel like. I imagined we’d go out to dinner to celebrate, drink a nice bottle of wine, say cheers, and jump up and down with joy.
But it was actually a much different, almost surreal feeling. At first, a feeling of nostalgia swept over me and tears flooded my eyes. Speech therapy two times a week and every night at home has been our lives for three years. Was it really over? Each and every word along the journey was an immense triumph … a gradual celebration of sorts instead of a grand finale.
And Jake loves Katie, his SLP. She has been our lifesaver, our angel, a girl I looked long and hard for and finally found. Although we are going to taper down with therapy to one time a week until May, I know that a chapter in our lives is closing.
Also, encompassing this news was the reality that Jake’s journey to wellness is not over. I was appreciative that I made it out of the apraxia hurricane alive and I am so, so grateful to hear that beautiful voice, but I just can’t fully celebrate when I know another storm is out there in the seas brewing.
As Tom Malterre said at the recent online Gluten Summit …
Food intolerances/allergies + Gut Flora Imbalances + Environmental Toxins = The Perfect Storm
And Jake is right smack dab in the middle of that storm right now.
Much has changed since I made this comment on my blog back in August …
In my personal opinion, I don’t think Jake’s overall condition is severe enough to warrant doing the complete diet [GAPS]. … I question – What if his gut is in great condition (he has no belly pain and great poop), but he still has all these food allergies?
In September, I re-introduced egg back into Jake’s diet because he tested negative to it in July. Simultaneously, ragweed entered the picture. Since that time, I’ve been contending with light wheezing, belly aches, diarrhea, rashes, and a hypersensitive immune system.
I finally figured out eggs were the guilty culprit to these minor issues when he had a bad allergic reaction from a huge GFCF Belgium waffle that I made him (with eggs) a couple of weeks ago.
So, now we are up to eight allergies, one intolerance, and who knows how many seasonal/environmental allergies. Considering that each year we add more allergens to our list, the naiveness of thinking that he is just going to outgrow his allergies is starting to feel pretty far-fetched.
The reality is starting to feel like if his allergies continue to increase it is going to seriously affect the quality of both of our lives. And here’s the thing … I cannot keep band-aiding this problem by taking things out of his life. It is all getting to be too much and it is not a realistic solution. I am tired of his immune system bullying us; I am going to stand up to it.
The same week Jake tested out of speech, I found out that my older son LD has minor food allergies. For the past two years he has had itchy skin, regular nose bleeds, random rashes on his face, and a chronic belly ache. Turns out there is a reason for it. He is slightly allergic to peanut, almond, egg, and soy. Yes, I am pretty blown away at this news.
While allergies are never good news, this situation has made me more aware of soy and the reality that it is in nearly everything kids eat. Eighty to 90 percent of soy is genetically modified and it may not be healthy for boys because it is a phytoestrogen. Jake is a big soy eater because of his many allergies. Because of LD’s allergy, I am also now trying to significantly reduce the amount of soy in Jake’s diet.
Over the course of the past two weeks, I have made some major changes. I went off the deep end as they say, and my family is now on a Paleo-type diet that includes all non-GMO and organic foods.
I have spent the past two weeks in major research mode and I will be continuing that process through all of December. For this reason, I will not be blogging for the rest of the year. We have an appointment with our holistic MD in January and I want to make sure we have all of Jake’s test results back so that we can hit the ground running. While I know balancing the immune system and/or healing the gut is not an easy task, it is certainly a possibility. I have come to the conclusion that as a mother, I won’t be able to rest until I know that I have left no stone unturned.
I hope all of you have a blessed holiday season and that you enjoy this special time with your little ones. I have a long list of things I want to write about regarding apraxia in 2014 that I didn’t have time to cover this year.
In the meantime, check out my new Amazon store! It is full of my family’s favorite speech and wellness products. I was in the middle of creating a new sister wellness blog – Family Live Life Well – when all of this craziness hit with the allergies. I hope to expand this blog in 2014. Please note that purchasing Amazon items through my link just means that I receive a small percentage of sales generated. My compensation is not added to the sale price. Click here to check it out.
* Congratulations to Mary Ann – the winner of the FAME Workbook CD.