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 being home 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.
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.
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 integrative 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.