Jake's Journey with Apraxia

And the Friends We Met Along the Way

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.


6 thoughts on “Healing Jake

  1. Curvin & Mary Ann Martin family says:

    Your apraxia emails have given me great hope, so thank you for the time you’ve put getting them all written. We’ve gone from one sound production up to 26 in a year of speech therapy at current age 4.5 and so to hear of 3 years of therapy and being discharged sounds glorious, when we go 3x per week. Thanks so much for holding out HOPE to us! maryann martin

  2. Kristy A says:

    Hey Tori! I teared up reading about Jake’s graduation!! Yahoo!! He has come so far and you have been amazing! What a story you have to tell and it still isn’t over!! So, so happy for you both!!! xoxo

    Then my heart broke for you. Soy. A dirty word for me. Soy and yeast are honestly incredibly hard to remove in my opinion. Gluten and dairy is so second nature, but add in that darn SOY and scream!!! It IS in everything! I’m so sorry you have to remove it; I was always thankful it hadn’t been on your radar up to this point. I actually have to revamp Bison’s diet again too (removing sugar, anything processed meaning GoGo Squeeze Applesauce, juice, bacon, lunch meats, etc – even if they state all natural and the like, and ALL coloring natural or not – WHAT???). Ugh. Maybe we should have that wine and cry over our nutrition research notes! Hey, that might help the baby sleep too! Haha! Big hugs!!

  3. naomi says:

    I can’t believe Jake has tested out of speech therapy!! That’s such a great news and it really gives us hope. I’m so happy for you guys!

    Oh yes… GMO crops are all over U.S., and I feel like it’s contributing to our health issues including neurological disorders for children and/or allergy. I know a lot of countries ban GMO crops (including Japan) for a good reason.

    I hope you have a great holiday and I look forward to new update in 2014!

  4. Wahoo for Jakes’s speech news! So exciting! Way to go Jake and Tori!

    Food allergies, ugh. I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this storm now. You may want to look into emeals, and indicate you want paleo meals if that’s the direction you’re heading. Emeals will send you a weekly menu with recipes and a grocery list. My husband and I love it, makes life so much easier for us and worth every penny. 🙂

  5. findingcoopersvoice says:

    I have never related to something more than this post. I know the feeling of the whirlwind. The exhaustion. I’m there. I am so happy for your son. Happy that he is done with speech. That seems like such a far off dream to us right now. Great post.

  6. waldro says:

    Just curious, does he take probiotics? We have had a lot of success with our 5 year old child with apraxia/food intolerance/digestive issues in general. Dr. Alessio Fasano’s research as a GI specialist is very fascinating. Although he himself doesn’t recommend probiotics wholeheartedly yet, he grudgingly admits that overgrowth of bad bacteria could be the culprit behind a lot of food sensitivities and also have neurological implications. My husband is a doctor who made us start taking probiotics when he ran across studies about how much they can bolster the immune system, but they have done far more than that for us.

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