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Monday, 27 April 2009

Best laid plans

I truly believe that God gets amused when we try to "plan" our lives out. How many times do I have to take the wheel thinking I know best only to find out that the driving instructor has true control over the gas & brake pedals!

Duane and I had visions of organic grains (oats, winter wheat, fall rye, spelt, etc...) growing in abundance on our farm. Lovingly seeded and selective about where it goes, the vision was exciting and felt pretty darn good.

However, when you have a child who is allergic to gluten which is found in all the grains aforementioned (debate about the oats), it's a real kick in the pants! Now what?

And visions of our own grass-fed, grain-free, organic hay-fed Dexter milk cow producing nutrient-dense low-protein-chain raw milk, only to find out that our son is SEVERELY allergic to ALL dairy? Now what?

And visions of homemade formula from raw goat's milk only to find ourselves asking "now what?" as we did with the cow.

And our farm fresh free-ranging chicken eggs, again, only to find out that our son is VERY allergic to them?

For crying out loud, God, NOW WHAT? And don't tell me he can't handle the pollen, dust and other allergens living out the country cuz we were NOT meant to be city folk! I nearly get heart palpatations now when I drive into the city!

Well, this morning, our precious little Lily the calf (who is not so little anymore) was picked up by some friends who bought her. Lily's mother, Minnie, has also been purchased and will be delivered when she gets back from getting milk & butter (she is getting bred at the moment... get it? Bred? Also sounds like bread? Hee hee hee... ok, enough puns).

All of our laying chickens have met up with the grim reaper also known as Duane. I tell you, it sucks to greet your chickens and thank them for the eggs every day only to "show your gratitute" by chopping their heads off when they get too old. Thank GOD almighty humanity doesn't work like that! (No arguments there please, the sky is really nice and blue in my happy world of no evil).

And lastly, our dear goats are going to be delivered to new owners later this week. I am going to miss White Top who has made me laugh on countless occasions with her bold and curious attitude.

I suppose I can say I will miss them because I wasn't the one doing all the work to care for them! But I think even Duane aches a teeny tiny bit to see the fruits of his labour (and the goats' and cow's labour) leaving our farm and good intentions.

So now what? Let's grow sunflowers and buckwheat! Maybe some blue corn if we can shelter it enough not to cross contaminate with GMO corn grown on nearby farms. Maybe we build a greenhouse? Farm meat chickens & turkeys? What is in store for us next? Part of me wonders if the natural clearing of the farm is to prepare us for a move? No differently than Duane's cattle barn being knocked down by some freak mini-tornado accident for his time to finally be freed up enough to meet me!

At least we can rest in that... knowing that there is a bigger picture outside our best laid plans. And more often than not, when God takes the wheel and leads us down a path we would have never chosen for ourselves, it always proves to be an answer to prayer. Just never in the ways we anticipated!

The cat came back

Maybe not the very next day but good 'ol Leo the white cat has returned from wherever he was all winter. For those of you who don't know, every year we have a plethra of wild kittens born around the farm. My first year here, I learned the hard way not to try and tame them all nor to get too attached. Disease, predators and male cats would guarantee that next to none would survive. Morbid, I know.

Two years ago, however, I spotted one wild white kitten. The purest white. He was positively gorgeous and when he ran (which was every time he spotted me), he reminded me of a leopard... hence the name, Leo. With due diligence and patience, I befriended him and to my surprise, he was the most affectionate cat I have ever known (that wasn't short of a few marbles)!

As time went by, he would come and greet me at the door any time I left the house. When I was pregnant with Ethan last spring, he would follow me on my walks with Anika and meow more and more fervently the further away we got from the farm. Quite the protector. And even when I would stroll my way towards the end of the yard where Duane would be working in the hay shed, Leo would follow me until I reached Duane and then he'd be on his way.

Needless to say, despite my best efforts, I fell madly in love with my pure white Leo. Even the other kittens would make their way to him and he would lovingly put up with their tugging and would even let a bunch of them curl up and cuddle with him. Not at all typical behaviour for a male cat!

One time this fall, Leo was limping and I saw that his leg had been ravaged in some attack and bleeding badly. Anytime I have interfered with nature, it has backfired and I didn't want anything to backfire where Leo was concerned so I faught the urge to bandage him up trusting that nature would take its course. Sure enough, he healed within days! But only to be attacked again by other male cats in the same spot.

That's when Duane decided to "take care" of the other male cats that kept attacking our dear Leo (and the female cats, too). Poor Leo, one time I was sitting here at the computer and the tree outside the window was shaking profusely. I stood up and looked to see a HUGE male cat climbing the tree looking straight up. When I followed his gaze up the tree, there near the top was poor Leo with a look of "hey, buddy, I don't want to fight... I just want to eat and be merry!"

That's why we were worried when Leo disappeared this past winter. He would sometimes disappear for a day or two here and there but when a week passed, then two and so on, we feared the worst.

But Duane came into the house just the other day and said, "guess who I just saw? Leo's back!" I was so happy! When I went out to see him, he looked dirty and scruffy... not at all my snow white kitten. Wherever he was, it was a rough go. He spotted me and meowed his greeting as though to say "I know it's been a while, but can I still get some food?" Anika was happy to see him, too, and tried to give him a hug which Leo tolerated in his usual loving style. So good to have him back.

Now, we'll just have to make sure we wash our hands very well after hanging out with Leo in case Ethan has allergies to him!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

My little handy man

I am staring out the window at a clear blue sky and there is a spring feeling in the air. I played with Anika outside for a little bit this morning... almost felt like a normal day. Taking in some fresh air was far more needed than I realized, not only for me, but for Anika, too.

Yesterday, we managed to get in early to see the allergy specialist. Ethan weighed in at 15lbs 15oz. He gained nearly a whole pound in twelve days. Just goes to show how many calories he was losing from writhing, squirming, crying and not being able to sleep. I am telling you, that one week of his healing was a gift straight from God! Part of me feels guilty asking for more but man, would it ever be nice!

Due to Ethan's eczema getting worse over this past week, the allergy specialist increased his antihistamine dosage, prescribed a stronger hydrocortizone cream and a slightly stronger bactroban cream. This is my concern... that he continues to grow immune to whatever dosages & strengths we send his way until eventually his eczema is so out of control, NOTHING will help him. BUT, we will continue this protocol for a little while longer. I would like to breastfeed him for another couple of months. I have a feeling we'll see a significant decrease in his eczema when he is off milk completely (meaning my own).

Speaking of milk, we got our naturopath IgE & IgG blood test back. Of the 95 foods tested, he came back moderately to significantly allergic to 18 foods. I'll scan the results when we get a better copy on Friday (that's when we see the naturopath). You'll be able to click on it and read the results for yourself, but to sum up in order of most allergic to least...
Significant - off the charts:
Dairy-American, Cheddar, Mozzarella, Swiss cheeses

Significant - but not off the charts:
Dairy-Cottage cheese
Dairy-Cow's milk
Dairy-Goat's milk

Meats-Egg White
Grains-Gliadin (wheat protein)

I am SOOOOOO relieved that I went with my gut instinct regarding a gluten-free diet. I have actually been suspicious that Ethan may have Celiac Disease. Apparently there is a blood test I can request next time we see the pediatrician.

One instinct I didn't have a hunch about was the almonds... here I was avoiding peanuts but eating almonds and almond butter in lieu of peanut butter. And yet, my poor little guy is so allergic to it!

Speaking of my little guy, just before I laid him down prior to typing this, he was laying on his play mat, pulled his mitts off and was playing & grabbing toys to his heart's content. It breaks my heart to see the way he inspects his hands as though he's never seen them before. Even I find myself staring at his hands as he plays because we see them so rarely. While he plays mitten-less, someone always has to be watching diligently because in a split second, he can massacre his face, neck and head! He's even become strategic with his feet! He gets one foot between two button snaps at the base of his sleeper leg and snaps it open, frees his foot, does the same with the other side and goes to town scraping the backs of his legs using the opposite freed foot. What a monkey doodle! Actually, what discomfort he must be in that he is willing to scrape his skin off. Sheesh!

Anyways, it was mostly the moment of watching his beautiful little hands playing freely that inspired me to share it with you. This experience is such a roller coaster ride: within an hour, he can go from being fine to writhing in pain with red blotches all over his body. Glad to know you're all out there embarking on this journey with me. I hope that wherever you are as you read this, the sun is shining with as much promise as is pouring through my office window at this very moment. God bless!

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Hoping it was just a bump in the road

Last Sunday, I noticed redness around Ethan's mouth and some skin irritation but figured it was just a mild set back. He was held by a lady who was wearing lots of perfume that evening and he really flared up that night. We chalked it up as a lesson learned meaning we'll need to request a no-perfume policy when people come over or when we go out visiting; however, the underlying redness seemed to get worse and worse over the next few days.

Top that up with the fact that I tried that soy-cream and his flare up just kept getting worse. Yesterday, he barely slept and you could see he was rather uncomfortable but this morning is his worst yet since his drastic improvements nearly two weeks ago.

His legs are bleeding from his little feet scraping up the backs of his legs relentlessly, nursing is becoming challenging again because he is contantly shifting around, his nose is stuffed up like crazy and his eyes are glassy & watery.

I had taken him outside with Anika on Tuesday and Wednesday when we had our beautiful weather and now I am wondering if that caused some serious hay fever for the poor little guy. He's never had the weeping eyes before or the stuffed nose. There's no cough but he is really having a rough go with his breathing at various points in the day.

What went wrong? He is still getting his wet wraps, we are using Cortef cortizone cream like it's body lotion (until we see the allergy specialist again on Wednesday), he gets his daily dose of hydroxizine (antihistamine) and protopic on his cheeks. Other than my one bump with the soy-cream, I have been on the hypoallergenic diet for almost two weeks.

What more are we supposed to do?????

Why do things work only for a short period of time and then he becomes IMMUNE to it? Not only that, but his eczema seems to come back with a vengeance!

He was looking like he was finally gaining weight again, he was actually hydrated enough to cry tears (the few times he did cry over this past happy week) and to drool. His hair was starting to grow back, too. It was so nice to rest my cheek against his soft head and to caress his cheeks for the first time in months. The week relief has done wonders for him BUT WHY WON'T IT LAST??? When will he stop suffering? Will this ever end? I am so tired of getting my hopes up and having them dashed away again and again and again. I am so frustrated from watching him in pain, screaming and writhing, trying to rip his skin off and all I can say to him is "I don't know how to help you, little buddy. I don't know what else to do."

This is so cruel on so many levels. What more does God want us to learn? And for crying out loud, would he quit using my son to teach me? And even as I type that, Melina in her wisdom said to me "but mom, maybe God knows you well enough to know that the best way you would listen to Him is through your kids."

Ok, ok! I'm listening! What do you want? Why Ethan? How does his suffering bring glory to You?

Do we pack up and live in a cave somewhere? I'm scared to GO anywhere because I have no idea if Ethan will have an allergic reaction to his environment or something else I haven't thought of. I'm scared of people touching him or holding him (perfume, laundry detergent, synthetic fibers...). I feel like I am going crazy. Will this pass, too? Or am I going to become the crazy lady who sprays antibacterial air freshner on people who want to hold my son and who carries hand sanitizer in her purse & pockets at all times?

Anyways, I just needed to vent. My brain hurts again in trying to piece this enigma together and from trying to talk myself into trusting the PURPOSE to all of this. I just want to know he'll be okay in the end. And sooner than later because I can't figure out how to piece my life together to something that RESEMBLES order and structure. Will post pics as soon as I get the chance. Sorry for the Eeyore gloomy entry, but I feel so down right now.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Our grass-fed beef

Check out the link below to see why we are adamant about the grass-fed beef we raise. In passing, Dr. Joel Bohemier who is featured on this three minute clip is also our chiropractor!{468EA86C-67B1-45BA-8D4A-99CC2F12410E}&fvTitle=Grass%20Fed%20Beef&

Soy bad of me!

I think I officially win "worst-mom-of-the-year" award...

In our attempts to find delicious (or even remotely eatable) food on this restrictive diet, we had come across a soy ice cream product called Purely Decadent. It is free of dairy and tastes better than regular ice cream. VERY expensive but soooo yummy.

We had just bought a bunch of tubs for the month when Ethan's results came back showing he was allergic to soy. Crap. All this soy-cream just sitting there...

I was doing fine until yesterday. I figured "surely just a few bites won't be THAT bad?"

Well, Ethan cried most of the night, nursing every two hours or so, has had a rough day, been unable to sleep for more than forty minutes at a time, is clearly itchy and has red spots showing up all over his body.

"And the award goes to RITA for making a selfish indulgence more important than the 24 hours of pain & discomfort her son would have to endure."

Speaking of which, he is now screaming upstairs... I have a feeling tonight is going to be no fun, either. Wish me luck, or better yet, wish me some self-discipline for my son's sake! If anyone wants to join me at my pity-party, be sure to eat all the soy-cream so as to remove the temptation.

This actually reminds me of sin... we figure "just this one time" or "surely this isn't that big a deal" knowing that the only one who will feel the consequences of our actions is Christ. I can't stand knowing my sin put him up on that cross but worst yet is knowing that His suffering isn't enough for me to STOP giving Him reason to take on my sin. (In case you're wondering, Ethan seems to have gone back to sleep so don't worry... I am not typing to my heart's content while he's screaming).

Even this past Easter was an eye-opener for me. I can barely keep it together when I watch Ethan writhing in pain. The worst was when he looked like a burn victim and his suffering was so surreal. I could NOT imagine loving ANYONE enough to willingly watch my son suffer on their behalf. Can you imagine HOW MUCH HE MUST LOVE US? Can you fathom the intense pain He must have endured... for us? I can't help the tears when I think of it because here I am limited in my ability to love others to that extent.

Oh but I pray that I grow in this area. I pray that I lovingly embrace ALL those who come into my life (even when they are yelling at me about health choices). To be forgiving, humble and a SERVANT to others. I feel like I am failing miserably at this time especially considering I can't even stay away from Soy products for my own son's sake. But perhaps in these failings, I will learn to be strengthened... get up and try even harder. I would rather know that I am weak where I stand so I can DO something about it than foolishly believe I've got it all right.

On that note, I hear Ethan again. I'll take a deep breath and prepare myself to take on a challenging night knowing I brought this upon myself... and poor Ethan. Hope this finds you all growing in your own strengths, self-aware about your own weaknesses, and faithful that you will overcome them. God bless you all!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Best eczema website to-date

I have been puzzled by Ethan's swollen nipples practically since birth. I figured it was a reaction to the influx of hormones crossed over from the placenta during birth but it never really subsided. This lead me to wonder if any of this eczema could be affected by hormones.

I did a search on eczema & hormones and came across the MOST HELPFUL eczema website to-date! It is LOVING, it is ENCOURAGING, it is incredibly THOROUGH with research & personal experience. If you know anyone who is suffering from eczema, I strongly recommend they explore the website:

Even if you DON'T have eczema, the diet recommendation will surely change ANYONE's life. The creator suffered from such extreme eczema that she faced the possiblity of amputation! She claims that she pleaded with God for answers and promised she would help everyone else if He would grant her healing... and she has been eczema free for fifteen years (if I recall correctly). She mentions the possibility of creating too much or too little hormones due to potential thyroid issues.

Her journey is both sad and inspiring... from turning to all conventional routes to all natural medicine routes to finally taking her health into her own hands via diet. No homeopathic meds, no topical steroids, no antibiotics... just FOOD. The right kinds, the right time, the right balance, etc...

I pray you enjoy the valuable wisdom from this website as much as I have!

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Best of both worlds!

We are hoping that we have found a way to combine the wisdom & knowledge of both conventional & alternative medicines...

We have been following the allergy specialists protocol for immediate relief:
Topical Protopic 0.03% to Ethan's face twice daily;
Cortef (hydrocortizone) to Ethan's body twice daily;
2.5 mls of Hydroxyzine (antihistamine) at bedtime;
Bactroban (topical antibiotic), for open oozing sores until no longer weeping;
and two wet wraps per day in Buro-Sol.

While administering this protocol, we are also building Ethan's natural defenses & healing abilities through the naturopath's protocol:
Cod liver oil (through my breast milk)
Vitamin D (for Ethan directly and through my breast milk, too)
HMF hypoallergenic bacterial flora (for Ethan directly to help heal his intestines & maximize proper nutritional absorption)
Homeopathic med (through my breast milk) to reduce overall inflammation.

I think I can hear the angels singing "Hellelujah" because our beautiful son is getting better and better with EVERY passing day... no four day curse, no one-step-forward-two-steps-back... just genuine HEALING!!!

Thanks to the allergy specialist's protocol, his skin is actually NORMAL! I didn't know he had WHITE skin! All this time I thought he had good red pigmentation but it was his underslying skin flareup. Poor little guy.

Thanks to the naturopath's protocol, his bowels are FINALLY normal and he is not suffering from bowel discomfort. He is cooing, laughing & smiling, playing, rolling over and has BARELY CRIED for two days.


Last night he SLEPT for FIVE HOURS STRAIGHT!!! I am on cloud nine, baby! I am ready to tackle some chores, cook, sing (I hadn't realized that I'd stopped singing these last six months)... I am just feeling so happy.

My son is healing! He is not writhing in pain! He is HIMSELF again... my happy little guy.

I pray this is only the beginning! You can still see that his scalp wants to flare up & he still itches around his neck now and again but NOTHING in comparison to five days ago.

How do I thank you for your prayers? How can "thank you" ever be ENOUGH? Your prayers guided us to the people we needed to meet, your prayers brought healing to uneasy situations, your prayers have brought sleep to our son and now finally he can HEAL (and hopefully grow).

My mom has spent the last few days here with us again and she has been truly inspiring with recipe creations that meet our hypoallergenic diet restrictions. We should get Ethan's blood results back from the naturopath in the next two weeks and we'll have a better idea of WHAT he is allergic to of the 95 foods tested. We will know his IMMEDIATE allergies via the IgE test he's done & his food INTOLERANCES via the IgG test, as well. There is some debate regarding the latter amidst conventional & natural medicine so I'll try to attach an article that helped us in determining the value of it.

I pray that my own prayers out to all of you (and beyond) are finding you now and bringing you peace in your own worlds, your own families, your own ordeals, triumphs and joys. God bless you all!

Thursday, 9 April 2009

A humble heart in the end!

I have to thank you for your prayers! Would you believe that just before supper tonight, the allergy specialist phoned...

Right away, she said "I am calling to apologize for my behaviour yesterday. I really don't know what got into me."

I, in turn, apologized (it's just so amazing the relief in your heart and soul when you can make ammends). I explained to her that I don't normally explode like that on people (except for my own kids, for some reason... oh, and occasionally my poor husband) but for some reason I lost it with her yesterday and I, too, apologized for not having found a more loving approach to our dilemma.

She answered "I would have yelled at me, too, if I had been you. In fact, I probably would have done worse. I was out of line and you called me on it. Anyways, I wanted to say that I would really like to work with you and help your son if you would give me a second chance."

We agreed on giving this another try. I thanked her for the apology and told her it meant so much to me. She stated that the whole ordeal wasn't sitting well with her and she needed to do this more for her own peace of mind.

Isn't prayer amazing? And isn't it amazing how readily available forgiveness is when someone truly has a humble heart? Now I just want to go and hug her! I am sure we'll disagree down the road on a few things, but at least we'll have enough respect for each other to know when we can negotiate and when we'll need to just agree to disagree.

I am so relieved at the peace that could be found, I am glad that we can work together again and I am also glad at the deeper connection we'll have in working together. Praise God almighty!

Thank you for your miraculous prayers and for being so "present" to us through them.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Being kicked when you're down

Just to warn you now, this will be a long one... I've got a lot to get off my chest and today was a day from hell.

As you know, yesterday we met a naturopathic doctor who reviewed Ethan's history, my pregnancy, symptoms, issues, etc... He listened so intently to every detail (unlike some other people we've been trying to work with). You could see his brain churning (ok, so you couldn't actually see his brain but it was like you could see the wheels turning). His approach:
a) take a blood test for Ethan to test IgE and IgG levels of antibodies to 95 different foods,
b) get me on a hypoallergenic diet (even more restrictive than what I am on now) along with a supplement called UltraCare to help maintain proper caloric intake.
c) increase my vitamin D intake to 4,000 IU per day via Cod Liver Oil (this way, Ethan gets the DHA, too)
d) get me on Hepar Sulfuris Calcareum (a homeopathic med that helps to localize inflammation)
e) give Ethan Human Microflora Super powder (L.acidophilus, bifidobacterium bifidum & lactis as well as fructo-oligosaccharides) to help support his GI tract which is likely as inflammed as the rest of his body is externally, and lastly
f) supplement (in ADDITION to my breatfeeding) using Ultracare medical formula ( which is hypoallergenic and is one of the only rice-based formulas on the market

Very good approach for starters, no? We valued what he had to say, what his concerns were and appreciated this non-invasive, immune-supporting approach. We are certainly willing to work with this.

Today, I was to meet with the allergy specialist again. The first time we visited her, she wanted Ethan on an elemental formula called Neocate whose first ingredient is corn syrup solids... we don't allow corn syrup in our home for many reasons. Just ask us for links to countless specialists and doctors who've written reports on the horrific effects of genetically modified foods and we'll gladly forward them to you. Anyways, we'd asked her if she knew if the corn source was organic or if she could at least guarantee that it was non-GMO and she seemed quite defensive and couldn't give us answers. That's fine, we called the company ourselves and are still waiting to hear back from them on this regard. Until then, we are not comfortable with Neocate being Ethan's only source of nutrition.

We still fight with him regarding the bottle (we did another seven hour stretch without nursing and hours of fighting with him... eventually, with him losing weight, I give in for fear we are going too long without feeding him).

Anyways, I wanted to bring this new formula with me today to make sure the allergy specialist didn't see anything on its ingredient list that would raise some concern. What I did NOT expect was to be attacked and judged!! I brought this with this sincerest hope we could work together on this! Am I so naive to believe that a medical doctor would have enough humility about her practice to embrace the possibility that she may NOT have all the answers? That there may be MORE than just ONE way of looking at health issues?

"Why are you ok giving Ethan this rice formula but not the Neocate?"

"The first ingredient is Corn syrup solids! And you can't tell us if it's non-GMO."

"It's a broken down by-product of corn, so that doesn't matter!"

"I don't care if it's broken down ten million times, if its SOURCE is not good, I don't want it in my son! What is in the UltraCare that you don't want Ethan to have?"

She couldn't answer that. Instead she grabs a piece of paper and says "Let me show you how sick your son is!! His allergy to casein is so off the charts that they can't even measure it! He is highly allergic to everything we've tested so far except the corn." When she asked me if we'd done the naturopath's blood test, I couldn't lie to her. I answered honestly "yes, just yesterday". She pushed her chair back and shook her head. "I TOLD YOU THAT TEST IS POINTLESS!"

I replied: "Pointless? Really? Then why has my skin cleared up from avoiding the 14 foods that I came back intolerant to? Why have thousands upon thousands of people been healed of countless health issues BECAUSE of the findings in these tests?"

She kept shaking her head at me as though I'd committed some horrific sin. And that just did it. I have been watching my son suffer and trying to educate myself BEYOND just conventional medicine so that I could be discerning in our approach... focusing on LONG-TERM effects of today's decisions, not just the moment. I have questioned every step wondering if I am headed in the right direction and have done my best to provide the best for my son. And here is this blasted woman who has no clue what it's like to walk a mile in my shoes shaking her head at me. I snapped.

I yelled "Do you seriously believe that you provide the ONLY solution to health? Have you EVER watched your own child suffer? Wouldn't you want to hear EVERYONE's potential leads so as to make sure you haven't left ANYTHING out? Shouldn't this be about FINDING the answers? How DARE you sit there and shake your head at me like that!"

And she yells "I have been trying to be respectful of your 'alternative' views"

"Respectful?? RESPECTFUL??? You sitting there pushing your seat back and shaking your head at me is RESPECTFUL? Because it feels more like judgement! We are trying to work with ALL views here."

Her response "If you would just let me deal with your son like a regular patient, I would have him fixed in a week."

"Fixed?? FIXED?? Are you telling me you would fix his symptoms of rashes or his eczema?" And once again she shook her head.

I am not looking to fix only the symptoms, I want to address the root cause! If your roof is leaking, do you think a bit of duct tape to stop the dripping is going to fix the problem? No! Shouldn't we have the same approach to our health? And why is it ok to get second and third opinions (that can all vary, I may add) from practioners but you can't get second and third opinions from different schools of thought?

Well, we walked out of there with a few prescriptions for Ethan to get his outbreak under control. We phoned our naturopath and he said "all the things she prescribed are fine short term. I would go ahead with the plan she laid out for you."

Isn't that the approach ALL practioners should have for the sake of their patients' health? Shouldn't EGO be the LAST thing involved here?

I don't think I have ever yelled at someone that I don't know before. I wanted so much to work WITH her on this but she treated us like infants and an annoyance right from the getgo, which we saw past in hopes of working together for Ethan's sake. Are we going to jump at every little thing she suggests? No! But we are going to weigh it SERIOUSLY and DECIDE which of the options available best suit our son.

It was conventional medicine that wanted to give Isabel a jujonostomy because her formula would just sit in her stomach, but it was our research that found a formula that promoted gastric emptying and the procedure was no longer necessary.

It was conventional medicine that wanted to prescribe a medication (with serious side effects) to deal with Isabel's constipation, but it was our research (and common sense) that said "let's just add prune juice to her formula"... and that's all it took.

Does conventional medicine have it's place? Absolutely! Where would we be with Isabel's epilepsy without it? And what of her asthma? Is conventional medicine the only answer? NO WAY!!! And ANYONE, whether naturopath, homeopath, osteopath, or MD who acts like they are the ONLY ones with answers are NOT your right source of knowledge.

Because if there is ANYTHING I have learned in life, it is that as the radius of knowledge increases, so does the circumference of ignorance! A dose of humility as we approach ALL things should keep us READY to hear others and to welcome challenge in hopes of walking away more enriched and more enlightened... not threatened! You should feel threatened only if you are weak in your faith.

I see a dietician tomorrow. I asked her right off the bat "what is your view on alternative medicine?" and she answered "I believe it, too, has its place in health." "So you're not going to yell at me or judge me for seeking answers from various sources when I see you tomorrow?" and the kind lady answered "not at all."

Thank God. Those are the people I want to work with because they are WILLING to work WITH us. To assume you have a 360 degree view on truth is infantile and arrogant... two things that will always keep you from choosing to have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.

So there you have my very lengthy rant on today's events. I could delve further into the specialists we have consulted with regarding alternative approaches, one of whom is an ag consultant/Medical Doctor/Osteopath who is OPEN to ALL forms of thinking. He is sought out world-wide and he has a respect (and educated understanding) for all aspects of medicine. Although clearly by his life path, you can see that he has come to believe nutrition (the body's fuel) is the root to our answers.

We don't ever ask anyone to believe what we believe, we just ask that it be respected, and not in the way of crossing your arms and shaking your head... not tolerated, but respected.

Forgive me, Lord, for losing my temper with this woman today. And forgive her for lacking a humble heart in her approach of LEARNING ALL options that should be available to the many children she cares for. Help her to see the value in humility. Help her to appreciate the many wisdoms that surround her without prejudice and may you bring peace to her heart and to mine after our interaction today. Help us, also, to appreciate the wisdom she wants to share with us. I pray this in Jesus name... Amen.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Foot in the mouth

And I'm not referring to Ethan's newly discovered flexibility! I am almost afraid to say Ethan is doing well because soon afterwards, things seem to go downhill for a while. And if I say he is struggling, suddenly he seems to be doing better.

So let's try this: Ethan is struggling considerably with discomfort, increasing ooziness (if that's a word... hang on, let me check with spell check... nope, it's not a word but I'm using it anyways), and increasing insomnia.

Honestly, he actually is seeming to go downhill again and has been since my last post. The good news is that I can feel that my milk supply has increased but he still doesn't pee nearly as much as he used to. His little poops are still green (again, mother's blog must have the word poop in it several times... poop, poop, poop) but at least he seldom spits up anymore.

My brain hurts from the research and the diets recommended by different eczema websites. I think I'll just start grazing grass and drinking water and that's it!

Yesterday, Ethan screamed for most of the day and he could barely nap without waking up several times screaming. All of last night, he screamed with the occasional forty minute break. I am so exhausted, Duane is so exhausted.

I just don't think I can do this much longer. At this point, I just want to find a hypoallergenic formula and get him formula fed. This every-two-hours around the clock is too much, especially when he still screams in pain from SOMETHING I've eaten that I can't figure out and especially when it doesn't seem to be helping him to gain weight.

This sucks so much. I just want to be able to nurse my baby. But if that can't be done, then please, God almighty, help him to take a bottle!!! How long do we have to fight with him and watch him choke and scream through our every attempt to give him a bottle?

Friday, 3 April 2009

Some results

Unfortunately, when Ethan had his blood drawn for his allergy tests, the technician sent it to the wrong place and we had to go back yesterday and do it all over again... poor little guy.

Preliminary results showed that his white blood cell counts are perfectly normal (WOO HOO!) so he is not battling any internal infections; however, his red blood cell count was a bit low. Hopefully we'll get some allergy results before the end of next week.

As for continued care for Ethan, his pediatrician wants to see him every month and monitor food introduction very closely. She doesn't seem concerned about his weight loss (am I just overreacting?) because she claims he is still within the 20th percentile. We will continue to chart his growth on a monthly basis through his pediatrician. The good news is that he is finally peeing lots again and his bowel movements are looking more normal. (No, this wouldn't be a mother's blog if there was no reference to poop.)

Continued care via the allergy specialist is turning out to be on a weekly basis. I will request a weigh in at each visit to be on the safe side. We have reduced his wet wraps to once a day but may need to increase it to two again.

Ethan's mood is MUCH BETTER!!! He still suffers bouts of intense itching & discomfort but some of his awake time can be spent playing on the floor with some toys. Just yesterday, he managed to keep rolling from his tummy onto his back! He loves his jolly jumper and we hope that the weight bearing helps his digestion.

His cheeks & joints still ooze and I can smell the staph infection on his face & head when we are getting close to wet wrap time so we have been washing his cheeks & head with colloidal silver prior to lotioning him up throughout the day.

Our nights are rough (ok, maybe not for Ethan but they sure are for me!). He nurses every two hours or so for forty minutes at a time & sometimes requires a diaper change in there so I am getting about forty-five minutes to an hour of sleep at a time throughout the night. By the time the 5:00 a.m. feeding time comes around, I can barely blink because my eyes are so dry.

As for the amazing request from so many of you on how to help, the truth of the matter is, prayer or meals are most appreciated or caring for Anika in the morning while I try to sleep when Ethan goes down. But even there, our meals are so restricted diet-wise that I can't expect anyone to spend the amount of time I have trying to FIND recipes let alone make us a meal! And babysitting Anika in the morning is tough, too, because so far we've been scheduling the pediatrician, allergy specialist, chiropractic & naturopath apts in the morning when Anika is awake so as not to interfere with her afternoon naps.

I've even had offers from people to come clean my house! Even that is challenging as there is so much paper work that needs filing & sorting and only Duane or I know where they need to go (ok, I am the only one that knows where they need to go... hee hee hee).

I think that's why prayers are so valued because they reach us in ways we don't know how to ask: more wisdom, more energy, more quality breastmilk for Ethan, more relief and healing for Ethan, more support for the other kids who wonder why they are now on the sidelines of quality time & care, more patience, more faith... these requests far exceed a clean house or full tummies. It's the "unseen" but it is felt far deeper than words can say. To know you are praying for my son is a comfort that reaches my soul. This way I can TRUST this whole process because there is a higher power at work here. Even if I'm out to lunch (and trust me, with this much lack of sleep, I am starting to not know the difference between dream, thought & reality) at least I am finding peace in that trust.

Thank you for contributing to a happier Ethan. His voice is still hoarse from all of his screaming this last month (at one point, he had actually lost his voice) but at least that little hoarse voice is cooing and communicating. His favourite activity that Grandma Jackie helped him to discover is sticking out his tongue and watching intently how we stick ours out, too. I chuckle because I can just imagine hearing him say "WasssssUUUUp?"

God bless you all for journeying with us, for suggestions, support, encouragement and overall presence. Thank you!

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Still no answers

Well, last night was not a good night at all. My mother was back home and Duane worked a night shift and Ethan decided that he would cry and complain most of the night. Our only sleep was from about 6-8 this morning.

Duane came back from his night shift and said he would bring Ethan to the allergy specialist this morning and drop Anika off at a friend's house so I could rest. He came back with not so helpful info...

The swab they took of his head came back positive for staph infection. Not sure what kind or if it has gotten to his blood stream. But with him constantly scratching open cuts on his head, it's no surprise that he is dealing with that, too. Even I feel scared to touch him for fear that I am giving him bacteria from my own skin. But I know the Lord reminds us not to be afraid and that worrying intercedes our ability to have faith. I'm working on it and sometimes I feel peaceful with the process and other times I am so afraid that this could become one of those rock bottom moments He gives me to rest completely and totally in Him.

And so I will have to rest in Him (as this is the only "rest" I can get!) because Ethan has lost yet another 2oz this past week despite feeding every two hours for forty minutes at a time. The allergy specialist was not at all happy that we did not get Ethan on the formula... if she offered to come and get him on it herself, I'd be all for it! Duane also asked if we could find an elemental formula that did not have corn syrup solids as its first ingredient. Or if it had to be, could it please be non-genetically-modified corn? We're getting used to people looking at us like we're from Mars at these requests... so much for help in that department.

Ethan was sent for an allergy blood test this morning for nine food items. We will also be meeting a naturopath within a couple of weeks who will be testing for 95 different food items.

I just want answers. What is this? How did it happen? What can we do about it?

We continue to pray for our son, for our daughter who feels neglected, for my two big girls who barely get to spend time with mom, either and for guidance towards the right questions and finally the right answers. Thank you for joining us in prayer.