Well, it's 2am and I (Amy) can't sleep, many thanks to the cold that Caroline was so nice to pass along to me... (wasn't it so nice of her to share??) :) So my brain might not be all that coherent as I type, but you understand...
We are seeing some improvement!!! After what turned out to be one of the hardest weeks for us emotionally throughout this entire process last week, we are so encouraged by what we are seeing this weekend. (oh, the rollercoaster of emotions we ride in this...) After our doctor's visit last week, we started Caroline on a digestive enzyme (to help break up the food she's eating at each meal) as well as zinc. Who knew that proper zinc levels are necessary in healing the intestines & promoting hair regrowth, and some of the main symptoms of a zinc deficiency include HAIR LOSS (esp. eyebrows & eyelashes!!), diarrhea, and eczema?!? (you would think that at least ONE of our doctors before now would have thought to check her blood levels for zinc, wouldn't you?!?)
Anyways, zinc is a super important mineral in our bodies that can easily become deficient when you have a problem with a "leaky" gut or celiac disease. (in other words, celiac/gut issues and zinc deficiency can go hand-in-hand) So even if Caroline is getting enough zinc naturally in her diet, because there is a malabsorption problem to begin with, it may not be getting absorbed- thus causing a deficiency.
So under our doctor's supervision, 3 days ago we gave Caroline her first dose of zinc (dumped 1/2 of a capsule of powder onto a heaping spoon of applesauce- yum!). And would you believe- the next day & since then, her bowel movements have consistently been 100% PERFECT!! (I know this is gross to talk about my daughter's poop in such a public forum, but if only you knew how thrilling this is to her recovery!) I mean, we hadn't seen a single diaper like these in months. And for the past few days, it's been consistently PERFECT. AND, even in just 2 short days, we see her skin/eczema looking better, too! Praise Jesus for ZINC! :)
What does this mean? Does this mean that we can abandon ship on all of the restrictive diet stuff and just pop our kid full of zinc? (oh, isn't that the kind of "quick fix" we all would want?) Unfortunately no. Absolutely not. It's ALL of the things we're doing combined that are giving her gut the best chance to heal. (a GREAT, nutritious diet, probiotics, a multi-vitamin, digestive enzyme, & zinc) The food allergies are still there for now, and the zinc deficiency isn't necessarily THE cause of all of this, but a result of THE cause. (if that makes sense.)
So we'll need to keep on with giving Caroline TONS of good foods packed with nutrition to keep her little immune system healing and strong. (trust me- this girl is NOT going hungry! With lots of fresh meats, rice, potatoes, beans, veggies galore, & fruits, this gal doesn't even care about what WE perceive her to be "missing." Just as long as YOU'RE not gobbling it down right in front of her...that'd be torturous for anyone! Thankfully the diet isn't hard on her- just on me.) Hopefully it won't have to be too long before we'll start rotating a few of the allergen foods back in, but obviously it took a long time to lose an entire head of hair- so we'll have to be patient to let her body take the time it needs to heal. (again--- if only we could just pop a pill and poof!-- this is all over with, right? Oh, how many times have I longed to suddenly wake up from this bad dream. But God doesn't let me escape my suffering- he wants to bring me through it.)
But the good news is that I think we've hopefully turned a corner for what will likely be a long road up. And if this turns out not to be the road to recovery & we end up zooming down on the emotional rollercoaster tomorrow, (sigh) we'll manage. God, give us the grace to endure.
Many of you are praying, and praying fervently. Thank you. He is answering prayer. Hallelujah!
Now to try to get some sleep...