I (Amy) feel like it's been awhile since I've posted any updates on things, so while I should be doing laundry and meal planning, getting ready for RUF tonight, etc., I'm going to procrastinate and write a blog post instead. :)
Physically for Caroline, things have been going rather well these days! We are still seeing consistently good, firm poop, which is a very good sign that things are working as they should. The pale complexion and dark circles under the eyes have also disappeared for now! I am holding my breath a little, though, since we've had lengths of time with great poop & good complexion before, only to be disappointed when they took a turn for the worse, you know? I'm hesitant to declare any type of "victory" over anything, but I can be thankful for the progress that we seem to be making.
The parasite medication combined with the nutritionally healing diet seem to be holding things in check... at least for now! (lots of times chronic parasite infections can relapse due to life cycle stages of the parasites, etc... yuck, I know!!) So we plan to retest for the giardia and treat it again if need be. We've also slowly brought back some of the foods that initially showed up as delayed food intolerances in the IGg blood testing: organic eggs, corn products, lemon, garlic & tomatoes, to name a few. As far as the hair, Caroline still has lots of little fine, white peach fuzz. It seems like it is very slow in growing, but at this point I'm okay with that. She's down to her last 5 or 6 previous hairs, and the day those finally fall out I will for sure be saddened once more.
But for now, we're just doing our thing and providing as many good foods and vitamins/supplements to help strengthen her digestive track and ultimately her immune system!
Here are some ways you can specifically pray for us at this point in our journey:
1) Marc is still gluten free (for 1 month!) and is feeling lots of improvements in his own health symptoms. He plans to go to a gastroenterologist and get some further testing on celiac disease before he commits to do this for a lifetime. As you can imagine, it is an entirely different stressor on ME to not only meal plan & cook for a gluten free/dairy free/soy free/ etc. etc. 2 YEAR OLD, but now a gluten free husband as well! Somehow (and some days I really don't know how!) we are making it and our bellies are full. :) I know it's certainly not easy on him when his job consists of meeting students out for lunches and breakfasts, etc.
2) As Caroline is getting older and is SOOOOOOOO stinkin' smart for her age, she's figuring out more than I'm ready for her to know about all of this. (for instance, she announces out LOUD in front of everyone at the health food store "I'm shopping for my PROBIOTIC!!" to which there are tons of big belly laughs... and while I love it that my 2 yr. old kid is so smart & can say something so completely impressive and intelligent, it also makes me sad that it has to be this way, too.) While we have no problems eating at home together, it isn't as easy in social settings now when people aren't eating what she's eating, you know? "I want bread! I want bread, Mama!..." and then I see everyone freeze and turn to me to watch my reaction... Not only does that hurt a Mama's heart to have to tell your daughter no in front of people, but it's just cause for sadness. Food is such a communal thing. Not being able to share it together is just downright isolating. And I have to keep reminding myself that I am saying no because I LOVE her and it is the BEST thing for her not to get something that will ultimately be hard on her body to handle. (as a friend said to me this week, "Food is her medicine, Amy.")
Anyways, I need to begin talking with her before these settings occur to explain that there will be foods that Caroline can have and foods that Caroline can't have because it would make her tummy sick right now. And as I've worked SOOO hard to try to normalize ALL of the past 11 months to her, I just don't want her to begin viewing herself as a "sick" kid, you know? I don't want her little 2 yr. old mind to misunderstand and start to think there is something really WRONG with HER. (so Daddy being gluten free actually is a HELP because right now I can say "you and Daddy" can't have that food.) I know she is smart and she already has vocalized to me on occasion that "that food will make my tummy hurt" when she knows it's not her food. But I'm afraid we're now reaching the point where I now have to give her more bite-size explanations on her level about why she's eating something different. Boo. I wish it wasn't this way.
3) Can I just admit that I'm dreading the holidays already???? Seriously. I know that probably doesn't make sense to those of you without food allergy issues. But Halloween when my kid can't have sugar??? Ugh- just depresses me to think about it. Maybe I'll just crawl in a hole and hibernate until January??... or an island vacation sounds better...
Thankfully, for the past few weeks I have felt much less anxiety and fear than in previous months. It has been a wonderful gift from the Lord to be able to do the exact same things in the routine of the day but without the feeling that there are 50-pounds-pressing-down-on-my-shoulders. I am so thankful for a reprieve from all of that--even if it's just for a time. It has freed me up to get my eyes off of my own problems and to serve & care for others more, which I love to do.
And even though certain things like shopping for our new collection of fall/winter hats trigger emotions of sadness or anger at how things are, I know that God can handle my little emotions. He's big enough to handle me being mad at him! And I know He's okay with that, or He wouldn't have included the Psalms in His word. And I'm in a much better "place" when I'm just grieving things rather than fearful that He's not guiding us. I have seen so much unbelief surface in my heart in the form of anxiety, and it has been slowly eating away at me for too long. Please pray that God would continue to grant me with this gift of peace and deep trust in His loving care for my daughter. He loves her even more than I do, and I KNOW that He is working out His purposes in all of us through this.
Thank you, dear friends!