More from the Grim Family to come soon, including an update on the health and well-b
Yes, you read that title correctly. While I do not have the time write a long post -- which I am dying to do because I do have a recipe for roasted sweet potatoes -- I do have an article to post about the advances of science. Technology is great, I use it everyday, I enjoy its benefits in entertainment and cooking, however I think food should come from the most natural source available as close to home as possible. Meat made from a test tube does not meet any of my criteria for food I want to consume. Don't believe me about test tube meat? Check out this article I saw via msn.com: The World's First Test Tube Burger. Let me add that I am advocate for ending world hunger, however I don't think artificial food is necessarily the most beneficial solution, even for starving bodies.
More from the Grim Family to come soon, including an update on the health and well-b
So, we survived out trip to Riley. First things first, it was absolutely surreal being there. For those of us who live in Indiana, Riley is known not as the place for sick kids, but the place for REALLY sick kids. And especially for us here in Fort Wayne because we have plenty of pediatric physicians and even specialties -- so when you hear someone has been referred to Riley, it makes you nod your head solemnly and think, "Oh my gosh." That's just the general feeling around here when it comes down to it, and I couldn't believe that WE were there.
Adelle was seen by a hematologist (not an immunologist, like I thought, due to a miscommunication) in the Hematology/Oncology department. So were right there with all these poor sick kids going through cancer treatments, their little bald or fuzzy heads and ports sticking out of their chests or handicapped children in special wheelchairs or strollers... oh my gosh, my heart just went out to these kids. And then there we were in the midst of all of this, Adelle talking and playing and eating a snack, looking so healthy and normal on the outside that you'd never guess she had anything wrong going on inside of her.
So the appointment went as well as we could have ever hoped considering we were at a place designated for truly ill children. The doctor thinks she has Chronic Benign Neutropenia with no known cause, which doesn't cause much harm to the child unless an infection gets out of control. And most children grow out of it.
Adelle's neutrophil count was slightly higher than it was from her previous labs a couple of months ago. Is this just random? Is it because we're treating her for the yeast over growth and supplementing with lots of probiotics? Or is she simply starting to "grow out of" this mystery condition? No one knows, but I do feel in my heart that the yeast over growth is likely the root cause of her problems. We're continuing to treat with the medicine for another 3 weeks in addition to being on a gluten-free diet.
Speaking of being gluten-free, I have also 100% switched to a gluten-free diet with Adelle. And I have been absolutely amazed at how much energy I have had lately. It's been darn near boundless! I have felt so good!! At first I thought it was just me feeling better after having such a bad cold/sinus infection, but this high-energy feeling hasn't gone away -- until today.
Due to an unfortunate sequence of events yesterday at the hospital, I ate a lunch with a tiny bit of gluten (couscous sprinkled in a sandwich wrap -- I didn't eat the wrap). I didn't know what would happen if I ate gluten. My greatest fear was having some kind of stomach cramps that would have me running to the bathroom for salvation. But nothing happened -- I felt fine. And I figured I probably don't have any gluten sensitivity problem. Then I woke up this morning, tired, feeling unrested and without energy, and my shoulder muscles were sore and achy as though I had done some type of strenuous upper body workout. At first I just thought I was tired from yesterday and our trip to the hospital, which lasted all day and was a bit stressful, but now I'm thinking it's from eating that darn gluten. I'm just shocked by this outcome, to be honest, not knowing that gluten could do that to someone (unless those with Celiac disease, which I don't have). Of course, I can't tell just by this one experience that it is definitely the gluten that's causing my symptoms, so I'll be curious to see if my energy returns and if any other encounters with gluten cause the same symptoms.
In the meantime, I plan to update the site soon with gluten-free recipes -- and you don't have to be on a gluten-free diet to enjoy these healthy dishes!
Tomorrow we take Adelle to the pediatric immunologist at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. It's our first appointment there, and I'm sure I'll be a bit nervous. There's an unspoken consensus around our area that if your doctor refers you to Riley, you know whatever medical situation you're going through with your child is either not very common or it's serious. So when our pediatrician brought us in to talk about Adelle's chronic low white blood cells and he told us we were being referred to Riley, my heart just sank.
This promises to be a whole-day event. Our appointment is at 9:30am, which means we'll need to leave here around 7am. I guess I could complain about having to travel so far and so long to get to Riley, but I feel rather fortunate to live relatively close to such a reputable children's hospital. At least we're not driving to the Mayo clinic in Minneapolis or the Cleveland Clinic. So the appointment is at 9:30am, and the nurse told me the consultation process usually takes two to two and a half hours, which takes us to 11:30 or 12pm. Then we'll probably get lunch and head back, maybe getting home around 3pm if everything goes smoothly.
Through all of this, I am grateful for two things. First, my in-laws have graciously volunteered to watch Cora, who is on Thanksgiving break from school this week. She's even spending the night tonight since we have to leave so early in the morning. (I will give a shout-out to my dad, too, who called to offer his babysitting services as well.) Secondly, I am grateful for James, the most supportive husband and best friend. He's taking off of work tomorrow so we can travel down together, interrogate the doctor together, and support each other during this stressful time.
I have no idea what to expect. All I pray for is good news. Wish us luck.
Recently, our family has gone through a great dietary change. Due to some medical problems, which I've discussed in greater detail on the About My Family page, our kitchen has started to become gluten free (we're 98% there). And it happened almost overnight.
After discussing the dietary changes with the medical team last week taking care of Adelle and me , I came home wondering what I was to do with Adelle, my 3-year-old, the one who's the sickest in the family. She has suffered from a low white blood cell count for several months now. We have decided to treat her with a non-traditional approach through integrative medicine and also through the traditional sense with an immunologist at Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis. At the office of integrative medicine, they ran some tests which determined that Adelle has an over-growth of yeast in her digestive tract which can lead to all sorts of autoimmune problems. This is actually good news for us, because if yeast can truly cause immune system dysfunctions, then curing the problem and becoming healthy again is a relatively easy process (and is much better news than the word I've been almost too afraid to mention -- leukemia). What's the treatment for a crazy amount of yeast in the gut? First, an anti-fungal medication twice a day for about 5 weeks. Second, a yeast-free, low-sugar diet for the duration of the medication (no honey, syrup, agave nectar, juice, etc). And third, since Adelle's labs came back questionable for a gluten sensitivity, our final step in treatment is going gluten free. Also, we're supplementing with some probiotics and vitamin D.
So for the last week, our family has been on a yeast-free, gluten-free, low-sugar adventure. And to be honest, it has been tough. I was sick with a terrible cold that turned into a horrendous sinus infection. Poor James, although seriously needing to get busy on his volunteer project, took care of the family, preparing appropriate meals for everyone, doing laundry, moderating skirmishes between the kids and listening to me whine about being sick.
And what in the world do you feed a 3-year-old with dietary restrictions that's been used to eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches every day for lunch for the past year? The bread has gluten and yeast and the honey, although natural, is a sugary sweetener. Well, so far we've been doing lots of fresh fruit with peanut butter, a little bit of cheese and a lot of praying. We've introduced new foods in order to provide some type of variety -- sliced deli ham (all-natural, no nitrates, gluten-free), rice cakes with peanut butter and gluten free crackers (although the one kind we got has yeast extract in it, so I've backed off of those just in case that would cause a problem).
You may ask why the whole family is basically going gluten free if just one person is recommended to do so. Well, at first I wasn't going to be gluten free just because Adelle needed to be. But then I realized how hard it would be for Adelle to see her old snacks and cereals being eaten by the rest of the family while she couldn't have any. It just didn't seem very fair, and I had a feeling it was going to cause a lot of heart ache for all involved.
The other reason we decided to switch is because being gluten free really is healthier. We don't think of it as a sugar, but the flours used to make breads (wheat) are ground down so much that our bodies convert them to sugar really fast. This causes a spike in our blood sugar, telling our pancreas to release lots of insulin to take care of all the sugar. As the insulin goes to town on the sugar, it brings our blood sugar levels back down too much or too fast, and our bodies tell us we need to eat more sugar to get balanced out. So what do we do? We eat another simple carbohydrate -- a sandwich, a cracker, a potato chip -- which brings our blood sugar back up. But this then causes another insulin spike and the cycle is repeated. Now, gluten isn't to blame for any of this, but gluten is found in a LOT of the foods we crave containing these simple carbs -- breads, pastas, crackers, etc. So by eliminating gluten, you can eliminate a lot (but not all, like white rice) of the simple carbohydrates in your diet and get out of this blood sugar spike/insulin spike cycle. (By the way, excess sugar not used is stored in the body as fat -- yuck.)
It's not going to be easy. But it's for the health of my daughter, and let's face it -- it's just food.
So, I invite you to follow our journey through this change, to see what the medical implications may mean for Adelle and the rest of our family and to perhaps learn something new about cooking and eating for a long, healthy life.
Hi, I'm Amber.
Our family used to be sick but grain-free whole foods has made us better. Read more about our journey here.