Monthly Archives: December 2009

Our anti-staph regimen (for now) for Fiala, and anti-asthma for Wes

My friend Sheila turned me on to a website called Earth Clinic.  I have long been looking for a website that has homeopathic remedies that does NOT have a “New-Agey” feel, and this is by far the best one I’ve found, so far.  Even though it can be a bit difficult to navigate and wade through, I’ve found a ton of useful information on there.  People can also respond to others’ suggestions saying whether or not a particular remedy worked for them.  There are some REALLY knowledgeable contributors on Earth Clinic.  I also like that it is (almost completely) non-commercial.  In fact, they have a policy against even saying brand names.

One of the things that jumped out at me immediately is that folks have frequently reported the healing of their allergies by taking turmeric.  Now, I will admit that I have not fully researched this at all, but I have read, in the past, about the amazing medicinal properties of a component of turmeric, curcumin.  I thought it was worth a shot, especially since I am NOT liking the idea of putting my 8yo son Wesley on life-long anti-asthma meds.  Currently, he has to take Singulair for about six months out of the year to ward off daily wheezing, coughing, and asthma attacks.  Every year, we are able to identify more triggers to his asthma and then avoid them — dairy and pine are the biggest contributors — but he still has ongoing asthma problems, especially during the colder months.  I have thought, “There just HAS to be a better, more natural solution.”  Now, as far as medication goes, Singulair is less worrisome (I think) steroids:  it works by disabling a particular fatty molecule that starts the snowballing chain of reactions that leads to an asthma attack.  Still.  I don’t like the fact that it messes with his endocrine system.

Wes has already been on 30 days’ worth of Singulair this winter season.  His doctor’s office said that before they renew the prescription, he’d have to go back and see the doctor to have his asthma re-evaluated.  I don’t like this for a number of reasons:

  1. We’re in the process of changing doctors.  Our beloved pediatrician has been on medical sabbatical for more than a year (it was originally supposed to be six weeks), and every time we go into the ped’s office now, we see a different doc.  I hate that.  So, I’m changing the kids over to my doctor, who is a D.O. family doctor.  Wes has an appointment with her next week;  I just did NOT want to make another appointment with his old doctor’s office simply to get his prescription refilled.
  2. The medication is $30 per month.
  3. The co-pay for the the re-eval is an additional $30.

Now, I am willing to spend $60 on my son’s health.  However, I don’t care to perpetually spend $$ on meds and copays when I don’t really support the IDEA behind them in the first place.  Hope that makes sense.

Anyways.

Turmeric tastes awful, at least in concentrated form.  We’ve tried it a number of different ways, and I’ve only had Wesley taking it for five days now.  The best way we’ve found for him to take it is mixing the turmeric (about 1/8 tsp) with about 2 tsp of honey, and having him gulp it down as fast as possible.  Though he did have an asthma attack on that first day, Wesley has not had one since, and his coughing and wheezing has greatly subsided.  He told me this morning that he didn’t think he needed to take the turmeric, since he’s breathing so much better.  Uh, Wes…  Nice try.  I am hopeful that he’s breathing better BECAUSE of the turmeric.

(By the way, I spent $2.49 on a 400 gram/14 oz bag of turmeric at the Asian market.  That’s a LOT of turmeric, for very little money.)

Turmeric also has demonstrated antibacterial properties, and many folks on Earth Clinic have successfully used a turmeric paste on staph/MRSA boils and skin infections.  I tried a salve with turmeric in it on Fiala’s face and legs, but she’s just too wiggly and active;  I couldn’t get it to stick and stay.  So, for the last two days, I’m back to using Gentian Violet on the worst lesions on her face and legs.  It’s messy.  It has stained her clothes.  She looks AWFUL with that junk on the lower half of her face.  However, it (combined with daily baths into which I’ve added a cup or two of vinegar) appears to be having a positive effect on the lesions:  they’re drying out and shrinking.

As in the last couple of weeks, Fiala’s skin has profoundly worsened, I am going back to a completely sugar-free diet.  I had been giving her a little bit of honey in her morning buckwheat, and had been putting honey in my coffee… and I had started to become lax about popping a candy in my mouth — one a day or fewer — AND, even worse, I ate some caramel corn on Monday.  As a result of all of that, PLUS with the knowledge that it is likely that Fiala’s reactions aren’t JUST allergy-based, but that her skin problems are indicative of staph bacteria swarming her body… well, I’ve decided to clamp down, even though it’s hard… it’s been a long haul… I really miss sugar, and of all ingredients I’ve cut out of my diet, I miss sugar the most.  Still.  I have to begrudgingly admit that sugar puts Fiala’s reactions into a tailspin, and I am convinced that it will speed her healing if I’m militantly diligent about eliminating it.

I still haven’t quite decided if I will take blueberries out of our diets.  (Blueberries are currently our only “safe” fruit.)

In the morning, I have also been mixing up a tonic, of sorts, for Fiala.  She normally drinks water throughout the day and in that water, I daily empty a probiotic capsule.  In addition to that, this past week, I’ve been adding 1/8 tsp of turmeric, 2 droppersful of colloidal silver (250 ppm strength), and a little stevia to make it somewhat palatable.  From Fiala’s reaction, I would say that she prefers her “plain” probiotic water, but she’s drinking the tonic.  When the cup is about half gone, I top it off with more water.  By the end of the day the orangey-yellow color from the turmeric is about gone.  Even if it’s not totally gone, I’m satisfied that she’s consumed most of the tonic, and we start the next day with a fresh cup.

Now, I’m not 100% certain that any of this has a super-dramatic effect on her health, but I’m just doing the best I can to eliminate the bad stuff in her body (bacteria, viruses, allergic reactions, etc.) and supply it with the best opportunity to get as much nutrition from her food as possible, and to re-populate her intestines with good bacteria.  (As I write that, I hope that the probiotic and the turmeric aren’t canceling each other out!  Curcumin has been studied particularly for its effects against staph;  I hope it doesn’t kill the good bacteria, too.)

~sigh~

I’ve also been soaking her binkies in vinegar water, making sure she has a fresh bath towel (normally, we use the same towel for the whole week), changing her clothes and bedding frequently…

I still haven’t heard back from Elizabeth, my doctor-friend.  And, I’m still breastfeeding — haven’t switched Fiala over to goat milk.  But, as soon as I can get up to Trader Joe’s to purchase some some, I’ll probably at least try her on it.

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Christmas, clothes, and too many “Bud Vase”s, year-end video

  • I recently was going to post about how dearly I love wee flowers, brought to me by my kids, cheering my world in the bud vase on my counter top.  This sweet image, though, has been overridden by my husband overhearing my 3yo daughter saying, “Bud vase,” and thinking she was saying something naughty… then, him laughing hysterically about it, the all the boys catching on, and now, days later, my husband and me up to our EARS with the boys calling each other, “Bud Vase.”  (Say it aloud.)
  • The five best kids ever (and the doggie), Christmas morning

    Christmas!  I have only a few grainy pics from my phone.  Ugh.  However, my Dad tells me that, rather than repairing my camera (which he’s had since… June?  July?), that he’s going to buy me a new one!  That’s fabulous.  We’ve been essentially camera-less since April, and that’s a long time.  Anyways.  Christmas was great — lovely, happy, full of family warmth.  On The Day, we had my Mom & Stepdad, Martin’s Dad & Stepmom, my brother, his wife, and two of their three boys (the other in California with my SIL’s parents) over for the afternoon and evening, eating a non-traditional dinner of Thai omelette soup (I should post a recipe!).  Our home was full, loud, and happy.  And, GOD PROVIDES.  If I went into detail, I’d be typing forever.  So, suffice it to say that our Christmas, which we all thought would be spare and lacking in provision, was overflowing.  Overflowing.  God is so good;  He’s amazing.

  • I am now a size 6.  I haven’t been a size 6 since before I had kids.  I now weigh less than I did before I got pregnant with my oldest, who is now 12½.  But, even there, God provides!!  Slacks on clearance at Macy’s for about $10 each, plus some borrowed jeans from a sweet friend who also has recently, unintentionally lost weight and is now a size 4!  So, I have four pairs of jeans on loan from her, two sixes, and two eights.
  • The little rosette, the heel height & shape, the rounded toe... perfect

    Not really size-related, but I also found a FABULOUS pair of black pumps on the 26th.  I haven’t been this excited about shoes in a long time… mostly because we just don’t have the money to get as many shoes as I would LIKE, so I typically purchase shoes that are sensible and long-lasting, rather than cute… Then I admire the shoes of my pastor’s wife, Nancy.  However, I found these for $6.99 on clearance at Ross, so I figured I could spend seven bucks on some totally insensible shoes.  I’m so excited about them, I wore them to the grocery store last night.  Hahahahaha!  I have huge feet — size 10.  But, as I’ve lost those nearly-30 pounds, I have discovered that my feet have shrunk a bit.  Who knew?  I had fat feet.  So now, I can wear a 9½ again — and these shoes are even 9W!  They’d be better in a slightly larger size, but this was the only pair Ross had.  🙂

  • Our church’s year end video…  FANTASTIC.  Many on here have commented about my church’s dynamics.  If you would like to see it in action, there’s a nearly-34 minute video here.  In a way it’s a best-of-the-year video, and in a way, it’s just really typical as to what takes place.  My whole fam is mixed in there…  Some personal highlights are:  My older two boys quoting Psalm 102 at 1:22;  My hubby leading worship at 5:07 (he’s in LOTS of other places, too); Me leading worship at 5:20;  Audrey being a “PUWH-son” at 12:36… And my son Ethan at the soundboard at the very end.  🙂

Is this it??? (SSSS)

I have a friend named Elizabeth… She and I were fairly good friends, then the two of us got married at roughly the same time, then she moved to Alaska.  Both our marriages and the move slowed down the friendship quite a bit.  But, I’m happy when I see her, which is about once a year, when she visits family in town and visits our church, too, where she used to attend.  (She also married a cousin of my pastor.)

Facebook has increased our contact of late, which has been nice.  In fact, when Elizabeth and I were talking after church, her daughter appeared to be listening intently to our conversation, then she burst out, “Are you Karen?”  I admitted to that fact, and Elizabeth explained, “She recognizes you from Facebook.”  🙂

Elizabeth is a doctor.  She used to be Ethan’s pediatrician when he was a baby, and I — for selfish reasons — mourned her move, because not only is she a fabulous, brilliant doctor, but I could always trust her to tell me the TRUTH, and to give me a perspective that is Godly-wisdom-based, not just medically-based.  (For instance, she was the first doctor to tell me straight out that the pill is an abortifacient, which most all doctors will pussyfoot around or flat-out deny.)

Yesterday, after church, she came up to me, telling me that she had had a vision of me during worship.  She almost didn’t tell me, and, oh!  I’m so glad she did!  She saw me with a hobo’s bag full of tin cups that I kept messing with, and God was standing off to the side with a gold, jewel-encrusted goblet, that was full of healing.  The idea was that God had the goblet for me, and I kept messing with the tin cups.

In other words, I keep TINKERING with things, when He has HEALING.

I totally took that, on behalf of Fiala.

What made that especially significant is that yesterday was the day that some specific ministry prayer was to be done over Fiala!  Such timing.  We did get some prayer, though the team (for one reason or another) was only half its originally-intended size, and it was hard to pray because Fiala was VERY fussy and just wanted to go run.

Elizabeth only got a brief look at Fi, and now she and her family are off to California for a couple of days, but she also saw my pastor’s family for quite a while yesterday, and she told my pastor’s wife that she is quite certain that Fiala has Staph Scalded Skin Syndrome.

I started to Google it, but stopped, because the fear started to creep back in when I read that, often, in babies less than a year, SSSS is fatal.  Fiala is now 14 months, but this is the same thing — if it is it — that she’s been struggling with, in one form or another, since she was two months old.

Although this little girl, in England, who was diagnosed with SSSS, has patches that appear IDENTICAL to Fiala’s:

Again, this is NOT Fiala, but her patches look identical. Currently, her skin is even worse than the above baby's!

I still have lots of questions for Elizabeth-the-doctor, for some of the things that Fi has doesn’t quite fit the symptoms of SSSS, from what I can tell.  (Especially that patches from SSSS are supposed to heal in 5-7 days, and Fiala has had some of the same patches for literally months on end.)

Still, when I was praying this morning, I felt very confident that I am to trust Elizabeth, and that God gave her that vision of me, in order to increase my confidence in both her ability to hear from God, and in her medical advice, because right now, my trust-level in doctors is pretty low.

I’m not going to hunt her down in California to talk about it, but she did suggest (through our pastor’s wife) that I

  • stop breastfeeding and start her on goat milk (she suggested a 2-week trial, in which I also pump, to keep my supply up, and store the milk) — this is because it’s likely that I am the continuing source of staph bacteria
  • give her warm baths to which 2 cups of white vinegar have been added, as Staph (and other bacteria) can’t live in an acidic environment

I have done the second, but not the first yet.  Before I stop breastfeeding, I want to talk directly with Elizabeth about that.

She is also convinced that while Fiala may indeed have some underlying food allergy issues, it is extremely unlikely that she is allergic to EVERYTHING, which is where she’s currently at — reacting to EVERYTHING.  Elizabeth believes that staph in her body (maybe bacterial enterocolitis?) is interfering with the digestion process, and it’s the staph that is causing most of her symptoms.  Interestingly, people with bacterial enterocolitis can develop carbohydrate intolerances, and it’s to various carbohydrates that Fiala has always reacted most violently, which is why her (no-longer) allergist thought she may have some sort of sugar intolerance.

Elizabeth also said that while antibiotics might be needed, there are other things we can do to eliminate the staph and treat the symptoms.  It’s the “other things” that I’m really interested in right now… It’s hard to wait until we can talk!!

Part of me doesn’t want to get my hopes up, but the other part — especially due to the circumstances — is quick to think, “This is itThis is the answer to our prayers!  This is what Fiala’s been struggling with, her whole sweet little life!!!”

The Disclaimer on the Right

So… it has come to my attention that perhaps I have been too reliant upon the goodwill, knowledge of proper etiquette, and possibly even the honesty of users of my website. 😦 After becoming alerted to the fact that my GFCF Gingerbread recipe was on a particular website with no credit nor any link back to the original recipe, nor even a blog title or URL, I decided to do a little search. I came up with potentially 200+* places where one or more of my recipes have been posted without proper credit.  I have contacted five of them.  Wow.  That’s tedious.  I will have to take that up again later… after Christmas.  In the meantime is the lovely disclaimer on the right.

I have a strong dislike for legalese, or anything that screams, “I don’t trust you!!!  You’re gonna steal my recipes!!!” but I must admit that it does bother me when folks (unwittingly or on purpose) pass off my recipes as their own.  I’m going to have to take some steps to add more copyright info and the like to various posts.  Ugh.  I think I’ll check out a few recipe blogs a little more closely to see what they do.

I have no plans currently to try to profit from any recipe posted here…  I guess maybe it just bothers my sense of justice.  Or pride?  I don’t know.  I just don’t want folks taking my recipes and calling them their own.

————

* OK, so it may be only like 20 sites that have posted “unauthorized” versions; many of the Google results were duplicates.  I contacted most of them, and the three people I’ve heard back from so far have been really kind.  🙂

Fiala goes to the chiropractor

Even though my husband and I both semi-regularly go to the chiropractor, we have never taken our children when they are very young.  Yesterday, I took Fiala (who is 14 months old today).  The chiro said that it is VERY infrequent that he sees a baby as young as Fiala who is as TIGHT as she is.  Usually, he would put his hands around a baby’s ribcage, thumbs in front, fingertips along the spine feeling where it’s out of alignment, then he picks up the baby and the weight of their body plus the gentle pressure along the spine causes the spine to right itself.  Well, when he placed his fingertips along her spine, she started screaming.  That didn’t work.  I laid on the table, and laid her on me, belly to belly, and he was able to feel around on her back.  Then, the doc used the activator (looks sort of like doorstop that clicks gently on the back)…  So, she was only half-adjusted.

Last night, she slept the best she has in MONTHS.  Coincidence???  I don’t know.  She slept from 7:30 to 12:30, and from about 12:45 to 7:15.  That’s the longest, with the fewest amt of wakes that I can ever remember.

Normally, my fingers don’t reach that far, but I have tried holding her like the doc did, a couple of times, and she is DEFINITELY in pain along her upper spine.  Now I understand why she cries every time I lay her down to change her diaper;  she’s not crying about getting her diaper changed; it’s because of the way I hold her that hurts her along her spine as I lay her back!

I wasn’t sure if getting her adjusted would do any good… but I might be changing my mind after only one visit!  We go back next Monday.

YAY! Shoes for Audrey, and $10 coupon for you, too

I have searched, for likely too long for the last couple of days, trying to find a reasonable price on Skechers Twinkle Toes for Audrey.  She saw a commercial on Saturday (which is pretty much the only time she sees TV that has commercials), and started squealing over the shoes.  On Sunday, there was an ad for a local shoe store that is selling the shoes.  I showed it to Audrey.  She kept the ad, and is now sleeping with it.  Sleeping with it.

However, those shoes are stinkin’ 40 bucks!  Or, maybe $35, depending on where you purchase them.  I just can’t spend that.  I searched in vain for a better deal — Craigslist, eBay, every website and shopwiki imaginable.  I just could not find a pair for less than $35, shipping included, in Audrey’s size.

Plus… the reviews I read for these shoes were spotty, at best.

Aargh.  My daughter’s in love with expensive shoes that fall apart!

Then — and I dearly hope I’ve done the right thing — I found a similar pair of shoes that got much better reviews, and was $25.  $25 is still more than I think I’ve ever paid for a pair of kids’ shoes.  I think she will adore them;  I don’t know if she will think they are Twinkle Toes or not… or if the sequins that are on these shoes will be enough special sparkle.

Audrey is not bratty and demanding; normally I know she would ADORE the shoes I’ve purchased.  But, I really do want to give my kids things for Christmas that they want.  (This is the only thing we’re purchasing for Audrey.  I got a lovely white wood doll crib and high chair off of Freecycle that needs some minor refurbishing.  That, and the shoes, will be her Christmas presents.)

Although my website has forever been totally non-commercial, I decided to go ahead and post a coupon to a site where I finally found the BEST deal.  They currently have a coupon code “SHOP” that will get you 20% off, plus free shipping.  They also have free return shipping, in case the shoes don’t work out.  And, in interests of full disclosure, if five people click on this and use it, I will get a $100 giftcard, which would be nice.  🙂

Save on shoes, accessories, handbags and apparel at Shoebuy.com. We’ve got something for everyone and for a limited time, you can save $10 on that special something. Valid on purchase of $50 or more.

Why, yes! Those are opposites!

At the meal table, I must admit, sometimes I tune Grant out.  He’s 10 years old, and speaks more words daily than probably the rest of the six of us combined.  I give him this guideline:  While at the table, he should count up all the people present, add one more for “Silence” and that becomes the denominator of the fraction of time he should be speaking.  That, or less.  In other words, if there are six people present, he should speak 1/7 of the time or less, thereby giving all others a chance to speak, plus an opportunity for quiet.

That doesn’t usually work, but I try.

So, at lunch today, Grant was rambling on about something, and I didn’t catch any of it, until I heard this:

“…so, Random Man went to meet with his mentor, Purposeful Man, and…”

I died laughing.

I needed that, because, as I described it to my husband, today was lost.  It was just a lost day where nothing happened as it should, time was frittered away, the air was filled with tension, discord abounded, etc.  We needed — I needed — some levity.

During lunchtime, I was also pleased that Ethan, after he inspected a blue corn tortilla chip, onto which he had accidentally dripped pepperoncini juice, noted that blue corn must be a natural pH indicator, as well!  We then had an impromptu science experiment to see if the juice from the oranges they were eating would turn the chip pinkish, as well.

It was just the kind of moment God knew I needed to refresh my perspective, and regain appreciation for my kids and for the way our family works.

Christmas, fake trees, colds, honey-as-medicine, yummy cereal, CHICKEN MEAT ALLERGY, and fabulous gingerbread cookies

  • We all have a cold around here.  Not enough to be debilitating, thank God, but enough to sap our energy and make us all rather grumpy.  I’ve been trying to combat that by doing CHRISTMAS stuff, somewhat to no avail.
  • We finally put up our tree on Saturday.  🙂  This is our second year of a fake Christmas tree.  😦  We had the revelation a couple of years ago that Wesley’s asthma-like-clockwork which started in December of each year was tied to pine trees.  Duh.  We should have been able to figure that out previously, because he’d have asthma each time we went on vacation, too, which would — almost without exception — be to somewhere forested.  Ah, well. (Sorry for the lame cell-phone-camera pics.)

    Fiala exclaims, "Pribby!" (pretty!) and she's only broken two ornaments so far!

  • I read on Friday that raw honey was shown in a scientific study to be MORE effective than dextromethorphan (DM) to inhibit coughing in kids.  I put it to work last night!  I didn’t have raw buckwheat honey (as in the study), but I have YS organic raw, unfiltered, unpasteurized, super-enriched honey.  That stuff is the bomb!  It tastes weird if you’re used to normal honey, but I LOVE the taste now.  The same can’t be said of my dear son, Wes.  Last night, he was coughing up a storm, so I mixed up a little concoction of a spoonful of raw honey mixed into a few ounces of warm water, with some organic lemon juice, and a few droppersful of colloidal silver.  He was not pleased.  But, I made him choke it down, and, VOILA!  No more coughs.  All night.  You can bet I’ll be doing that again!
  • The good news?  My absolute fave gluten-free cereal (not that I can eat it right now), Erewhon’s Crispy Brown Rice with Mixed Berries is on clearance for only $2.24 a box at my local Fry’s grocery.  The bad news?  That likely means they will no longer carry it.  😦  (The last time I posted about my love for this cereal, Erewhon contacted me and asked if I wanted “samples” of their g.f. cereal.  I said, “Sure!” envisioning, you know… samples.  I was blown away when a large brown box containing SEVEN full-sized boxes of cereal was shipped to my home.  But, this was right after I started the phase of “only” eliminating Fiala’s 17 known allergens, and I couldn’t eat any of them, as they all contained one or more of her allergens.  However, the kids liked all of the cereals, especially the Aztec Crunchy Corn & Amaranth.  They also really liked the Strawberry Crisp, though most of the flakes were pulverized by shipping — I guess — and they were more like cereal crumbs with added strawberries.  Still tasty, though.)
  • This next thing is so weird it really deserves its own post.  First, I will state that I have had leg pain in my thighs for YEARS.  Years.  It’s deep in the muscle, from right above my knees, up into my hips.  It ebbs and flows, and at its worst, it will wake me up at night and I have to go take some Tylenol.  I have seen doctors about this, and the best that anyone can hypothesize is that since I have celiac disease, and don’t absorb nutrients well, perhaps my body is not absorbing calcium well, and, as one’s body needs to maintain a certain level of blood calcium, my body is pulling the calcium out of my largest bones, leading my bones/deep muscles to ache.  Now, this may still be true, but this past summer, a doctor finally ran a couple of tests on me, including several ways to measure the different levels of calcium in my blood, and they were spot on.  In fact, they were a tad too high, likely from me pumping the calcium supplements.  Well, a few weeks into the Total Elimination Diet with Fiala, I realized that my legs were not hurting.  At that time, I had the thought that maybe my leg pain was caused by some allergy in me!  I’m very slow to put two and two together — or, I’ll have some sort of revelation, then forget all about it, and be forced by my forgetfulness to rediscover it all over again.  However, after about the 3rd time trialling chicken — whereby both Fiala and I would eat a little portion,with no seasoning — I realized that a) Fiala didn’t like chicken at all, and b) about two days after eating chicken, my leg pain came back.  Every time.  HOWEVER, like I said, I’m forgetful.  So, this past Friday night, we bought a mess of wings for the kids, and I caved and gave a couple to Fiala.  By the end of the 2nd, her eyes were rimmed with red, and she was clawing at her face.  Duh.  I ate four.  Then, on Sunday (yesterday), I realized my leg pain was back, with a vengeance.  Double duh.  I had forgotten about the chicken=pain revelation of just a couple of weeks ago.  But, in a way, that was confirmation, because it was like running a blind experiment!  Ha!  I can’t find a whole lot of info online about chicken meat allergy, and the info that’s there is mostly of the “typical” allergy symptoms — Oral Allergy Syndrome, itching, wheezing, vomiting.  A couple of places mention joint pain, but although my hip joints do hurt, it mostly hurts deep in the muscle:  it feels like — honestly — like the muscle is deteriorating.  I don’t know how else to describe it.  When it hurts, I feel compelled to kind of punch my legs with the side of my fist, like a deep muscle massage.  But, that doesn’t help much, if at all.  Anyways.  The weird thing is, I have NEVER really liked chicken.  Give me a choice on a menu, and I will almost never choose chicken.  It’s not like I despise chicken;  it’s just never been my preference.  I love beef.  🙂  So, whether or not deep muscle pain is “supposed” to be a symptom of a chicken meat allergy or not, I can tell you that I will likely never eat chicken again.  I have the hint of exhilaration in my heart, with the thought of never having leg pain ever again.  I’m not sure how this is going to play out in my family, because my husband ADORES chicken, and there are many weeks where I don’t buy beef at all because it’s so expensive!  (And I really hope that this is chicken MEAT allergy, and that I’m not allergic to eggs.)  So, that is unresolved.
  • Mmmm...

    Last thing:  We made cookies!  Sunday morning, the helpers and I made the dough.  In the evening, we cut out and baked the cookies, and today we iced them.  We now have about 8 dozen  GFCF Gingerbread cookies, with royal icing thinned with lemon juice, and topped with sprinkles.  I altered my recipe just a tad, and they turned out even better.  Now, I just need a little of that self-control that everyone keeps telling me I have, because I’ve eaten three cookies.  These cookies are so good.  Seriously.  I should sell them.  I’m only about, oh, 60% confident in the wide appeal and money-making potential in most of the things that spring from my mind and hands.  But, these cookies (and the sugar ones, too, which we will make later this week or next) ROCK.  No gluten, no dairy — but they have that firm/chewy texture that cut-out cookies SHOULD have, and that gluten-free cookies rarely DO have.  The recipe has a lot of ingredients, but it’s worth it.  Make yourself some!!

  • Dear Glade:  Instead of filling my home with fake “homemade” gingerbread cookies from a chemical-laden candle, I’d much rather fill my home with the real aroma of real cookies, actually homemade.  Thankyouverymuch.

Setbacks

Today was tough.

I talked with my mom this morning, following up with her about a doctor appointment she had yesterday afternoon.  Among other things, she said that she still has an infection in her lungs, and that the doctor prescribed the same antibiotic as a couple of weeks ago.

The same one that made her vomit around the clock for the seven days she was on it.  (Which she didn’t tell me about until day six.)

My thoughts were:

a) She would not be getting the medication she needs if she pukes it up.
b) She’d lose MORE weight (she’s already the thinnest I can ever remember, going back to my childhood).
c) There are MULTITUDES of other antibiotics out there that would likely do the trick.
d) As she’s recovering from extensive blood clots, pulmonary emboli, pneumonia, a trip to the ER and a 3-day stay in the hospital, well, she doesn’t need an additional seven days of unnecessary illness;  she needs to be strong in order to recover.

Her thoughts were:

“Well, the doctor is the expert.  If that’s the medicine she thinks I need to take in order to recover, I’ll just have to tough it out.”

I proceeded to get probably more upset with my mom than I have in as long as I can remember.  I couldn’t understand why she didn’t say something to the doctor!  I don’t know why she didn’t advocate for herself!  And there she was, as we spoke:  On one hand, she was completely planning on taking the antibiotic.  On the other hand, it was there, sitting on her desk, staring at her, and she was dragging her feet to start the round of medication because she knew it would make her so ill.

I asked for her doctor’s number.  She said, “Well, if you’re going to harangue someone, I’d rather have it be them than me.”  I apologized.  😦

I did call the doctor.  About 20 times.

The office, which has short hours on Fridays, had a meeting of some sort that lasted the entire 3½ hours that they were supposed to be open.  On about the 20th time calling, I finally left a message with the answering service, not all that hopeful of a return call, but feeling somewhat desperate, because I didn’t think it could wait until Monday.

The doctor called me about 10 minutes later.  Bless God.  It turns out that my mom had already put me in her HIPAA as someone to whom information could be released.  The doctor was very kind and accommodating, and confirmed that she would never have prescribed that antibiotic if she would have known that it made my mom so ill.  I also asked how it could be that my mom could still have a “lung infection” yet not have pneumonia, which was my mom’s impression of the state of her health.  Mom was mistaken.  She does still have pneumonia.

The doc wrote up a new prescription.  I put Fiala down for a nap, sent Wesley to a quiet time, put Ethan in charge, and took Audrey and Grant with me in the truck.  I drove to the doctor’s office, knocked on the back door, and collected the rx, along with the doctor’s suggestion that perhaps I should accompany my mom to future doctor’s visits (I agreed).  I drove to my mom’s to pick up the “bad” prescription, in hopes that the pharmacy would accept it as a return and refund the $40 copay.  Drove to the pharmacy, asked in vain for a refund for the other prescription, and waited for the new one.  Thankfully, it was only $5.  Five bucks.  For generic Bactrim, which is very easy on the stomach.  (Makes me cynically wonder if the doctor has an agreement with the other name-brand antibiotic’s drug rep or something — why didn’t they prescribe a generic in the first place???)

So, now my mom is on Bactrim.  And back on oxygen full-time, 24/7.  At least, she’s supposed to be.  Both times today I stopped into her home, she did NOT have the oxygen on.  Well, the machine was on, but it was not on her.

~sigh~

Throw into the above a hellish 1½ trip to Walmart (which I hate) in which all five of the kids had rotten behavior — for only which Fiala was excused.  And, picking up a present I had ordered for some friends who are to be married tomorrow.  And a haircut (FINALLY) for Wesley.

Then, my hubby suggested we pick up some wings for the kids.  I thought that was a fabulous idea.   (He went to the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner tonight, but he managed to “snack” on a dozen wings before he left  😀 )  As I was fixing Fiala’s lamb-burger, she could smell the mild and BBQ wings, and kept saying, with increasing volume and interest, “Mmmmmmmmmm.  MMMMmmmmm.   MMMMMMMMMMMmmm.”  I caved.  I rinsed off the BBQ sauce, and gave her a wing to gnaw on.  Then a second.  By the end of the 2nd one, she was absolutely clawing at her face, and she was red everywhere — cheeks, around her eyes, around the eczema lesions she already has.

~SIGH~

Now, it’s 7:30.  I’m going to get the girls in bed, let the boys watch a bit of TV (How It’s Made), and finally dust the front room so that I can feel good about FINALLY decorating for Christmas and maybe even getting the tree up.

I feel tightly wound up.  And a bit sad.  And more than a bit frustrated.  😦

Sorry for whining.  I did just want to WRITE this, plus, at times, I feel like my blog — because I want to be careful not to complain — ends up appearing as The Best of My Life, rather than my real life.  It’s a delicate balance.

In which I get fired, and God redeems

I’m 36 and still not entirely adjusted to being an adult.

A number of months ago, a much older friend asked me to help her as she wrote a book.  I eagerly agreed, but my availability (not much) didn’t meet with her need (which was great).  In a very tense moment, she fired me.

Actually, that “moment” was dragged out for a couple of weeks.  She’d leave a message on my phone, and I’d think, “I’ll return her call after I get _________ done with her manuscript.  I can carve out an hour this evening!  I don’t want to talk with her until I have something really meaty to share.”  But, that planned hour would be interrupted by something else, then a day would pass… then another few days… She — for obvious and understandable reasons — didn’t appreciate my lack of communication.

She’s not the kind who avoids confrontation and, by golly, she confronted me!  It wasn’t comfortable.  Not at all.  But, I apologized, she forgave, and she went on with her book, using three other people to do the work that I had previously (sort of) been doing.

A few weeks ago, she called me to ask my opinion on something regarding the book.  It was a lovely Sunday early evening, and I took my phone out with my baby in her stroller, and had a lovely, long walk, talking the while with my dear older friend, both about that “opinion” thing, and a few other things.  The short version of what I told her was that I think that, rather than going the self-publishing route, she should at least try to get her book published the “traditional” way, rather than assuming that no publisher would want it.  I also alerted her to the Christian Writer’s Market both as a resource for publishing sources, and for instruction on how to navigate the process.

It was a really good conversation.  After that, I felt like peace between us had really been restored.

She asked me to review the now-finished manuscript, which she mailed to me.  I spent just a couple of hours on it.  We were going to discuss it at church on Sunday, but our responsibilities didn’t allow for any time together, so we ended up talking on the phone today.

We did talk about the book.  The shortish version of our book discussion is that I told her I think the book is ready to be shopped to a publisher with the understanding that if they did accept it, it would be given a thorough going-over by one or more editors to correct the small problems that remain — mostly punctuation, paragraph breaks, some spelling issues, etc.  And, that they would likely have more and different suggestions that would need further work.  But, as far as I was concerned, the scope and sequence of book was great, the content of the book itself, the “art” of how it was told, etc. were all good.  There are no longer any gaping holes in the manuscript.  But that if she elected to go through a self-publisher, the book was NOT ready, because there remained quite a number of small errors.  In other words, the book isn’t ready for publication, but it’s close.

Then… we ended up talking about a host of other things.  I can’t begin to go into what we discussed; it’s personal, and the specifics aren’t really important here.  What DID strike me, though, is the thought — yet again — of the amazing dynamics of the Body of Christ:  how odd it is that a 36yo “kid” can advise, encourage, gently prod, enlighten, etc., a woman twice her age.  This woman is a lady mature in her Christianity, as well as her years.  But, the places where she needed some building up?  Well, I had just the tools she needed.  The places where she doubts?  I have great faith.  The things that are bringing her to tears?  Well, I could only — literally — laugh with joy because she is just SO precious to me, and so tender, and I could see God’s hand truly working in her life and heart, even through her tears.  I really believe God gave me words to speak to her.  Several times, I stopped myself — sometimes in my thoughts, and sometimes with the confession to my friend, “I think maybe this is too bold” but I would just forge ahead, or she would spur me on.  We both ended in tears — GOOD tears — sensing the Holy Spirit, encouraged in each other, twined together just a bit more in relationship, each blessed with the love of the other.

This whole dynamic was amazing to me.  Not to her, though.  She scoffed, “Does age really matter?  In Christ, does it matter?”  I think the older I get, the less age does matter, yet many times, I still feel like an immature kid who needs to keep her mouth sealed in the presence of her elders.

And to think:  if the enemy would have had his way, our relationship would have dissolved in hurt and offense a couple of months ago.

But, our God is a redemptive God.  He takes what the enemy means for our destruction, and turns it into the VERY bulwarks of strength in our lives.  To what the world says, “Forget that.  Chalk that up as a waste of time,” He says, “I will NOT forget it.  Let me re-work it, recreate it, to be a thing of blessing not only to you, but to those around you.  Let me redeem the time.”

I don’t know why I’m always so amazed at His… effectiveness as God.  Still, I am.  Maybe, though, that’s a good thing.  The whole episode — both the good parts and the bad — just bring the reality of God the Father closer to me.  I can know x, y, and z about God in my head, but when it plays out, and when He really shows up, it captures my heart.

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