Sunday, August 28, 2011

Poop, Marriage and The Golden Girls

James 1:3-4
3 Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience.
4 But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.

     It's Sunday night, all three of my boys are in bed, and I'm sitting here in peace and quiet watching The Golden Girls.  A perfect ending to a surprisingly enjoyable weekend.  Perfect because, well, what is perfection if it isn't Betty White?  And surprising because it followed the week from my mother-in-law would call it.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one ready to shave my head and run screaming through the streets this week.  Isn't it funny how we're always shocked to find out we aren't the only ones with problems?  Anyway, it was stressful for me to say the least.  Definitely one of the deep parts of this trial and proving of my faith.  
     We started Joshua on that diet I mentioned in my last post and it's not going so well.  And that's putting it mildly.  The child has not had a bite of solid food since last Monday night.  He is drinking diluted juice and fruit smoothies only.  This accounts for the part of the week where I had my monthly meltdown.  Joy and I were commiserating on how embarrassed we always feel after a good breakdown, and I said I feel that way even when no one is around to see it.  I want so badly to be that strong mom from the movies.  You know the one.  The one you see in some Lifetime movie (that you're only really watching because there's nothing on t.v. and that song from the trailer keeps getting stuck in your head) who is going through some crisis in her family where she is the tough, strong one holding everyone else together.  But what I've noticed from these movies is this:  The characters are inevitably allowed one good, hysterical, crying fit about three quarters of the way through.  Also, movies most usually do not do a great job of reflecting real life.  So, after some imaginary calculations I decided one huge meltdown a month and then two smaller ones somewhere in between are sufficient.
     All of that being said, this one lasted for a few days off and on.  Joshua was refusing food all week even though I knew he was starving and on top of that Bobby and I had an appointment Friday to meet with a new "school" for Joshua.  My brain was on overload and my emotions were fried.  I am not the best wife when I'm in this state.  I previously thought the statistic for divorce rates among parents of children with ASD was 80%.  But I found this information that suggests that number is far from the truth, though couples do go through difficult trials as a result of this diagnosis.  There's that word again...'trials'.  Anyway, Bobby and I have not been immune to this commonality.  Men and women react differently, the end.  But, I'm bringing this up because I believe we are reaching a turning point.  We are both realizing that despite our communication breakdown and super-charged emotions over the subject, our end goal for Joshua is the same.  And instead of taking our frustrations with the circumstances out on each other, our energy is better invested toward that common goal.  This was the beginning to the surprisingly enjoyable weekend I mentioned earlier.  We didn't do much, as this new diet and the general routine of our daily lives doesn't allow for many outings, but we enjoyed each other.  I don't know how to explain it, except to say that it felt so much more like normal than things have in a long time.  Our normal isn't the typical normal, of course.  For example, today Joshua pooped six times total, and the last one I had to clean out of the carpet, but I was so happy over the fact that all six were perfectly normal and not diarrhea, that the carpet cleaning didn't phase me one bit.  Normal poop is not very normal for us, you see.  
     I guess what I'm trying to say is that I recognized once again, why I'm so thankful for this awesome man I call my husband.  This situation has nearly broken both of us, but when we have these times where I remember I'm part of a team, it makes reality more bearable and hope seem more within reach.  I feel stronger...and blessed beyond comprehension because I don't have to walk this road alone.  I love you, Bobby!

Matt 19:6
6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (separate). 


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Middle...Part 2

Mark 4:22
[Things are hidden temporarily only as a means to revelation.] For there is nothing hidden except to be revealed, nor is anything [temporarily] kept secret except in order that it may be made known.

     Once again, it's taken forever since I last posted.  I am dying to be able to post here on a daily basis, but haven't been letting myself because I want to finish telling what's lead us up to this point in our lives.  So, let's get on with it.
     To make an extremely long story somewhat shorter, we began taking Joshua to a pediatrician who now specializes primarily as a DAN! doctor somewhere around June of 2010.  In the first round of testing we found out that he has hypothyroidism (like me), and has a wheat allergy (along with a few others) and a casein (milk protein) intolerance.  This explained a lot, right off.  Joshua has major food issues, and at that time would only eat chicken nuggets, fish sticks, yogurt, and a few assorted snacks.  Basically, EVERYTHING he would eat, he was allergic to.  They told me this is very common because it's like a drug addict, the effect of the allergy makes them crave what they are allergic to.
     On top of the diet change, we also started adding supplements as the tests were indicating he needed them.  We have been going for over a year now, and Joshua's day consists of upwards of 20 different supplements.
     Actually, as I am writing this we are starting an even stricter diet (SCD), and cutting out some of the supplements because they contain ingredients that are "illegal" on this diet.  The poor guy's gut is in such bad shape, we are having to take more drastic measures to get it healed.
     In the middle of all of these blood, urine, and stool tests, I came across some books by Jenny McCarthy.  The first one, "Louder than Words: A Mother's Journey in Healing Autism" and a second one, "Mother Warriors".  Up until that point, I had refused to look up anything to do with autism on the internet because I didn't want to scare myself.  I was still pretty sure that's not what it was, although I was beginning to realize that we were dealing with something beyond a speech delay.  I hadn't even finished the first book when the realization hit me like a 2x4...Joshua is somewhere on the Autism Spectrum.  I wasn't sure of the extent, but I knew in my heart if we had him evaluated, that's what the diagnosis would be.
     This is the part of the story where I probably would have laid in bed sobbing like a baby for a couple weeks, if it hadn't been for the extra information I was getting in this book.  And the more research, I did, the more I found confirmation from parents all over the country...  The horrible toxins in our environment, air, water, food, household cleaners...and vaccines especially, are arguably the main cause of the rise in autism numbers in the past decades.  I was outraged when I learned that now 1 in 110 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of ASD.  A number that climbed right along with the insane amount of vaccines we now give our children.  I'm not going to get into the vaccine issue much in this post, but I will say that before the vaccine schedule was initially increased in the 1980's the autism rate was at 1 in 10,000!  Many will argue that we are just better at diagnosing it now than we used to be, but there are other mental disorders whose rates have remained the same and we are seeing a significant increase in other childhood diseases and disorders as well, including ADHD, learning disabilities, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthrititis.  Anyway, my point here is that instead of just being overcome with sadness (though I absolutely was), I was enraged.  I think I walked around ranting and raving in my brain for weeks as the more research and reading I did, the more I realized that what we were walking through with Joshua could more than likely have been prevented if our government and society wasn't so money-hungry and listened to parents.
     So here we are, Joshua was diagnosed this past April and we have been in the process of trying to find ABA therapy for him since then.  We moved over an hour away from any of our family, but our options for different therapies was very limited living as far out in the country as we did before.  This stage of our life has been, by far, the hardest and it has been a constant up-hill, one-step-forward-two-steps-back ordeal.  BUT, I remain convinced that what the Lord has began in Joshua, He will finish.  Another thing I learned from these books is that a large majority of parents are seeing their children actually LOSE their diagnosis all together once their guts and minds begin to heal from the toxic burden they have been carrying.  I don't need more than that.  I have the Word of God that promises my son an abundant life and the testimony of others that this is more than possible, even within the confines of natural means.  I have to believe and expect a total and complete healing for him.  My Momma Heart didn't come with an "Accept Defeat" reaction.