UPDATE

Welcome! I posted my final post in October 2010 for the sole reason that for those who need it, it is the post I most want them to see. It was, for us, an answered prayer. I wish you the best of luck in your journey with food allergies, eczema, and/or asthma. I have since founded ChasingMotherhood. CONTACT: stopandenjoy@gmail.com XO

Saturday, October 9, 2010

THE HOLY GRAIL?

I can't believe my last post date is April 26. I knew it was a while...but that date feels like a lifetime ago. Though absent from posting, I have been on a journey since Spring and am now ready to sit back and summarize. I started this blog with the intention of never ever discussing doctors or medical issues in detail, even though they dominate the management of a child with food allergies, eczema and asthma. I have never made a recommendation other than cookbooks, loaf pans, cup-a-cakes, etc. And I love those posts, because they string together a life of joy filled with yummy treats, snazzy containers, and numerous nuggets of fun. But for my final post for this blog I must make an exception and discuss our experience for two weeks this summer as participants in the Pediatric Day Program at National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado. And excuse in advance the lengthy post - I am not only making up for lost time, but it is also my swan song!

To begin the journey, I have a journal I just unearthed from a tote bag in my closet that I haven't opened in months. Written across the top it says 2010 My Son's Path To Wellness (it actually says his name but we'll stick with "my son" for the internet!) The first paragraph reads, "On Monday, January 1st, I had an overwhelming feeling while sitting n Whole Foods that I absolutely had to get to the root cause of his allergy, eczema and asthma". That lunch, sitting at a table for two in the Whole Foods dining area with my four year old, was my tipping point. In an enormous, healthy grocery store, where we were infinitely blessed to have the means to buy whatever we wanted, there was nothing I could give him to eat on site other than some ham, ketchup, rice milk and chips. The meal itself was not so bad - it was the fact that it was probably the 500th time he had eaten it, and never before in a setting surrounded by such choice. It was both ironic and devastating. This intense low was followed instantly by what I can only refer to as my "Oprah Moment": I wasn't going to feel sorry for him, or me, ever again - I was going to fix it.

As certain as that last statement looks on the page, it must be clear that I had absolutely no idea how. The only thing of which I was certain, was from that day forward I would do something every day. If I never reached my goal of "fixing it", I certainly couldn't make it worse. From Whole Foods we went straight to Barnes and Noble, which just seemed a logical "step one". I left with one eczema book and a copy of Jenny McCarthy's Louder Than Words (no autism on our front but I longed to read about another mother's journey). The next few months involved some non-invasive energy healing for my son when, finally, a watershed "discussion" with my husband led me to finally commit to take the journey to Denver.

National Jewish Hospital had been generously recommended by a new friend in town who had taken her son, and a loving niece who had sent me a link to this Wall Street Journal article months prior. On July 25th, 2010 my son and I boarded the plane for Denver and both our lives changed forever.

In keeping consistent with both my intense hesitancy to make any medical recommendations, and my desire to keep my son's privacy intact while "spreading the word", I will stop our journey here. If the Pediatric Day Program seems like it could help, please consult with your physician or call the incredible nurses at National Jewish Hospital who are ready to take your calls and answer questions: 1 800 222-5864. As their website states, food allergy, eczema, and asthma are chronic illnesses. They are are daily and persistent, with or without a trip to Denver. But the gift of knowledge, compassion and management that the doctors and nurses at National Jewish Hospital impart is golden. I now understand that there is more than one definition to "fix it". I wish you only the best of luck and much love on your own path to wellness.


Monday, April 26, 2010

RISE AND SHINE!

Now that Spring has definitely sprung, it's a lot easier to start the day. But there is nothing quite like a cup of morning coffee to inspire that first step out of bed. For a few years coffee was banished from our dairy free house. Without (cow) milk it just wasn't worth having. A few hopeful attempts at dairy free creamers crashed and burned so away it stayed. The morning cup was not the one I REALLY missed - it was those delicious moments shared with a good friend, catching up and sipping away, that eluded me most. These days life is grand thanks to the recent discovery of the amazingly delicious Silk Creamer, available in French Vanilla, Hazelnut, and Original. Made with non-GMO soy, and none of the unrecognizable ingredients found in many creamers, I have fallen hard for the French Vanilla. I have found superb results pouring in the creamer first, followed by coffee brewed in my latest obsession: my French Press. And sipping it out of this treasure...morning bliss! PLEASE NOTE: This product has a Kosher Dairy designation. Please contact the company for any allergy information before deciding to purchase and as always consult your Doctor.

Monday, April 5, 2010

"NOT" UP IN THE AIR!

This is a plea for anyone who travels with a young child with asthma. We are still shaking off the sleep from a 15 hour drive home from Florida after de-boarding the plane because there were no working electrical outlets on board. We use an electric powered nebulizer for my son and when I asked as we were boarding (just to be extra cautious) if there was an outlet available in an emergency, we were informed there were none. We sat in our seats for about 30 seconds and then got off with our two children and headed to the rental car desk. It was a risk that obviously we could not take. I am still in the midst of investigating this whole topic - Do airlines usually have electric outlets as I was told before the trip? Is there a battery powered nebulizer that has enough power to deliver the medicines we use? (I was told before this trip that the answer was no, hence no battery option). Is he still too young for an inhaler? In the meantime, I feel it very necessary for anyone who travels with a young child with asthma who depends on electricity to power the nebulizer to ASK BEFORE YOU TAKE OFF and confirm the wattage needed!

Friday, February 26, 2010

SNOW DAZE!

Here we go again...another snow day! As creativity begins to wane after surviving several of these cozy cooped-up days, don't forget about that old reliable - playdough. While it may not have been an option in the past due to the wheat content in the Crayola version, behold Colorations Wheat and Gluten-Free Dough! Sold exclusively on-line at www.discountschoolsupply.com, this British import comes in 8 vibrant colors. As listed on their site, this product does not contain Dairy, Casein, Egg, Gluten, Latex, Peanut or Tree Nuts. Keep a few tubs on hand and bring on the snow!
***Other Coloration dough products sold on the site as well so make sure to stick with the Gluten-Free version. Contact company directly for allergen information.





Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SHAKE IT, SHAKE IT BABY!

With the sight of snow falling for several days now, this seems an apropos post! It's a simple "secret", yet yields an abundance of satisfaction. Stock up on some confectioners sugar and fill up a shaker. Shake atop a warm plate of allergy friendly waffles, brownies, apple cinnamon cake...the list goes on (especially in Sophie Safe Cooking). With just a few shakes, take the ordinary to the sublime - and look like a pro!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

SHARK ATTACK!

One of the greatest joys in life is reconnecting with dear friends, which I was lucky enough to do last week. And a very unexpected and added perk to my visit was learning about the Shark Steam Mop! I have been on a one-woman mission these past few weeks to become as knowledgeable as I can about the underlying causes of my son's allergies, eczema and asthma. While I am so grateful to "manage" his care, my goal now is to try to eliminate them at their root. Lofty a goal as it is, it feels good to be proactive. And one step I have taken joyfully is to bring the Shark Steam Mop into our home. Just plug it in, fill up the steamer with tap water, wait 3o seconds for the Shark to heat up, and clean away any sealed hard floor surfaces - the Shark "tackles tough grime, stubborn dirt, scuff marks, sticky messes and muddy footprints and features s a 10 1/2-inch cleaning path and leaves floors virtually dry." Just wash the pads after use in the washing machine in their own load and the Shark is ready again. Best part of all, "there's no refills or toxic, messy chemicals required making it environmentally friendly". Additional pads are sold separately and come with colored tabs to dedicate to specific rooms (bathroom, kitchen, etc.). Removing toxic chemicals from the home may not be the cure, but it's a step in the right direction!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A CLEAN SLATE!

Ahhh...nothing like a New Year! Resolutions and reflection are always a good thing in my book, and no time like the present to get cracking. The start of this year serendipitously began with the introduction of two wonderful books in my life - one old and one new. I was hesitant to post about them, because they are not specific to allergies, but the realization that motherhood is all encompassing prompted me to color outside the lines. The first, Mitten Strings for God: Reflections for Mothers in a Hurry (a savvy sister-in-law referral from a few years ago) was rediscovered in a guest room purge and it was honestly like finding a million dollar treasure. The second, Raising Bookworms, was a lucky catch from NPR and has already had life-changing effects (at least on Mom). There's no doubt that cultivating moments of peace and gratitude can do wonders for the anxiety of day to day allergy living. And sharing the pages of Willy Wonka can bring the whole family together like none other. Cheers to 2010, and may yours be filled with much health and happiness!