Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Because Zoloft Sucks

Some of this might seem "too personal". I don't care. Get over it. Don't read it if you're going to feel weird about knowing some of the dark secrets I have. I'm trying to be honest and open and tell you what your doctor certainly wont.
I have been on Zoloft for the better part of the past 4 years. It all started with the birth of Reed and the dark pit of post partum depression I fell into.
You can read about that HERE if you wish.
I was given the gift of 4 free therapy sessions a few months after Asher was born when I was having panic attacks several times a day for no reason.
Post partum depression has an evil twin called post partum anxiety. I was now dealing with both. My body has taken a beating growing and birthing these 4 sweet children in just over 4 years and as a result, I'm a nut case. So I've been medicated to keep the crazy somewhat under control.
2 weeks ago my doctor cut me off without warning. Said I had to see a psychiatrist if I wanted more meds but that was going to cost an absurd amount of money. My only choice was to go semi-cold turkey off of an anti depressant. Let me tell you this was not pretty.
I just wanted/want to crawl out of my own skin and run away screaming.
From some serious moments of despair and sobbing to night sweats and insomnia I had a range of all the symptoms. I almost passed out in a grocery store. Brain zaps, tunnel vision, nausea...the works. Thankfully I haven't had suicidal thoughts which is apparently one of the withdrawal symptoms. I have had other disturbing thoughts but those are fading.
I am slowly, very slowly coming out of all the withdrawl symptoms. I wish someone would have told me about this before I went on this poison. I wish I lived in a state that had medical marijuana. Herbs before scripts friends!
I noticed something 2 days ago: I can smell and taste EVERYTHING! I had no idea that Zoloft could mute such things but apparently it did. I feel like I'm tasting and smelling things for the first time. Its all so exciting!
If I could go back I don't think I would have NOT started taking this medicine. I didn't really have much of a choice back then.
Will my "crazy" come back? Possibly. But I must press on with Jesus, my natural remedies, and plenty of hugs, and not getting pregnant.
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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

24 Lessons From A Multiple Food Allergy Family

Reed's Allergies: dairy, goat dairy, eggs, all fish, all nuts, gluten, and mustard
Izzy's Allergies: cashews
FYI: 1-4 are the reason I'm writing a book
1: if something is gluten free it will definitely have eggs
2: if something is vegan it will have gluten
3: if something is vegan AND gluten free it will have nuts
4: if something is free of "normal" allergens it will most likely have mustard
5: people will say things like "because of people like you..."
6: {insert rude comment about how your child's food allergies is ruining someone elses life}
7: you will not be invited places
8: you will be invited and then told "but we're having boiled eggs,  peanut butter icecream, and fried fish"
9: you will be told you're being over protective by not having eggs and milk in your house
10: you will be "weird"
11: you will have nightmares
12: you will find out who your real friends are
13: you will be unable to find a loaf of store bought bread that doesn't taste like soap or cost you under $10
14: buying "safe" icecream will break the bank
15: doing your taxes takes as much time as a person who owns their own small business
16: life saving medicine is stupid expensive
17: you will be turned away from some activities when a person says "we're not changing anything just for one family"
18: you will learn that you just have to do whats right for your family no matter what anybody else says to try to make you feel bad
19: most days will feel like "you against the world"
20: you will be thankful for everyday that your child lives because of all the close calls
21: old people will not even understand what you're talking about when you say "anaphylactic shock" from food
22: feeding your kid a new food will be terrifying
23: every year that you go back for testing you will hope the numbers have gone down and when they have gone up instead you'll say "maybe next year"
24: you will instantly fall in love with anybody who makes an extra effort to keep your kid safe
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Stay At Home Mama and Blue Collar Man

I stay at home. I knew I would do this since I was a kid. Obviously, since my mom did so would I right? Chris wanted me to stay home with our babies as well and we had a talk about this before we were even engaged. 
This isn't everyone's choice. It's ours though, and I will not be made to feel like I'm less of a woman for doing it. I don't stay at home because I have a husband with a fancy job and we are rich. Quite the opposite. We are still a pay-check to pay-check family just like most of the country these days. Don't assume that just   because I'm not working we are loaded. We decided to make sacrifices to keep me here: barefoot in the kitchen. Although after doing some research I'm not entirely sure how people afford to have 2 working parents? Have you seem the price of daycare? We would actually lose money if I wanted I go back to work. 
Anyway, not rich. Poor and happy. No fancy vacations, no eating out every week, no credit cards or loans, but we are happy. I am happy in my roll and he in his. 
I feel extremely blessed that I have the opportunity to be here while Chris works all day. We could have a crap ton of debt and school loans. He could be lazy and put us on welfare. He could be a jerk and tell me I have to go to work. But no, he sacrifices himself for us and we love him all the more for it. He gets up when it's still dark, puts on his well worn boots and his hard hat and leaves before the sun is up. He comes home tired and dirty some days (dirtier the better! Am I right ladies?!). He scrubs dirt and paint from his hands. He plays with the kids. He loves on me. And he does it all again the next day. I am a lucky girl. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

10 Steps To (anaphylactic free) Playground Fun

Since we are quickly approaching (have reached?) park season, I wish to enlighten all of you people who eat normal food.

I will likely offend at least 2 people who will take this personally and be angry about how I want my child to have a safe place to play too. 
Not sorry.
You like your kids enough to want to keep them alive don't you?
Guess what, me too. Crazy, I know. How dare I.

Steps to having a safe, somewhat stress free (ok thats a lie) day at the park:
1. pack a safe lunch (duh)
if you can't do step 1 you should probably just drop your kids off at the nearest child services office right now

2. check med bag for epi pens/benedryl/inhalers
you already knew they were there but you have to check and probably re-check because you cannot leave the house with out them. absolutely. can. not.
especially when dealing with the possibility of 20 other people who use puppy chow as confetti

3. drive to park

4. pull into parking lot, see 5 kids running around, and immediately regret this decision
its too late though. you are there. you promised the 4 minions and you are now weighing the consequences of turning around and just leaving

5. release the cracken!
they will fall out of the van. its a given. but you're not worried about them getting hurt. nope, there are other evils afoot. 

6. do a quick scan for tell tale signs: wrappers, white or brown smears on the equipment, (ice cream people, not poop) other kids eating on the run

7. now you have to do the thorough walk through. you have to go up on the slide, check under each set of stairs, look under the swings, check all handrails, check the ground, check all picnic tables and benches. 
think i'm being crazy? here are examples of things i've had to clean up before my kids could play:
-pick up a peanut butter sandwich
-wash icecream off the step
-wipe the cream from a doughnut off the grass
-pick up pistachios
-pick up other peoples nasty *ss garbage that has cheeseburger remnants and milk shake all over it

c'mon humans. stop being nasty. even if my kid couldn't die from touching this garbage its still gross that you can't even throw it away.

8. get up the courage to go to the mom who is feeding her child snickers bars at 9am and ask her if she could please have her kid at least sit still while they're eating it so i don't have to leave
ask the kids eating puppy chow to stop throwing it around the play ground (while their mom sits there staring at them and not doing anything)
ask the other kid to stop shaking their sippy cup of milk all over the place

99% of them will start to stare off into space and get a glassy eyed look as i try to explain to them how touching/ingesting this long list of food can send my kid into anaphylactic shock. 

9. leave

10. finally take a deep breath

While the rest of you can just frolic and play without a care in the world,
i will be standing guard with epi pens in my pocket and i will automatically view your peanut butter icecream covered kid as a major threat

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Monday, December 2, 2013

Husband first, kids second

There's a cute little poster floating around the internet with a saying something along the lines of "if all you've done today is play with your kids, you've accomplished enough and can totally ignore everything else going on and all your other responsibilities as a wife and mother"
There are flowers and rainbows and kids and mothers frolicking in a field of flowers.
Ok, maybe that's not exactly what it says.
A bunch of people "pinned" it on pinterest a while back but of course I couldn't find it anywhere today. You're just going to have to believe me.
If you couldn't already tell, I do not agree with this "cute" little saying one bit.
Actually its kind of been bugging me that moms believe this garbage.
Sure, play with your kids. Hug your kids. Be there for your kids.
Teach your kids, love your kids, pray for your kids. Don't forget the parts of Proverbs 31 that don't even talk about kids at all.
If all I did all day was hug my babies, read books to them, and play whatever they wanted to play, a few things would happen: my home would fall apart, my husband would be upset and not like to come home, my family would not have real food to eat, nobody would have clean clothes (which is hard enough to keep up with as it is), not to mention my kids would be rotten little monsters and they wouldn't have any idea how to "free play" or whatever they're calling it these days. Back in my day it was just called "playing".
In a perfect world, all mothers would also be wives. I realize this isn't always true but for the sake of this post, lets assume that is the case.
Mothers were wives first.
This means their husband came first.
He should still come first.
Sometimes the kids are needy and loud and that's fine, but overall, husband came first.
Love your husband too.
Love ON your husband, don't just say you love him.
And don't put your kids wants above his needs.
When the kids are grown and gone who will you be left with?
That's right, this man you married. Know him, make him a priority.
Mothers are home-makers.
We make the house a home.
Proverbs 31 talks about working eagerly with our hands.
It talks about us working day and night.
It also talks about us being strong and smart and sewing and cooking and making and selling.
It does not say "she rises in the morning and sits on the couch with her kids until night and then throws a pizza in the oven. Then her husband came home and she barely looks his direction because she was playing with her kids."
But hey, "if all you did today was hug your kids then you accomplished enough" right?
If all you did was drive your kids to 5 different activities this afternoon because that's what they want then you're being a perfect mom, right?
If all you did was let your kids watch movies for 8 hours then you're a great mom because that's what they wanted to do, right?
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Did We Do The Baked Egg Challenge?

Seeing as I have gotten this question about 1001 times in the past 24 hours I figured this was the easiest way to explain the "what?" and "why?" of yesterdays appointment with Reed's allergist.
As most of you know, Reed has had some pretty severe anaphylactic reactions to egg. He hasn't ingested egg in over 2 years because of this. I fed him scrambled eggs for the first time when he was 14 months old, and he went into anaphylaxis.
 He did have a run in with some raw egg over a year ago that landed him an ambulance ride. You can see those pictures here
Anyways, some of you probably know that we were told he could try the baked egg challenge.
First, what is the baked egg challenge?
No, its not throwing an egg in the oven and then feeding it to him.
It means baked foods that contain egg excluding egg casseroles.
Muffins are probably going to be the only thing we use for a while.
Here's the story: if you bake an egg with other ingredients at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time it breaks down all but one of the proteins that cause reactions in allergic kids. So the test is to see if the kid can handle the remaining protein that does NOT break down under heat. Some can, some can't. Based on Reed's track record with food allergies I didn't expect him to pass.
He passed...sort of. He still got some little red rashy hives on the bottom half of his face but there was no wheezing, no puking, no swelling of the face. So his allergist decided we should go ahead and give him teeny tiny amounts of muffin every few days. Like 1/4 of a muffin.
"Why would you even bother?" some might say.
Well here's the "why".
This feeding of small amounts of muffin containing eggs is supposed to build up an immunity to egg resulting in less severe reactions if he were to come in contact with say, scrambled or raw egg in the future. That's the idea anyway. Sure, he may never be able to sit down and eat a breakfast of fried eggs and might not even be able to have an entire piece of cake (although this might actually be possible some day in the distant future) but if I can do something to make a reaction less life threatening, I will do it. Even if it means making batches of muffins and freezing them in wrapped up bite size pieces. These muffins are more medicine than food right now. We are trying to teach Reed's immune system that egg is good and not bad. Will it work? Well statistics show that most kids do really well.
He did spend last night curled in a ball with stomach pain so we were instructed to have him eat even less for a while and see how he does.
Honestly I'm surprised and thankful that the test ended well and not across the street in the emergency room. When he took that first bite and had to be watched closely for the first 15 minutes I was so nervous. When the first little hives showed up around his mouth, my heart sank. But nothing worse came of the test.
I don't care if we ever get to eat "normal", but if this can make the world just a little safer for Reed than I will do whatever it takes.
Originally, Dr Smith said we could do the baked milk challenge soon but since Reed only half passed the egg test we are waiting until next year to even talk about that again.
So there's the "what" and the "why" and hopefully it even made some sense.
I think that this whole thing has actually made my life MORE stressful. I have to keep eggs in the house now. I have to cook with eggs. There is the potential of getting raw egg somewhere which is extremely dangerous. Its a risk but the possible benefits outweigh the risks here. At least for now.
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inside the Mind Of An Allergy Mom

Normal to us is nowhere near what normal is to every one else.
2 days ago I was driving through west Nashville, all happy go lucky, when I heard Reed cough.
My brain said: asthmapufferohcrapilefttheemergencymedbagathome!
no epipens
no Benadryl
no inhaler
Then the panic set in.
I was 30 minutes from home.
I still hadn't gone to the store I needed to go to.
I decided to skip it and try again another day.
I pulled into Ashland City Walmart because I NEEDED diapers. It was a dire situation. The diapers AND the epi-penless state of our little family at the moment.
I made Reed sit in the buggy with Hank because my nerves couldn't handle the thought of him wandering off for just a second and touching something dangerous.
Most of you can walk through a grocery store without a care in the world.
Not us.
When you have forgotten the life saving medicine that you carry with you everywhere, (and I mean everywhere) every container of yogurt, every bag of trailmix, every prepackaged snack is practically jumping out and exploding in your child's face.
Every human in the vicinity is covered in peanut dust and scrambled egg remnants.
That's just how our minds work.
So while you all are prancing gleefully through the grocery store without a care in the world, remember that somewhere is a mother with a watchful eye who views you and your snack-eating child as a major threat.
Obviously we made it home without incident...like we do on the days we have our medicine. But it was slightly terrifying. I felt I had failed as a mother.
That if something were to happen somehow that I was the one who had hurt or killed my child because I couldn't remember the very thing I have had with me everywhere I go for years.
I don't remember what it is like to go into a grocery store without fear in the back of my mind.
If its fall, the fear gets pushed to the front of my mind because stores seem to think its cool to have giant bins of nuts out in the middle of the store.
I wouldn't know what to do with myself if someday I could go into a friends house and not see landmines in every corner of their kitchen or attached to their children.
Family parties might cause stress for some people because...well...its family. Family parties for us cause stress because food.
Food has to be everywhere.
I hate food.
Food and I have never had a great relationship but it has only been worsened by the deadliness that comes with it now.
Today I was told by the kids' new allergist that Reed is ready to start food challenges.
This means that the very things that have sent him into anaphylaxis, the things that have caused so many tears and stress, are now going to be baked to a temperature high enough to break down the proteins and then I have to feed them to him.
I don't know if my poor heart can handle it.
I don't know that I can even begin to explain how terrified I am.
I have 1 week to mentally prepare myself to walk into that office with my little man.
Can someone please come hold my hand?
It could go extremely well and he could be on the way to becoming desensitized to normal food that nobody else thinks twice about eating.
It could also end badly.
It could end in a bad reaction that sends him across the street to the emergency room.
So while probably none of this makes sense to you, can you just please pretend it does so I feel like I'm being understood?
K. Thanks.
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