Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask for...

Just to point out... His head isn't at the top of his bassinet..
He's turned towards the side.
He's not quite that tall.
This Lent I've found a thought occasionally making an appearance in my mind as we've struggled to figure out what Patrick is allergic to.  You see, this little prayer I said a while back, makes its way to the edge of my thoughts and I can't help but thing:  "Well.  That's solved."  and even sometimes briefly:  "Be careful what you ask God for..." although I really know that's not it at all, because this whole thing isn't about me.

It has to do with what I was feeling/praying when I wrote that highly commented on, apparently controversial post, about struggling with gluttony and my horrible sweet tooth... and salty tooth, which make me a sucker for pretty much every junk food on the planet.  

And I prayed and prayed for God to help me out with that just a bit and then bam, prayer answered.  When every single craving you have makes your baby sick the temptation becomes completely not tempting really, really quickly.  I can safely say that gluttony really isn't on my radar as a problem.  When you take out wheat, corn, eggs, potatoes, bananas, peanuts, tree nuts and coconuts... well... there's not a lot left to be gluttonous about.

I'd thought we'd escaped corn.  When I tested it last month, Patrick was fine.  But in the past two weeks the problems returned full force and I began to suspect that the occasional popcorn indulgence might be the cause.  "Really?"  I would find myself thinking.  "Are we just taking every single food I like off the table now? Is chocolate next?  I mean, the rare, nut free, wheat free chocolate that I sometimes indulge in?"  

I feel silly even thinking this, because really, I know this isn't about me at all.  And it terrifies me for Patrick, as I begin to follow allergy sites for ideas and see posts about kids, almost always with nut allergies, in comas or dying from a single missteps (it didn't help my freak outs when one was in Paul's hometown). I find myself wishing I could take his allergies away and keep them forever so that he wouldn't have them.  Because for me, this inconvenience is short term, and while I pray these are of the "he'll grow out of them" variety, I'm also terrified because we have no idea if he will.  Which makes even thinking about this in terms of "me" seem silly and selfish.  But I digress...

So I cut out corn and began to research corn allergies.  The mystery of the past weeks fell away.  He broke out in hives when I drank a tiny bit of sprite we had left over from the time-before-allergies when I was feeling sick.  And when I gave him his vitamin D drops, which had caramel coloring in them.  And when I put a bit of margarine on the rice and tapioca bread that I made.

All of those things have corn in them.  Nearly every processed food (and we'd kicked out 99% of processed foods...) have corn in them.  Even foods you'd never expect.

Take away anything with corn and his skin was beautifully smooth after four days.  There was an incident where someone ate corn chex on the couch and spilled them and got them on a blanket... and the hives returned.  But when he was cleaned off they went away fairly quickly (after my near nervous breakdown, the banning of food in the living room, and a crying call to Paul in the library before a test).  Then I tried a cheese that included "citric acid" and had a few of those marinated peppers that I love so much for dinner last night.  Citric acid is a "maybe"... it might have corn in it, or it might not.  And by bedtime Patrick's little cheeks looked like he had a severe sun burn with a red, swollen, peely look usually reserved for eggs, wheat and nuts...  So... life is changing even more dramatically because corn is in pretty much everything.  

My weight had actually stopped dropping and stabilized, but it's started dropping again.  Bacon mornings here I come... (and when you have to eat a lot of bacon to keep your weight steady, it does eventually become less appealing and craving-worthy... in case you ever wondered!).

I'm ready to see that doctor in less than two weeks, although I've been warned extensively that it's unlikely seeing him will actually change anything... but I want to talk to him about getting an epi-pen just in case... because that would make me slightly less frightened.  

And I'm very thankful for all of your prayers.  I'm praying so hard that he outgrows these.  We've mostly adjusted to avoiding his allergens (with the exception of corn, which I'm sure we'll be used to soon enough), and it really does get easier.  

But as for gluttony?  It's so much easier to kick a sin when you see the immediate effects of indulging right there in front of you, rather than an abstract justification you can make in your head.  If all sins worked that way all the time avoiding them would be a piece of cake... (oh cake!).  Immediate repercussions shocking us out of our excuses would certainly simplify things, although it wouldn't make temptations really temptations I guess.

And that is where my rambling stops...  That's my allergy outburst for the time being.  I'm hoping we've identified everything now.  I don't want to see my little guy crying and hurting because of something I've eaten, ever again... although I known that it's likely to happen.


  1. Consider going on the GAPS diet. To heal your gut...and when he is on solids start him on the GAPS foods he is not allergic to. Were you on big guns antibiotics during your pregnancy with him?

  2. Yup. 4 days of 3 very powerful antibiotic drips in the hospital at 9 months...It definitely makes me wonder.

    We're almost on the gaps diet right now. We do eat chickpeas, and they've seemed okay. Now if I could get my family to eat the probiotic sauerkraut I made! :)

  3. Natural parents network just finished a series on 6 ingredient challenge. I bet they have some good ideas for you. I know it is hard but by restricting your diet to breastfeed, you are providing an incredible gift and the best start.

  4. Speaking of the GAPS diet, have you seen a nutritionist? I don't know if you're into natural/homeopathic remedies, but I would highly, highly recommend Cindy Klement out of Ann Arbor ( - if you do see her, tell her I sent you. I've been seeing Cindy for a few years now (when we're in-state, we try to pop in for a visit about once a year), anyway, the woman is practically a miracle worker in my book - she's so knowledgeable and has taught me so much about understanding the impact of food and additives on my body, how to determine my body's intolerances, and how to help my body heal itself. I even have a story I'll have to tell you when I see you about how her advice healed me from what the doctors called a chronic, incurable disease. I know allergies is one of her specialities.

    Anyway, I know Ann Arbor is kind of far, but I highly recommend it, if you're interested in natural/homeopathic solutions.

    In the meantime, good luck on the bacon diet!

  5. I was goung to suggest GAPS as well. Get the book and do it full on! I had systemic candida and it was the only thing that finally healed me.

  6. I strongly suggest taking Patrick to an allergist - not a regular pediatrician. Infants are rarely so allergy prone; he needs specialist care. Try the University of Michican. Bring out the big guns for this little guy! They can run bloodwork and give you definitive answers, epi pens, and a plan. Do not mess around with this and do not rely on a regular pediatrician to be up to date on pediatric allergy issues!

  7. Corn is in everything:( Having food allergies really makes you aware of all the crap in our food supply, doesn't it?

    Prayers for you and your little one!

  8. He's been waiting to get in to see the allergist for almost two months... That's how long it was to get a first appointment, even with his age and nut allergy. I can hardly wait until April 8th!

  9. You're beginning to lose weight again ... hmmmmm. Considering those of us who fasted during Lent and probably gained weight, perhaps you should enlist your followers, as a form of prayer and fasting, to follow the diet you are forced to follow. You would gain attention, prayers, and perhaps thinner readers. (Although I would probably skip the bacon, myself).

  10. Good work, mama. Love is tough and you seriously love your little boy. :) Corn and all it's derivatives is one of the things that I have eliminated from my diet. What an education it has been! Can you imagine the challenge on his little body if you weren't nursing him? What a blessing for your baby boy!

  11. I'm so frustrated for you :( I have a friend whose son has severe food allergies too (his list of food he *can* eat is maybe 9 or 10 foods long?), including soy, corn & wheat. Which means they have to make sure to buy beeswax crayons & candles, have to bring their own soap everywhere, their own glue, their own paint, pretty much everything.

    I hope it's something Patrick outgrows! You're amazing :)


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