Ladybug Secrets

Ladybug Secrets:
Don't let the small stuff bug you. And Spot new opportunities.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A New Approach

     I have said this before...but feel I should say it heart is not really in this blog anymore. I feel like I do write here to update those who want to know what is going on. Please know my heart though, I am not writing to complain or say "look at us". This is just an update or a way to maybe help others on a similar journey. I know our story is not unique, so many struggle daily within their own lives. So with that here is our update. 
     After a busy few months we are getting back on track. Swimming started again and Spring Break is over, meaning our schedule is full! In between the normal day to day, we are still trying to figure out some of these health issues. Aidan, Hubby and I finally had the blood work done for the whole exome sequencing test. Our blood was sent off to the lab in Maryland and we wait. It will take at least 15 weeks before we hear anything back. In the mean time we are trying a new approach which I will share more about. We are also trying to get in with our Neurosurgeon. We are hoping our appointment can be by skype so we do not have to make the trip to NY. 
     Back in October I started drastically changing my diet. I gave up all sugar (yes even my beloved Dr P!), gluten, and many other processed foods. I was hoping to also see a drastic change in my health. The good part was I lost 28 lbs. My body did not recover the way I had hoped. Along with these food changes, I started seeing an allergy doc. He was helping me try supplements to help my body heal. Now before you think I ditched modern medicine...I did not. In September I started having allergic reactions to almost all of my medications. It was awful. I was breaking out in hives, lips and eyes swelling shut. It was scaring me because I rely on meds for many of my conditions. If I could not take them...what would I do? Plus I knew if I ever needed surgery, I needed to figure out why I was reacting like this to medications. And it was not just meds. It was cleaners, soaps, perfumes and some foods. Now I have always had trouble with smells and cleaners. This was different though, these reactions were more severe. They would cause a reaction that lasted days. I was and still am living on benadryl. 
     The Allergy Doc was awesome! He agreed I needed to figure this out before I needed surgery again. With his help, I was able to make some progress. Unfortunately I got to a point where I was stuck. I was not really getting better but I was not getting worse. I would have a few sorta great days, then crash for a week. I could not exercise to build strength because it zapped my energy for daily caring for my family. Plus with the food changes I felt like I lived in my kitchen but needed to be in my bed. 
     I have seen similar issues with Aidan. One minute he feels relatively decent...and the next few days he can barely lift his head up. It is as if our bodies just do not have what they need to function at even a normal capacity. The genetics doc had an answer for this- wheel chair. She felt it would conserve our energy. She felt Aidan and I both should have one. And for about half a second I thought about it. Some day it may be our reality and at that point I will say ok. I feel we have not reached that day yet. Aidan and I have not explored all of our options. 
    So I did what most crazed, tired, and pitiful people do...I called my brother and cried to him. He listened and then we both started researching. We both came across "functional medicine". The truly amazing part...Cleveland Clinic recently opened up a Functional Medicine Center! Back in December I made Aidan and I an appointment. Mine was yesterday and Aidan goes the end of this month. Just to give a little info on what this is all about- functional medicine looks at the whole body. These docs believe all of our systems are related. There is a reason why one part of the body is not functioning well, and they search the whole body to figure this out. They use both traditional medicine, holistic medicine and diet to treat the person. They also want to be a partner with you and all your other docs. It is kind of like they are steering your ship (body) keeping the lines of communication open between you and all your docs. 
    I approach all appointments the same way..nervous, cautious and with zero expectations. First let me say I got to the Cleveland Clinic early. Of course I parked a million miles away. My hip(due to my walking at zoo day before) was slipping. So I was doing this strange dragging my leg while trying to keep my other hip from slipping while trying to walk at a quick pace as to not be run over by all the crowds of people. Yes I am sure it was comical to watch. I kept saying to myself "don't you dare cry!" and focusing on the signs to figure out where I was going. I got lost. Which ended in me walking much further than I needed and I was late. I did arrive though! 
     The appointment went very well. It was long! I started with nurse at 10:30. Then I saw the doctor for an hour. They cover everything! They start at birth and work their way through your life, looking for triggers and family history. I met with the dietitian. She basically told me I could eat nothing. Just kidding! She told me I could eat very weird food and had to give up coffee. Yes I just said I have to give up coffee. I do not have to start this for a week or so though(just letting you know I will be drinking a good amount of coffee in this time). Then I went and had 10 vials of blood drawn(no joke). I was handed orders for several other tests. The doc did say she was looking for a few specific things: adrenal crisis, deficiencies in vitamins, poor absorption of vitamins and minerals, histamine issues, intolerances or allergies to foods, immune issues, and a few other things. 
    It is a bit overwhelming. It may not seem like a big deal but it is a huge life style change. It is time consuming and takes a lot of prep. It is also hard to get the whole family on board. The good news is it is mostly covered by insurance. My hope is I will see some healing from all of this. I know it will not "fix" my brain or my neck. But it may help with inflammation, allergy reactions, and a few other things. I am also hoping Aidan and even Brooke could benefit from this. It is a different, new approach but I think worth a shot.