My husband and I have been back and forth trying to decide if it is best to use Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to help assist in some of my son’s unfavorable, but necessary times of the day. During the summer when my son’s iron levels were low, I started to use Mickey Mouse Clubhouse during mealtimes to encourage him to eat more food. My reasoning was that his iron level was far more important than the negative effects of watching television when eating. However, deep down I worried that I was creating more harm than I knew.
Throughout the summer and into the school year, we continued to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse during mealtimes. However, when he started to zone out during these shows and was not eating at day care, we started to rethink this mealtime tactic. Therefore, we took a brief break from Mickey and focused on meals differently. That soon changed when pneumonia hit us hard…
When my son started to wheeze, it turned into a trip to the emergency room and then doctors’ offices for several hours of breathing treatments. Then, after he was diagnosed with pneumonia, we had to use the nebulizer several times a day at home. What 19 month old toddler wants to sit for 10-30 minutes without moving!?!? Therefore, we turned back to Mickey and the gang for help.
Not only did Mickey Mouse Clubhouse help us through two weeks of breathing treatments, they have also helped us many times with eating. I know that as TJ grows older we will have more opportunities to eat as a family and I cannot wait for those days. For right now, as he is now eating well at daycare and at home, we feel like it is quite okay to use Mickey’s help on some days when needed.
Therefore, this week’s favorite find is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Thank you Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, and the rest of the gang who have helped us in so many ways while also teaching great lessons. With that being said, I never thought I would be that parent using the television during mealtimes or to help with something like breathing treatments. In fact, before my son, I was against it. Now, I realized it is all about living in the moment and doing whatever works best for your family. In many ways, being a mother has made me an even more open-minded person than I already was.
With Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on our side, we smile on to an amazing holiday…
For this week’s “TBT,” I plan to recap this past month as it proved to be one of the most challenging ones for me. I must first start by saying that I am forever grateful to my husband, family members, and friends who helped and supported me during those four weeks of emotional and physical turmoil. In those moments, days, and weeks, when I felt that my world was spiraling out of control, it was and is comforting to know that you guys never left my side. You fully supported me even when I wasn’t sure of how to support myself. Anyways, with that being said, here is a recap of my wild ride and some of the lessons that I learned.
Before I start, let me remind you that I am NOT doctor and this is all my personal opinions based on my personal experiences. Also, this is a long post.
Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.
- Found out I was pregnant with my second child. I was beyond excited!
- Visited my Nana in the hospital as she was not doing well. She had a stroke last December 2014 and has been in and out of hospitals since. Throughout it all, she remained one incredibly strong and inspiring woman.
- While teaching, 7 bugs are found during two of my classes. One was even on my arm. I squashed it and continued on. Then, we soon found out they were German roaches. I moved my classes and all of the materials from my classroom for the next couple of weeks.
- My son’s lip got red after eating apricot for the first time. I am not sure if that was just that his skin was sensitive or a minor reaction. However, I monitored him until I myself started having symptoms.
- The left side of my stomach started to throb. The pain continued to get worse and worse leading me to urgent care. They checked me in, asked for urine, and then told me that they didn’t have time for me since they are closing in 40 minutes. They sent me to the emergency room where I spend the next 8 hours (7:30 pm-3:30 am).
- Joint pains and chills started.
Medical Verdict: Start of a possible miscarriage or implantation especially since my hCG number was low
My Personal Verdict: I stayed hopeful. I stopped my daily running and took it easy but deep down, I knew it was too late for implantation. Still I prayed for a miracle.
- Bleeding started
- I knew that I was miscarrying.
- Flu-like symptoms began to get worse. They included horrible joint aches and pains. Back chills continued to get worse.
Medical Verdict: OB/GYN told me to go to the urgent care the next day and have hCG tested. He thought that I was having a chemical pregnancy.
My Personal Verdict: Still I prayed for a miracle. I felt horrible and like I had the flu.
- Miscarriage was confirmed.
- Since my flu-like symptoms continued, my OB/GYN sent me back to the emergency room because he believed something else was going on. This was where I spent another 6 hours of my life.
Medical Verdict: I was once again reminded that I had a miscarriage. They tested for the flu and diseases such as lyme. Everything came back negative.
My Personal Verdict: While I was extremely upset, most of my focus was worrying about my health. I felt so weak with joint pains and body aches. I believed that something else was wrong. I kept bringing up the roach that was on my arm and doctors continued to tell me that it was unrelated. To me, it was just too weird that this all started right after one was on my arm.
- I was instructed to see my primary doctor. However, since mine was not available, I saw another doctor in the group.
- Chills and body aches continued.
Medical Verdict: She ordered more blood work and a back x-ray. Everything came back normal except my C-Reactive Protein (CRP) level was high. I was told that this was nothing to worry about but just meant that there was an infection or inflammation of some sort in my body. It might be the miscarriage.
My Personal Verdict: I still felt awful.
- My join pain, back aches, and bleeding started to get gradually better.
- Jaw pain and pressure began. I felt like I was shaking but no one else noticed.
- Random bouts of blurred vision started and some vertigo.
Medical Verdict: Body was recovering from miscarriage and now doctor told me that she believed this may be anxiety.
My Personal Verdict: Knowing that I had a history of anxiety in my past, I knew that I was going through a stressful time. But, I truly believed something was wrong and going unnoticed. Yet, I agreed to see a therapist and acupuncturist. I needed to feel better. Also, I ordered Young Living essential oils to try to heal myself since no one else seemed to be able to help me. At night, I started to mediate.
- We visited my Nana which would turn out to be the last time we would see her before she passed away. (I love you Nana!)
- On Thanksgiving, my vertigo and blurred vision began to get worse. This continued all weekend. I still had throat, neck and jaw pain. My ENT was not in the office so I went and saw another one.
Medical Verdict: That ENT told me that I had TMJ due to the stress of the miscarriage.
My Personal Verdict: I cried all the way home because I was feeling worse and truly believed there was something more than just anxiety causing all of this.
- Dizziness was getting worse and more frequent.
- I saw a therapist. Maybe it is just intense anxiety? However, she believed it was more than just that. This made me feel slightly better.
- I saw a doctor for the white spots that I now saw in my throat. My collarbone and neck both started to hurt even more.
Medical Verdict: The doctor told me it was due to the hormones of the miscarriage; however, I also was diagnosed with pharingitis. He stated that it should pass on its own because it was viral.
My Personal Verdict: I was losing hope… but hanging on…the blurred vision and dizziness happened frequently and especially if I ate a large meal. I began to research lyme disease in depth because none of this mad any sense. Plus, several doctors kept mentioning lyme disease.
- I asked that my classroom be tested for mold and the air quality because of flooding several times and the roach problem. I found out that my classroom had a low impact roach cream used without me knowing. I also found out that my classroom had too much carbon dioxide in it. Therefore, I was told that my windows should always be opened a crack. The problem was that I only have two windows. I began to think my classroom was making me sick…
- I saw my regular, amazing ENT. She was concerned with the environment I was teaching in and had me tested for so many factors (including lyme, autoimmune diseases, carbon dioxide levels, and sooooo much more.) She also sent me to an allergist and hearing specialist.
- My dizziness got worse. I had to pull over a lot when I was driving because of these dizzy spells.
Medical Verdict: While I was still a medical mystery, she encouraged me that we would figure this out. All of this blood work and testing came back normal except two parts. 1) my CRP was still high and 2) my hearing test showed an imbalance coming from somewhere but not my inner ear.
My Personal Verdict: I prayed for answers and had hope in my ENT. But after the results and my persistent symptoms, I was left even more frustrated.
- My dizziness and blurred vision was horrible when I woke up. Since my vision was so blurry and I was incredibly dizzy, I had a breakdown. I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t multitask anymore like I was always able to do. Everything took so much longer to do because of the incredible amount of concentration it took to do it. Not to mention, concentrating was nearly impossible. It sparked headaches and migraines on some days.
- I went to the ER for a third time. Embarrassed to go again but feeling helpless…
Medical Verdict: They had a neurologist see me. After a CAT scan and MRI of the brain, they ruled out bleeding of the pituitary gland, MS, and other conditions. They sent me home and told me to see an eye doctor. The eye doctor informed me that my eyes and vision are actually starting to improve.
My Personal Verdict: I felt like I was losing my mind. I started to believe it may be horrible, horrible anxiety.
- In addition to my lingering symptoms, it was now painful to sit down. My OB/GYN wanted to see me. She tested for an infection and made me get an ultrasound.
- Daycare called me after my son was there for only an hour and told me he was wheezing. He had never wheezed before. He also had some hives. Therefore, for safety in case it was an allergic reaction to something, we took an ambulance to guess where…. the ER again! After we left that Friday, we spent 5 hours that weekend at the doctors’ office, giving my son breathing treatments.
- He woke up Monday with a fever and sounding worse. I took him to see his pediatrician and another doctor in the group.
Medical Verdict: He had a horrible case of pneumonia. They almost hospitalized him. Instead, they gave us a strict list of treatments and medication to give. My ultrasound and infection test both came back normal.
My Personal Verdict: I stayed as strong as I could for my son but my dizziness and blurred vision both continued. Neck, collarbone, throat, and upper chest pain also continued to get worse. I did not know how I was functioning and getting through each day.
- Neck, collarbone, throat, and upper chest pain was bad.
- I almost passed out in my class. My amazing co-worker/friend told me that she would not allow me to drive. Instead, she insisted on driving me to appointments with my chiropractor and a rheumatologist.
- The amazing woman that I was beyond blessed to have called Nana passed away to be with the Lord and my grandpa. I missed her so much from that very second.
Medical Verdict: Rheumatologist told me that she couldn’t find anything wrong with me in her area of expertise. However, she ordered more blood work to see if my CRP level had dropped to normal and gave guidance on more doctors to see next.
My Personal Verdict: I kept praying for my health to be restored and that my Nana was out of pain now and in peace. I was emotionally and physically drained. I didn’t know what to do anymore so I continued praying and using Young Living essential oils. I even put a drop of lemon oil in my glass of water before bed. I needed a change.
- I woke up not dizzy and feeling better than I had in weeks. I ate and didn’t have blurred vision. This was the first time in weeks. Like a migraine when it starts to fade, I worried that the vertigo and blurred vision would come back.
- I got my blood work done.
Medical Verdict: I found out on Thursday that in this blood work my CRP level was finally normal again!!!
My Personal Verdict: I continued to pray.
- I woke up and could barely move my neck. It hurt so badly to swallow anything even water. Difficulty with swallowing hot liquids started a week ago.
- I saw my ENT. I only got dizzy and blurred vision here and there.
- I found out that I may have been exposed to a type of pneumonia awhile back. But the reality was who knows what I was exposed to with all of those hospital trips.
Medical Verdict: ENT encouraged me and told me that based on my CRP level finally being back to normal it seemed like my body was finally doing what it was suppose to do. It was fighting whatever infection had been in my body. This also explained why my lymph nodes and muscles all around throat and neck were inflamed. She believed that this was probably the same back-to-back viral/bacterial infection that caused my son’s pneumonia. However, mine was in my bronchial tubes and esophagus, not my lungs. Since my miscarriage made my body weakened, it was theorized that I wasn’t strong enough to fight it off until now.
My Personal Verdict: I cried. I personally do everything possible not to take any kind of medication even Tylenol. Now, I was going to have to take a strong antibiotic that I never had before. I was terrified and prayed for direction. Reluctantly, I took the medication. I scheduled an appointment with a lyme specialist just in case the medication did not work. I continued using essential oils.
- In many ways, I was feeling so much better. I only got dizzy like once or twice a day.
- However, my upper chest and collarbone pain continued. And I coughed up blood.
Medical Verdict: I was told by one doctor that I had acid reflux and needed to take two other medications. After speaking with my ENT, we decided that I would not take these. Another doctor told me that she originally thought it was anxiety but now it appeared that this was indeed a viral/bacterial thing.
My Personal Verdict: I finally surrendered. I couldn’t see anymore doctors except my ENT and chiropractor. In all of my life, I had never seen so many doctors. Therefore, I needed to ride out this storm and believed that God was healing me. He was guiding me to take the right steps to restoration.
December 15 – Now
Current Health & Lesson Learned
- My son is 100% better! After seeing a specialist, he does not have asthma. It was just triggered by this crazy viral/bacterial infection. Our fingers are crossed as we pray that he does not catch something similar again this winter season.
- I am back almost back to my “normal” self again! I do have some brain fog and other symptoms lingering.
- We have both ended our medications. My doctor put in another 10 days of mine; however, I may try to see a doctor before taking it to ensure that I really indeed need it.
- Now, I am even more focused on rebuilding our gut health. To make myself feel better about being on antibiotics, I am thinking of it as starting from a clean slate, building my gut health from scratch. (Although it may not be the medical way to look at it, this has become my inner drive: to improve my overall health despite the recent challenges.)
- I have scheduled an appointment with a new primary doctor in my hunt to find one that I can trust.
- I learned how many amazing, loyal family and friends I have. I learned that my husband truly stands by my side no matter what.
- Last but certainly not least, I now value how important one’s health is. For years, I took for granted how healthy I was. Also, on a personal note, I took for granted living in the moment by being truly present. Even when I felt the sickest, if I focused on being present in the moment, I felt emotionally at peace. This Christmas I celebrate how incredible blessed I am to be restored back to health with my loving family and friends by my side, embracing each and every precious moment. And that is why I smile on even bigger in faith and hope with my Nana, my special guardian angel by my side…
Thank you to my husband, son, friends, and family who brighten my days with laughter as we smile on…
Allergic Living published the following, excellent resource to help with holiday baking and parties. Check it out and smile on with us to a delicious and allergy-friendly holiday…
While we have all heard the proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child,” have we ever thought about how this not only applies to children. If you really think about it, we all need a “village” to live to the fullest. As much as many of us try to do everything ourselves and not ask for help, it is not healthy or realistic. Even though maybe of us know this fact, we continue on trying to achieve the impossible. Why is that ?
In my own life, since the days of being a stubborn little girl wanting to do everything all by myself to now being in my thirties, I try to handle situations on my own. I don’t like to pester others with my problems plus independence is quite empowering. I’ve always known that this is not the way it should be. However, I carried on until now. While I will post more about this past month later in the week, I have learned firsthand that we all need a village of people we trust. This includes not only family and friends, but also trusted doctors and support staff who know us well. Well enough to direct our steps when life throws battle after battle…challenge after challenge…”mystery” after “mystery” at us…
We did an amazing job of finding my son an amazing village. In addition to having remarkably supportive family and friends, we found others who genuinely care, guide, and have his best interest in mind. So far, they include:
√ An amazing pediatrician
√ Other pediatricians in her group that we also trust
√ A great allergist
√ Day care staff and teachers who genuinely look out for TJ
However, in doing that, I forgot to devise my own village. I guess that is part of being a parent. You forget about yourself. And honestly, I didn’t mind it at all until my own health issues arose and I found myself running in circles and circles seeking answers…and Google sure didn’t help either!
While I too have incredible family and friends, I have been blessed to not have to see doctors very often except for routine physicals. I have an amazing ENT, great chiropractors, and gynecologists that all know me very well at this point. I trust them and it takes a lot to get me to trust these days. However, one important figure missing from my village was and is a trusted primary doctor. The one I have been seeing is never available to see me when I go and so I usually just see whoever is available that day in her group. This was never a problem until recently when I needed that missing part of the equation. I learned this lesson the hard way. Therefore, I have been actively looking to find a great primary doctor and have made an appointment with a new one soon.
While my tip this week is not directly related to food allergies and my son, it is a crucial one for everyone. By focusing on making some necessary additions to my village and ensuring my own health, I can best continue to do the same for my son. With that being said, we smile on with the help of our developing team, our trusted village…
The following article includes a short overview of the signs of anaphylaxis. Before my son’s reaction, I was unaware of the different ways that an allergic reaction could occur. Check out Robyn O’Brien’s article and help us to smile on safely this holiday season…