Monday, July 28, 2008
Heartbreak & Food
Over my life, I have experienced many different types of heartbreak. You know the ones: loss of a friendship, loss of a pet, loss of grandparents, miscarriage, divorce, even losing the big game. The list goes on and on. With all heartbreaks, you feel helpless and sometimes hopeless.
One of my worst heartbreaks was in 2002. It was supposed to be one of my happiest times. I turned 30, married Tom, and was expecting my first daughter (child #3). But it wasn't all a bed of roses. My oldest son, Lord Humble, was struggling. At first we said it was because there was so much change going on in his young life: moved to a new state, new school, step-dad, and there was going to be a new sibling.
But, we started seeing odd behavior at school. He would get frustrated and shredd his work, flip his desk over, break his pencils, and remember none of it later. He was suspended several times. The school refused to take him back unless we had him put on ADHD medication. So, to the doctor we went and came home with one medicine. But quickly, one turned into 3 and we were continously increasing the dosage. Things escalated. He was expelled from school. I was crushed. My nerdy gifted child was struggling and I didn't know what to do.
We petitioned the court and had to have him committed to a hospital for evaluation for 48 hours. Again I was crushed. Tom had to carry me away from the door to the car! I still remember him screaming and crying. I could hear him call, "MOM! MOM!! I WILL BE A BETTER BOY! I'M A GOOD BOY!! PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME!! MOM!"
I didn't know what else to do! Every bone in my body ached and I felt completely numb. I started having contractions and had to be monitored. Red was scared and worried. It was taxing.
After his release, he was on 3 different medications. Those didn't work and were changed quickly. They ran a battery of tests: bipolar--NO, temporal lobe seizures--NO, ADD/ADHD--NO. So, we were back to square one.
We brought in a behavorialist and 2 different counselors that visited us at home and at the new school. We tried different sports to give him a physical outlet.
Finally, we tried gymnastics. He fell in love with the sport and I met a mom who intoduced me to Sylvie (our DOM).
With the help of Sylvie and our new pediatrician, it took us several months to figure out what was causing such behavioral problems.
It was a severe food allergy!
We learned that Lord Humble is severely allergic to food coloring and sulfites. Both of which he was eating in his school lunch, packaged foods, and of course fast food. We also learned that he has liver damage. We will never know if it was caused by all of the different medications or if his ALT levels were high before the meds.
It has been a long hard road for our entire family. Lord Humble has been off all meds (both western and eastern herbs) for over 4 years. We maintain a very strict diet for him at home and he is thriving! Although I homeschool him, he is taking all honors classes and is already a full grade level ahead. He is also dreaming of being an Olympic gymnast and wants to help kids like him oneday.
I am proud of him and our family. We pushed through the storm and came out of it better informed.
There are times when I wish that it wouldn't have happened to my children, to my family. But, because of Lord Humble's allergies, we have been able to help other children who are having similar behavorial issues.
For more stories of heartbreak, please visit Absolutely Bananas.