celiac disease

Holiday Food

It’s holiday time.

And you know that with the holidays comes the thought of food, and food…. and more food. To a family with food issues, this can be an overwhelming time. It all starts at Halloween when I’m deciding what I want to let my kids trade their candy in for. I usually buy safe suckers and gummies, but I was so glad to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year. That’s a whole other post I need to write, but I will say that this project eased the burden of focusing on food. Instead, my kids enjoyed tattoos, stickers, pencils, and a load of other trinkets–and they did enjoy a few food treats.

Once Halloween is over, the food theme continues into November. Instead of candy, now the focus is on baking! Oh that lovely baking. I have truly enjoyed testing several and developing some recipes the past ten years, and holiday recipes are my absolute favorite. Before last year, I would buy those big thick holiday recipe magazines that cost about $9.99 each. I’d buy up all the ones I could find and peruse them like I was getting paid for it. I’d fold down the corners of the pages that promised a delightful indulgence. And then I’d go to town in my kitchen any spare minute I found. But last year, we received Keira’s diagnosis just days before Thanksgiving. And I had to get real serious real quick! I did my best to recreate family favorites or even add new foods to our spread, but we have reshaped our focus yet again and are now trying to do more than simply eliminate dairy and gluten from our diet.

This will officially be our second holiday season since finding out Keira has celiac disease, but it’s also kind of a first because our eating habits have continued to evolve. Slowly over the last year, we have become more serious about healing inflammation. I have read a ton of research, listened to experts in webinars, and discussed personal stories of healing with people just like us and with our doctor, and as a family, we have edged our way into the Paleo world. Personally, I was really good about sticking to the strict diet when I first started–it lasted about six weeks before things got utterly crazy (school starting, activities commencing, and four birthday parties to throw) and I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been. But, for the most part, at home we eat a mostly Paleo diet. So this year for Thanksgiving, I have a bunch of new recipes I’m going to use. Several of them are ones I have tried, tested and ended up loving, and some will be 100% new to us. Let’s face it, I have recipes for pumpkin desserts and rolls that my whole family loves because we’ve been “testing” them a lot this fall! But we haven’t had a need for green bean casserole yet. Or stuffing. Or sweet potato casserole. So I’m currently hunting these down by browsing some of my favorite Paleo resources–mostly blogs from people out there doing what I’m trying to do. If you have any to share, feel free to comment.

So instead of continuing my rambling into December holidays, I’m going to share a couple of our favorite Thanksgiving recipes that we have tested time and time again. I hope these delectable dishes can help those of you out there looking for some holiday treats that won’t add to your inflammation issues.

Here is our newest favorite pumpkin dessert. I actually plan on taking this to the school Thanksgiving lunch next week to replace the pumpkin dessert we cannot eat. Kaelyn recently took a slice of this treat to school to replace the pumpkin pie her class was eating. She has begged me to make it again several times.

These wonderful little bread things are making their appearance on our table as rolls this year–though they really aren’t rolls, they are more like muffins. The actual recipe calls for you to pour the batter into round molds to make buns, but we don’t have those molds so we make mini-buns by pouring the batter into muffin cups. They make for tasty sandwiches, but my girls have asked that I serve these in place of rolls. Their wish is my command! A side note: I have to triple the recipe to make a dozen muffins. But honestly they are so easy to whip up in no time at all. I love easy and tasty recipes!

We will also have some mashed potatoes, but I don’t do much to those other than use an alternative milk in place of regular dairy milk. And we will obviously have a turkey–a wonderful, big turkey!

Now the time comes for me to find a cranberry relish, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole or some other sweet potato dish, and stuffing recipe. I have several pinned on Pinterest, but it is time to select the ones that look the tastiest.

What is making an appearance at your “safe” Thanksgiving table?

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Part IV: The Carousel of Crazy (January 2012-June 2013)

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By the start of 2012 I was ready to put the past where it belongs and move on with life. We started enjoying all of our normal foods again. I went back to cooking one meal for all of us. Kaelyn, our third daughter, was still in the heyday of her fits, but at least we didn’t have to focus on every minute detail of our diets. We had a little bit of our lives back and we weren’t going to waste it on researching anything else medically related. I even started a new job in addition to my teaching online job, and I found out I was expecting. Our sixth baby was a surprise, but a nice surprise after those heavier months. A new life has a way of inspiring you to look on the bright side! 

That summer came, and I was happy to have all my kids home for the next few months. Just as my belly was starting to really show, Keira was starting to really complain of her tummy hurting again. This was her last summer before she started kindergarten, and I wanted her to get answers before she started school. I put her belly aches off for a few weeks, but it didn’t last long. Those tummy aches became more pronounced. She was in pain—a lot of pain. Every day she would tell me how awful she felt. Finally, I pulled out the one thing I knew in my gut would probably help her. We took her off gluten again.

The last part of summer I spent trying to get her tested for celiac disease. At her back to school checkup in August of 2012, I asked for a celiac panel. I only knew this existed because Makenzie had had one when she was hospitalized. What I didn’t know is that she had to be on gluten for a very long time, and a moderate amount of it at that, in order to get a true reading. So even though she officially started school gluten-free, here we were putting her back on gluten. And I mean, we basically stuffed it down her throat. We were constantly gluten-ing her up. Here’s some bread. Oh, look, you’re favorite—mac ‘n cheese. Here, let me help you sprinkle those extra breadcrumbs onto your chicken nuggets. We were starting to enjoy MISSION: STUFF THE KID WITH GLUTEN!

We did this for a couple weeks and then got her tested. That dang test came back negative. Again, I was just so sure it would tell us she had celiac disease. Once the testing was complete and we thought we had our answer, I gave birth to our son, Keian. It was a difficult birth, the toughest to date—by far, and to say I was struggling afterwards isn’t quite painting the whole picture. But as my health was taking a downward spiral, I saw that Keira’s was, too. By her sixth birthday in October 2012, she was the sickest I’d seen her. These details may seem gruesome, but I’m trying to spread awareness. And I figure if you’ve made it this far into the story, you are worthy of these details.

The poor girl was passing loose, watery stools with bloody mucous. When I saw this with my own two eyes, I was immediately alarmed. There’s a history of stomach and other cancers on both sides of her family, so we took her straight to the GP. She was not sure of the cause, so she referred us once again to our favorite (please note the sarcasm) children’s hospital. I prayed and prayed we would not endure the same quality of treatment we last received there, and I think we did end up with a better doctor.

This time, we got into the GI in a matter of days. Apparently they don’t like to deal with screaming babies until they’ve let them go for so long that they are now school-aged children passing bloody, mucous-laden stools. The new GI we saw seemed pretty intelligent and seemed to want to figure this little mystery of a kid out. She looked Keira over from head to toe, asked us several questions, took her whole history and decided to do blood work. She wanted to check for celiac disease, but we told her she’d been off and on gluten for the last few months and one test had already come back negative. Well, she decided to test anyway. If the celiac panel came back positive or if she was anemic, Keira was guaranteed some scopes. Well, if I know anything about my daughter’s medical issues, I do know she consistently tests anemic. And she did this time, as well—though her panel came back negative—go figure!

So within a couple days, our three week old son accompanied my husband, Keira, and me to her endoscopy and colonoscopy appointment. I was terrified thinking about what they would find. When they took her back, we got to accompany her. We were allowed to sit with her until she fell asleep. I’ll never forget how she suddenly passed out shortly after the drugs were injected. It was so sudden and that made it a bit scary—but at least we were warned this would happen. I cradled my baby boy and we all walked into the waiting room. Ellen was on the television, and I remember it was a funny episode where some lady (who worked for Ellen) would walk up to strangers and sing lyrics to them as if they were trying to have a conversation. I watched this to distract my thoughts. I also watched Keian as he let out his first real smile. It was absolutely precious. The timing was perfect and something I will never forget.

Sometime later, the doctor called us into a private room. She talked about what she found and there were absolutely no growths. I was instantly relieved and kind of let everything else go in one ear and out the other. She said she would call with biopsy results within a matter of days. I got this phone call in the kids’ school parking lot after the Halloween parties at school. I recall lots of kids talking loudly and my mom handing me her checkbook to take notes on the back. As I was listening to the nurse explain everything they found, I was baffled again. She did say that there were three prescriptions waiting at the pharmacy for us to go pick up. One was an anti-inflammatory because her small intestines were inflamed—non-specific inflammation, to be exact (yay, I love mysteries). She had an acid reducer because she had inflammation in her esophagus and obvious damage from years of GERD. And she was once again, put on Mirilax to ease the constipation.

So we started in immediately with getting her good and drugged. Pentasa was taken three times a day, Mirilax once a day, and her GERD pills twice a day. This lasted from November to January, at which point we were instructed to meet with the GI again to check in on Keira’s progress. I remember this day, January 17, because it was Keian’s four month birthday. I was trying to mentally prepare for this appointment by thinking about how Keira had been feeling, and honestly, she seemed much better—well, all except for this lump that developed under her left breast in December, but I’ll discuss that later. But overall, her digestive symptoms were improving. Complaints about tummy aches had drastically dropped—a big plus in my book! By the time we got back to see the doctor, I felt prepared to answer her questions.

Matt and I both reported how much better we thought she was. Even Keira added her two cents about her symptoms all but disappearing. We did tell the doctor that we had her on some gluten at home this whole time, but she did eat gluten-free when she was at school or with anybody else. I did this because I wanted to know when and how much she consumed so I could check for reactions. Nobody had instructed us on what to do about the gluten, so we winged it. She was getting gluten in small doses a few times each week. Then, the doctor remarked and noted (as I’ve now read in the report), that she looked extremely pale and had dark circles under her eyes on this day. She asked Matt and me if we agreed, and we both looked at each other and shrugged. She always looked that pale to us, and this was written in the doctor’s notes as well. Since she seemed to be doing better and we had no additional complaints, we were told to start the weaning process. Since Pentasa was the heaviest, for lack of a better term, drug she was on, we started by removing one pill per day. Every two weeks we were to cut another pill/dose until she was drug free. I liked that idea and so we started at the end of January because this was her three month mark of being on the drugs. She also told us to have her eat gluten as normal—including at school—so we would know if it was the drugs or the gluten-free-ish diet that was making her better. So we obliged.

After seeing the GI that day, we went straight to see an endocrinologist with this same hospital. Prior to this appointment, Keira had a bone age X-ray done as well as some blood work. These results were forwarded to the endocrinologist. When we finally saw the doctor, she told us that the blood work looked good as did her bone age. She questioned some lifestyle topics (like eating food that comes from BPA lined cans—which we didn’t eat) and discovered we may be contaminating her endocrine system by using lavender shampoo. We told her we would stop using it, and she told us that if the lump didn’t go away we should come back in six months. Ah, thank goodness for the ol’ standby known as the “wait and see” approach. It’s a mother’s favorite! Luckily, that mystery of a lump went away at the start of spring.

We left the endocrinologist that day and went home to mark our calendars for the day we’d begin the weaning process. Everything seemed fine at first. We started off in February full steam ahead. I finally felt we had some answers, we’d started fixing them, and now it was time to go back to normal. Heck, she was even eating gluten again—life was peachy. That is until Valentine’s Day 2013. Just two weeks into the weaning process and my baby girl was home sick with a fever. It wasn’t very high, but I kept her home and she rested on our couch. A few hours later, I checked her temp and it had gone to not quite 100 degrees to over 103 degrees. I got her a cold cloth and loved on her. Shortly thereafter, I was in the kitchen and I suddenly heard a scream of pain come from my girl. I ran to her side and she was in the fetal position, grabbing her belly in obvious pain. I immediately tried to get her to go potty, but she could hardly even stand. After a feeble attempt, I told Matt we were headed to the ER. I was thinking her appendix was about to or already did burst. I know nearly nothing about this condition except the location and severity of the pain, so going off of that I took her in. By the time we reached the ER 20 minutes later, the pain had gone from a 9 to a 2. I was at a loss again, but seeing as how she had the fever and the sudden onset of pain, I took her in anyway. They drew blood but we decided not to do a CT Scan because it did not seem necessary. They checked for several viruses and the like, but everything came back mostly normal. The doctor did note that she had dropped a whole point in her hemoglobin in the six weeks since she’d had her blood drawn for the endocrinologist. This concerned the doctor enough to tell us to follow up with our GP, but not enough to do anything besides wish us well on our way.

I took her home from the ER that night more frustrated than ever. The puzzle pieces were finally starting to make some sense, but I think I was too angry to try to work them out in that moment. But it did sit in the back of my mind for the next six weeks as we continued to wean our daughter off her anti-inflammatory meds. We were down to one Pentasa a day, and the tummy aches were back again in full force. I did as the doctor said and called to report the change. She told us to immediately go back to the full dose of Pentasa, stay on all the drugs, and come back for a scope. So we did, and two weeks later we were right back where we’d been six months ago—getting scoped at the GI clinic.

I wonder if you’re thinking like I was at this point—surely they found something this time. There will be an answer after six and half years of dealing with these symptoms. Right? Wrong! They called a few days after the scopes to let us know that everything was fine and we needed to start the weaning process again. “Call us back if she starts to have symptoms again!” the nurse exclaimed.

I think my response was something like “Why? So you can scope her again, find nothing, and tell us to start weaning again? How long am I supposed to run my daughter and our family on this carousel of crazy?”

And then I hung up the phone. It was a low point for me in this journey. Just when I thought, once again, that we were going to have real answers, real hope, it was all lost with a lousy call from the nurse. All the blood draws, all the time off work, all the scheduling management, all the pain my daughter was in, all the effort made to keep the drugs in her, all the blood and sweat and definitely tears were all for nothing. NOTHING! Not one single thing came of this—or so it seemed at the time. But what I failed to realize in my moments of despair watching my daughter fade before my eyes, was that this would be the turning point in getting her well. This is when we started the healing process.

To be continued…

Part III–eating paper, throwing tantrums, and seeing more doctors

Keira had always been a very picky eater, but now she was starting to eat things that were not food. Sometime in her toddler and preschool years, I forget exactly when, she started to eat paper. At this age, my kids are natural hoarders. Keira was no exception. She had plenty of junk in her bed–from stuffed animals to pillows to books. I noticed the books she stored in her bed were all chewed on. I saw that the upper right corner of these books all had bites taken out of them. It looked like a bunny ate these books for afternoon snacks. It was obvious little teeth were tearing at the pages of our favorite picture books, but we did not have any rodents in the house. Again, I wish I’d known at the time what I was dealing with. And for anybody reading this who is going through something similar, this is a sign of pica which is found in people with nutrient deficiencies. In fact, according to one PubMed study, “Underlying celiac disease should be considered in children with persistent pica and growth failure even if gastrointestinal disturbances are minimal.” And just FYI, Keira was very petite, and growing less and less each year.

At the age of 3.5, some symptoms not related to the digestive tract started to take shape as well–tantrums, to be exact. And these were not your average fits. I’d had one older and two younger toddlers and many friends with children by this point in my mothering career, and not one of them would throw fits like this. These outbursts could be over something as simple as the texture of her sock—we never knew what would set her off. And when she did “go off,” she would scream for hours. These screams were high pitched. Her eyes glossed over. At some point after her initial screams, she just screamed to scream, or so it appeared. She didn’t even look like she was of this earth when she had her fits—it was like her mind was somewhere else.

During this time in my parenting journey, I wanted to run for the hills. I did not know what to do with her anymore. Her fits not only continued, but they increased in frequency and intensity. They seemed to lurk around every corner. I hesitated to say anything to her, afraid it would cause an episode. I wanted so badly to be close to her and find a solution to whatever was causing her to act this way, but I let fear get the best of me. While I wanted to help her, I will confide that these fits put a huge {temporary} wedge between us. I’m not proud of this, and I really did not know how to help this fact, but that’s what it was—a fact.

As parents, Matt and I were just trying to raise four girls all four an under, and these fits proved to be quite challenging. We had three other kids who needed our attention, and we were not prepared for everything that awaited us. Despite the chaos happening under our roof, I did have a friend who was going through something a little similar to what we were going through. When we talked about our children, she mentioned she had found an allergist who was starting to help her son. I was excited for her, and I thought maybe that was the route we should take. So I looked up allergists in town thinking I might find help.

I ended up getting her an appointment with a random allergist in town in the Spring of 2010. I thought maybe Keira was allergic to milk. She did have those hives as a baby. Could she just not know how to express her pain or thoughts and so she screamed? I just knew I’d leave that doctor’s office with answers. So we went to the appointment, and I was less than impressed. The doctor was a joke. Basically, since she wasn’t seizing or dying before my eyes, she was fine. His arrogance was enough to knock me out of his office never to return. And I felt let down again. Worse yet, I felt I had let my daughter down again.

These awful fits of screaming lasted well into the summer when she was three. I remember a vacation we took to Colorado. We tried to make happy memories, and we did make some. But I will never forget being awakened by our screaming child at 2 am. We were in a condo with thin walls in a little ski town. We were dumbfounded as to what we should do with Keira as she belted out in her highest pitch to date. To prevent waking our other children and guests of the complex, my husband lifted her into his arms and took her to the car to let her scream it out. Oddly enough, this wasn’t the first time we had to do this. I actually had to do the same thing when we were staying in a hotel in Illinois when she was about 16 months old. I remember being clueless then, too. All I could do at midnight in my car in a hotel parking lot was wait for her screams to end. I recall my mom, who was staying with us at that hotel, saying she could hear Keira screaming in the parking lot—my mom was in our hotel room. Fast-forward two years later and here we are again.

After Keira’s fourth birthday that fall, her father and I grew more perplexed. We were worn out and I remember wanting to give up. I would never actually give up on my children, but not seeing an end in sight can play evil tricks on your brain. And when a thinker like me is given the time to imagine what could happen to their child they don’t know how to help and seems to be getting worse with every birthday, they go to the deepest darkest corners of their mind. Places I don’t care to ever visit again. No hope or faith rests in these places, and sadly, I spent most of my time there. This continued for months until the summer before her fifth birthday. By now, we were finally seeing some improvements in her demeanor. She wasn’t screaming as often or as intensely. She was easier to get along with. Our family life seemed to be happier, but we hadn’t reached the end of the tunnel yet. The fits still happened, and a new symptom started. She was complaining of tummy aches, constantly. That’s when I remembered my friend who sought help from an allergist. I was nervous I’d be laughed out of his office like I was at the previous allergist’s office, but I decided to call him and see what he had to offer.

A year after learning about him, we finally went to this allergist my friend recommended–who is actually a PhD and an MD. I found out he is a biomedical doctor—I didn’t even know what that was. I just knew he was going to help my kid. We sat through blood draws, skin pricks, and many painful screams. It wasn’t a pleasant visit, but I was willing to do whatever it took to help my baby. From these tests I learned what and IgE (a “true” allergy, think anaphylactic shock) is, and also what an IgG is. Living in the Midwest, I certainly knew what “true” allergies were, but I’d never heard of an IgG reaction. These are the more delayed immune responses—and they cause multiple symptoms. Well, Keira had IgE and IgG reactions. We were instructed to start allergy shots and remain off several different foods in order to heal her gut. “Heal her gut?” Yep, I was wondering what in the world I was uttering—I didn’t know anything about leaky or permeable gut at the time.

That fall in 2011 we stuck with our very strict diets. I had two other children who also saw this doctor, and their tests all came back with different allergies and sensitivities. This meant that I was cooking one meal for my husband, Kenli and me; one meal for Keira; one for our third daughter, Kaelyn; another one for our fourth daughter, Makenzie; and on top of that I was making baby food purees for our fifth daughter, Karys. This was financially, physically, and emotionally taxing. I was constantly focused on what to feed our kids and when their next allergy shot was due—because God forbid we went past the window of time and had to start over. But guess what, that actually happened.

In December 2011, I called and called the doctor’s office to order new vials of the serum for their allergy shots, but I never received even a phone call back, and we missed our window. About the same time, my kids were visiting my mom without me there, and she accidentally gave them a cookie that had one of their IgE reaction foods in it. I rushed over there expecting the worst—Epi-pen in hand. When I got there, everything was calm and cool. Nobody was freaking out. Everyone was breathing normally. I didn’t even see hives. And that’s when I said screw it! I was done, DONE, with this “fix.” I felt that the system failed us once again. I was done paying for it with my sleep, sanity, and money.

When Life Hands You a Mystery

I planned on adding Part II of Keira’s story tonight, but instead I think I’ll just vent about the not so fun parts of healing.

I’m kind of not a fan {at all} of mysteries when health is concerned–especially when it comes to the health of one of my children. And Keira has always been one giant health puzzle. It seems for all her life we never knew what was going on with her little body. Weird symptoms would come on, we would try to “fix” them, and then we would try again. We would see many doctors, stay up all night cuddling the pain away, and many nights I just prayed and wished on stars for a resolution to her health issues. There were pills we tried that never truly worked. We saw specialists who couldn’t figure her out. We actively tried to figure out the mystery! As you know, we eventually did. But here’s the funny thing, Celiac Disease isn’t understood much beyond the classic presentation and the knowledge that gluten is the trigger. So really, we closed one chapter of mysteries just to open another.

Somedays Keira still gets tummy aches. Though they pale in comparison to what they were last fall {and all the years before that}, they still creep up. And it’s usually about the time I start getting cocky about how well she’s doing. I seem to be mid giving-the-finger to gluten when one of these tummy aches will happen.

Super Bowl night 2014 was one of those times. We were having a good day. I’d made a decent amount of food to snack on while we pretended to watch commercials. Keira really liked the bacon wrapped figs I’d prepared. She also loved the Asian rice salad, and seemed to be gobbling it down just fine.

The night before, she had complained about belly pain around the center of her belly. It’s as if we could have traced a circle with about a one inch radius around her belly button, and that’s where all the pain was. It grew in intensity, and we sat through it with her. We tried rubbing peppermint oil on her, using a heating pad, rubbing it in a clockwise motion, and trying to distract her with sweet words and stories. Nothing was helping for quite some time, and then suddenly it subsided. As quickly as it reared it’s ugly head, it also left. We wrote it off as some minor hiccup in the healing process. But 24 hours later, my baby was in screaming and crying out in the fetal position.

Here is a time when, as the parent of a celiac child, you feel completely helpless. I felt like there was nothing I could do to take this pain away from her. Before we had the diagnosis, I could at least rush her to the ER in hopes of getting answers. Doing this made me feel like there was a chance she could be helped and the pain would be magically drawn out of her body. But knowing she has celiac disease, I knew there wasn’t much of anything an ER doctor could do for her. Short of pumping her full of pain killers, I didn’t know how thy could help her. Yet I had this urge to take her and seek help. And actually, that’s what we ended up doing.

Being familiar with her pain patterns, Matt and I knew this seemed extreme for Keira. She was rating the pain at a 9. She usually tops out at a 7. Also, all the research I’d done for months and months was replaying in my mind. I kept thinking about appendicitis. It could easily make sense since so much of her body was inflamed and so many of her organs had an itis attached to their name.

Her pain had migrated from her belly button to her lower right quad over a 24 hour time period. This was classic appendicitis. She could not even sit up, let alone stand up. With all of this weighing on my mind, I told Matt I thought we needed to take her to the ER. I don’t know how much of me thought it truly was appendicitis and how much was me just seeking somebody, anybody, to help my baby–but we did decide to go.

Matt carried her to the car, and we both went with her to the hospital. I knew that we might not get any real answers, but I was hoping to at least rule appendicitis in or out. On the ride there I remember thinking about an article I’d read that talked about undiagnosed celiac patients receiving unnecessary appendectomies. I was worried that Keira was a diagnosed celiac patient suffering from celiac pain that mimicked appendicitis. Not that I wanted her to have inflammation or surgery, but a small part of me did want answers. I’m tired of not having answers.

When we got to the ER, I made sure the doctors understood she had celiac disease. I told them I thought the pain she was in now was very different from her previous tummy aches. For one, she couldn’t move without crying out in pain. It was also her highest rating on the pain scale ever. And it’s location and migration looked just like appendicitis. But deep down I felt it was her celiac inflammation acting up. I felt this way because just one year earlier we were at the ER for the exact same reason, but we were weaning her off Pentasa at the time.

An ultrasound and CT Scan proved my gut feeling to be correct. I was glad to hear that she didn’t have to have those complications on top of what she was already dealing with, but I also felt defeated. I felt out-smarted by the gluten devil. I felt like I let my baby down. I think it’s part of the mom DNA to always place blame on yourself and question everything you’ve done that could’ve led to the very moment you couldn’t protect your child the way you wanted to.

After a very long night, we went home. With us, we brought a very tired girl who seemed to be in less pain. Keira feeling better is always a good thing, but why she was ever in pain in the first place remains a mystery.

I don’t know if it’s who I am or if most people are like this, but I do not like being clueless when dealing with illnesses and diseases. I always want to know why–no matter what the truth is, I always question it. I’m a very trusting person with other people, and I usually don’t think twice about somebody’s intentions. But when it comes to everything else {be it health, education, politics, etc}, I question. I probably over analyze and ramble on in my head, but I am just wanting answers. I want to figure things out. So when I can’t figure out why my innocent little girl is holding her stomach, curled into herself like a baby, all while moaning in pain, I GET MAD! I don’t like this fact, but this is a vent post and so I am venting.

I think there is a lesson for me to learn while we go through life on this journey. I need to not be mad. I need to not let anger and frustration distract me from being there for my daughter. When she needs me, I want to give her my 100%. Well, actually I always want to give her and her siblings my 100%, but I’m sure you know what I mean.

As Keira has lived her life, she has truly inspired me. She has to be the toughest person I know. She rarely complains about anything because she knows true pain. If I were her, I question whether or not I could dig myself out of a pity party. Where she persists and takes everyday as it comes, I’d probably wallow and look for blame to place on something or somebody for my situation. And that is what is so beautiful about her spirit, she just keeps going. I’ve seen this scenario play out many times in her life. She never seems defeated and she always rises out of whatever crappy ashes life hands her. This girl might have my eyes and passion for art, but she most certainly has a better attitude than I would have. She keeps me in awe and feeling truly blessed to be her mom. I have no idea how I got so lucky.