Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pediatrician Appointment {02.26.13}

The day dawned bright and clear for our quarterly pediatrician appointment.  Much to my dismay, the little patient woke up kind of "off" her normal self.  I wasn't totally surprised since I've noticed that for about 3 days now, she's been whiny and her appetite had diminished.  Today was no exception.  She didn't eat anything, even when offered pink cheerios and bananas which are her favorites.  She cried when I got her dressed and complained most of the way to the city.

We arrived with time to spare and waited just a few minutes before being ushered into the room.  And then the nurse walked in.  And then the waterworks began.  It took two tries to get her weight done and you would have thought we were torturing her by trying to see how tall she was.  *sigh*  We quickly took a head circumference measurement and once the nurse was done, so was Sarah.  The desperation in her tear filled eyes as she pleaded with me to go home was almost too much for me to bear.  Every ounce in me wanted to scoop her up and bring her home to where she wanted but of course, we can't always do what they want.  And often it's for their benefit.  Sadly, she didn't understand.

Soon after, the doctor walked in and she greeted him with a "nice to meet you, bye".  He went through the whole check up process, looking at her ears, mouth, listening to her heart and lungs.  Everything checked out ok.  He was supportive of the cutting out dairy but did suggest we add some vitamin D and calcium supplements to her diet.  Some of the not-so-good news is that she didn't grow much at all since November.  Although he didn't appear overly concerned, he did encourage me to keep feeding her whatever we could.  I told him that I will be homeschooling her in the fall and would design a curriculum that would tailor to her specific needs and learning abilities.  He was good with that.

And the measurements are as follows:

Weight: 31.3 pounds, 5th percentile (31 pounds, 7th percentile in November)
Height: 39.6 inches, 10th percentile  (39 inches, 13th percentile in November)
Head circumference: 45.7cm, below-4 Standard Deviation (45 cm, -4 Standard Deviation in November

Minutes after we got home, she just laid on the floor... recovering.  It's really hard to me knowing that the medical profession is so stressful for her.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Depression (Part 1)

"A major depressive disorder — usually just called “depression” — is different than the “blues”. Someone experiencing depression is grappling with feelings of severe despair over an extended period of time. Almost every aspect of their life can be affected, including their emotions, physical health, relationships and work. For people with depression, it does not feel like there is a “light at the end of the tunnel” — there is just a long, dark tunnel."

I think depression is one of those things that people don't want to talk about too much.  Fear of the truth, not knowing what to say or how to react to it.  I have lived with depression for two years now.   I have decided to write about it because I feel there isn't as much support for those who live with one who suffers from this terrible disease.  This is my story...

When did it begin...
I don't know if it even "began" or if it was one of those things that kind of snuck up on us slowly.  I can't even remember when it all began but I do recall the drive on the day that I mentioned to Doug "maybe you're depressed."  He didn't shut me down, rather replied with a "maybe I am."  Doug had been on the board of elders at our church for a few years and he had just been elected to the Chairman role.  As his wife, I had noticed a few changes in his moods and personality but I just chalked them up to work-related stress in addition to being on a board and the recent news of Sarah's cerebral palsy.

I had sort of noticed things weren't quite the way they used to be.  A few days of being unhappy followed by a couple weeks of "normal".  I don't even remember how it came to be something that I brought up but shortly after that drive we took, Doug saw the doctor who confirmed our suspicions.  Shortly after the diagnosis, we began to find out that depression runs in his family. He started on some antidepressants in February 2011 which appeared to be working after a few weeks which was to be expected.  This is when things start to get a little foggy for me but we began to notice a decline in Doug's moods again.  To us, depression looked like being unable to participate in family time, the inability to be around large groups, preferring to spend time alone and a sense of being disconnected from the world around him.  I felt alone and sought refuge in my kids and friends.

The past two years have literally been a rollercoaster of emotions for all of us.  I feel like I have had to learn to love a different person than the one I married.  Of course, physically that's not the case but the person inside Doug's body had changed.  Quiet, withdrawn emotionally unstable.  For instance, I wouldn't know what to expect on a Saturday morning.  I would have to decide when (if) to wake him up.  I usually waffled between a few thoughts: one being angry.  This was usually the first thing I felt when the clock rolled past 9:00 and I just figured it was time for people to be up.  I mean I likely had been up since 6:30 already.  Honestly, I was frustrated: why should he get to sleep when I was up with the kids?  Another part of me felt it was a risk to wake him up.  Would he be in a "funk" or not?  There was a chance that his getting up wouldn't be good for any of us or maybe he'd be fine.  Kind of like gambling.

Another unknown was always after work.  What would he be like when he got home?  I tried hard to be a buffer between him and the kids when he walked in the door.  I knew that the rush of kids at the door all of them wanting to excitedly tell him about their day wouldn't be good.  Speaking of the kids, when Doug and I realized that this depression wasn't going away anytime soon, and he was on a doctor prescribed, two week medical leave from work, we told them what was going on.  We knew they needed to know why he was acting different and that it wasn't anything they did or that we could change.

Living on the other side of depression is really tough.  I. Don't. Get. It.  If I am in a bad mood, I'll go make a coffee, have a cookie and 'get over it', which I know people who fight depression CAN'T do.  There is always the lingering fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.  I wouldn't know Doug's triggers and I don't think he did either.  It could have been something as simple as having pancakes for supper or not ensuring the front entrance cleared up for him.  Again... everything seemed to be a gamble.

Doug shared this quote with me:

"Hemingway has his classic moment in "The Sun Also Rises" when someone asks Mike Campbell how he went bankrupt. All he can say is, "Gradually, then suddenly." That's how depression hits. You wake up one morning, afraid that you're gonna live.” 
― Elizabeth WurtzelProzac Nation

There wasn't a single factor that caused or contributed to Doug's depression... it just kind of happened.    Right now, two years later, although he continues to have ups and downs, the extreme lows seem to have reduced in frequency.  I also have learned how to read his cues much better and as a family we're figuring this out.

* Doug is aware that I've written this and encouraged me when his doctor said that 2/3 of his patient load come in due to depression *

Friday, February 22, 2013

Wheat Free Journey (Update #1)

Well, it's been a full week since I dropped all wheat products cold-turkey.  It was certainly an adjustment and although the side effects weren't severe, I did have a few headaches last weekend.  I just took Advil and upped my water and that seemed to take care of it.  The worst days were probably Monday and Tuesday when the cravings hit.  I resisted though and I was really proud of myself.

I made wheat free chocolate chip cookies and wheat free muffins.  I also experimented with buckwheat pancakes.  Admittedly, the taste and texture is a little different but nothing that we can't get used to.  I've added quinoa to our meals and have been researching a whole new variety of recipes.  Doug has done really well and I'm proud of him.  He admitted it was tough when he and Joshua went to Boston Pizza and Joshua enjoyed his pizza while he was served his teriyaki chicken and rice bowl.  The kids aren't totally thrilled with the change and Joshua is certainly the most opposed to it.  Andrea is doing really good and Arianna is following suit.  I have dropped most of Sarah's wheat AND dairy but I'll do a new post on that.

Unfortunately due to circumstances that make me uniquely female *smile*, my measurements were not accurate or fair in my opinion.  I'll see what happens after week two!

Greek salad!  One of my favorites! 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wheat-Free Journey {Part I}

Last week my sister called me to talk about something she found in a book called Wheat Belly Cookbook.  She had read that the consumption of wheat can lead to depression.  That was a huge red flag for me since Doug has been fighting it for two years now.  I bought the cookbook and the book Wheat Belly and began my own researching. The evidence both in the book and online was mind blowing.  I was shocked at how negatively wheat can and does affect us.  I won't go into it here but I'm all for it.  I'd certainly recommend the book! I began the weekend by dropping all wheat that I consume and have reduced the amount that the kids intake.  Doug did it slower as well since some of the side effects can be pretty harsh.  I had a headache on Saturday which was remedied by water and an Advil.

Yesterday I purchased a few different flours such as buckwheat, arrowroot and spelt.  I made wheat/gluten free oatmeal chocolate chip cookies right off the bat and this morning I made buckwheat pancakes.

I'll admit, the taste is a bit different, but different can be good.  I think with time, we'd simply get used to it and it would become a way of life.

"The essential reference book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, states, “Omit wheat products from the diet. Wheat gluten has been linked to depressive disorders” (p. 317 in 3rd ed.). Julia Ross, M.A., author of The Mood Cure, describes the link between wheat consumption and depression:
“Dozens of studies confirm that depression is a common symptom of gluten intolerance, one that usually disappears when wheat and the similar grains are withdrawn. People with gluten intolerance have low levels of the . . . brain chemical serotonin, and gluten has been implicated in mental illness since at least 1979, which is when I first noticed psychiatric journals reporting tremendous improvement in the symptoms of patients with depression and manic-depression . . . who had been experimentally taken off gluten-containing foods.” (p. 126)

The above notes are from HERE.

I'm on day four of my wheat-free journey.  I'm excited to see what's going to happen for me and my family!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Daybook {02.17.13}

FOR TODAY: February 17, 2013

Outside my window... a new layer of snow has fallen.  How quickly we can go from warm, slushy days only to wake up to a cold morning which reminds us that it is ONLY February.

I am thinking... of how much I love Sundays, especially when my family sleeps in a bit.  

I am thankful... for family and friends who help extend birthday celebrations

In the kitchen... cluttered but clean.  I didn't do a really good clean up last night before bed.

I am wearing... fleece pyjamas and fuzzy socks.  I hate being cold.

I am creating... a more structured but not rigid schedule for the kids and I on our week days.  It'll mean a little less flexibility but hopefully instill some more responsibility on their part.

I am reading... The Wheat Belly Book (thanks to my sister's recommendation!)

I am hoping... to experiment with the above book and get myself and Doug off wheat for sure and possibly the kids.  I know everyone is extreme about what they believe in but I personally like what this doctor says.  And if his findings are true (which I presume they are) then I'm beginning to think it may be a healthier lifestyle for my family.

I am looking forward to... proving to my family that I can still bake and make good foods without wheat.

I am learning... to take joy in everything as often as possible.  That's harder than it sounds.

Around the house... not as tidy as I like it.  I'm thinking of some cube shelving for the living room to hold Sarah's toys and books.

A favorite quote for today...

One of my favorite things... listening to my daughters sing and play piano.

A few plans for the rest of the week... for sure some school, hopefully implementing the schedule/routine, and that might be it.

A peek into my day... hanging out with my family.  Maybe a trip to the Science Center...

Saturday, February 9, 2013

My Week

Just yesterday I got home from spending the previous four days with my sister and her family in Calgary. It was time spent cooking freezer meals, drinking coffee, visiting and just hanging out. We rolled 338 meatballs, made 4 large meals of pasta sauce and 4 meals of enchiladas. It was a very productive week to say the least. Alicia is a wonderful hostess and although I {still} don't like that she lives 3.5 hours away, I certainly appreciate our lengthier visits when we make it happen.

One interesting thing that occurred while I was feeding Rosie her supper of quinoa, turkey, spinach and red peppers (minced), Sarah indicated some interest what was on the spoon. With a bit of hesitation, I offered her a small taste and she enjoyed it. She actually accepted an additional two bites plus a small taste of cucumber. I was elated. I have struggled with Sarah and her eating habits, or rather the lack thereof. So, moving onto Friday night, we had pasta and sauce and I simply offered it to her after I had put it in the food processor and made it a bit finer (not pureed). Without a word, she ate her entire bowl! In addition to eating well, she slept until 5:30 am in her own bed and until 8:30 beside Doug and I. Tonight's supper was meatballs, mashed potatoes and gravy. I am delighted to say that Sarah ate 1.5 meatballs mixed in with the gravy and potatoes. After watching a movie, she eagerly went to bed and quickly fell asleep. Maybe, just maybe, I am starting to make a breakthrough with her eating habits. I am so crazy proud of her and if the excitement for the rest of her family is any indication, we are ALL proud of her!

Cousins watching a movie

Watching the baking

Dippin' Dots... a sweet memory of our trips to Alabama

Canada Olympic Park... I still remember the 1988 winter Olympics. 

The very top of the Olympic ski hill.  Really neat!

Sarah enjoying her first every bites of pasta and meat sauce!


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