Over the past several weeks, our 16 year old daughter has been having numerous tests conducted to determine what is causing her severe eczema (the worst case our specialist has ever seen). Yesterday, we found out the results. Leading up to the appointment, I was a mixture of excitement and hopefulness. During the appointment, I was keen to hear the results – to finally have answers and to be able to move forward in improving Talitha’s health. By the end of the appointment I was overwhelmed, and maybe a little in shock. No, the results weren’t devastating. Talitha is not suffering from anything life-threatening and in fact, many of the findings were positive (her beneficial flora levels, for example, are good, which the doctor credited to the diet we have been on for the past 12 months).
One of the tests conducted on Talitha was her reaction to a panel of foods (IgA and IgG). Of the 96 foods Talitha was tested against, she reacts (ranging from very low to extremely high) to 62 foods! I completely expected her to react to some foods but to two-thirds of everything she was tested for?…no. Many of the foods Talitha reacts to we have already eliminated from our diet – grains, legumes, certain dairy, cane sugar. But vegetables?…vegetables! Talitha has a low to moderate reaction to avocado, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, lettuce, celery, pumpkin, zucchini and tomato. We eat all of these vegetables and A LOT of these vegetables! We love our veggies! I stood at the stove at dinner time last night and broke down. What do I cook? We are already so restricted in our diet. I already have to be so creative to make food we can all eat, and enjoy. What now?
Last night, my brain went into overdrive. Of the 96 foods Talitha was tested against, by far the most severe reactions are to eggs, pineapple and honey. Though we eat pineapple, it is not a big part of our diet, but eggs and honey are. Honey is our only way of sweetening food, apart from fruit, and eggs are our go-to breakfast most mornings. OK, we’ll give her almond porridge for breakfast…nope, she reacts to almonds. Pumpkin soup? Nope she reacts to pumpkin. I asked the doctor about foods Talitha has a ‘very low’ reaction to (broccoli, coconut, cabbage, cucumber). We can give her those foods once every four days. Foods she has a ‘low’ reaction to (carrot, cauliflower, pumpkin, lettuce, tuna)? Once a week. Foods she has a ‘moderate’ to ‘extremely high’ reaction to (green beans, almonds, celery, tomato, and more…)? Completely eliminate from her diet. Last night was not a great night.
I woke this morning feeling flat and weary. It doesn’t help I have my own health issues (including sleep apnoea), but last night we also had a very loud thunder storm here in Perth. On the days my hubby Isaac works, he leaves for work early, just before I get up. He always preps what he can in the kitchen – to help me out – and quite often leaves me sweet little notes explaining what he has prepped and expressing his love for me. This morning was no exception. Pot of fresh coffee made, eggs beaten and ready to be scrambled, saucepan of chicken broth heated and ready to pour into mugs, banana muffins packed in lunch boxes (a banana in Talitha’s instead). I jumped into gear. Poured out the broth, heated one saucepan full of pork and veg for lunch for the younger three kids, a second saucepan with last night’s leftover beef patties and veg for Talitha’s lunch. Chopped a whole onion, started frying it in homemade ghee…added sliced mushroom and near the end of cooking, baby spinach – Talitha’s breakfast. Fried the scrambled eggs – the other three children’s breakfast. Woke the still sleeping 10 year old (she was up several times during the night – the thunder was soooooo loud). Rushed to my bathroom to dry my hair (yes, I did all of the above with a towel on my head! 😉 ) We’ve got this!
My plan from here: Take one day at a time. Breathe. Pray. Cry. Cook. Repeat. Hug my hubby. Hug my kids. Talk to my close friends. We will get there. I have much hope. Praise God for the gift of life…His creation.
Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
PS – In addition to the Food Panel (IgG/IgA) test results coming back yesterday, we also found out Talitha has intestinal dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut flora/bacteria), Candida Kefyr (a strain our specialist has never seen before), very low zinc and very high copper. We will be dealing with all of this at the same time as carefully implementing dietary changes. Your prayers are very much appreciated. 🙂