Saturday, December 27, 2014

I Was an Overprotected Child with a Secret

I could also beat my dad fishing
     When I was 5-years-old, I weighed less than 25 pounds, so my mom kept me out of school until I was almost 6. And because she was scared that riding on a bus with a bunch of kids bigger than me might be dangerous and because I was constantly sick, she put me in a private school that was closer to where she worked and that she could drive me to. I don't blame her. My son Victor is also a tiny guy, and he's not even sick like I was, and I'm terrified of putting him into a public school environment.

     So there I was already 6-years-old, the oldest in my class, and in kindergarten, and I was eating lunch. I went to a really small school. My entire grade was comprised of 15 people. We ate in the classroom, and we ordered our lunches from "The Lunchbox." They sent out hot lunches in Styrofoam boxes with meat, two veggies, bread, and fruit. I had gotten peas that day. I opened up my box, and there among the peas was a worm the exact shape and color of the peas. I have never eaten peas since that day, and I couldn't bring myself to eat school lunches after that day, either. That's when I started taking my own lunches, and that's when I became addicted to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
A PB&J would go good with this outfit.

     I have a really good memory. I have a few memories from when I was two. I remember three pretty well. From four to six is full of memories of all sorts. Then there's a lapse of my entire first-grade year. Then the memories resume. Why is it so hard to remember that year? Because I have a secret. That's the year I had a seizure.

     I remember that night very well. I was wearing a lavender Care Bears night gown, and I was reading Mr. Magoo Goes to the Zoo. I had a loose tooth, and it was worrying me. I really wanted it gone because I was terrified I would swallow it in my sleep. I made my mom pull it, and that's when I started feeling terrible. My stomach started hurting from the blood that I was swallowing, so my mom made me some salt water to swish with. I didn't want to rinse. It was terrible. The salt burned, and I just wanted to lay down. I kept laying down in the hall in front of the bathroom, and my mom kept telling me to get up and rinse my mouth. Then I was at the zoo. I was hiding behind a tree watching Mr. McGoo talk to a monkey in a cage. It was terribly funny. Then I was back in the hall, and my mom was freaking out.

     I spent a good bit of the next year in doctor's offices hooked up to EEG's. I can still smell that gel. While I don't remember much about my school or friends from that year, I do remember the doctor's visits. They had trouble figuring out what had happened, so I kept having to endure the same tests over and over. They also gave me a CAT scan. I got a lot of gifts that year for being a good patient. I got a Popple after the CAT scan for being so good. The medical staff convinced themselves enough of what was going on with my brain, and they put me on some terrible drugs that changed my personality, but after a year, my mom took me off of them because I had not had another seizure, and the medicine was horrible, and it was one of the hardest decisions she had ever made. My seizures were not caused by epilepsy, so it all worked out for me, but my mom told me that I had to keep it a secret. She said that if anyone ever found out that I'd had a seizure, I'd have a hard life. I wouldn't be able to get my driver's silence. I would have a hard time getting  job. I just wouldn't be normal.
Because memorizing a three-page-long song against your piano teacher's wishes in two months time is normal.
     In my reading on food allergies, I found research findings that suggest that a lot seizure activity is caused by food allergies, and I think this might have been my problem. I'm not suggesting that anyone should just change their diets and go off their medication without medical supervision because they read this and thought it was a good idea. My mom took me off my medication Against Medical Advice, and it worked out for me. It was a decision that she struggled with and prayed about. I am saying that my own seizure, as well as a lot of my other medical problems were more than likely caused by food allergies. I know it's why I've suffered from so many stomach problems.

     In fact, almost all chronic health problems are caused by food allergies, including: hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, yeast infections, all manner of stomach problems, colic in babies, asthma, bronchitis, other lung problems, eczema, rosacea, other skin problems, sinus infections, frequent sore throats, as well as any number of ear/nose/eye/throat problems, migraines and other headaches, behavior/mood/nervous system problems, urinary infections, bed wetting, arthritis, and joint/muscle pain.

     I have suffered from several of these, including: hypoglycemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, stomach problems, bronchitis, rosacea, frequent sore throats, allergy-caused conjunctivitis, migraines, bladder infections, and back pains. In fact, my headaches were so bad that I couldn't grow my hair out too long without triggering them. Since switching to Paleo, I've had fewer of these problems.

     It makes sense to me that allergies would be the culprit in all of these things. It is the underlying cause in a number of seemingly unrelated problems. And then there's the whole issue in which your body is being bombarded with the allergens it's having to deal with. While it's dealing with the allergens, the rest of your body goes haywire, germs and viruses sneak in that your immune system is too busy to handle. Your body uses it's best defenses to try to deal with the constant bombardment, and you end us with chronic inflammation. Your body just naturally raises temperature where there's a problem. When you have a bug, you get a fever because the immune system is fighting infection throughout. When you have allergies, it's like you get a fever where it would do the most good, if it weren't for the chronic nature of the problem. Like stomach problems; you eat something that triggers a reaction, and your body heats your guts to bake out the invader. Your stomach reacts with gas, bloating, increased acid, cramping, diarrhea, etc. You take a fast-acting pill, and it gets better. That's because a couple of the most popular stomach medicines are actually histamine blockers. That's right, they block the nasty little things that happen in an allergic reaction. I learned that while studying for my pharmacy technician exam.

     I wish I could go back and teach that little girl what to eat in order to make her feel better. I can remember so many days of just feeling bad and not knowing why, so many times that I couldn't make it to school because I was so sick, so many doctors visits, so many medical tests. I can't go back in time, but I can educate my children and feed them the best food. I can help them lead healthier lives full of natural foods and lots of active play. And in the process, maybe I can retroactively heal that little girl.