Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Too Busy! Sorry for the Long Pause!

So it has been over a month since my last GAPS update, and indeed, there is a lot to update!

Let's start with Joshua:  He is essentially on full GAPS now, although once we are sure we have eliminated all the previously hidden gluten triggers, we are going to put him back on intro.  This is because he seems to have developed an allergy to duck eggs (or he did not react until enough of the protein had built up in his system), and we have not seen any further signs of healing in his other allergies.  We do, however, feel like his part of the GAPS experience has been very successful so far.

In case you are sitting there asking why, let me expound with a few TMI points (and I will just get the disclaimer out of the way now: These posts are geared toward helping other people who may be diving into the GAPS world themselves, as well as telling our friends and families how to pray for us.  There are probably going to be many details in here that are too graphic for the dinner table, and I will not apologize for them, though I will try to mark them as TMI so that anyone who does not care about stools, cycles, or other details can ignore the "icky" stuff).

TMI - Joshua basically had chronic diarrhea from when his allergies began to manifest all the way up until shortly after we started GAPS.  Just an FYI for all of you cloth diapering mamas out there, I probably do not have to tell you that cloth diapering a child with chronic diarrhea is not a picnic.  A week or so after we started GAPS this stopped.  Now, he has had one or two days of "loose stools" in the last TWO MONTHS!  So he has not been free of all digestive upset, but it is such a drastic improvement that it has made life better for the boy (who has a significantly lower incidence of diaper rash - all the food related diarrhea generally also left that poor backside almost blistered), and much much better for this mama. /TMI.

Also, Joshua has grown.  Not much more than he had in the beginning as far as the numbers go, but none of the clothes he was wearing when we started GAPS two months ago still fit him well.  He is chattering up a storm again (he did have almost two months in there where the only words he said were "Mama," "Dada," and "Petta" for his pacifier.  This was after a couple months of regularly saying please, thank you, chicken, dog, up, down, yes, no, etc.  He also stopped most of his babbling.  He was still making noises, but it went from multi-syllabic to being all "da da da da."  NOW, he is using more words and even a phrase or two (namely "Thank you," and "What's this), and he is also back to multi-syllabic babbling, as well as singing.  His mood has greatly improved.  He's still a little (very) stuck on Mommy and Daddy when we're outside the home (and sometimes even in it), but he is throwing many few tantrums, and responding to correction when he DOES thrown tantrums.  He had a much less dramatic response to the poking and prodding at the doctor's office, today, too.  Usually he screams from when they get his weight straight through until she's done listening to his chest sounds and such.  He started out unhappy, but he tolerated much more of today's appointment without fits than ever.

Oh, and perhaps one of the biggest deals.  His eczema has all but disappeared.  This, it turns out, was not actually eczema, but Dermatitis Herpetiformis, a rash that is found in persons with Celiac, which is often misdiagnosed as eczema.

So to recap: Lack of diarrhea, GROWTH, lack of developmental delays that were hinted at before, healing in his skin.  His doctor said that him falling off the growth charts, but then recovering when we removed the grains indicated that he is not simply multi-allergic, but that he definitely does have Celiac. Other indicators of this are:
  • his chronic loose stools which normalized once we started GAPS (removed all grains)
  • His rash
  • Heredity (Jeff AND his mother are both gluten intolerant.  She said the fact that Jeff manifested typical Celiac symptoms after just spreading wheat straw around indicated that he is very likely actually dealing with Celiac).
  • His improved mood (this one goes both ways, people who are simply gluten intolerant and those who have Celiac both often experience bad mood swings after gluten exposure).
  • Appetite - his food restriction has almost entirely stopped (he is still "normal picky," prefers some meats to others, etc., but he eats a wide variety of meats, veggies, and fruits now).
So, part of the reason we are going to hit intro later is that I am feeling as though we will not see any further healing in Joshua, allergy wise, until we eliminate all the other sources of gluten.  We were not paying as much attention to environmental gluten sources, because that is generally only a problem in Celiac patients.  Now we know that we need to take that action (part of that realization is the dermatitis returning when we had to give him some medications that we wrongly thought were gluten free, he has had some exposure that we would like to eradicate before going back to the intense part of the diet.  No sense putting in all the work if we know we are going to get poorer results.  So full GAPS for now, circling back to intro later.

The Parents:

Jeff and I have been doing very well on GAPS.  Jeff has not yet seen any food allergies reversed, but Dr. Campbell-McBride does say that the longer you have had undiagnosed problems, to heal. So this is pretty much expected.  He has, however, found that his digestion has normalized quite a bit, and on top of that, we have BOTH lost quite a bit of weight.  I have lost 15 lbs, and Jeff has lost at least 30.  We both feel great and have more energy, as well as more focus.  We are both wearing clothes neither of us has ever seen the other wear.  And we have found some particularly great benefits to GAPS.

TMI Alert:  Ladies only...I mean it.
My first month on GAPS I was annoyed by something that was also incredible.  My period actually caught me by surprise.  Now, some of you have experienced - as I did - that this glorious time was made even worse post-childbirth, and then worse yet again post-weaning.  Seriously, I have never had a full week of cramping prior to starting in my life, but once I had weaned Joshua, that is exactly where I found myself.  Well, after being on GAPS I can say that I no longer deal with the full spectrum of PMS symptoms.  I am still a little on the emotional side, however all the cramping, all the bloating, all the joint pain (we all have weird symptoms others do not seem to, mine was shooting pain between all the joints between my hips and my toes on one side of my body or the other, it changed each month), and best of all, all the migraines....DISAPPEARED.  Honey, I can take a few extra tears for a few days if I do not have to ALSO be in pain.  In case you are worried that it was a fluke, my second month on GAPS had the SAME story.  None of that PMS pain.

Still TMI: I have, however, found that one thing about GAPS does not suit me at all.  The lack of grains.  Now, I can live without them, but my digestion becomes a bit sluggish.  And by "a bit," I mean very.  For this reason I have decided that I may just not be a GAPS patient.  I might be one of those people who does poorly without grains.  I tried just about every single remedy Dr. Campbell-McBride mentions (short of enemas, I just cannot do it), and NONE of them had an effect.  SO, I have decided to add soaked/sprouted/fermented grains back into my diet. Other than that, I am still following GAPS protocols (broth, probiotics, no sugar, no potatoes).  I am not sure what I am going to do about pregnancy and nursing, though, now that Joshua has an actual Celiac diagnosis and the possibility for other sibs to need the same restrictions at first.  I may just leave off the glutinous grains at first and see if that allows me my digestion and the Future Bullers their allergy-free existence.  Or maybe we will see divine healing before then (Just FYI, we are praying for healing, and I believe we will see it.  These conditions, however, are reversible through dietary measures, so I do not think that healing HAS to be an outright miracle.  I believe that whether we are healed through the laying on of hands or through the GAPS diet - or both- it is God and God alone doing the healing).  /TMI.

So that's the basic update.  Jeff has more energy and is sick much less, as well as having lost 30 or so pounds.  I have lost weight and seen other tremendous improvements, but am going to be adding soaked grains back into just my diet (so technically I am not on GAPS anymore, but I am still doing mostly GAPS things).  Jeff and Joshua are both on full GAPS, but Joshua will revisit intro at a later point.