Monday, June 27, 2011

A rough week

Day 68

Last week we trialed coconut, which we hadn't tried since the early days of SCD (it didn't go well). This time around it didn't go as badly (no hours-long screaming sessions in the middle of the night) but there were enough concerning symptoms that by day five I had to pull the plug. Ellie was frequently telling me her tummy hurt, her sleep was being affected and she developed a rash under her eyes and all over the trunk of her body.

I was so sad about this because I has really gotten my hopes up that coconut would be OK, which would make the diet so much easier. Especially snacks. It seems like so many GAPS-friendly snack recipes call for coconut or coconut oil. And doing GAPS without dairy or coconut is a real pain. There's something so sad to me about baking blueberry muffins with duck fat in them. :(

Over the weekend I had another very frustrating experience. Ian and I brought Ellie to our 10-year college reunion BBQ. I thought I had read that there would be a carving station (read: simple, roasted meat - very GAPS friendly) but when we got there, there wasn't. In fact there was literally nothing we could eat.

The pulled pork had mayo in it (egg allergy), the burgers were beef (beef allergy), the carnitas pork was cooked in beer (gluten sensitivity), the truffled mac & cheese and pizza were obviously off-limits and the calimari was battered in flour (damn you, gluten). I just about had a full-on panic attack, especially because the guy who was serving the carnitas assured me it was gluten-free, and I almost fed it to Ellie but that mama voice inside told me to go ask about ingredients and lo and behold it had beer in it. Thankfully Ian got into problem-solver mode and went and asked one of the cooks to make us a special batch of sauteed squid without the batter. What a great guy (both the cook and my husband). So we had cherry tomatoes, carrots, squid and strawberries for dinner. It was a totally fine dinner, but a completely stressful time getting it.

I still struggle with feeling like a freak trying to procure food out in public and am especially sensitive to looking like a crazed over-protective parent. I felt awful when Ian came back with his food - a burger and fries - and we had to continually tell Ellie she couldn't eat it in front of our friends. Fries and toddlers go together like peas and carrots! Sometimes I just wish we could take a night off GAPS and be a little closer to normal.

As if all that wasn't enough, Ellie had a serious allergic reaction at a friend's house this morning. Ellie was totally fine for the first half hour or so and played with the girl's toys and was very happy. After that she fell down and became very upset. This might sound crazy, but falling down is one of her signs of a food reaction. I nursed her and she seemed better, but then she became really fixated on holding the other girl's doll and was suuuuper upset when she couldn't have it. I thought this was just toddler behavior and tried several things to calm her down, including nursing again and taking her outside to talk in the fresh air.

But she just kept escalating and escalating. She was hysterically sobbing and nothing was calming her down. She started developing a rash on her face and then she put her whole hand in her mouth to hold onto her tongue. At that point I finally realized she was having a reaction. Holding onto her tongue is a common symptom for her, but one we haven't seen for quite a while. Anyway, I left at that point and we sat in the car while she cried for another 15 minutes or so. She told me her chest hurt. Things were so bad I was considering driving her to an emergency room. After that she was calm enough to nurse and then we drove home. On the drive home, she asked me for chicken broth, which is very unusual but - again - something she's done in the past when having a reaction.

It's nearly impossible to suss out what happened. Was she reacting to gluten or dairy (or some other allergen) just from touching the girl's toys? This is my first guess. Or was she having some sort of environmental allergen reaction? This has never happened before. Or was it something else all together? I hate it when we have experiences that I can learn absolutely nothing from. I have no idea what caused it, so I don't know how to prevent it from happening again. I'm trying to not let it convince me that we should never leave the house again.

What a frustrating week of events. Setbacks and feelings of isolation were the themes that ruled recent days. Time to take a step back - reassess both our food and our social commitments - and start again.


  1. I am so sorry this happened to you Annie. My little one has been teething and he's been crying almost uncontrollably which he NEVER does. DH and I were so helpless!! Gavin wouldn't eat or drink and the teething gel doesn't seem t help. This is his last #3 so hopefully we'll have a break for a while. Way to go for Ellie to ask for broth!! And you know the signs so well by now, too. Awesome job. Don't you love nursing? People just don't realize how amazing it is. I'm still enjoying it at 17 months and hope to continue for a long time!

  2. I just wanted to say I have been there - having a child have a massive reaction to...nothing. I'm so sorry. I know exactly how you feel. You're doing the right things. Never give up!

  3. Sara Kay and Magda - Thanks both for the encouraging words. It really means the world to know there are other mamas who have been or are going through the same things!!!