Oh how I wish life could be that easy..."don't worry about what you don't know". This statement is something I can't do. I can't not worry about what I don't know anymore. Everywhere I go I worry about what Lillie is eating. Worry worry worry.
This week has been hard (as in, bang-your-head-in-to-a-wall hard). Lillie started acting like she was coming down with a "cycle" this past Thursday...we now know her "cycles" aren't cycles at all, but her bodies way of reacting to gluten. The only thing is, I've been really strict with her diet and couldn't think of anything that might cause her to react that way. So, I swept my concerns under a rug and kept moving forward. But, Friday evening she began getting violently ill...waking up in vomit, horrible accidents, sensitivity to light, lethargic, food not digesting at. all. ...all the same symptoms. I knew. I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I knew. But, because this is life and well, life is just rarely black and white, Shep got sick on Monday. Followed by Rauly and I being sick on Wednesday. It was mild compared to what Lil's had been dealing with for 5 days straight, and our symptoms only lasted for 12 hours or so, but still...it left me scratching my head and thinking maybe this was all just a stomach bug?? However, day 6 and Lil's is still sick. And I know...I just know. She's reacting to something she's eating. Probably she had a stomach bug at some point, but everything about this week has screamed "cycle" to me.
So, back to researching and sure enough, I confirmed what I already knew. Our family has to give up the last grain I've allowed in the house. Rice. Wheat contains 67% gluten...corn contains 55% gluten...rice...sweet wonderful rice...contains only 5% gluten. I have hoped against hope that Lil's could stomach rice. There's all kinds of "traditional gluten free" food that contains rice...frozen waffles, frozen pizza's, crackers, kid-friendly cereals and an assortment of snacks...Rice has made this transition SO MUCH easier to bear. And I'll admit that I cried a nasty cry this afternoon as I accepted the fact that our family is going to have to say goodbye to all these foods that have made Lillie feel more normal...and have made my life so much easier.
After less than 10 hours of me cutting out all grain from her diet today, she has improved drastically. No bad diapers, no vomiting, no gagging, no stomach cramps, no sensitivity to light (which means no migraines)...it's amazing and heart breaking all at the same time as it confirms my suspicions.
People, I don't cook. Food has never been something I've focused on...maybe I'm too adhd?..maybe I'm too lazy?...I'd eat frozen pizza or cereal for every meal if I could get away with it! I've come a loooong way since this journey began, but I still have a looooong way to go! So the realization of having to shop, prepare and cook grain-free meals that will interest 3 kids and their plethora of friends for the next two decades scares the bejeebers outa' me! I so badly want to pass this burden on to someone else...like say, someone who maybe enjoys cooking??... (hey, I never claimed to be a saint!).
Some of you might be thinking that these ramblings are over-dramatic and maybe even a bit selfish, but before you pass judgement, you try cooking grain-free for a family of 5 in a grain filled society, you try telling your children they can never eat at McD's or Chick-Fil-A, or Domino's or the Loop again (or at least they can never eat their when they're with their lil' sister)...you try cooking meal after meal only to have your kids turn their noses up at you and say "thx mom, but I'm actually not hungry" when you know that meal they don't like cost you $30 bucks and lots of time to prep and cook...do all that, and then get back with me.
This is life for us now. Below you can see us at a friends gathering - these are all the kids (including Shep and Rauly) eating normal food...just chips, crackers and salsa (normal stuff that 4 months ago we were eating every day). And below is Lillie Anna...eating her seperate food (which incidentally is rice crackers which I now have to elimate from her diet) at the opposite end of the table by herself. She's adjusted really well...she picks up popcorn off the floor at the movie theater, holds it up and says "momma, this hurt my tummy?". I trust that she won't try to sneak foods any more, or cry when I tell her she can't have something she sees her friends eating,...but let me just state this frankly...as a mom, seeing your child seperated like that, sucks!
I know I sound frustrated, and honestly, I am. I'm frustrated my sweet little girl is having to deal with this. But then I remember her name...Lillie. We named her after the lilies in the field. And I hear God whispering to me that He loves my little girl. And I believe that. And I'm grateful that she's able to eat good, nutritious food and that there is an abundance of vegetables and fruits and meats and nuts that she can tolerate. Truly, I'm grateful for that.
I've been told that accepting a gluten free/grain free lifestyle can take years. "Life's a dance we learn as we go...". My heart is heavy, but I'm thankful for the fact that Lil's has a bright future and a healthy diet we can follow. Prayers please as I move forward...prayers for a renewed spirit and a zest for cooking!