As Thanksgiving approaches I could give a crap about the turkey or the feast. Quite frankly I'm not particularly fond of this time of year because of the illness and all the people who carelessly spread it, the chaos, needless hustle and bustle... but the real meaning for this holiday matters to me. Looking at the year in slow motion, I feel grateful for so much.
You see, life changes quickly in the ordinary instance. Snap your fingers and everything can change. It takes your breath away every time. In April, my strong Dad had a massive heart attack at age 65. He could've been a goner but luckily there was minimal damage and the doctors saved his life with five stents. In June, my sweet Mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer at age 63, never having smoked a cigarette in her life. A section of her lung was removed and it was thought to be a best case scenario but it's not. There is still cancer growing somewhere in her body although we don't know where. My world was shaken because for some dumb reason as children, we think our parents are invincible. No one is, obviously. I love these two people dearly and selfishly wish they could live forever.
So there's been that, it's pretty big and ugly but we float on. We have to. Find the silver lining. My parents are not six feet under, so we'll make the most of every moment we can. It would be great if I weren't eight hours away but I am thankful I can pick up the phone and hear their beautiful voices, although sometimes it makes me cry. When I finally get chances to wrap my arms around them, I hold them longer, soak it in and go back for seconds sometimes thirds. It probably gets awkward for them, lol.
It's often hard in this life, but that can make you a better person if you let it. It can make you appreciate what you have, when you have it... and that my friends is a gift. After all the years of struggling with Calvin's health, we feel real happiness when we finally have moments of normalcy. When we get to venture out and do normal family things together, we are very grateful. There have even been moments of complete bliss when it hits us how much Calvin's improved. We've been climbing the mountain and it's been tremendous work, but worth it!
For about eight months he has seen a chiropractor three times a week. The last two months we've been able to go down to two times a week. He used to be on quite the asthma inhaler regimen:
2 puffs Advair twice a day
4 puffs Flovent twice a day
Do the math and it was 12 puffs of inhaled steroids daily. Madness. Since February, we have slowly weaned him completely off and as of October he hasn't used an inhaler, maintenance or emergency. This is the first successful time we've been able to fully wean him off since he was a sixth month old baby!!!! After eight years of expensive meds, four exclamation points isn't nearly enough. Right now, he's only on two prescription drugs, Singulair and Flonase. We hope to discard these someday too but we won't make an attempt until Flu season ends next Spring. We don't want to push our luck.
Yes he has gotten sick frequently, but not too much more than the average kid and he comes out of it after a chiropractic adjustment. We've been watching him go up and down for months now. He'll start to get ill, get adjusted, show improvement and we move on. There has been no pneumonia, no emergency meds and no prednisone. It hasn't gotten critical. The chiropractor snaps Calvin's body into place (removing the subluxations, look it up) and his sinuses are able to drain, his body is able to expel and recover on it's own like it's supposed to. The goal is that Calvin's body will heal itself if we can support it in a non-invasive healthy manner.
We've made other changes as well. He eats a raw, whole, organic diet as much as possible with limited sugar and processed foods. The only cow-made diary products allowed are cheeses, otherwise it's all about the almond milk. I make him Superfood smoothies packed with greens, honey, hemp, chia seeds, goji powder, maca powder and so on. Essential oils are amazing, we apply them mainly to his feet, some are ingested and there will be another blog post coming that will be devoted to just the magic of these essential oils. Then we've been doing an abundance of supplements such as fish oil, high doses of vitamin C, probiotic, vitamin D, multi-vitamin, manuka honey, turmeric powder, cayenne pepper, apple cider vinegar and fresh ginger to name a few. I owe everyone detailed blog posts on how to incorporate these changes into your life. I'll get there. I wish there would have been a me that I could have read about way back when.
In short, what we've been doing with Calvin's health has to be working. We'll know for certain soon enough. The IgG blood counts have been ordered and will be redone shortly. Then we'll know for sure if we're truly healing him. It is a possibility that we've only succeeded in propping him up on holistic methods but for daily care it's been way better than the western medicine route we have abandoned. The test will tell us if we still have to consider adding IgG replacement therapy to the mix because what if he came into contact with the measles? Would he be able to survive it? It can be a scary thought. As his mom, I have to make sure I'm protecting him. Western Medicine is an old hat and while I find more use out of watching it collect dust than actually wearing it, I can't just get rid of it entirely. On occasion it's needed, it has its place.
I still love Calvin's Allergist/Pulmonologist, Dr. Paul Detjen. He's a good man and when we checked in with him after six months into our alternative treatments, he was amazed at Calvin's improvement. He didn't merely brush it off as luck or outgrowing something. He told us, "whatever you're doing is clearly working, so keep doing it." This doctor has stuck with us, seen us through some awful spells with Calvin and he gave us the best he knew. I will forever be grateful for him and if we should hit a pothole, and Calvin's lungs implode, you can bet he will be there to fix it. Sick care and emergency care cannot always be avoided. But you can bet your butt, I'm going to steer us away from them as best I can. I am going to enjoy watching the rubbermaid bin packed with his emergency meds, sit there on the shelf untouched.
As I wake up and realize where we are today compared to years past, it seems too good to be true but I'm going to shut up and enjoy it. Even though we have that test coming up, I have hope. Even if we end up needing some medical intervention, it will only supplement what we have going on now. Do some research and educate yourself. There's more out there than an M.D.'s office and their prescription pad. It will take more work and effort on your part, you'll need to be brave and ask questions but I assure you, it will be worth it. We're in a really great place. Two amazing people are to thank for this and I would love to publicly acknowledge them. Calvin was stuck in a state of perpetual sick care and Dr. Derek Kasten jump started his recovery back to a state of health. He supported and coached us through the rocky transition of walking away from what we knew and empowered us to establish a better way that would heal our child. He has now moved on to North Carolina, One Love Chiropractic, and we miss him greatly. If you live there, look him up, he's amazing. Our current chiropractic hero is Dr. Andrea Mursu, Health in Harmony Chiropractic. We love her! You can look her up too but don't fill up her schedule because we need her.
Today and always I will forever be grateful for these amazing chiropractors, they helped us get our life back. Prior to them, I feel like we were merely surviving. You don't have to just survive, there's living to be done. Happy Thanksgiving to all, may you find gratitude in this life and celebrate those you get to love.