Sunday, June 12, 2011

L2 (my 9 year old) goes RAW

So this week, first full week of summer vacation, L2 and I have been eating about 90-95% raw.

Last week I became convinced, sort of out of the blue (which, to me, simply confirms that it was Divine Inspiration) that she needed to "detox" by eating raw for a week, so I decided we would both do it.

I have not forced to eat ONLY raw, the point here is NOT to make her miserable (I do that in other ways... hehe) but to clean out her system. So I have let her add little things here and there, like ice cream (not necessarily cooked, but it does have processed sugars), tortilla chips or croutons or even some chicken on her salad, etc. But the processed or cooked food has only been about 10% (if that) of her daily intake.

The results were apparent almost immediately (day 2!) and they have been wonderful!
She has been happy, peaceful and almost completely drama free (this is normally our Emo child). Her energy level has been great, she has not been sleeping a lot but doesn't seem to be tired, but mostly, her attitude has been amazing! (Plus other things you would expect: she is eating a lot less, doesn't get hungry often and forgets to drink water because of it, has no cravings, etc).

Today she asked for cereal for breakfast (she's been having a smoothie) and I knew we would be having salads the rest of the day, so I figured it was no big deal. Then after church we stayed for "fellowship" and there she ate some chips and salsa and some cookies and brownies...

yup, you guessed it, by noon she was hungry, crabby and emotional because we went to Tractor Supply and the carry the little plastic animal figures she likes and she wanted to get a rooster to go with her chicken coop but she didn't bring her money because we hadn't told her we were going to the store and she had thought about bringing her money but mommy told her we were not going to the farmer's market so she didn't think there was a reason to bring it and daddy won't pay for the rooster and then let her pay her baaaack!!

Loren and I had to point out to her that this had been the first instance of whining for the entire week! and very obviously on the heels of the "crappy" stuff she had eaten that morning.

Just to make it clear how amazing this is, I should explain that L2 craves structure and we usually have a lot of trouble during vacations unless we create a routine for her. If I just let her sleep in and then have a free-form day of leisure, by noon we have a complete meltdown!! This week we have not seen that at all.

Alleluia! The Raw Diet triumphs again!

Needless to say, we have ALL been eating a lot more raw (75-90%) and collecting more reasons to keep this as our regular eating style.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Showing God that I'm paying attention

Alanis as God in Dogma
I have been thinking a lot about our experience with L2’s illness (remember the many posts about her fevers? if you didn't read them, this one will catch you up), trying to process the emotions and figure out what the lessons are. I realize that we were… you could call it blessed, lucky, or simply graced by the success of the strategies we put in place to strengthen her body against the mysterious fevers. I know God was trying to teach us something important and I want to show Her that a forceful nudge is all I need to pay attention; I’m not going to wallow in blissful oblivion forcing Her to use an iron skillet to the head.

As I look back at the events and emotional roller coaster of the last few months (complete with Lenten raw cleanse), now that I have the advantage of a few months of distance and perspective, I see that, while I learned –and am still learning— a lot of valuable, practical lessons about dealing with medical billing offices, medical office staff, doctors, nurses, and the Epic Fallibility of Western medicine, mostly the lessons were about myself.

I learned that as I learn to be a Grown Up, finally comfortable with the title and the complete responsibility it demands, and become more independent, strong, articulate and courageous in voicing my opinions, needs, concerns, and, especially, disagreements, I still can be reduced to a frightened heap of questions by the mere mention of the word leukemia. Leukemia became an overwhelmingly real foe when it claimed the life of my friend, colleague and hero, Raquel Ramirez (Google and YouTube her, she’s worth the time), and it is not a presence I want anywhere near my reality again, let alone my children.

I had been handling L2’s recurring high fevers and “tummy aches” with as much grace, courage, patience, and humor as I could muster. Loren and I had learned, 14 years ago when he had CMV (cytomegalovirus), that Western medicine can work very well if you are lucky enough to come down with something predictable, but if your case is rare and you let your doctors have all the control, you will simply be putting your fate in the hands of a bunch of well-meaning, over-prepared yet under-qualified, puzzled people, who will poke and prod you out of concern, helplessness, curiosity, and perhaps even a bit of embarrassment. We have also watched the ups and downs in Loren’s parents’ health and the devastating results of many of the well intentioned treatments to which they were subjected for years. Going into this I knew that we should not “give up our power” to the doctors; I was willing to educate myself, be proactive, and use their expert opinions as another source of information with which to make decisions.

But when I was hit on the face with the snow balls of “leukemia” and “lymphoma”, I was all too willing to give up the responsibility for my daughter’s health and well being because the alternative was too foreign, too unknown. I was also afraid of what the public opinion would be if we did not rush to the ER to start an expensive battery of tests. Would people see us as irresponsible? Would they be right?

While I stayed mostly, calm, cool and collected on the outside, and I tried to appear (mostly to myself) like I was weighing out the options and not rushing into anything, the truth is that I don’t think I would have had the courage or the presence of mind to take another route. If I had been the one facing a serious, life-threatening illness I would have been adamant about exploring all the “alternative” treatments before relinquishing my health to Western medicine, but this was my child, my baby, and her fever was rising, and no amount of Disney movies was distracting her from her pain, and nothing was bringing the color back to her cheeks.

As we learn to go into battle on our own, as adults, away from parental figures and domineering or sheltering partners, we build up an arsenal of coping skills, emotional strength, philosophies, faith, information, spiritual practices and physical disciplines with which to protect ourselves from life’s attacks. But when the enemy took my child hostage, I surrendered my weapons one by one until I found myself 50 feet from my bunker, naked, waving a white flag.

What I have learned is that I still have a long way to go before I can be fully responsible for my children’s well being, and before I can draw in ink the line between taking full responsibility and asking for help. I also learned that, if there is a next time, I will be much more ready to be held accountable –and to hold others accountable for their end of the deal— if I have been doing everything in my power to prevent a next time, either in their bodies or my own.

The last thing I am learning is that I am supposed to be aware, awake, paying attention (!) because there is a bigger picture here that I have not fully grasped and that is changing me, and possibly my path, forever.