The ‘Why’ ?
I’ve never been one to document things – especially not for the world to see. Growing up I never even had a journal (except for those two occasions when my English teachers forced me to keep one). I’m not only someone who doesn’t share things online, I am an extremely private person. My closest friends will tell you I am the quiet one of the bunch and my family will say that they never really know what I am up to. Not because it is bad, just because I am not a sharer, never have been.
So why would someone like me take this very personal journey of trying to be healthy and share it for the world? Why would I choose to put myself out there in such a way knowing that one Google of my name could open this personal journey to any random person I have ever come across?
It began with my son.
I have always been a ‘back against the wall’ kind of person. Growing up I drove my poor mama crazy because I would always wait until the last minute to do things. If I knew about a report for months, I would start working on it a week before it was due and whenever I was asked to do something, I would wait until the very last second to do it. As an adult I’m the same way. I don’t balance my checkbook until I start getting late notices and I don’t clean the house until a few hours before company arrives, (my husband loves that one).
So it’s really not surprising that even though I have been trying to eat healthy for years, even though I have bought books and countless kitchen products, and even though I have listened to countless podcasts I have never been able to really make that leap.
But now, my back is against the wall. Without invading his privacy, I will simply say my son was sick this year. He was in a tremendous amount of pain on a daily basis and it went on for months. His school helped us put him on home hospital care, he had more needles and tests than I can count and he saw eight doctors, (not including the doctors in the hospital during his two hospital stays).
And yet, no one could tell us what was happening to him. They knew of one thing that was going on, and we spent more than a month believing that was the cause of his pain. But then more testing showed that issue was a separate issue from the pain – an issue that needed to be dealt with, but something that could wait until we figured out this pain thing. A pain that continued to leave doctors stumped and grasping at straws to give him relief.
We once took him to a doctor locally, just to keep things moving between appointments with Hopkins and Chldrens hospitals, and he said ‘You have doctors from two of the best hospitals in the world and they don’t agree’. He was right, we knew he was right, but it still hurt to hear.
Then in June he started having random days where he didn’t have any pain. First it was a day here or there, then it was a few days here and a few days there. Then one day, after a series of pains, he sat up and said it was over – and it was. Tests showed that the initial problem he had – the one that supposedly wasn’t responsible for his pain, had almost completely gone away. To me that can’t be a coincidence, even though his doctors don’t seem convinced.
As a mom, with no definitive answers for her child, I am doing what any mom would do…
I find myself trying to have some control over something in this. Yes, there is a chance that this was all some perfect storm of events, but I just can’t chance that my son will have to check out of his life for another four months. So I am trying to look at what I can do to prevent that. And since I don’t have any kind of official diagnosis, I feel like the best place we can start is with food. While the doctors continue to monitor him and we continue to move all of his follow up care to one central location I am working on turning my picky eater into a healthy eater. Working on myself too, that is just a happy side affect.
Strangers helped me and I want to pay that forward.
So even though I am not looking forward to sharing this personal adventure with the world, it is something that I feel I should do. There were so many emails, phone calls, and cards when he was sick and it meant so much. But it wasn’t just people who knew him that did these things, complete strangers were emailing me at times. He was on prayer lists and people that we hadn’t really spoken to in years were asking about him constantly. There was a time we thought he had a gluten sensitivity and a friend told her friend about it. The next day I had a long email from this person (a stranger whose child has a severe gluten allergy) giving me advice on what to expect, and offering to answer any questions. There is a neighbor behind us that we have never really talked to (in another cul de sac and separated by a fence), she saw my husband in the yard and asked him how my son was doing. We were not sure how she knew he was sick, but she did and it was so kind to know she was thinking of him. These are just two examples, there are others.
Aside from the love and support from our loved ones, these random acts of kindness from strangers really helped us. It wasn’t that anything they said was able to help us find a diagnosis, it was simply that someone who did not know us was touched by what our son was going through and they cared so much about this child they didn’t know that they were willing to do whatever they could to help him and support us. The least I can do is pay that forward.
So that’s my ‘Why’, what’s yours?