Over the last 18 months there have been many things that in retrospect look a lot clearer. Is that FPIES? Or is that just life? Or is that being a parent? There are a lot of things that I wish I had done, or not done, or just done differently, but the facts are always the same: I did the best that I can with the information I had. This is the story of life.
As moms we are pretty hard on ourselves, and when we have a chronically ill or special needs child that is only amplified. I wish I had elminated corn from my diet before I stopped breastfeeding. I wish I had started keeping logs of her daily schedule and bizarre symptoms much sooner (I did with the first child, why not this one?). I wish I had started a probiotic first, like the pediatrician suggested. But I can't change those things now.
As we have continued on the path of weaning Elianna off of her prescription formula, I have begun to see changes in her that are remarkable. Normal, perhaps. But things I did not see before now, and did not realize I was missing.
The word autism is one that brings fear to any parent, yet it keeps popping up in connection with FPIES and severe food intolerance. Another FPIES mom whose older child is on the spectrum. Doctors doing current research are connecting immune system dysfunction to autism, dyspraxia, ADHD, extreme food intolerances....These topics are all very controversial and unknown. Like vaccinations.
I never related any of these conditions to Elianna. Until now. Sensory issues, food therapy, swallowing problems due to inability to control gag reflex. Sleeping a particular way, eating a particular way, showing sensitivity to light, temperature, and texture. Extreme volumes of quiet and loud when she speaks or cries. The inability to self-sooth. Never wanting to be put down and needing to sleep as upright as possible. It took her longer to walk, and talk, and sit up, and just about everything. And sometimes she just falls down. She trips, she loses her balance, or she will be standing right next to you and the next thing you know she is laying flat on the floor. She doesn't always get up right away, which has always been a bit puzzling. And this never concerned me, until we recently made changes and began to see a different little girl.
She wakes up laughing. She argues with her sister, and hits when she gets angry. She asks for things, shows preference, and responds to commands with more and more frequency. She has begun to mimic, 'high-five', and give kisses. She has words. In fact, the first time we took her off of the formula she said 6 new words within 24 hours. But most chalked it up to coincidence. To me, her mother, I find it remarkable. She DANCES. She holds a beat, bobs up and down, twirls in circles, and sings all day long. ALL day long. And watching it brings me to tears.
All of this has evolved in about the last three weeks. Perhaps she is growing. Perhaps she is just hitting milestones like she was meant to. Or perhaps she is feeling less inflammation in her little body, and getting nutrients that her brain and body so desperately need. Part of the push to make the brave steps to the bone broths occurred after I read information a couple of months back about the developing toddler. At two years of age is when the developing brain begins its first major pruning of unused-brain-whatevers (I forget exactly). That was enough for me. We were wasting time and I had nothing to lose. So what if she had a reaction? We would be no worse off then we were before, and no farther forward. And instead I have seen remarkable change and success.
As she bobbed and waved her arms today to the CD playing "Father Abraham" I could only smile in awe. Where do we go next? Forward.