Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It's completely out of order.

This post is not polished.

But I simply had to get the news out!

Ellie has a new vegetable. 

After more than 14 months of stage 1 intro GAPS she finally has more than just zucchini.  She has light green pattypan squash! 

She tried it very briefly at the end of last summer and we were unsure.  Then it went out of season and disappeared; we could not get it any more.  It is back at the farmer's market and I could hardly wait to give it to her.

The last 3-4 weeks have included several changes in her daily regimen and each one can be seen, but by far the most important factor has been prayer - and lots of it. 

She is back on a very small amount of coconut oil, and her eczema is starting to clear.  And now she has a new vegetable as well.  

The Lord our God has heard, and He has answered our prayers.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Answered Prayers

May is incredibly busy for our house as I finish up the school year (work) and get checked out for summer vacation.  This year feels as if I am trying to run at the speed of light as we move into some particularly large transitions for our family.  It has kept me from updating as much as I would like about the amazing answers to prayer we have been seeing.  May has most certainly been a month of planning, reconciling, and preparing for change.

Shortly after the 10 days of prayer began, it was clearly impressed up on me that Ellie needs fish and fish broth. I have not put much effort into feeding her either because truly wild white fish is hard to find. Most of California's streams are stocked with corn and soy fed fish, and finding ocean fish takes more searching.  There is a local business at the market I attend that rarely has broth parts but does have filets.  Snapper is the one I have been putting the most effort into getting my hands on because it is the most recommended by Sally Fallon (WAPF).  I did purchase a snapper filet and fed it to Ellie during the 10 days, and she did great with it. Unfortunately she would eat about $20 or more a day of fish using this business as a source. There is no way we can afford that.  I did some research on how wild fish is handled and packaged, and while it is not ideal to feed her fish that is not fresh, has been handled by many, and has traveled long distances, it appears to be our only cost effective option at this time.  One of the local supermarkets had wild snapper on sale, so I purchased a case.  Next step is to find whole wild fish or heads and tails to make broth. Most supermarkets don't have this as their fish arrives already fileted. We have several salmon parts in the freezer but she needs the white fish for other nutritional support.

I am very grateful for being shown this piece of her puzzle, and the search for wild ocean fish has begun. I suppose I was given an excuse to hit the beach!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Foods!

Ellie has two new foods. Yup. That's right! As of today she has two new foods to add to the list. Don't get too incredibly excited because they still fall into that never ending category of meats, but they are still new!

Drum roll please!

First up we have a successful course of not just the broth, but also WILD TURKEY MEAT. Yum!

Second in line...Ellie has really been needing fish. For a long time.  I think the last time she had fish was when she started GAPS 15 or so months ago, and she was not a fan of salmon broth.  This week I bit the bullet and purchased fish for her at the farmer's market.  Wild fresh fish is incredibly expensive and hard to find, but this week my eyes have been opened to how much she needs it.  So today she enjoyed an entire pureed filet of WILD SNAPPER. I mixed it with a little bit of turkey to take off the edge, and she did not hesitate to eat the entire mix today.  Of course after her first bottle I asked her if her soup was yummy, to which she firmly replied 'No'.  ha, ha!

Today was day 9 of Team Ellie, and she has three new foods in 9 days. Fermented zucchini juice, wild turkey, and wild snapper.  In combination with the other successes we have already seen, I am incredibly humbled.

At the very end of last summer she seemed to do well with a flat round squash called Pattypan, but this was just as it disappeared for the season.  Well, it is back! And it looks as if Miss Ellie may be getting to try out and confirm some new squash! So next on the menu will be a light colored Pattypan squash, just to be sure it was indeed one she could tolerate.  Then it is on to choosing her next food to try, and we are thinking it may be time to give those backyard grain-free eggs a shot.

Incredibly exciting stuff around here. Go, Team Ellie, go!  Prayers are being answered!

Matthew 18:19-20

19 “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Small, GIANT Successes

Things have been so incredibly busy and full of new progress that is has been difficult to find the time to update.  Days 3 through 7 of Team Ellie have brought some seemingly small, but in reality extremely large successes for Ellie. Some of these leaps have come after months and months of hoping and waiting.  While we have made some adjustments to her routine and treatment, there is absolutely nothing that be credited except for prayer. Prayer has done amazing things for Ellie in the last 6 days!

Some examples:

Ellie does not like to let us near her mouth.  It is usually a fight to brush her teeth and we have to do everything with the promise that we won't shove a food in there or do something unexpected.  Her teeth are not developing properly because she doesn't chew, and because of her lip tie.  She has this yellow mineral build up on her teeth that is left from the formula she was on, and some of her teeth have not come all of the way in and still have skin over the top because there is nothing pushing down on them from chewing.  She never had the opportunity to even gnaw on something because we were always taking things out of her mouth to keep her from vomiting.  This week she has decided she has 'dooty teeth' (dirty teeth) and has been letting me floss them daily! Slowly the yellow is coming off and her teeth are looking better.

This week we started Ellie back on her topical glutathione (liver enzyme) for the third time.  The first two times it appeared that it either didn't help and/or it made her eczema worse. I was concerned that after all the research I had done to find the cleanest possible base she was still not tolerating the added ingredients.  That may very well have been the case, but this time she seems to be doing great! Her eczema is clearing which means she is detoxing the right way instead of through her skin.

By the first day of Team Ellie I was getting concerned that she had a staph skin infection again.  A couple of weeks ago we let her play outside in a cheap plastic baby pool filled with unfiltered water, and the result was chemical type burns on her butt cheeks.  It was not healing and I was beginning to get worried at how it was spreading and looking like staph.  Within 24 hours I saw that the prayer had changed things dramatically, and today it is almost entirely healed. 

On another note, I celebrated earlier in the week because Ellie was showing obvious signs of detoxing (properly) for the first time in 15 months.  There are several signs, but one of them was that her urine was darker and had a new smell.  It took a couple of days to get to the bottom of it, but the truth was that her older sister was secretly peeing in Ellie's training potty and leaving it for me to dump. This resulted in a good laugh between the daddy and I (sheesh).

After some bumps in finding the right adapter we have fluoride free water, and are cleaning out the freezers of broth and meat made with fluoride - using some up while we refill the freezer, and then tossing the rest.  I am really excited to see how much of a difference this makes for her.

She had a three day streak (pun intended) of pooping without help which was awesome....but that has stopped and tomorrow we resume GAPS constipation protocols of daily enemas.  I have been so busy with my work schedule the last two days that it was not until she was in bed that I realized she had not pooped all day.  Major fail. Bummer.

And I should also add that she has a new food!....sort of.  We have started giving her fermented zucchini juice as a part of her daily probiotic support and she has done fantastic! In fact, she has shown no signs of adding it at all.

I am so grateful for those of you praying.  She has had some amazing growth and success since May 1, and it is all because of Team Elie.  I feel so blessed to see and feel the hand of God working in such an obvious way, and we have felt it within other areas of our family life as well.

Prayer requests:

I have had decided to turn in an application to the local Shriner's Hospital in hopes that their specialists can help with the lip tie and evaluation, as well as the spinal MRI. They have great resources there for the treatment she needs.  Please pray that should it be the Lord's will, her application will be reviewed quickly and they will agree to treat her.

Ellie needs a new, all natural, chemical free mattress.  The one she is sleeping on is very toxic for her.  Please pray that we will be able to save up the $400 needed for this mattress.

Next up is a new food trial! I am extremely nervous (for seizures mostly).  We have a few things to choose from.  Please pray that I know which to try next.

And I am in need of some wisdom regarding a couple of other supplements - whether to give them to her or not.  Prayers for that would be fantastic as well.

7 days!

7 days of intense prayer for Ellie has shown amazing things - things we have been working towards for months that have been realized in a matter of days.  I can't help but wonder what else God has in store!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 2: A Puzzle Piece or Two

For months I have been trying to figure out why Ellie's body is still not detoxing properly. After such a length of time on what is known as stage 1 of GAPS introduction, she shows signs that are still puzzling.  Her eczema flares with any change in food, she still has large amounts of urine, and there is still plenty of evidence she battles fungus.

In a properly functioning body, God has established an amazing detoxification system.  Outside toxins that make it inside, inappropriate things ingested, or waste produced within the body by bacteria is simply packaged up nicely and sent right back out thanks to enzymes and an amazing immune system (major over simplification there). Ellie has not been dumping toxins properly, and we know this because her body is still trying to push them out through her skin or respiratory system.  We began giving her a topical enzyme supplement which has helped in some ways, but has not been enough.  Her skin has still been a wreck, and I am fearful of seizures.

Last week I received one new piece of the puzzle.  We have not been treating her constipation properly.  We have been letting her go too long without giving her an enema and helping her body rid of toxins.  The longer those toxins sit in her intestines, the more they get absorbed right back in and her body was detox them all over again.  It is imperative that she poop daily (as should we all).  We have started following GAPS guidelines on constipation and began to see improvements within a couple days. 

The second puzzle piece has been a horrifying find, and one I have been contemplating for a few weeks. But I confirmed my suspicions when I finished my research today. (hooray for Team Ellie and answered prayers!)

We have a whole house carbon filter that eliminates chlorine and toxins like pharmaceuticals from the water.  Yes, treated city water is full of all kinds of toxins. And summertime in California is the most puzzling of all.  I know many a household who have spent thousands of dollars to filter drinking water, and often bath water, yet go spend every afternoon in their chlorinated swimming pool.  Not only is there an actual respiratory infection associated with the gas produced by chlorinated pools, but your skin sucks up more chlorine in a bath or pool than you would ever get from one day of drinking chlorinated water.  Thus, the image of a bottled water drinking person soaking up the sun in their chlorinated swimming pool is a puzzling picture for me.  Sorry, California. The EPA has labeled chlorine as one of the top 10 carcinogens. 

All that to say we have eliminated chlorine from our water a long time ago.  But we did not filter our water entirely.

At some point in time someone governmental decided that it would be a good idea to add fluoride to our drinking water.  Fluoride and heavy metals are not removed by a traditional carbon filter like the one we have in our garage.  Recently I began looking into fluoride to see how bad it really is, and was absolutely righteously angered.  Here are a few facts:

-The largest state legislature in the U.S. recently passed a bill mandating infant fluoride warnings on all water bills in fluoridated communities.
-  Ingestion of as little as 1 percent of a tube of flavored children's toothpaste can produce acute fluoride toxicity in a young child.
- Infant formula contains fluoride, and the CDC acknowledges that mixing infant formula with fluoridated water is too much fluoride.
- Fluoride in our water is actually industrial waste.

I could keep going but will stop there.  A little google will get you a long way with fluoride.  As will a Medscape article on fluoride toxicity.  Not only is fluoride stored in the thyroid if it can't be detoxed, it has an amazing effect on the gastrointestinal tract.  Lets take a look, shall we?

Fluoride has several mechanisms of toxicity. Ingested fluoride initially acts locally on the intestinal mucosa. It can form hydrofluoric acid in the stomach, which leads to GI irritation or corrosive effects. Following ingestion, the GI tract is the earliest and most commonly affected organ system.

Bitter much? Why yes I am! But thoroughly and totally grateful that God has revealed a barrier to Ellie's healing, and yet another way she is making the rest of us healthier.

Summary:  As we were trying to help Ellie dump toxins out of her body and properly heal, we were continuing to give her fluoride which her body must work to eliminate.  If she is already overloaded and damaged from excessive fluoride intake, this is a losing battle.

The plan:  We have purchased some amazing fluoride filters (cha-ching) and will be transitioning her onto non-fluoridated water as-soon-as-I can get the filter hooked up.  We are putting her back on her enzyme supplement to help with the detox load that will begin to happen naturally in her body, and are considering adding a natural form of vitamin C to assist with the detox as well.  If we do it will have to be *very* slow to avoid overload of her system.

Please pray for wisdom on the vitamin C.  There are risks involved in giving her an oral supplement of any kind, and a few specifically tied to (natural) vitamin C.

Please pray for Ellie's body, that it will begin the detox process and that it will not show complications.

And perhaps check out this amazing and reasonably priced website to rid your own home of fluoride: Friends of Water

Day 1: Regrets

My first day of praying for Ellie did not turn out how I expected.  I started the day fasting and praying.  I begged the Lord to heal her, and I begged for open eyes to see what stood in the way.

As the day progressed I got hungry, and as expected, every time I got hungry I was reminded to pray.  In addition, I was also reminded that I had a child who could not eat, and my heart would break.  And my prayer was answered as my eyes were opened.

The day went on, and I began to see glimpses of events during Ellie's first 18 months.  Each memory was haunting and reduced me to tears.  I describe them as 'seeing them' instead of 'remembering them' because it was as if I was reliving them.  It is a spiritual experience unlike any I have had before.  I struggle to find words to explain it. As the day progressed my heart grew heavier with the burden of these memories.

I saw the doctors in labor and delivery propping her bassinet, and heard them telling me that she was just prone to vomit.   I heard their instructions on how to care for her, and was extremely concerned.  And then I remembered that I did not question why she might vomit, and could see now how Ellie reaped the consequence.

I saw the first conversation I had with my GAPS mentor.  I met her when Ellie was only a few months old.  And then I sharply remembered sticking the book on the shelf and not looking back at it for at least 12 months.  It was a divine appointment that I did not see, and now know that Ellie reaped the consequence.

I saw myself leave to go for a walk the night I abruptly weaned her and put her onto formula.  I saw the green acidic diapers and the reflux, and heard the doctors say it was just part of the adjustment process.  I remembered reading the back of the can and feeling angered at seeing things like MSG but feeling trapped.  I had forgotten about the book on my shelf, and I had started the journey of figuring it out on my own.  And because of that Ellie reaped the consequences.

I saw her throwing up from rancid warm almond milk and filling her diapers with yellow poop.  I relived a week of following doctors orders, and know now that I was starving her.  And I cried.

I cried Father forgive me for not having the eyes to see.  Father forgive me for not hearing you clearer.  Father forgive me for not being bolder and acting sooner.  Father forgive me for being captive by fear, and trying to control things that I should have laid at your feet.

I had no idea that when I started the first day praying for Ellie and begging for wisdom, He would first reveal how I got in the way - how I hung onto control and feelings of inadequacy, feelings of failure.  And that in order to hear him for the next 9 days I would need to have my eyes washed clean.

Learning new things can be scarey, and the weight of responsibility can seem overwhelming. Discovering how you have unintentionally hurt your child is a devastating place to be.   But it is an incredible place to find grace. 

I realized that I was being weighed down by the burden of not forgiving myself.  I am, after all, a perfectionist.  And the fact that, in spite of all the reading and research I did, I did not get it right, ... well that was devastating to my pride.  I hurt terribly for failing Ellie, who has been entrusted to me.

Yet as I ended the day I felt that grace one can only find by leaning in to God's embrace and receiving that giant enveloping hug of forgiveness.  I heard Him say let it go, and let ME take those regrets. I heard Him remind me once more that He has a future and a hope for her, in spite of me.  I heard Him say she is mine.  And I heard a promise of healing.

Father God help my eyes to be open.  Help me to never succumb to pride or the need for control, even in an effort to heal and care for my children.  May I remind myself on a daily basis that You are the One in control, and that through You we find rest within our soul, regardless of what sorrows this life may give.  May I always be able to say 'it is well with my soul', and may I model that example for my children.

Psalm 46

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Never Ending Story

This is the song that never ends....oh it goes on and on my friend.... 

I often feel like that children's song when giving Ellie updates. Yes, she is still sick. No, she still isn't well.  Yes, she only eats the same three things. It is difficult to explain where she was, how far she has come, and how far she still has to go.

Ellie is the perfect storm. Her layers are many.  Her situation is severe.  She has been one very sick little girl, and over half of her little life has been spent in pain.

Today is May 1. Today Ellie is 33 months old. And she has been on an extremely restricted version of GAPS for 15 months.  Every day I am torn between the joy that comes from seeing how far she has come, and the pain that comes with knowing the journey is far from over.  Those two extremes are hard to explain to someone who asks how Ellie is doing 

Today when looking at Ellie you will see eczema, and for the trained eye perhaps her turned in foot or favoring of the left side of her body.  She is not kept in a bubble.  She can touch food without causing us to panic, and I have lost track of when we last saw an FPIES reaction.  If she gets stickers, or markers, or needs a band aid, we don't panic.  Small exposures no long cause her to vomit until she passes out from exhaustion, or to poop green acid that burns off her skin.  She is growing without issue, and has a full head of adorable brown curls.  She is talking in complete sentences, can identify all of her colors and is learning her beginning reading sounds.
She has already healed a tremendous amount.  But she has a long way to go.

GAPS is hard, but for Ellie GAPS is tremendously hard.  Each individual moves through the stages of GAPS depending on their own factors and amount of healing needed. The longer Ellie is stuck, the more insight we get into what she needs to progress and where her hang-ups are.  And without looking into the eyes of a screaming, malnourished, hurting child, I can begin the process of attacking those hang-ups to further her healing.  It is a slow and frustrating process, but I am comforted by knowing that on GAPS she is nourished completely.  And when you have spent months being told you cannot feed your screaming baby under the false promise of 'gut rest', nourishment is something you never take for granted again. 

Ellie has three hurdles to overcome in the near future.  They seem rather large, but I am confident that they are just layers of healing and part of her journey.

1.  She needs an oral evaluation.  She has an obvious lip tip, and needs to be checked for other restrictions that are keeping her from chewing food.
2.  She needs an examination of her spine for possible hidden complications.
3.  She is not detoxing properly and we need to figure out why.

These three things seem huge when added to her already established eating and therapy routine.  And let's not forget every day activities and life in general (did I mention she is also potty training??).  But God is good, and He has promised healing.  Not only for Ellie, but for all of us.  It's just a journey to get there.  And we are going to make it!