My last Catching Up post left off sharing about Caroline's vaccine reaction. And, while I will not bore you with all of the details that were involved with caring for a vaccine injured infant, the amount of specialists visits we went through before someone conceded that, yes, it was a vaccine reaction - because, honestly, it would take MONTHS to share all of that...it was ALOT - I will share what life has been like since. (Forgive that enormously long run-on sentence...my homeschooled brain is cringing but I had to get all that in!) It has been hard. Very hard.
When Kenley was six months old, my husband, Jonathan, was deployed to Afghanistan, leaving me with a bottle-feeding, vaccine-injured one year old, a breastfeeding newborn, and a TON of doctors' appointment - some of which were out of state - as well as physical, speech, occupational, and feeding therapies every single day. It was hard. Honestly, I have very little memories of those ten months, when I was by myself dealing with all of it, except that I was in survival mode every minute of every day.
Somehow, I made it through those long ten months, and then - after yet another mold exposure - my own body collapsed. While living in Louisiana (2007-2011), I had contracted Lyme disease - although we would not receive a correct diagnosis until 2015. I had a tick bite behind my knee (summer of 2008) and became so sick, I had to stop working as a RN for six months. I was bedridden, in so much pain, I had to be helped from the bed every morning, could barely walk, and was continuously sick - deathly sick. What should have been investigated in a 29 year old who had always been in excellent health, was brushed off as "you must be depressed...here have some antidepressants...here have some pain medication....etc." Doctor visit after doctor visit, and that was all I ever got. I kept saying, "I am NOT depressed! I do not want pain medicine! I want you to figure out why I feel like this. I shouldn't be feeling like an 85 year old. What is wrong with me?!"
When my husband returned from deployment in the fall of 2008, we began infertility treatment in earnest, which included me being placed on immunosuppressants for over a year. My symptoms greatly decreased to the point of where I could live life again...because my immune system was not fighting against the invader due to the immunosuppressants. What I did not know at the time, was that I was allowing the spirochetes (Borrelia burgdorferi and others) to flourish in my body, because they were not being attacked by my immune system, and I would pay for it heavily in the future. The things you know in hindsight, right?
I had also been exposed to toxic mold initially in our house in Louisiana, while pregnant with Caroline, and this second exposure in Florida was enough to throw my immune system over the edge of the cliff. Pain, inflammation, bedridden, so, so sick. That is the only way I know how to describe 2012-2014. My body was so full of inflammation, that my joints would spontaneously dislocate. My shoulders would dislocate from carrying infant Kenley and toddler Caroline around the house. My husband would come home in the evenings to find me laying in bed in tears, sobbing while he would help me push my shoulders back in to joint, so I could get up and fix dinner. I was going to the chiropractor 3-4 times a week to have my hips and ribs and every other joint put back in place, and I would sob and sob with pain while they were pushing them back in. But, it was a blessing. The chiropractors kept me going, and it was through them that I started down the path to holistic medicine and seeking out the root cause - not just managing the symptoms. I switched to an Integrative Medicine physician, who started treating me with herbs, supplements, diet and lifestyle changes, and other holistic methods, investigating anything and EVERYTHING.
After two years of a holistic approach to my health and a 41-day juice fast - where I drank only freshly pressed juices, no food at all - and all the intricate details of detoxing and chelating and healing from environmental toxins with a broken body, I was beginning to see a glimmer of hope that I would one day be able to function like a normal mother and take my girls to the park and play with them on a regular basis and do all the normal mom things. Food is medicine, y'all. I know this for a fact, because I have experienced it myself. It was also in the spring of 2014, that it was suggested that maybe we should look at Lyme disease due to my health history. I put it off, because we were in the midst of our next military move, to Las Vegas, Nevada. That turned out to be a blessing.