Mayo Appointment and Happier Life Updates

Mayo Appointment and Happier Life Updates
Mayo Appointment and Happier Life Updates

I am happy to report that I am feeling so much better emotionally than I was the last time I updated this blog.  I think the end of 2016 was difficult for a lot of people.  It was so draining for me right at the end.  2017, I vow to be a more positive person and not let my worries take over my happiness!

We have continued getting to know Alexis’ behavioral therapist- Stan, we really appreciate his expertise on handling the behaviors of Alexis and knowing how to implement a functional routine for her at home.  It has really helped a lot.

Preparing for St. Mary’s and Mayo Appointments…
rochesterPreparing for Alexis’ trip to the Mayo for her colonoscopy, MRI and colon transit study was way more stressful for me than it needed to me,  I tend to worry far more than I need to… everything always ends up being ok in the end.  Life is great like that!   Alexis handled fasting and doing the procedure prep amazingly, we are so proud of her. She did so well with all of her appointments even when we had a little mix up that required her to fast an addition several hours on the day we promised her that she could eat.  She was so hungry when she finally was feeling better, I have never seen her eat so much, she also did very well staying hydrated which was very important.  She did get a little impatient on the last day- towards the end but in between appointments she was able to enjoy swimming at the hotel and exploring the Rochester area.  We stayed at the Kahler Grand which has an incredible rooftop pool, it was such a pretty view of the city up there.  Every single time we visited the pool (including previous stays) we have been among- next to no one #ghosttown. Only two different times out of the umpteen times we went, were there people up there- pretty fortunate for us. One time there were a few guys and a couple hanging out in the hot tub, Alexis cleared them out fast- I don’t even want to know how to be honest LOL ~0.o~
It felt like we had our own little private pool for the most part, it really helped prevent us from feeling too cooped up.

What we know so far… (if reading about Bowel Movements [BMs] makes you uncomfortable- please click out now)
Alexis had to be really cleared out with Myralax and ExLax for the colonoscopy, she also had to fast for the MRI and colon transit study, she handled that all so well, she struggled with taking the breathing gas, which broke my heart but she ended up just fine after waking up from the anesthesia – that was day 1 of the 4 days of appointment between St. Mary’s and the Mayo Clinic.  We found out that Alexis has a longer colon than normal, when she is holding in her BM it is causing things to back up incredibly which has started to change the shape of her colon . We need to work on getting her “plumbing” back to normal to prevent any further irreversible damage.  Our goal is to keep her from getting constipated again. They said she was VERY backed up, which surprised me considering she had a whole bottle of Myralax the day before… She already doesn’t eat dairy but we will slowly be eliminating processed foods as much as possible, we will be adding more fibrous ingredients to her fruit smoothies and get in the habit of drinking at least 1 large smoothie a day, if we notice hardening of the stool we will give her castor oil, prune juice and other natural laxatives hidden in the smoothie.  She has been vegan for a year and that has helped a lot, we simply need to get away from the habit of reaching for unhealthy vegan options and look at more plant-based high fiber meals. She may be a little reluctant at first to try leafy greens and new healthier foods, I think once she tries things like sweet potatoes fries (yum) she will discover all sorts of foods that are healthy and similar to what she loves now.  If we are unable to keep her from getting blocked up again using natural methods, we will need to discuss more options with a surgeon about a Cecostomy. The issue with her becoming backed up is partially behavioral and partially due to diet, I am really hoping she doesn’t need surgery to remedy this.

GI_appointmentAlexis was really responsive when talking to the doctors, she will say-  “don’t hurt the belly”
we have been explaining to her that as long as she makes a great effort to use the restroom (she does not want us to say “potty” anymore) and eats more varieties of healthy foods that we will be offering her to try, then the doctors won’t need to “cut her belly” as she says- I was really impressed by how well she paid attention to the GI doctor as he explained to her what was going on inside her abdomen.  Alexis assured me shortly after that appointment that she is ready to make some changes, we assured her again that it should not hurt her to go.  I hope we are on the road to some positive changes with this situation, I am very hopeful and we really learned a lot.

Her other appointments included genetics testing and psych, we are waiting on insurance to see what they will cover for DNA tests that may help us understand Alexis a little more along the lines of genetic makeup and possible conditions/diseases she may be prone to develop in life. The psych doctor has no issue with us choosing not medicate Alexis at this time and keep working on her behavior, home schedule and BM routine at home with the help of Stan. The genomics results may take over a month to get and also may require more blood work from Keith, Cadence and I. At this time no follow ups are scheduled, we just need to be really diligent about diet and keep working on her behaviors. Alexis is feeling back to herself and is excited to return to school on Monday.

The quirky side of things…
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Alexis has many odd behaviors that sometimes make outsiders curious, other times really uncomfortable.  We experienced a lot of this during our 4 day trip to Rochester.  One thing was elevator rides, right now Alexis has a thing about the genders that surround her, she often wants only 3 boys and two girls in her vicinity, this really makes elevator rides interesting, we found it difficult to control her scolding people for entering the elevator if they weren’t the gender she thought was appropriate for the paper_dollsratio she predetermined in her mind, it is hard to explain to people and impossible to express what is going on with these short elevator rides, we often got strange looks and a few evil glances even.  At one point she got upset about a women joining us who had a wheelchair, she kept saying “no wheelchair” increasingly louder THE WHOLE RIDE aghhh! That was the LONGEST elevator ride of my life.  I hope the woman took no offence.  Other than that occurrence I was able to calm her on the elevator when people would enter that changed the ratio- by taking her paper dolls that she makes and showing her that we had just the right number of girls and boys if we included them too.  Sometimes we have to think on our feet to prevent outbursts, with the way the world is today- having my child scream at the top of her lungs, out of the blue- can make people really uneasy, including myself and I am used to it.

Another story I must share, I will never forget this appointment!
We had an appointment to meet a surgical consultant to discuss the Cecestomy, well…
…he never showed up. (road conditions were not favorable)
We waited for “Dr. Potter” for almost an hour with Alexis, she was being pretty patient considering how long we had to wait in waiting rooms and other places throughout our time there. We kept showing her the appointment agenda and assuring her that Dr. Potter would be there soon.  After about 15 minutes she opened the door and would scream if we tried to shut it, we decided to not fight her on it and let the door stay open….
…she starts yelling for Potter (expecting Harry Potter we find out)
harry_pottershe would say – “Come on Potter”  “Get in here NOW Potter”  to every SINGLE person that walked by our room, it was extremely humorous for about 2 minutes but got old REALLY fast, we ended up cancelling with him after 50 minutes once Alexis finally lost her patience completely. We decided that we’d reschedule with a surgeon closer to home if we need to go that route.  I just giggle when I think about her expecting Harry Potter to come in and examine her. Gosh, that girl never fails to make me laugh even in stressful scenarios like that 😀

Miss Cadence Elyse…gymnastics
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Cadence unfortunately broke her ankle about 5 weeks ago at gymnastics practice, she is all healed up and excited to participate with her team again soon, possibly by Monday.

Keith came home a day early from Rochester so he could go to work, my Mom (Grandma) came to help with the last day of appointments and brought us back home afterward, that was really kind of her to drive for 12 hours round-trip, she insisted- it made Alexis pretty happy to see her Grandma.
Cadence stayed home at a friends for the couple days until Keith got home.  She didn’t have to miss any school that way, she sure loves learning and going to school, she is doing really well in 7th grade.  She has moved to the High School this year- hard to believe how fast she is growing up.

Cadence is such a great support for Alexis, I know Alexis missed her a lot, she asked for her often throughout our stay.

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Cheers it’s a New Year!!! 2017…
new-year-2017I hope everyone has an amazing year, thanks for all the kind words and support you all have shown our family while we experience our journey with all the ups and downs.  I learn more and more every single day and really enjoy sharing our experience with you all 🙂

#positivevibes

Life Updates

Life Updates

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It has been a while since I sat down to actually update this blog.  I have a lot to say.  One thing I feel that is important to say is how I am feeling and…it is not very good.  That  makes it difficult to write, especially when deep down I really want to be this carefree and positive person, I don’t want to dwell on everything. The entire universe is divided in opinions and judgement, I get so much anxiety when I try to express myself.

So how do I write when I am not feeling too positive? I guess we will see.

Updates with Alexis and our autism journey…

Alexis is making a lot of progress verbally, she is speaking full sentences now and expressing herself.  With this comes a lot of screaming outbursts and improper use of “full sentences”.  She will often say nonsensical things and find herself frustrated when we need explaining.  We have gone through quite a few changes since I last updated on here.  Alexis is no longer seeing her OT/Speech therapists- who we will forever be grateful for.  They felt that her services were being properly met through the program she is in at school and they were no longer of service to her.  I was very sad to cross that bridge.  I have found out however, it is harder for me as the parent to cross those bridges than they are for Alexis.  She has handled many life changes very well above what I have expected.

Frustrations…
Alexis may be able to be vocal and verbalize now but she can’t communicate her frustrations at all.  She often will have violent and emotional breakdowns. My heart crushes to see her go through this.  I am pained to see how much these frustrations lead to our own negative emotional well-beings as well.  My husband and I are really struggling to keep peace for ourselves and for Cadence who really needs a break from the chaos that we know as life.

HAPPY ENDING…

I am hoping that the next time I blog I have better scenarios and the happiest of things to say.  We have another trip to the Mayo up ahead- a long and difficult one.  We will continue getting to know the behavioral therapist that has decided to come to our home and see what life is like here- wish him luck 😉

 

What is Chaga?

What is Chaga?

What is Chaga?

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Chaga is a mushroom that grows over the course of many years on mostly living birch trees and other hard wood trees.

Chaga does grow in North America, but most Americans have no clue of its existence, let alone amazing healing properties.
One of the most important properties of Chaga is betulinic acid, however, in order for chaga to be beneficial, it has to be harvested from birch trees only. Birch trees are the only trees that contain this amazing compound. 

Chaga tea is one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world.

 

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Chaga is a hardened, blackened, crusty formation that looks like a snout or nose coming out from the tree.

Do not harvest
Chaga smaller than a grapefruit size.
( 5/lbs to 10/lbs).

Leave these smaller ones to grow for a couple more years.

Chaga has been called a “tree cancer” since it will eventually kill its host tree however it isn’t completely known whether it occurs to help prolong the trees life or if it is actually cancer to the tree.

Chaga has attracted interest for centuries in fighting human cancer and other diseases.  



 

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Estimates of Chaga parasitizing birch trees range from 1 in 20, to 1 in 15,000.

Foresters have yet to do a thorough study of how widespread Chaga infection is in temperate forests.  Chaga mycelium is inside many more trees than is obvious when the Chaga mushroom isn’t yet visible on the outside.  
Be sure you have done your research before you harvest chaga.  Most trees that die soon after being harvested for Chaga is caused by the harvesters digging or chiseling into the tree to get all of the Chaga out, this practice results in further damage being done to the structure of the tree. 

Remember:
Leave some chaga on the tree to prevent damaging the tree.  Do not harvest Chaga from a dead tree!  If the tree is dead, the Chaga will be dead as well, and will have 0 medicinal values. Teas made from dead Chaga will be very bitter with a rather unpleasant taste.

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“How to to harvest, prepare and steep Chaga”

Vegan dinner holiday idea number #1. Trying a few vegan holiday meals to see what we should prepare for Easter. This is Celebration Roast by Field Roast. #Vegan #Easter #FieldRoast #butternutsquash #mushrooms #grannysmith #rosemary, #thyme #sageThis is on the list as an option, the strong sage flavor might be off putting to some people is our only concern with serving this at Easter. If we do, it will be served with maple syrup and corn bread. I really enjoyed this.

Vegan dinner holiday idea number #1. Trying a few vegan holiday meals to see what we should prepare for Easter. This is Celebration Roast by Field Roast. #Vegan #Easter #FieldRoast #butternutsquash #mushrooms #grannysmith #rosemary, #thyme #sageThis is on the list as an option, the strong sage flavor might be off putting to some people is our only concern with serving this at Easter. If we do, it will be served with maple syrup and corn bread. I really enjoyed this.

Vegan dinner holiday idea number #1.  Trying a few vegan holiday meals to see what we should prepare for Easter.  This is Celebration Roast by Field Roast. #Vegan #Easter #FieldRoast #butternutsquash #mushrooms #grannysmith #rosemary, #thyme #sageThis is on the list as an option, the strong sage flavor might be off putting to some people is our only concern with serving this at Easter.  If we do, it will be served with maple syrup and corn bread.  I really enjoyed this.