Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Maybe it is, maybe it isn't

Based on the past one-and-a-half, almost two, weeks of very few incidents, I'd say that there's a strong possibility that our living free of gluten, casein, corn, and soy is having a positive impact on my daughter.  Additionally, we had been not only incident-free but also witnesses to a good number of positives.  I can't say it's the diet for sure; there are too many variables.  But it certainly could be.

This entire holiday season we resisted Christmas cookies, stuffing, and pie.  My daughter even turned down the candy my mother offered her, saying that she "couldn't have that" no matter how much she would have liked it.  However, while away from home, we ate fast food last night and the night before.  Our downfall was Asiago Ranch Spicy Chicken Club sandwiches, barbecue sauce, and brownies!

Last night and today brought a return of the negatives:  aggression, distractibility, high frustration levels.  As I said, there are too many variables, but I wouldn't be surprised if this first full-blown breaking of the diet were part of it.  Now the job will be to stay on track with the diet, see if we can regain some peace. 

Visiting Mom

I went up to visit my mother in the nursing home on Monday, the day after Christmas, and stayed over one night.  It's 175 miles, so I can't make the trip on a whim.  While my daughter and I were there, my mom was relatively lucid.  They sorted through pictures to put on my mom's bulletin board, and we went through her clothes and organized her wardrobe and chest of drawers.  And when we found her stash of candy, she said, "Give me that!" and proceeded to munch away until her dinner tray arrived (except for the root beer barrels -- those went straight in the trash)!

My mom is starting to lose language, sometimes able to circumlocute to get her meaning across, sometimes giving up, saying, "Don't listen to me; I don't make any sense."  She hasn't lost her hearing, and trust me, she hears everything.  She can hear the food cart coming from around the corner and down two hallways!  She is also distinctly bothered by the sounds and movements of everyone there, whether staff, patients, or visitors.  The lack of control and privacy inherent in nursing home settings is debilitating to her, and her own mental health history intensifies her anxiety and responses to it.

She goes to the cancer doctor again today, so we should know more soon.  The current statement of her medical condition is that she has Stage 4 bone cancer that is progressing rapidly.

I saw my sister, brother-in-law, and brother on this trip.  We had some things to talk over and some decisions to make.  My siblings are both geographically closer to our mother, and they've borne so much more of this, visiting, transporting, being there.  They're exhausted.

After meeting with them and visiting my mom, my daughter and I went back to my mom's condo and took care of some housekeeping projects.  We organized the linen closet, moved the durable medical goods out of the living areas into what is now a storage bedroom, made it closer to ready for my uncle, who is coming to visit in a few days.  We also found a few more things to take to my mom at the nursing home.

We stopped in to visit her quickly on our way home, wished her a happy birthday (early), and drove home in the rain.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


I wrote that my mother is dying of cancer.  She's now out of the hospital and into a nursing home, permanently.  The original time frame was six to 12 months.  I don't know what it is now, but I can tell you that institutionalization does not agree with her.  Withdrawal, paranoia have already started.

I grieved for the loss of a mother figure when my children were born and the relationship wasn't what it should have been.  I'll probably grieve again when she passes.  But the withdrawal?  The paranoia?  The "unreachableness"?  These are bringing back some serious, intense "flashbacks" to my childhood, to my mother's taking her bedtime meds earlier and earlier in the day.  To her taking whatever else was in the cupboard.  To watching her check out in front of my eyes even though her body was right next to me on the couch.

These are not good memories.  They make me sad for her and the pain that has been with her for years; they make me sad for me and the issues of abandonment they bring to the surface.  They even make me wonder what I was lacking that I wasn't worth her staying around, worth her mothering.  Which brings us right around to what I know:  It was her mental health issues, not me.  But underneath scars, nerves can hurt.

Now she's dying.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


You know we've been gluten-, casein-, soy-, and corn-free since November 21st.  While that's only four weeks, it feels like forever.  Some of my daughter's test results are in:  antibodies present for casein (mild), soy (medium), and corn (big-time).  Nothing for wheat, so we'll challenge that in a bit.  (As the doctor said, stuff her full of bread and see what happens!)

My husband and I are making lunches that use up foods in the pantry and freezer, but we eat most of the foods that my daughter does.  She has had only a handful of foods that she shouldn't have, all of them at school, and for the most part is sticking with the diet very well.

Yeah, well, and I'm making our own candy, marshmallow fluff, bread, and graham crackers, among other things, just to get her to buy into this.  I even made baking powder.  I'm seriously considering buying or borrowing a bread machine.   Yesterday, I found myself in the appliance section of a department store getting misty over a Kitchenaid mixer (sale priced at $499).  Today I ordered a pizzelle iron.

My daughter went to a birthday party yesterday.  We weighed the pros and the cons, and we went ahead and gave her permission to have a slice of pizza and a cupcake.  And while she was gone, we picked up a pizza from Papa John's.  (Shh...  My husband even drove home with the windows down so she wouldn't smell it in the car later when he picked her up.  Brr.)

It didn't quite work out the way I wanted.  Two slices of a food I haven't had in a month -- a food I love -- and I'm excusing myself to go be ill.  Twenty-four hours later and I'm still not right.  I was doing this diet just because I love my daughter and wanted to be supportive.  (And, to be honest, because if there's "forbidden" food in the house, she's likely to make a beeline for it.)  Now I may be doing it to avoid hanging over the toilet.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Rains and pours and forwards and backwards

We've been having a tough time lately.  We've had an increase in the uglies, and consequences are ramping up.

At the same time, we've seen positives that are so very encouraging even if minute by some standards.  Door holding, thanks, picking things up, acknowledging another viewpoint may all seem like little things, but in a house of self-focus, they're huge.

The ups and downs, though, are a trial.  I'm starting to believe that the full moon really does have a negative impact on my family.

Today, I must say, added a new level:  My mother is dying of cancer.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pressing issues

At what point do you press charges against your own child for destruction of property or assault?