Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I'm always right. No really, I am.

"You couldn't ever argue with her because she was always right.  Always.  And the sad thing is that most of the time she was."

These are the words my mom used to describe me growing up just a few years ago.  And they are spot on, just ask my siblings.  Ever since I was a small child (the oldest of three), I've had a passion and knowledge for the truth.  I'm a true research nerd in just about every sense of the word.  Books and the internet are some of my closest friends.  I LOVE to read and yet 99% of my reading is non-fiction.  It's almost like I have a personal quest in life to have all the answers - the right ones.  When there is a flaw in something, I'm quick to notice and point it out.  I would've made an amazing copy-editor with a little education in the area.  With age and maturity, I've often learned to keep silent on such issues but definitely not all of the time.  After all, if something is truth, shouldn't the truth be made known?  That's a rhetorical question by the way.  If you're familiar with the enneagram, I'm a die-hard 1 with a lot of 6 and 3 mixed in.  It doesn't get any more black and white than that.

This has affected my life in countless ways, both good and bad.

Relationships: I have a tendency to place "rightness" over the relationship itself with family, friends, children and even my spouse. 
Education: Science, Logic and Math were my favorite subjects.  After all, there is generally one right answer. 
Budgeting: Though there isn't always one right way to come establish a budget, once it's established, I'm golden. 
Health/Exercise/Wellness/Dietary Restrictions: This is a tricky one as there are always two sides of the pendulum and then the happy medium.  Our family has been plagued with health issues and so I've been on that quest for the specific reasons why.  One resource will blame a food/habit while another praises it's benefits. 
Religion: I'm a Christian who has certainly struggled at times with thinking my ways of doing things or beliefs about non-essential topics are without flaw. I do think there is ultimate, unarguable truth here but not over every. single. last. open-handed issue.
Parenting/Schooling: I've run the gamut of parenting philosophies and homeschooling methods.  It's always been tempting to think that whichever method I'm using at the time is the only right one.  Yet God chose to bless me with five very different children who've crushed many of those assumptions.  I've learned that some things work well in certain seasons, with certain personalities and even then, not always consistently. Oh how I've been judgmental in these areas!
Decision-making: I can become absolutely paralyzed if I don't have "all the information" first.  And the difficult thing is there is always more information and always a limited amount of time and resources.

So.  Where does all of this land me?  Increasingly dependent on the grace of God alone.  Am I always right?  Absolutely not!  What happens to my spirit and my soul when I'm not?  I've learned that life is FULL of gray and things are not always as black and white as I wish they were.  Do I get crushed and fall under the weight of my supposed failure?  Should I trample on my relationships to have the last, right word?  When I am right, can I be so without gloating, having to prove a point, or pushing people away?

"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before the fall." - Proverbs 16:18, ESV

My hope...
"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  'The Lord is my portion,' says my soul, 'therefore I will hope in him.'" - Lamentations 3:23, ESV
Until next time...

Take care,
Terra

Sunday, August 9, 2015

James' Health: The Big Picture

I couldn't think of a creative title for this blog post, so hence the simplicity.  This entire post will be pretty nerdy/sciency so proceed with caution/interest level as far as reading goes. ;)

First, James has several genetic mutations that play a part in his current health status.  I won't go into explanation of them but for those of you medical types: he is compound heterozygous for MTHFR C677T and A1298C and hetero for all the other MTHFR genes; homozygous for both MAO A and B; hetero for COMT, homo for at least one of the BHMT and CBS; homo for 2 of the NOS; and has significant issues with both DAO and HNMT.

Now on to easier to understand things.  We primarily eat a "real food," often organic, local, low grain diet already.  However, he has Thiamine, Vitamin D3, Chromium, and Omega 3 deficiencies.  He's borderline deficient in B2, B12, Folate, Pantothene, Oleic, Calcium, and Vitamin C as well as having an elevated copper/low zinc ratio.

We know he has previously diagnosed Rheumatoid Arthritis and he's struggled with his cholesterol for years.  It was not exciting to hear that he does have an elevated amount of endothelial endovascular plaque present for his age.  His cholesterol was very high, and not in a good way.  His CRP (a marker of inflammation) is elevated, which is to be expected with the RA and cholesterol issues.  Unfortunately, his high cholesterol is mostly genetic and his lipid profile suggests he also has a hyper-absorption of dietary cholesterol.  Bye bye steaks...

His food testing is consistent with intestinal permeability and showed high sensitivities to egg white, gluten, beef, and milk/casein.   (And we're surprised that our kids have many of these same sensitivities?!)  As a result of these and the cholesterol results, James will be cutting all of these foods from his diet for a minimum of 6 months.  We've already been gluten-free since around November though he has had a few known exposures.  After that point, he will be allowed to try and add some of these foods back to his diet to see how he responds.  Gluten is gone for good and dairy may be as well based on the test scores.  He was also asked to add a significant amount of seafood to his diet both to replace the beef consumption and because of his Omega 3 deficiency.  It was recommended that he follow a mostly autoimmune and seafood based paleo protocol with some exceptions.

Fortunately he has no bacterial overgrowths, yeasts or parasites (yay!) but does have poor bacterial diversity in which we'll hit hard with particular probiotics and added fermented foods.

He also has borderline hypothyroid numbers.  His rT3 was elevated but still in an acceptable range so we'll try to treat with the above recommended diet/lifestyle changes first and proceed with medication if need be in the future.

Hormones were excellent.  Adrenals were in a normal range.  High levels of homocysteine (which come with many of the genetic issues above, so no surprise).  Fortunately, James is active and enjoys exercise so that's not something that he has to force.  Actually, he has another one of what I call his "crazy races" in just a few weeks called the BattleFrog. ;)

What's the overall big picture?  We're going to adjust his dietary intake for the next six months to see if it addresses many of these issues.  The inflammation from the food sensitivities could be further irritating his RA and cholesterol issues.  We're adding a specific multivitamin to cover the nutrient deficiencies and genetic defects that can be addressed.  We're also adding a probiotic rotation, Omega 3, and Vitamin D 3 regularly.  There were two other supplements recommended as needed for genetic stuff.  We're still waiting for results on any potential glucose issues but for now, this is where we stand!  Some of these issues will be retested in six months.  If we cannot get his cholesterol down, he will have to go on some type of medication.  Praying for grace in the healing process! Ultimately, we believe God is in control of it all.

Until next time...

Take care,
Terra