Where did Jen Go? {Hug your family tight}

20818878_10155508567899336_3974252394756908016_oFriends – I’m going to be blunt. The last month has been hard. I’m so sorry to not update here on the blog.

October 7 started out as a typical day. I went to work even though it was a Saturday to help with a homecoming event. After the event was done, I proceeded to drive home and gather our belongings needed for L to enjoy our homecoming football game on campus. My husband mentioned he was feeling nauseous, but we thought it might be from something he ate the previous night. After discussions, we decided to head on to the game. We spoke with family and friends at the stadium, enjoyed the game, and L wanted a fresh baked sweet potato from the campus dining hall. We thought this would be a good idea since there was so much traffic from people leaving the game. L tried to make a case to get our food to go, but hubby squashed that idea, and we all sat around a table together sharing great laughs. Then, our world turned upside down. My husband stood up to put L’s formula backpack on his back, and he looked at me and said, “JEN.” He went down in the chair. I ran around the table to catch him, and he fell back unconscious in my arms. My husband laid in my arms lifeless. My first reaction was to scream for someone to call 911. A student behind me called 911, and then an ROTC Cadet grabbed my husband from me. I’m not sure what all he did, but finally exclaimed what felt forever, “he has a pulse.” PRAISE GOD! The paramedics arrived on campus fast since they were at the football stadium and wheeled my husband out on the stretcher. All of this was going on, and L was crying so hard thinking she was losing her Daddy and Madi started feeling lightheaded from trying to hold it together for everyone, she had to sit down. Another student kept encouraging the girls that Daddy was going to be okay!

I went to get in our car and get to the hospital as fast as I could. We arrived, and the original thinking was my husband had a heart attack since his cardiac enzyme troponin was elevated. His EKG showed his left-side of his heart enlarged. He was hospitalized for three days. The next day we went to a more prominent city for more answers. We are still in a holding pattern and run daily EKGs on my husband. Next Friday, he goes in for a procedure in hopes to find the underlying cause. The heart team will get together to see what can be done. This has been such a scary time in our lives. His cardiologist in the bigger city thinks my husband went into cardiac shock and there is something electrical going on with his heart. His mom and dad both died from massive heart attacks and stroke. Heart disease runs in his family.

God put us in that dining hall for a reason. Hubby made the decision for us to eat in the dining hall for a reason. I shiver to think if we were at home and not close to the quick action medical care. God is so good!

Please keep him and our family in your prayers. It’s so scary because I am trying to watch his every move. We just got back from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for L late Sunday evening and have renewed hope for our girl. More will be written soon.

Hug your family tighter. Do not go a day without telling them you love them. We are so grateful God allowed Scott to come back to us and now we must get him proper treatment to prevent this from ever happening again.

Easy Dairy Free and Gluten Free Strawberry Cobbler

The morning started by my oldest daughter M, asking me what I was going to do with all the frozen strawberries in the freezer. She is our family organizer and the strawberries were cramping her style while she was organizing the fridge and freezer compartments. I decided to go to google and search for an easy cobbler recipe. I found this recipe on The Spruce website. The reason this recipe caught my eye is that it used all real ingredients and I would be able to substitute my dairy free products for all the milk products. As many knows, I was diagnosed with a dairy allergy last year along with previously being diagnosed with a gluten intolerance. Doesn’t this picture display deliciousness?

Strawberry Cobbler

You are going to love how this recipe is so easy!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups of strawberries

For the Cobbler Batter:
1 cup organic cane sugar
1 cup gluten-free coconut flour
1 3/4 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
6 tablespoons melted earth balance dairy free butter
2 tablespoons coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

For the Topping:
1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon for topping

Directions:

gluten and dairy free strawberry cobbler

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray an 11×14 glass pyrex dish with olive oil or your spray of choice. Pour the strawberries into the baking dish.
  3. In a mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt until thoroughly combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients, egg, melted earth balance butter (keep 2 tablespoons to pour over batter), coconut milk and vanilla. Beat until well blended. I used a fork to blend.
  5. Evenly spread the batter mixture over the strawberries.
  6. Pour the remaining melted butter over the batter and top with sugar and cinnamon.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. The batter will be golden brown.
  8. Enjoy!

Gluten and Dairy Free Strawberry Cobbler

Congress: Please Read – My Daughter has a Rare Disease

L - Mountains

Do you see the beautiful girl in this picture? This girl is my daughter and my hero. She has been living with a rare disease and went undiagnosed for many years. Finally, she was properly diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis in early 2016. Food is her enemy and she has to survive by drinking a prescription formula, Neocate Splash. This formula keeps her alive and yet insurance companies are choosing to not cover this medical care necessity. She announced to me last week that she was afraid to die if insurance decided not to cover her formula. My husband and I will do everything in our power and might to ensure L has her formula. There are many families all across the United States facing this same struggle with trying to advocate for insurance to cover prescribed formula. Please have a heart and do what is best for all these families. Speak up and vote to pass bill H.R.2587 – Medical Nutrition Equity Act of 2017.

Why do we need this passed? To provide for the coverage of medically necessary food and vitamins for digestive and inherited metabolic disorders under Federal health programs and private health insurance, and for other purposes.

This needs to be a law in every state so insurance companies can quit denying our children the medical treatment they need to SURVIVE!

Friends, we are asking you to please contact your Representatives in your state and encourage their co-sponsorship of this important legislation, too! To find out who represents you, visit https://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.

Together we can make a difference and advocate for this bill to be passed!

Never a Dull Moment….

Life is busy right now. Being a full-time employee outside of the home, a full-time college student, and of course being a wife to my handsome husband and a mother to my two awesome daughters, it can make for a busy schedule. Throw in multiple doctor appointments for my daughter L’s health journey of eosinophilic esophagitis, and now more doctor appointments for M’s journey to correct her flat feet. Since both girls are going through different medical journey’s, I thought I would give updates to see if we can help other families.

A little back story on M. When she was three years old, I took her to the doctor to have her feet checked because she walked with her feet going inwards. The doctor assured me that her feet would correct themselves over the years to not stress about how she is walking at three years old. Parents, trust your instincts.

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This was the wrong advice and now fast forward 10 years, we are dealing with a foot grown wrong.

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The last 18 months, we have been seeing local orthopedics and finally decided to transfer care to a children’s hospital. This was a good decision. When we arrived with M’s soft orthotics, the pediatric orthopedic asked why she was wearing them? In his words, those will never work for M’s foot. He decided to put M in a cast for 4 weeks and is having custom braces made for when she has the cast removed.

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Her foot now also has a cyst on top of the big toe bone.

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We are hoping the cast will help take the inflammation away and the cyst will go away. If the cast and braces do not do what they need to do, M will face surgery in the future.

As a family, we are being very optimistic that the cast and braces will work. Time will tell. Stay tuned and we will keep you posted!

All Natural Eating Leads to Weight Loss

In January of this year, my youngest daughter started on a medical journey. It all shook us hard and made me take a close look at the food that was going into our bodies. When your child is diagnosed with a rare disease and it revolves around food, your life indeed changes.

This picture was from January of this year.

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This picture was from this past Saturday:

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Can you see the changes? M and I both have officially lost 20 pounds. I’m so proud of M for embarking on this healthy journey with me. Her blood pressure was 150 over 80 at the first of the year. This was not good at all. This past week, her blood pressure was 110 over 74. Isn’t that amazing? By now, you probably want to know what all we have changed in our diets.

First off, no drinks are allowed in the house. We all drink alkaline water that we purchase each week from our local health food store. Four gallons usually last us about 5 days. Other drinks of choice include boiling water for herbal teas and Madi will drink cold green tea as well.

Secondly, we eat all natural foods. No processed foods are allowed in the house. The diet we follow is more along the lines of the paleo diet. Giving up dairy was a big positive for me. After being diagnosed with a bleeding ulcer earlier this year, I did my own research to see what could cause gastritis and bleeding ulcers. I am now gluten free and dairy free. I still drink my coffee each morning but add the SO Delicious Coconut Creamer. M and my husband still have some dairy, mostly in the form of different types of cheese. At first, I thought I would miss dairy but do not miss it.

Thirdly, fresh fruits and vegetables along with almonds are our go-to snacks. When I said “our”, I mean Madi and I. My husband is not a fan of fresh fruits of vegetables so his go-to snack is all natural peanut butter. If a day goes by without my natural roasted almonds, I start craving them. My sugar cravings are completely gone. It’s amazing, friends! Your body feels so much better and your overall mood toward life is much more positive.

Each week, I will buy blueberries, strawberries, apples, cucumbers, celery, and peppers. My weekend consists of cutting or chopping up the fruits and veggies to put them in individual containers so it is easy to go to the fridge for a snack. I cook from scratch three meals a day. You may say, “you are too busy to cook from scratch”, but that is not the truth. I work full-time, go to school, homeschool our girls, travel to lots of doctor visits and still find the time. Finding the time is key. Organize your week, meal plan and make the time.  Exercise is non-existent for me at the moment. This is where I need to do better and incorporate a type of exercise into my day. If I am lucky, I will squeeze in a walk in my neighborhood each week but it is definitely not on a regular basis. We do have a gym membership at my work that I really want to strive hard to use more.

With all that being said, just look at what eating healthy can do for your body. Get in the right mind-set and say you are going to do this for your family. Stop buying junk or processed foods. Don’t bring it into the house anymore. If you don’t buy it, your family will get in routine of eating healthier.

Let’s see what the next six months will bring for our family in our “more healthy” life journey.

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