Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Archive for September, 2013

Home Repair

On Sunday Scott, Zeke, Olivia and I went to an open house in our neighborhood. We don’t plan on moving, but then again, we don’t plan on not moving either. We (I) love our house and its location. But, oh my, there are so many things that need to be remodeled/fixed/updated.

For quite a few years we were operating under a bit of an illusion that we could manage these projects ourselves. I would give Scott lists of things that would need to be done. He tackled a few of the items. He’s very intelligent and highly educated. So, I had a lot of confidence in him.

One year I asked him to finish putting up the trim in the bathroom. Then I asked him again the next year, and then the next. Finally, one summer he took me by the shoulders, looked me in the eye and he said, “I am never going to put that trim up. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. I am not good at fixing things. I don’t like fixing things. This charade should end now.” He actually didn’t say the “charade” part, but couldn’t you just feel the drama?

Stunned! That’s what I was. Scott hates delivering bad news. I mean he REALLY hates it. He hates it so much that he has always made me wake the kids up in the morning. He just can’t bring himself to break the news to them that their sleep is over and it’s time to get up. Needless to say, hearing this definitive declaration from him was a shock. I knew he meant it, and it changed things.

Now, instead of waiting years to fix a broken door, I can pick up the phone and have it done today. If I was a handyman, I’d drive a van that looks like a lamp and write “Magic Genie” on the side of it. Because that’s what those guys are…magic. When they come and fix things I always thank them profusely for getting the job done in less than 8 years. It’s outstanding. And for Scott’s part, he couldn’t be happier. He doesn’t have to keep dodging me. It was getting trickier and trickier for him living under the same 1500 square foot roof with me for all those years.

I have a lot of phone calls to make now. And, of course, each call I make is going to cost us a Kajillion (roughly) more dollars than if we could do it ourselves. So, who knows? Some day we may just scrap it all and start over somewhere else.


What’s with Paleo?

Is the word Paleo new to you? A lot of people I know are familiar with it. If you are not, I’ll give you the speed version. Folks who say they are eating a Paleo diet avoid grains, sugar, dairy and processed foods. What they do eat is a lot of organic veggies and fruits, grass fed meat, nuts and seeds, and healthy fat: coconut oil, avocados and ghee (I don’t even know what that is, so don’t ask).

If I told you that our family was strictly Paleo, that would be a lie. Lying is a sin, you may want to jot that down. So, let’s stay on a path closer to the truth. We are sorta Paleoish. After years of desperation and searching for a cure to our son, Eddie’s, health problems, we stumbled upon this Paleo Diet thing on line a couple of years ago. We had a couple of health care professionals (Naturopaths) mention it as well over the years, but for some reason it never took hold.

I would have a better chance of explaining Quantum Physics to you than the science behind the Paleo diet. But, at the core (now hold on here, because I’m going to use a lot of scientific jargon and this my go over your head.) is the idea that grains can tear your gut to shreds, which allows for what’s in your gut (poop and stuff) to seep into your blood stream. Your body’s immune system won’t take that lying down, so it defends itself in just about any way imaginable. In Eddie’s case, that would be continual vomiting, sharp abdominal pain, head spins and general lethargy.

So, what’s with avoiding sugar? Hmmm…I can’t really remember what I read about that, other than that in the United States sugar is like crack for all of us. We like to bath in it, sleep in it, marry it. Just your basic abusive/addictive relationship.

I doubt Adam and Eve ate as much sugar in their lifetime (and didn’t they live like 800 years or something? I’m pretty much a Biblical scholar, so take that fact to the bank) as we eat in a day. I mean, they didn’t even eat much fruit, except for the occasional apple. We all know how that turned out. So, our bodies are doing crazy things with all that extra sugar. Things we call diseases and things we take a lot of fancy medication to cover up.

So, as it pertains to our family, this Paleo thing works for us. We are not hard core. We eat dairy and we do not eat only organic and/or grass fed food. We’d really like to, but we also like to pay or mortgage. So, sometimes you have to choose.

We’ve had a lot of people tell us they could never make such a drastic change. I think to myself, yes you could. Giving up a couple of food groups in exchange for giving our son his life back? Have I ever been asked an easier question?

There were times when Eddie was sick that my husband, Scott, and I would plead with God to make a bargain with us. “What do you want, God? How about if you take my arms or legs? What if you make me sick in exchange for making Eddie well? I know, I could just give up my life, in exchange for giving Eddie his back? Say whaaa??? You are telling us to just stop eating grains, processed foods and sugar? Done.”

We have not looked back. The whole family is actually enjoying better health. WE have far fewer colds and tummy aches than we used to. Allergies are improved as well. And, while Eddie has had some relapses, year over year, he is making more progress than he has since this whole nightmare (Did I say that? I mean, opportunity for growth) began.

Lord help me if you want to debate me on the value of this diet. I will tell you before we begin, you win. I’m not trying to create converts. I’m not even telling you it’s true. I’m just speaking from our personal experience and celebrating progress after years and years of banging our heads against a closed door.


So, am I really gonna be a blogger?  I don’t know.  Maybe. I keep blathering on to my Facebook Friends.  I tell myself, just give these folks  a rest already.   No one needs to hear your  running monologue  on life’s minutia.   Do you really need to show folks how cute your dog looks when he’s scared of the thunder?  Do people really  want to hear a recap of today’s sermon, or how you wanted to kick the crap out of the bee that stung you on your  walk this morning? Can’t you be a little more dignified and keep things private?  I guess I could.  But, then I’d be trying too hard to be someone I’m not, and I’ve never been good at that.  What I am good at is seeing the silly side of things.  And talking about it too.  I know.  It’s not rocket science, but we all got our stuff.

I’ve had the same prayer for my 3 kids since they were newborns.  I have never asked God to make them talented, athletic, rich, good looking or powerful (but, let’s face it, with a mom like me they’re bound to fall into a lot of that anyway).    Instead, I have always asked God to help them figure out who they are, what they’re good at and what God’s purpose was for them in this world.  Then, I follow that up by asking God to give them vision and the discipline and work ethic to develop that purpose.   I ask God for these things for my kids because I know it is part of the secret to living a meaningful life.  And what the heck would be the point of being wealthy and good looking if your life is not meaningful?  No point.

So, since I’ve been saying these prayers for my children for the last 16 years, I figured maybe I could do the same.  I really couldn’t figure out your fourth grader’s math homework.   I can’t sew.  I can’t garden and I when I think I am sprinting,  people thing I’m out for a slow jog.   What I can do is talk.  And I actually am pretty good at listening too.  I’m super interested in hearing people’s stories.

So, I guess we’ll give this blog thing a shot.  I can share my silly observations about life and my nice family.  I also can chat a little bit about our Paleo-ish diet, and what it is like to have a family member battling chronic illness.  I hope that blogging will give me chance to connect with more people and hear their stories too.  It’s a win-win, and we’ll just have to see where it goes.





Smith Family

Smith Family

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