Today’s guest writer is a dear friend. Her story and journey are courageous, humble, and inspiring. Be inspired by how Kristen is striving to create the healthiest life she can for her special family.
I am a single mom. I have two gorgeous children. Madison is 5 years old, and a spunky know-it-all, but her generous spirit will give you her favorite toy if you hinted for it. My 7-year-old is my brave boy, Micah. He is “all boy” and adventurous and wonderfully stubborn in every way. I delight in these children!
Something unique about my parenting situation is in regards to my son. He is unique and special in every way. Specifically, he was born “normal” but suffered a tragic fall from a second story window when he was just 13 months old. That accident left him with severe brain damage. It was and every parents’ worst nightmare. He is now considered quadriplegic (secondary to brain damage, fortunately, his spine is still healthy). He is blind with a seizure disorder. He cannot eat, move, talk, or see. He depends on a g-tube (a feeding tube) through a hole in his stomach to gain his daily calories.
Although being Micah’s mom has been the most challenging and rewarding thing I’ve ever done in so many ways, I really want to share an aspect of my journey regarding nutrition. Although he cannot eat food (other than occasional tastes), Micah sparked a new love for food in our little family.It shortly began after Micah was discharged home from the hospital in 2009. I received a prescription for Kids Boost Essentials. This is the special formula that we were supposed to give Micah through his g-tube every day to provide 100% of his nutritional needs. Three boxes a day. I read the formula’s label (of course, but I didn’t know how to assign any value to what I was reading). How food was processed in a drug company lab was a little puzzling, but I trusted that 100% nutrition meant that Micah was receiving the very best food and 100% of what he needed. As a mom, I was satisfied.
Micah’s day to day was hard. He had all sorts of bowel issues. His gastric motility speed was incredibly inconsistent. Some days, he could tolerate all three boxes, other days we were lucky if we got half a box to go down (and stay down). Micah would vomit every day, usually 12-24 times a day. If he was sick (which was frequent), he would vomit more. Micah had pneumonia over and over and battled skin infections after surgeries multiple times a year. One year, he was hospitalized 7 times in a 10 week period for illness and infections. Now, I am a registered nurse, so I don’t automatically rush my child to the Emergency Room for illnesses. In fact, to a fault, I tend to underplay emergencies because I am so used to handling them at work. So, I only rushed Micah to the hospital when I KNEW he was in trouble.
Micah also battled skin issues such as pressure sores, frequent random bruising, and psoriasis. I never intervened further than repositioning and some zinc oxide ointment. I attributed his fragile skin to, well, his fragile condition. Micah was just always fragile. Fast forward a few years, and in 2013, I had an epiphany. My daughter and I were sitting at the dining room table eating a meal I had just prepared. I had a rare moment when I was feeling like a superhero mom. I had just prepared a super healthy meal for my daughter and I. We had a plate full of fresh organic spinach, steamed wild rice, and baked salmon. I was feeling so proud and full of mom love for feeding this beautiful food to my beloved child.
But in the next moment, my proud moment was interrupted by the noisy feeding pump churning its formula into my son’s feeding tube. My son laid in his wheelchair sleeping. Then it hit me…
Why is the most fragile child in this house being fed the most processed food?
I remember wondering if there was something I could add to the formula that would help his skin? And so began my search for foods that I could blend up and add to his formula that would improve his skin. My mom became another key advocate who dove into books and interviewed dietitians. Together, we completely changed Micah’s food. It was a slow and long process, but over time, we began to exchange supplementing Micah’s formula with making our own formula entirely from home!Today, Micah eats real food, mostly raw, mostly organic, mostly non-GMO foods. He eats better than any child I know. In fact, he eats better than any other person I know! Every morning, I wake up just a little bit earlier, and I make the days’ worth of nutritionally-dense food for him. It’s been almost two years now of real food, and the difference is transforming!
Micah rarely vomits anymore. Remember, he used to vomit 1 to 2 dozen times a day, now it’s about once a week.
He has finally been able to tolerate more feedings and his weight has stabilized within a normal range.
Micah is rarely sick now. Since switching to real food, he has not been hospitalized at all!
He has not had a single episode of pneumonia!
All of his bruises and pressure sores have disappeared.
His psoriasis greatly reduced (down to 1 spot, and it’s only 50% of its original size).
Micah has a new skin tone, surprisingly. I always thought that he had his father’s pale complexion, but he has a dark skin tone like mine! His teachers cannot believe the change they noticed in his skin! They comment about how alert he is, how participant he is in school. I am a mom, and I just heard that my non-mobile, non-verbal child is participating! It is music to my ears! I felt like a superhero…
I am not a superhero, though. I am just like every other mom who is passionate for their child and celebrates each victory they make. As mentioned, I am a nurse, and I have made my career around medicine. I believe in medicine, I really do, but I believe nutrition is our first line of medicine.
Here are some ways I use food to treat some specific problems:
Fatigue = 1 tsp. Maca Powder, geletanized (side effects from Micah’s seizure medicine forces a 3-hour nap on him twice a day if he doesn’t get it!)
Psoriasis = 1 tsp. Cod Liver Oil and 15 minutes of daily sunshine (all but one spot disappeared!)
Bruising = 2 cups of spinach, 1 cup of Kefir, and 2 TBL of Cacao powder (Magnesium rich foods)
Immune System boost = 2 tsp. of chlorella powder
High Blood Pressure = 1 tsp. of spirulina powder
I am not a physician, and I do not claim to have any authority in the medical field (other than a respectable registered cardiovascular nurse). I am just sharing with you benefits Micah has experienced with real food and supplements. In response, I have learned to adjust my own food intake and look at each bite differently. Every bite of food has the potential to heal us or harm us. Even empty calories harm us because they take up space in our GI tract when real food could be in their place. By taking Micah off of highly processed food and onto natural, real food, Micah’s body is being restored into the best he can be. I am inspired to love my own body the way I love his body by increasing the amount of good food I feed myself. I use the same supplements in my own morning smoothies to get me going for the day. I must admit, when I miss a day, I feel the difference and it sets me back. Nutrition really is real medicine, God designed. Perfect and capable.Your Friend and Trainer,
Kristen and Cassie