Month: November 2014


Sometimes I Do Have Faith.

Shane missed a magician at school on Monday. Magic is his life, and had we known that there was going to be an assembly of any kind, we would have scheduled his doctor’s appointment for a different day.

But he’s been having some pretty bizarre dizzy spells, so instead, we went to the dizziness specialist.

It started back in July, or maybe August, depending on whether or not you count the headaches that were ruled out as caused by video games. Shane will be sitting there, reading a book, or relaxing on a bed, or playing hide and seek, or – well, just sitting there – and he’ll say, “Mom, I’m dizzy again.”

These are not debilitating dizzy spells. But he says he feels like he is spinning, and I’ll be looking at him, and he’s just sitting still. They only last ten seconds, or a minute, and then they subside.

After six weeks of this, I decided to find the cause. The pediatrician sent me to the neurologist, who said that if the headaches were gone, I should first see our ear doctor. The ear doctor ran a few tests, and said they had no idea what it was – but that I should go to the neurologist.

Since Dylan has a really good neurologist, we went to her – and she declared Shane fit and fine. She said he didn’t have any brain symptoms, and that it had to be an ear issue.

“He could have the aura of a migraine,” she said, writing a prescription. “If these pills work, that’s probably what it is. If not, it’s his ears.”

Well, he didn’t have any symptoms of a migraine, aura or otherwise, so we didn’t even fill the prescription. Instead, we called the ear doctor.

“We might want to check his hearing,” I told them, after days browsing “dizziness” on the internet.

That’s when they sent me to the dizziness specialist. And that’s who we saw on Monday, when Shane missed the school magician.

We were in the office for three hours, and Shane was seen by two top doctors and an audiologist. His hearing is perfect, and we were all thrilled about that.

“But if he’s dizzy,” I asked, “is that a good thing?”

“Yes,” she said. She explained that hearing loss accompanies a lot of different issues – so great hearing rules out all of those.

However, Shane was declared “positive to the left” by the doctor – meaning that when he marched in place with his eyes closed, he turned his body to the left.

No one has any idea why. They have ordered more tests. We have made more appointments.

I worry and I pray and I hope and I think and I try to have faith. And sometimes, I do have faith.

Meanwhile, my gall bladder is pounding. I have a little cough (like once every three days) and I can’t determine if it’s the change in the weather or lung cancer. I have a sharp stabbing pain in my lower left quadrant that has been with me for as long as I can remember. I just turned 50. And I don’t go to the doctor for any of it.

But for Shane, for these tiny instances of dizziness, I go.

How Could I Have Been So Clueless?

I really tried to feed my kids the right foods. When Dylan was a baby, I didn’t give him sugar for a year. Then, of course, I gave him a giant chocolate Elmo cake for his first birthday, and it was all over.

But I bought some fairly healthy foods, and introduced my kids to a lot of vegetables. Even at 10 and 13, we force-feed fruit with every breakfast, and aim for at least one vegetable for dinner. But I don’t cook much, and I use too many processed foods, and I know that. To make up for it, we limit sodas, fruit juices and Gatorade to a few per month, and we buy cookies made without high fructose corn syrup.

I read labels, and I taught my kids to read labels. I know why an unprocessed peanut is a better choice than “honey roasted.” We eat  salads with little or no dressing, and we don’t even visit the Froot Loops at the grocery store. We make pancakes out of wheat germ, whole wheat flour and Greek yogurt, and we use all natural maple syrup.

We have been avoiding the deadly sodium nitrate for years – and buying meat has been a nightmare, but we’ve done it. We buy only whole grain breads and pastas. We even buy organic produce to avoid pesticides.

So when I watched Fed Up on DVD, I was utterly stunned. How could I have been so clueless?

In one 90-minute movie, I learned why our society has gone from thin to fat, why I can’t lose weight, and why my low-fat and sugar-free choices are actually making me – and my kids – sick. I learned that the government has been bowing down to giant food conglomerates, who are only out for themselves, and that the media isn’t able to get past the double-talking to teach America what is really wrong.

I learned how and why sugar is now in everything we eat, and how different types of sugar – including what we call sugar “substitutes” – do the exact same things to our bodies as sugar, turning perfectly good body cells into fat storage. Sugar substitutes and “low fat” foods are actually making us gain more weight than the purer foods of our past.

For example, I gave up caffeine years ago, and gave up “regular” soft drinks decades ago. I drank Caffeine Free Diet Coke for years, until I learned that it contains cancer-causing caramel coloring (which is in virtually every brown soda on the market). I thought I was doing okay with one daily soda, a Diet Sierra Mist – no caffeine, no caramel coloring.

But it’s no better than the other sodas, since my body reacts the same way to both sodas. It screams, SUGAR! SUGAR!  and turns everything into big globs of fat.

For breakfast the night after watching the DVD, I fed my kids hummus toast, a banana and milk.

And that was the end of their daily intake of sugar. While the hummus was harmless, and the banana a natural (allowable) sugar, each slice of whole wheat bread has three grams of sugar. The milk – fat free, as it was – has 12 grams of sugar per eight-ounce cup.

As I’ve been told in the past, if a squirrel won’t eat it, it’s no good.

So once again, we are learning to eat healthily.

And, I hope, the entire world will watch Fed Up – so that someone, somewhere, will fix the problem that ails the entire country.

Like everything else, we are starting at home.

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