Friday, April 12, 2013

Learning Together

Another week, and I am going to sound like a broken record again.  Amber felt pretty good on Saturday and Sunday, but the stomach / intestinal problems returned Sunday evening.  Thankfully, she started feeling better again yesterday (Thursday), so it wasn't a whole week long episode this time.

We did complete a moderate amount of school this week, even if we postponed the scheduled field trip to the planetarium on Thursday.  Amber was starting to feel better, but walking around for any length of time just wasn't an option for her.

Sunday, playing two-square before she started the latest episode of problems.
Wednesday, Amber took the final test of the Astronomy unit in science (100%) and has now officially completed 5th grade science!! Yay, Amber.  We are taking a week off from most subjects next week for standardized testing, and then Amber will start up the following week with her 6th grade science topic - Biology.  We decided to run with Biology in Spring, Summer and Fall.  We hope to finish it before Christmas, so that we can move on to something we both enjoy more.  It also makes it easier to obtain the plants and critters needed for the biology experiments if it's not the dead of winter.

Today, we got a much earlier start to school than normally allowed on sensory therapy Fridays.  My car was completely dead when we tried to leave, so Amber started work on her three tests while I arranged for things to be done with my poor car.  Thankfully, we live but 5 minutes from the Volvo dealership and my father-in-law has a charger that was able to juice up my car enough to start.
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Reading and walking.  I made her pause for this picture.  We see her do this a lot.
We finished the history unit on World War II, at least the unit that deals directly with the war itself.  The next unit is on the aftermath of the war, and beginnings of the cold war.  Amber found WWII far more interesting than I ever have, and choose to do a lot of supplemental reading on the topic.  She, of course, aced that test as well.

Amber is also into the all important last five tests in Saxon Math 7/6.  Her grades on theses tests will determine her placement for next year.  All year, so far, she has gotten an A on every math test.  I'm hoping she can keep it up so that we can move forward with Algebra 1/2. However, if the last part of this year stumps her, then she will need to take the slower route through Saxon 8/7.  I'm getting antsy to purchase curriculum.  I haven't told Amber what determines her placement for next year. It will just stress her knowing about the needed test grades.

More good test scores. 

This week we also did a lot of research together on Celiac disease and how to maintain a gluten free diet.  We have not yet started on the diet, and it will be a few weeks before we do, if we make the switch.  Amber and I discussed what exactly gluten does to your body if you have Celiac, where gluten is found, and how to avoid it.   We even learned that many of our plastic & wood cooking utensils can't be used for non-gluten food as they probably have gluten trapped in them from years of use with gluten filled food.  Bummers.

Amber has been inhaling all her favorite gluten filled foods.  She pretty much doesn't want anything that is naturally gluten free right now.  We've been doing a lot of label reading, learning about how food is processed (over and over), and what the different ingredients really mean.  We've also been looking on product websites to see which of our favorite foods might be gluten free.  We've had some good news and some sad news on those items.  The worst one so far for Amber has been Wheat Thins. There is no hope for those, but she has loved them since she could eat solid food.

School work in the kitchen was more relaxing than her desk, also less walking to get to meals.  She did a lot of work on the couch this week too. 

It was a hard wait for Wednesday to hear the results of Amber's biopsy from last week.  Finally, Wednesday morning the doctor's office called us bright and early.  Amber does have damage in her stomach and intestines, but the cause is unclear.  She had the positive blood test for Celiac, but since the biopsy is unclear the GI doctor has opted to start Amber on Prevacid for a month to see what kind of results it produces.  Sigh.  I take Prevacid, along with several other medications for issues similar to Amber's and for IBS. My medicine cocktail is no longer doing me much good, which does not give us high hopes for Prevacid success in Amber.

Amber was feeling so crummy on Wednesday that she asked to start the gluten free diet instead of Prevacid. Poor thing.  We have decided to heed the doctors request to see how the medication works first.  Though, I do not like this as a long term answer for Amber.  I have to switch medications almost every year at this point, so I can't imagine it will help Amber for very long either.    We both have appointments scheduled at our GI doctors the same week in May and I plan to get answers for us both that week.  We will probably end up gluten free around Mother's Day.  Fun fun.

Biscotti, in his "kitty rug" position. He lays like this a lot and it reminds us of a bear rug.
He's now up to 16 pounds, sleek and still in his "kitty" phase. 
We are so thankful right now that we homeschool.  Amber was talking this week about how much school she would have missed this semester or how badly she would have felt going to school through all these problems.   Instead, we have been able to work at her pace and still have time for the many doctor's appointments.  Technically, Amber fulfilled the state requirements for 5th grade over a month ago, which really takes a load off our minds too.  We'd like her to complete all the scheduled lessons for each subject, but we can be done when needed.

Next week is standardized testing. working on Amber's research paper, and hopefully the postponed field trip.

Happy Weekend, everyone!


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7 comments:

  1. Oh, another week of discomfort for Amber! :frown: She's a determined girl to keep on doing her studies as best she can though. I hope answers are clear very soon for you both! Even though the answers might not be what you'd like, answers let you move forward with treatment and feel better.

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  2. I am sorry for the discomfort both of you are experiencing. I thought with Celiac going gluten free was a must. Praying that you get the answers and relief you need. I know a diet change isn't fun. Our son has been Grain-free for two years now and is very allergic to corn. It is hard.
    Blessings, Dawn

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    1. Celiac does make going gluten free a must. But Celiac requires both blood test a positive biopsy for diagnosis. Amber's biopsy was not a definite for celiac damage, just some kind of damage. The doctor prefers trying medication before requesting such a radical change in diet.

      My GI doctor did the same thing 4 years ago. I had positive celiac bloodwork but vague damage. I've been on mess since, my mess never quite take care of all the symptom or pain. Then they stop working all together. I've been lazy and didn't want to go through testing again. But it's time I do. I have more symptoms now than 4 years ago.

      It's pretty hard to get the GI doctors to commit to a celiac diagnosis.

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    2. Ugh. Autocorrect typing on iPad. Mess= meds.

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  3. That's too bad about the stomach. The only thing is, if she starts the gluten-diet early with the medication and then the doctor does another gastro-intestinal endoscopy, it will be hard to tell which made her better if their is improvement. So it is better to wait as you wrote, but one may know earlier. How long does it take for the medication to work?

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  4. Glad to see good math scores. We need to see some of those around here. I have told that child that he will be doing math summer school if the grades do not improve.

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  5. I'm sorry Amber is still feeling poorly. I hope and pray that the prevacid will work! Being gluten free does take some getting used to but it's not too bad. We were gluten free/ dairy free for about 5 years for Bethany, but it didn't really help her autism after all that time so we don't worry about it any more. If being gluten free makes Amber feel better maybe it will easier!
    Thanks for linking up at Friendship Friday! Hope next week we get a "feeling better" report!

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