Friday, October 4, 2013

End of First Quarter and a Possible Answer

This has been a slow school week and a possibly revealing medical week for Amber.  She has felt awful again all week with very little motility in her intestines, which resulted in another call to her GI doctor who made several recommendations.

The first recommendation was to continue with the intestinal cleanout that I planned for Amber on Thursday.  That was a really horrid day for my girl and there was no way she could make her dance classes.  The next thing the doctor wanted was another appointment to discuss how to find the trigger to these problems (it's early next week).  And finally, I was assigned the task of looking over Amber's food log for any patterns.  It is seriously sad that I have to keep a food log for my child, and that I haven't kept a very detailed one either.

Fortunately for Amber a friend asked if Amber has done a fructose intolerance (malabsorption) breath test.  Amber has not had that test, and neither have I.  We both did the bacterial overgrowth breath test, but not fructose.  The friend has fructose malabsorption and thought Amber's symptoms sounded familiar.   Of course I immediately spent hours during Amber's cleanout immersing myself in fructose research.

Sick little girl.  She loves to hold Rosetta (Rosie) the cat when she doesn't feel good.  She also is very attached to specific stuffed animals on those days too. 

The fructose malabsorption seems to be a possible candidate from the research and from Amber's pathetic food log.  The gluten-free diet has eliminated much of the fructose by removing wheat and other "treats" with gluten.  However, we have let Amber have some items that contain fructose and her flare ups do coincide with some of the times she ate larger amounts of fructose.

Sigh.  It's so hard to figure this out and even harder to watch Amber be so ill.  She is currently sleeping 13-14 hours a night and is still exhausted all day long.  She simply looks terribly ill most days.  It was difficult to ask Amber to continue with school work this week; I felt like the worst parent ever.  But there really was nothing else she could do at home but watch TV, so about two thirds of the planned school work was completed.

Pictures from art class!!  Amber carved her clay pumpkin and painted her blue vase.  She used a drill and exacto knife for the very first time in her life.

Math was not a subject that Amber felt up to completing often this week.  She took her test on Monday and then hasn't done a math assignment until today, Friday.  She has been in such a brain fog that she didn't feel able to complete even simple math assignments. Thankfully the test went well though.

Spelling, grammar, and, oddly enough, writing were completed every day this week.  Amber is quite taken with Writing with Skill.  This curriculum seems to be a wonderful fit for her.  She learns something from every assignment, but doesn't feel overwhelmed by the objectives.   I could not have asked for a writing curriculum to fit better.

Biology and history both moved along nicely this week as well.  Amber had a test in biology then moved on to the second to last unit - animals.  This is much preferred to the vertibrates unit and we look forward to finishing the semester with the human body.  I've got some fun genetics activities planned, if there is time.  Our experiment this week tested which types of fur help retain body heat the best.  It was simulated using cups of water insulated with felt, cotton balls, or both and that were then placed in the freezer.  As Amber expected, the cup insulated with both felt and cotton balls remained above freezing the longest.  Our control cup was frozen solid long before the final one reached the freezing point.   It was a long, but fun experiment.

(LEFT) Religion time is a favorite.
(TOP-R) Setup for biology experiment.
(BOTTOM-R) Writing with Skill

In history Amber is still studying ancient Egypt and finds all their mythology fascinating.  She has also finished Tales of Ancient Egypt in her literature lessons.  I had hoped to help Amber make a salt dough Egyptian cartouche with hieroglyphics this week, but there was no energy on Amber's part.  Hopefully we can fit that in this weekend.

Today also marks the end of our first quarter of sixth grade.  I'm happy with the progress so far and Amber says she think we have found a balance in difficulty level and stress level of her assignments.  That's good enough for me.  The report card will be issued when I have time to finish grading the back log of assignments from this week.

During our relaxation time Amber has continued to watch Stargate Atlantis with great excitement.  She was even unable work on her new latch hook project one night because the show was "too new and anxiety making".  She's cute.   We did watch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey two complete times this week.  Amber absolutely LOVES The Hobbit and it has become her go-to movie for when she feels crummy.   Thursday Amber decided to try Stargate SG1 during her intestine cleanse and amazingly she loved it too.  It fits right in with the Egyptian mythology she is studying now.  Still, that means we are watching season one of SG1 when Daddy isn't home and Season 2 of Atlantis when Daddy is home.  Confusion much?

Healthy Life Style Update (for me):
  • Processed Food:  Still eating some.  I ate a bunch of candy corn this week, but that was almost all of my bad foods. In solidarity with Amber, I've now given up a lot of fructose (I'm still eating the apples, dang it).
  • Cooking: I cooked all but Saturday and Thursday night.  Actually, I made Amber's broth for her on Thursday, but got Outback To-Go for Fred and me.  I wanted a salad and had no lettuce at home.  Outback was actually closer and quicker than the grocery store since I could order online and never leave my car.  LOL.
  • Cardio Exercise: 379 minutes (excluding Friday).  I'm back!
  • Weight Training:  Umm.. does lugging groceries with a still injured hand count?  How about painting the garage trim, or moving plants that I planted two weeks ago?  No?  Then I totally failed on this one.
  • Piano: Nope. Nada.  Hand is still weird and Amber required too much attention this week.
  • Medical: I forgot entirely about calling for an endocrinologist appointment for me.  I did get things set up for our flu shots.  I took two kittens to the vet for colds, does that count?
  • Relaxation: I cross stitched and watched Atlantis in the evenings with Amber and sometimes Fred.  Sometimes I researched fructose malabsorption on the iPad instead of paying attention.
    I did watch tons of Downton Abbey while doing cardio on the bike.  I'm rewatching the entire thing since I was hit and miss with the earlier episodes.  Halfway through season two now.

Amber wanted to play photographer while she was laying on the couch one day.  This is me with all the cats. 
(Left) Biscotti - the Maine Coon mix, weighing in at 18.5 lbs, 2.5 yrs, and still growing (lengthwise).  Amber can't carry him anymore and Biscotti won't let Fred carry him. 
(TOP-R) Milori - Turkish Angora, 8.5 lbs, 6 mo old, and nearly done growing.  Currently has a cold.
(BOTTOM-R) Rosetta (Rosie) - Turkish Angora, sister to Milori, 6 lbs, 6 mo old, and nearly done growing. Currently has a cold. 
This week has reminded me yet again how blessed we are to be able to homeschool Amber.  Just yesterday a friend, who was a teacher at Amber's first parochial school, texted me about Amber's illness and included that she was so happy that we homeschool Amber.   I'm not sure how the girl would make it through school otherwise.

This weekend we are going to try for our annual corn maze trip (yes, it's maybe a half mile from our house).  The weather looks cooler and possibly dry at least one day.  I'm definitely going to continue my crazy fructmal research while trying to feed Amber from our pantry - this is causing a bigger panic than gluten free.

Happy Weekend!

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7 comments:

  1. I hope you guys have fun at the corn maze! I just was mentioning it to my hubby today but it's rained for the last 2 days so it may be too muddy!

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  2. ((Amber)) And she still got work done! She's a trooper! Really! I hope they find answer for her and you very, very soon. It must be terrible to feel ill a lot of the time! Look at those kitties! Cute!

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  3. Sorry Amber' s feeling badly. Hope she's able to get back to her regular routine soon!

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  4. It does sound like homeschooling is good for your daughter at this time. Praying that you can find some answers and help.

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  5. IT is terrible to have a sick child and not know what to do. I am so glad she is able to be homeschooled.
    Blessings, Dawn

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  6. I'm about to start my kids on Egyptian mythology, I'm really looking forward to it.

    I'm so sorry you're going through all of that with your daughter, that has to be exhausting.

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  7. Poor Amber. She does look a bit peakid and tired. Hopefully eliminating fructose will be the ending of her mysterious gut issues. It's so hard and time consuming to figure these things out! You're doing much better in the exercise department than I am. I'm getting in about 160 minutes a week! Hope next week finds you all feeling in tip top shape!

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