Why My Monday was Meatless

Normally on Monday, I would post a “Hunk of Meat Monday” recipe, to share with those that enjoy having protein in their diet and I would link up with Beyer Beware’s linky party…but not today.

Our household is a very unique situation. We farm. We ranch. And our son is a vegan. Actually, that doesn’t quite cover it, but it’s close. He is limited in the amount of protein that he can have. Right now his limit is 11-12 grams of protein. To put that into perspective, an 8 oz. glass of milk has about 8 grams of protein in it. So, in theory he could have a glass of milk, but then he could only have one slice of bread for the rest of the day.

What it means is that he doesn’t eat meat. And according to his dietician, he will probably never eat meat. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

George’s body can’t break down protein. When he consumes protein, it can cause a reaction in his body that can elevate his ammonia levels, cause his brain to swell, cause seizures, make him hyperactive, etc. In a nutshell, it can be life threatening.

Last week Monday, I had a package of beef jerky in the fridge. Now, normally I don’t keep those kind of snacks in the house. Many times I just leave them in the shop fridge, because my husband likes to snack on them during harvest. But for some reason, I brought some in the house.

Now, mind you, George has never really had meat before. Due to his medical issues and not knowing what was all going wrong, but knowing that he didn’t tolerate table food very well, George was on a special formula for much longer than you normally would have a child on a liquid-only diet. In fact, George had just started eating some table food just about a year ago. He was 18 months old. It was January when we learned that we would probably need to cut protein out of his diet, and finally had a plan.

Well, apparently George is curious. And he ate two sticks of beef jerky. I was working on folding clothes, and noticed that he was chewing on something. He showed me the tiny bite that was left in his mouth, promptly spit it out for me, and then I checked the fridge, realizing that not one, but two sticks were out of the package.

We’d never had this problem, so I wasn’t sure what to do. I called his neurologist, who was on vacation. Her back-up was paged…she was on vacation. So a third person was contacted, who told me that she was going to be no help. So another neurologist was paged. And while waiting for her to call back, I called our pediatrician, who was out of the office. His nurse was very supportive, and told me that when I heard back, to let them know what they needed to do.

Under normal circumstances, were George to have issues relating to his OTC, I know what to do. I take him to the ER and hand them my letters from the doctors that give step-by-step instructions on how to care for him. But that’s what I do AFTER he’s having an “episode.” I had never had to deal with a situation in which he MIGHT have an episode.

Well, I finally heard back, and the doctor gave me some wonderful words of wisdom…like, “Don’t give him any more protein today.” Thank you, Captain Obvious. I figured that one out on my own. And, “Watch for signs of distress.” Whew. So glad I called. That really put me at ease. (By the way, that’s dripping heavily with sarcasm.)

Needless to say, I quickly learned one of George’s reactions to too much protein. He becomes off-the-wall, crazy hyper. Similar to what I would imagine a 2-year-old would act like if they were given 3-4 Mountain Dews. Seriously. He had snuck the beef jerky at about 2 that afternoon. He finally went to sleep around 1…Tuesday morning. It was crazy. But he survived, and so did I.

The point of all this?

I get the need for some people to be vegetarians, vegans, not eat meat, however you want to word it. I completely understand. I know, because I’m living it.

Here’s what I don’t like:

  • Don’t tell me that not eating meat is healthier for you. I know what the body needs. I know what children need. I’ve been researching it for months. I work with dieticians at Mayo Clinic. Trust me. I know. I also know what it takes to replace the nutrients and protein that you automatically get from meat. I know how dangerous it can be to try to live without those proteins. I know what the formula that my son will be using for the rest of his life smells like, tastes like…I’d rather eat a steak. (There are more than 25 different cuts of meat that are lean and healthier options, if that’s the kind of thing you’re looking for.)
  • Don’t tell me that livestock aren’t cared for properly. I know how they’re cared for, because I live it. We take care of our cattle, day-in, day-out, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Through blizzards, through hot streaks, in the spring, in the fall, you name it. If we need to be gone, we arrange for someone else to take care of them. It’s our responsibility and something we take very, very seriously.

This is our herd today.

  • Talk to me about your concerns. If you have heard something about animal care that concerns you, ask. Don’t just assume that whatever you see, hear is the truth. If you need to, come to my farm and look. (In fact, I’m connecting a video that our state Farm Bureau put together, showing you our farm, and telling others about why we do what we do…check it out. And remember, this was three years and one child ago!)
  • Don’t watch a movie and assume that what you see and hear is the truth. Movies are made to make money. Happy stories don’t sell as many copies as scary ones do…and don’t cause as much media hype. If you watch a movie, and it makes you think and have questions, then take those questions and ask a farmer. Don’t assume that the movie is going to give you the answers.

Sorry this became a little long-winded, but it’s a subject that hits close to my heart. As I said in the beginning, I completely understand the need for some people to limit their meat intake, or choose not to eat meat at all. I’m fine with that. Just please, please don’t tell me that I’m less of a person for enjoying my meat-eating lifestyle…and for being just a little sad that George can’t enjoy the same.

Steve Jobs is not alone

Cancer sucks. We all know that. But maybe someday we’ll have all the answers. This week we’ve lost a brilliant mind, one that didn’t give up when the answer wasn’t quick, one that thought about the unthinkable and achieved the amazing. Perhaps the next “Steve Jobs” of the world will be in cancer research?

Imagine all the goodies this bad boy (or should I say girl?) can whip up?

 

 

Here’s another story sent by a reader…and if you’d like to enter my KitchenAid giveaway for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, be sure to head to this post and leave a comment. Simple as that!

I was getting married August 28th, 2010, and was going to begin my first year of teaching August 22, 2010. So that summer I was very absorbed in my own little world thinking only of myself. The last week in June my mom had her annual appointment with her doctor and they had found a “small lump” and wanted to do surgery just to remove it.

My mom had told me not wanting to upset me (why do mothers do this?) that she was having a small surgery the first week in July to remove a small definitely benign lump in her breast and she wanted me to come stay with her in Bismarck and take her to the surgery ( I live in a small town in the south eastern corner of the state).

Honestly looking back it is ridiculous how uncaring I was at this point in time. I was thinking only of myself and my life and said sure I would come stay with her, but didnt really ask any further questions or offer much sympathy other than the minimal amount. I went to stay with her thinking that she was 100% sure that this was a non-cancerous lump and we went out to supper the evening before and probably talked about nothing other than me and my life.

The next morning at the surgery check-in everything was as normal (uncomfortable) as routine pre-surgery things can go. During surgery I sat in the waiting room reading my book thinking nothing would go wrong. After the surgery my mothers doctor came into speak with me and took me into a “private” room. She told me that it was as she and my mother had feared that the mass looked to be cancer. She said the lump was about the size of an apricot and they could not get it all so they would have to do more surgery and also do a surgery to test her lymph nodes.

I was shocked. Since my mom had not led me to believe anything could possibly go wrong, I was blindsided and felt instantly terrible.

SO began our journey with cancer. There were two more surgeries in the month of July.  She began radiation the week before my wedding and chemo after the wedding.  She finished treatment and was dubbed cancer free in the winter of last year. She is still cancer free. I cant even believe this happened to my family.

It really is true that you think that will never happen to me until it does. I still can’t believe it has happened. Just 2 weeks ago I was at a doctor appointment and they were updating my file and asked if there was any family history of illness they should have and i said “NO” then all the sudden it dawned on me “UHH, My mom had breast cancer”. The nurse looked at me like this girl is crazy how does someone forget that. I havent forgotten I think I am still in shock. I am amazed that my family even went through it.

While my mom was going through treatments her best friend from high school was also going through treatments so they found alot of comfort in each other. It truly is amazing how many people this disease affects.

Thank you so much for sharing. I think sometimes as parents we try to protect our children, even at our own discomfort. I’m sure your mom thought she was saving you worry, when in the end, it was harder to find out in such an abrupt way. As frustrating as it is, it’s all out of love. I know, my mom does the same thing!

Enjoy your weekend everyone…schedule a mammogram, screenings, whatever it is your doctor suggests. I have yet to hear a doctor that says, “Hmmm…it seems we’ve found this cancer too early.”

A Mother’s Love

I saw this on Facebook tonight…and couldn’t get it out of my head.

A Mother's Love

This was the caption under the photo:

This is a true story of Mother’s Sacrifice during the Japan Earthquake.
After the Earthquake had subsided, when the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman’s house, they saw her dead body through the cracks. But her pose was somehow strange that she knelt on her knees like a person was worshiping; her body was leaning forward, and her two hands were supporting by an object. The collapsed house had crashed her back and her head.

With so many difficulties, the leader of the rescuer team put his hand through a narrow gap on the wall to reach the woman’s body. He was hoping that this woman could be still alive. However, the cold and stiff body told him that she had passed away for sure.
He and the rest of the team left this house and were going to search the next collapsed building. For some reasons, the team leader was driven by a compelling force to go back to the ruin house of the dead woman. Again, he knelt down and used his had through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. Suddenly, he screamed with excitement,” A child! There is a child! “
The whole team worked together; carefully they removed the piles of ruined objects around the dead woman. There was a 3 months old little boy wrapped in a flowery blanket under his mother’s dead body. Obviously, the woman had made an ultimate sacrifice for saving her son. When her house was falling, she used her body to make a cover to protect her son. The little boy was still sleeping peacefully when the team leader picked him up.
The medical doctor came quickly to exam the little boy. After he opened the blanket, he saw a cell phone inside the blanket. There was a text message on the screen. It said,” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” This cell phone was passing around from one hand to another. Every body that read the message wept. ” If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.” Such is the mother’s love for her child!!

Why did this strike a chord? Aside from just being a mother? (By the way, snopes clarifies that the picture and the story don’t go together…I’m fine with that, but whether or not the two go together, they both hit my heart.)

Well, to put it simply, I’m somewhat in the same position.

After researching and researching and researching some more…I’ve learned quite a bit about George’s OTC. And if he truly has OTC (which has been pretty well proven through testing and improvement with the diet), then we’re dealing with a disease that does a lot of taking.

For example…in OTC, males are hit harder than females. In fact, 50% of males born with OTC do not live 72 hours. And of the 50% surviving, another 50% will die by the age of 5.

Those are the facts.

So, on Sunday we head back to Rochester. And this time, the questions will be a little more pointed and a little more clear. I need to know exactly what the doctor is thinking, and what we need to do. I’ve read on some new research showing hopeful uses of gene therapy…something we may look into.

Whatever it is, we will do…I will stand over my son and let the roof crash on me, so that some day he can stand tall and read, “If you can survive, you must remember that I love you.”

Just another Manic Monday

School starts here tomorrow. And as bad as I feel for saying it…I can’t wait. I need some routine, some down time, some “regular” stuff. You know?

Just when I thought a week of plane crashes, hospital stays and sick little boys was looking up, fate stepped in. Big Bro was bit by a dog at the local park. Said dog had no vaccinations. It all adds up to Big Bro having to be on a round of antibiotics for the sore, and the dog being quarantined for 10 days to watch for signs of rabies. Even indoor pets need vaccinations. (Let’s not even get to why an “indoor” pet was at the park.)

For those that don’t know…let me explain to you what rabies all entails.

  • Rabies attacks the brain and spinal cord. If it is not prevented, it WILL cause death.
  • This year, more than 55,000 people will die from rabies. That’s one person every 10 minutes.
  • Rabies is 100% preventable. There are vaccinations for animals and treatment for humans that are in contact with infected animals.
  • It can only be passed through saliva, not blood.
  • More than 40% of the people bitten and affected are children under the age of 15.
  • Dogs are the source of 99% of human rabies death.
  • There are no tests available to diagnose rabies infection in human prior to the onset of clinical disease.

Well, enough of that, I think you get the point. Rabies is serious, rabies is deadly, and it’s simple to prevent. This is all a situation that didn’t need to occur. So please, have your pets properly vaccinated and cared for by veterinarians. If you can’t afford to do that, then do your animal a favor, and find them a new home.

I will know within 10 days if we have to go through the rabies series with Big Bro. Sooner if the animal dies between now and then. Is it likely that the dog has rabies? No, but even “indoor” pets can have contact with disease-carrying animals. Is it likely that the animal will get sick? No, but with a 100% fatality record, it’s not worth the risk.

What a way to start the week…and the school year!

Special Request

We are home…and George’s stubborn streak has ended. He is finally drinking on his own, without being forced.

One nurse thought that if she just stayed by his side and constantly forced him to drink, he would eventually give in once he realized she wasn’t going anywhere. She had me leave for a bit. When I came back, she said, “North Dakota stubborn is different from South Dakota stubborn. I gave in before he did.” Yeah, I’m gonna have my hands full…but that’s a good thing.

Remember the little boy I asked you to pray for? Today is a very important day. He NEEDS to breathe on his own. Please, please say a prayer for him and his family.

That’s all for now.

Oh, and the pilot from the crash? He’s gonna be OK. You see…prayers do get answered!

Bringing in the Big Dogs

Dr. T told me to try every trick in the book to get George to drink…and I truly believe I have. We have:

  • bought wall stickers, placing one Buzz Lightyear for every drink he takes (sorry hospital decorating committee…George is taking over!)
  • bought new books
  • bought four new sippy cups
  • brought in our Pastor, Grandma W., Uncle J. and other visitors
  • bribed with food
  • bribed with rewards
  • offered free college tuition
  • freezees, sherbet, every frozen concoction available in low-protein
  • etc., etc.

Where did it get us? A maximum of 2 ounces in one whole day. (And that was yesterday, thanks to Grandma W!)

So today, my mom and dad returned from a trip to see family in Wisconsin. They came down after loading up a cooler full of George’s favorites from their house. Which included: Hug fruit barrel juices, his sippy cup from their house, freezees from their house, pudding, etc. They brought a cooler with straws, spoons, you name it. (Apparently a hospital may not have such utensils??? Ha!) 🙂

Well, it worked pretty well, because George drank two ounces while they were here…he had only had one ounce all day! So, they doubled his drinking total! Woohoo! (I know, I’m easily pleased, eh?)

As I type, he is laying in the chair…with his sippy cup!

It all starts with baby steps!

 

We might get out of here before he turns 18! I was afraid they were going to make us switch units soon! 🙂

Thank you so very much for the continued prayers and support. I make light of it now, but we were in a pretty serious situation. I’m so grateful to have friends and neighbors like you to share with our joys and tribulations! We are so blessed!

P.S. And little Brayton has had some promising reports himself! How exciting! The power of God is so amazing!

Monday morning update

Well, I’d love to say that we are at home, enjoying a great morning…but that’s not quite the case. Sunday morning at 11:30, I noticed that George’s thumb was purple. Ipushed the nurse call button, and we quickly discovered that his IV had quit working, pushing all the fluid into his hand.

Apparently, your hand isn't supposed to look like this. That silly George, always trying to be trendy.

 

Once the nurse had his IV pulled out, we were on a time crunch. George needed to start drinking on his own, stat…or else they would have to start another IV. And with his history with IV starts, he didn’t have a whole lot of places left to poke.

Well, long story short, the determination and bull-headedness of a 2-year-old won out. At 8 or so last night we started another IV…this time in the crook of his elbow. This means that his arm is immobilized with armboards and taped. Oh my, the fun we are having.

While all this was going on, I learned last evening that a little boy from our town was flown to another hospital with bacterial meningitis. So, as you are saying a little prayer for George to start drinking, can you life Brayton and his family in prayer as well? Thank you, so very much.

Here’s hoping my next post is from the comfort of home!