Home business, home education and health challenges: what makes us tic?

Posts tagged ‘migraine’

Starting Somewhere

Establishing a baseline for pending life changesDay 2 of the blog challenge, and day 2 of eating really clean. (Does coffee count?)

My raging headache has matured into a simmering migraine, and I’m actually thinking of taking a short nap.

I thought I’d get the week started with some stats so that I can track my progress.

Stats

I weigh 66kg and I’m a size 36. Not that I am specifically looking to lose weight, but it helps to know where I’m starting.

Treatments

I apply rubbing alcohol to my suppurating blisters every morning and evening. If you imagine this would sting a little, you’re wrong. It burns like Billy-Oh and takes every ounce of willpower I have not to say the very bad words I’m thinking.

I follow that with calamine lotion.

Throughout the day, I apply Silver Genesis Skin Hygiene Super HydroGel, which seems to be, basically, colloidal silver suspended in aloe vera gel. It seems to be improving things:

bad skin - day 2

Update on my bad skin – day 2

There’s still a long way to go, though. I have to present a marketing strategy to the board at one of my clients’ this evening, and so far I have no idea how I will look presentable for this.

Other than that, I take a combo of vitamins every day, including Staphysagria powder from my homeopath. I also take a fairly potent probiotic, and L-Lysine every morning. The rest includes something foul-tasting called fulvic acid, drops for digestion and drops for immunity from the homeopath, and Doc Frank’s Business Owner Booster (BOB):

  • L-Carnitine
  • Chrome
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin D3
  • Alpha-lipoic acid
  • Coenzyme Q10

Every evening I swallow a capful of colloidal silver.

Besides these things, I do Pilates once a week, and I’m supposed to do homework every day. I usually do the homework, but I’m pretty sure I’m not doing it right. I think I’m going to give the Pilates a break, because it hurts my lower back and makes the ache in my gut/ovary worse.

And I get way too little sleep – an average of 4-6 hours a night. I usually do nothing but sit at my desk working, fetch kids from school, and buy groceries. Every day of every week; every month of the year.

So that’s where we’re starting from.

Let’s see how it goes from here.

 

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Curiouser and curiouser: interesting theories on ADD, migraines and digestive issues.

Goldilocks and Papa Bear both have ADD, apparently. It not much of a surprise – there are long lines of it on both sides of both families, after all. When Papa Bear was in school, there was no such thing as ADD, of course. In those days he was simply told to “apply himself”, and that was that. Nowadays, between research, technology, advanced medication, overcrowded classrooms and curricula that seem to expect way too much from teachers and pupils alike, we have a different solution: medication.

I must admit that before we had the option of home education, we did go the route of medicating the problem. The results were marked and mixed, and not the subject of this post. However, the final result of all of that was to find a different solution. As you know, a large part of the drive behind creating this blog was to document the pathway to that solution, so that I wouldn’t forget it.

First of all, I can say unequivocally that home education is the best possible solution for my little family. It is ideal for our temperaments and thought patterns, as well as (surprisingly) our hectic lifestyles.

But there’s more to education and a lifestyle of learning than simply how you get your basic facts into your head. What with innumerable allergies and intolerances, and a family history of epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, cancer and chronic migraines, I’ve always been interested in what we eat and how that affects us. I may have mentioned the wonderful supplements we take, which have done wonders for our health and energy. But even with a completely gluten-free/dairy-free lifestyle, and the world’s best nutritional supplements, we still have ailments. The girls and I all battle with gastric cramps and the attendant pleasures that go with that. We get headaches and blurry vision. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate, and Papa Bear has the added distraction of being very, very tired all the time.

Furthermore, Goldilocks and I both twitch. In both of us, it started out as chronic, though barely noticeable, blinking. It progressed from there to forehead and cheek twitching and has gained an added dimension: vocal tics. I won’t bore you with the details but, simple put, we make sounds. I’ve been doing it for years so when Goldilocks started I knew what it was. I was disappointed for her as I’d hoped it was a stress-acquired thing in me and in no way genetic, but I could fully understand what she was going through. The sounds she makes resemble throat-clearing, and have become more and more obvious. Eventually one evening Papa Bear lost his temper with her and insisted she stop. Not understanding how she could control it for brief periods, only to be driven to do it even more prominently later, he assumed she was doing it on purpose, albeit subconsciously.

Shocked at his dramatic reaction, I realised it was time to act. I spent most of that night researching “chronic compulsive throat clearing in children“. The results were astounding. I discovered that tics of all sorts, from minor to major motor tics and a wide range of vocal tics which essentially comprise passing air through the nose or mouth in different ways, were all related. These are more prevalent in people with OCD or ADD of even degree. If two or more motor tics and a vocal tic are present, and if these present before 18 years of age, the correct term for the condition, no matter how mild, is Tourettes.

Huh.

I had actually been told this before, but since I didn’t think much of that particular doctor, I’d dismissed it out of hand. Now, however, I was faced with rather more concrete evidence.

Having already booked a doctor’s appointment to investigate my permanent thirst and frequent visits to the bathroom, I decided to bring this issue up there and settle it once and for all. And whaddya know. Tourettes. Both of us. So that was interesting. (The other symptoms appear to be linked to an overdose of coffee rather than anything more sinister, since I am in perfect health in every other way (besides gastric issues) – apparently two to three pots of filter coffee each day is not an acceptable average. Go figure.)

Since then I have been researching the various treatment options for Tourettes. (In short: none). It’s not serious or life threatening. Mild cases don’t even impact your quality of life in any significant way, bar teasing at school – enter Home Education! And of course it has no impact on intellect since the majority of Tourette’s sufferers have above average IQs. Well, I could have told you that :).

I have also been researching ways to perfect the gluten free lifestyle since I do still have a lot of complications with this. For instance, my weight has plateaued and nothing shifts the slightest gram. I have chronically bad skin, which is frustrating given my advanced years. I cramp and bloat and all those other lovely dinner-table topics we don’t like to discuss in huge anonymous fora like these. I stumbled across something called the SCD diet – have you heard of it? Now, that is the topic of a whole post on its own, and this one is already rather long winded, so no more on that here. What fascinated me about it, however, was the link between SCD and autism, with a huge number of parents of autistic children recording amazing results in their children’s health on this diet.

Hmm.

The lady who works for us is a genius and bona fide genetic scientist. She is also dyslexic and mildly OCD, so when she was studying genetics at university, she did a lot of research into the link between OCD, dyslexia, ADD (which her brother has) and genetics. Turns out: there’s a big link. Apparently any damage to chromosome 21 cause these neurological (not psychological) problems. Mild damage causes mild problems (very minor OCD, manageable migraines, etc), while the more damaged the chromosome is, the worse the results, until you get severe autism. This can be caused by birth complications, genetics or vaccines. (I am not a scientist, I’m simply repeating the results of a LOT of reading. Obviously, I may well be wrong here. I’m just saying it’s interesting). But with a family history of ADD, ADHD, OCD, epilepsy, dyslexia, migraines and now Tourettes, it certainly gives one pause for thought. Surely there must be a link?

Even more curious: how can a diet developed specifically for managing digestive issues have such a significant impact on both autism and ADD? I can’t wait to dig deeper and find more because it really is fascinating stuff. I’ll share what I find as I go along (this might be a good time to suspend your membership if this is too dull!).

 

 

On home school, self-employment and domestic goddessery

When I started talking out loud about the possibility of us home schooling the girls, the overwhelming response from most quarters was a screaming “Don’t do it!”. Some people pointed out the lack-of-social-interaction “problem” that everyone jumps to first. I listened and pondered and for a while I even agreed. But as you know, I don’t agree any longer.

The second most common reason given why I shouldn’t home school was structure. More specifically, the lack thereof. Now, in truth, I am a very organised person. I like everything to have a clearly defined, labelled, easy-to-access space, and that space needs to be noted somewhere. Preferably somewhere indexable and searchable. I like clear shelves and lever arch files in matching colours with clear, attractive titles. I like order.

Having said that, I am pragmatic. I learned a long time ago to have clear priorities (although I don’t always stick to them!). So if I have a ton of work to do, I won’t always do the dishes. And there’s a good reason for this: genetics. I come from a long line of hardworking ladies (on both sides of the family), who are very house proud, and who can never start anything until the house is “in order”. What I learnt watching them as I grew up is that the house never stops needing attention. No  matter how many times you wash the dishes, there are always more to do. So now I first do my work (to pay the bills), teach my kids (because I must, and because I love it), and THEN do the house. Of course, by then it tends to be 2am, and I often choose my pillow rather than my sink on which to lavish my attention.

The obvious result tends to be a rather chaotic-looking house, and the irony is that it usually takes less than half an hour to throw it all back together.

How does this apply to actual home school? You may remember a recent blog post about this article: the 5 myths of home schooling. Myth #2 is a lack of structure and today I’m talking about how that myth applies to us personally, as well as discussing this week’s progress. To put it in a nutshell: this week there’s been no progress. The only reason our house isn’t infested with new and peculiar life forms bred in the sticky remnants of half-eaten meals in unwashed dishes is because we have a wondermaid 3 times a week. Thank God.

The last week of every month (this week, in other words), is deadline week for me. What I usually do is put my head down and work flat out for about seven days in a row, trying to get as much done as possible before the new month. And I don’t school. I just can’t fit it in. The girls love it – for the first few days. But by Thursday they’re not happy. Bored and frustrated and tearful, they fight and work on their stomach ulcers (especially DD1), and develop migraines.

Of course, being deadline week I’m already stressed, and it goes without saying that DH, lacking the HW (housework) gene, utterly fails to notice the expanding sewer around him. Plus it also usually manages to be that  time of the month, as well.

I have to keep reminding myself that everyhting about my life right now is the result of calculated choices. I chose to home school. I chose to work. I chose to freelance. And I chose to be married to a boy (as one does). Every four weeks or so, I wonder why.

Home school: week 13

I can’t believe we’ve already been doing this for 13 weeks! The time has whizzed by and I certainly don’t think we’ve covered 13 weeks worth of “school”. Of course we’ve done a lot of other, equally important things (at least to my mind). For instance, we’ve overcome the dread of learning the girls seemed to have (especially DD#1). We’ve established a kind-of-a routine and created a space for school. Both girls have made massive strides in reading and overcome barriers in maths. We’ve learned more about each other and more about having a deep and meaningful relationship with God. And we’ve all learned how to chillax.

So that’s progress, right? And a huge step forward was choosing – and getting – our Konos curriculum from Oikos. This will form the backbone for all our learning in the months and years ahead, and marks a significant turning point in our journey. Besides, when schools close in 3.5 weeks time, we don’t. So maybe we’ve only done 5 weeks’ worth of school, but while everyone else takes 4 or 5 weeks off, we’ll probably only take 1 or 2. And because our other work slows down at this time of year, we’ll be able to make up a lot of ground. Hopefully.

This week, however, has not been a good week for school. In fact, it started last week, when our one and only car burst into flames and burnt to the ground. That’s not a figure of speech. We found ourselves literally stranded and deeply distracted for the remainder of the week. Thank God our prayers were answered by my dear and amazing in-laws, who gave us their spare car – the second time they’ve done this! Still, losing a car so dramatically, 60km from home is never fun. Thank God no one was hurt.

This week started with a flurry of work followed by the most hectic migraine I can remember having – complete with two days semi-conscious in bed and even a spell of throwing up! (Sorry to share). I really don’t think it’s ever been that bad before. Now, of course, I am four days behind in my work, and school has taken a serious knock. I’m feeling seriously frantic about how in the world I will ever catch it up, so if you’re reading this, please keep me in your prayers.

But when we do get back to school, it’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re doing the unit called Orderliness and it involves (among other things) building a family tree and constructing buildings from various materials. As an auxiliary to this unit, we’re reading Miss Happiness and Miss Flower, which ends with a plan for making our own Japanese Dolls’ House. This is something I’ve wanted to do ever since I first read the book when I was about 11 years old, so I am REALLY looking forward to reaching the end.

 

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