It’s been a while guys. I don’t think I’ve done a dedicated Ashley update post since January, 2015. (Read all my posts on sweet Ashley HERE.) Of course, I’ve frequently talked about her progress in the chit-chat of recipe posts, but it’s not the same thing as a dedicated post. And as I was working on your cookie kits today, I said to Andy, “I feel inspired to do an update on Ashley.” So Andy offered to pick Zoe and Ashley up from their schools so I could sit down and write. It feels good to be writing again 🙂
Where do I even begin??!! Well lets get the “medical” stuff out of the way first, so we can move on to the fun stuff. I’ve always been extremely open with you: about everything from the ways I make money (advertising, sponsors, affiliate programs, mixes, cookie kits, books) with my passion (healthy food, which has healed my family so much), to all of Ashley’s treatments, and especially the never ending poop talk. hahaha
So I guess the biggest treatment I ever did to try to end Ashley’s chronic constipation was 40 days of HBOT. It was almost 2 years ago, in the summer of 2015. You can see us on our fist day in the chamber HERE 🙂 I was told that brain injury (like Ashley’s) is not one of the conditions which health insurance in the US will cover with HBOT, which meant that instead of driving to the hospital down the street for HBOT, I had to find a private clinic. This is expensive, but worst of all it was far. Ashley and I were commuting to Irvine every day, and if you live here you know how the 91 freeway can be… traffic. Most days we spent nearly 3 hours in the car. But we were fortunate really, because at least it was doable. At least we had somewhere in driving distance that would take us.
Now before you tell me all the things that I could have done to treat the chronic constipation, please know that I did. I promise you. I did everything. I saw medical doctors and alternative practitioners. I tried extremely high doses of magnesium and vitamin C (like enough to keep an adult in the bathroom for days), flax meal (I’m talking 1/4 cup a day!), prunes (a bag a day), prune juice (a bottle a day), pear juice, and pineapple juice. I tried senna tea (like Smooth Move), psyllium (the ingredient in Metamucil), special herbal supplements (3 different kinds), of course a TON of water, lots of salad, lots cooked spinach. (Luckily Ashley is super about eating all of this stuff.) We checked and rechecked for candida, which can cause constipation. Really, I’m leaving things out here, but you get the picture.
I should clarify that there were periods when Ashley wasn’t constipated. The longest of these times was when the “Coffee Milkshake” was working. Other remedies only lasted for a couple weeks at most. I tried rotating them, but it was like once a remedy had run it’s course, it rarely worked again. Her colon was just TOO stretched out.
So when I heard from other moms of special needs kiddos that HBOT had treated their kids’ constipation, I had to try. You know how you would do anything to help your child.
Unfortunately, HBOT did not do anything for Ashley’s constipation. After all the driving and “diving” in the chamber with Ashley every day, and the expense of it all, I literally walked in there the last day and burst into tears. The poor guy who worked there, he was so nice about it. Because I didn’t know what else there was to try. Our functional medicine doctor said that he had never seen a child or even an adult who could take as much as Ashley was taking and still not poop, and that Miralax was our LAST resort. He told us to keep increasing the doses until she went. I think it took 6 or more doses a day at first. But gradually it took less as time went on.
I wish I could say that Ashley never gets constipated anymore, but she still does about once a month, which is a HUGE improvement.
Phew! So now you know 🙂
You probably remember that Ashley has been doing therapeutic horse riding for many years now (I want to say 5 years). Well, her first instructor in Cali left about a year ago, and I CRIED. Like a baby. But they found a new instructor, and we are so grateful, because we love her. Ashley is getting better at steering and two point, and even thinking about posting 😉 Andy and I have been able to attend two GAIT fund-raisers, and it’s been so moving to see people donating to such a good cause.
Last fall, after 12 years of homeschooling Ashley wanted to go to school. She had seen Zoe going 2 days a week to a homeschool charter school, and she wanted to go to school too. One day at horse riding I ran into a homeschooling mama who used to be a special ed teacher. She knows Ashley and all of my kids from homeschool meetups. I asked her if she recommended a charter school like Zoe’s or a regular public school special needs classroom, because I really value her opinion. She said she thought that for Ashley’s level of abilities that the latter would be better.
I toured 3 public school special needs classrooms in our area. I had ONE objective: to find the warmest, happiest, most loving teacher and aids I could find.
One of the schools was so-so. One of them made me want to go home and cry.
The last school on the tour met my criteria. I saw a light in the eyes of the staff in that classroom. And that was it. Well, not really: then *Ashley* had to meet *their* criteria, which she did, many meetings and evaluations later.
I can’t even tell you how much Ashley has loved every day in this classroom since September. The morning before Christmas break I told the teacher and aids how much I loved and appreciated them, and I don’t think I made it through my first sentence before I started crying. And you know what? They started crying to. *That’s* the kind of people they are.
I feel like I have struck gold, and I only wish Ashley could stay with them through high school. But it’s just middle school, and she has one more year with them after this. I’m just trying not to think about it. It’s kind of my philosophy for life: don’t think about the scary stuff (the future). Are you with me? I mean I do everything I can to prepare, everything I can do *today* to give my kids the best future possible. But there’s no sense in worrying or trying to see too far ahead, because it doesn’t do anybody any good. Instead I focus on this day. This day is a GIFT. I have one day at a time to do my best, to tell my kids that I love them, to appreciate being alive.
And with that I think you’re all caught up 🙂
Lots of love to you and yours!