Friday, October 29, 2010

3-D Baby!

Sally, one of my college roomates, just sent me this picture from Homecoming. I love this much history! The three of us (Mel, Rachel and Sally) were roomates at the Centre, in apartment 3-D (free deee!). I love you girls. I can't believe we have five baby boys and one little girl from this group of mommas. Ah, the memories! Thank you for still being such incredible friends to me after all of these years.

Baylor Homecoming, October 23

I can't believe it's already been 9 years (for me) and 10 years for Nathan since graduating Baylor University. As I look back, I have such fond memories and amazing really was a golden time in my life. I was most excited about bringing Miss Alex to the festivities this year because she has never been down to Baylor. She has heard quite a bit about it so she was ready to go! She asked me if she was going to meet her prince there just like I did. I told her, "Not today...but maybe someday." Too cute.

My mom was awesome and watched Carson for the day and we headed to Waco as a family of three. As soon as we got to Floyd Casey Stadium, we heard that the game was delayed due to lightning within six miles of the stadium. The sky was dark and the wind was blowing...we were just hoping to stay dry. Ha! Not so much - we got stuck in a 30 minute torrential downpour. A group of us were huddled under a makeshift tent and the rain got so bad we even saw a student run and jump in the dumpster to hide. GOOD TIMES! We were absolutely soaked. Alex was such a trooper - in fact, she was throwing her head back trying to collect rain drops. That's my girl! The rain finally subsided and we were able to make it back in for an awesome, awesome football game. Alex kept shouting, "Let's watch some football!" She is sooo cute!

At halftime, Rachel and I went to the locker room to stretch and get ready to cheer. Every homecoming, the spirit squad alum are invited to come and cheer for a quarter of the game. We had a good group of people this year. It is such a blast to reconnect with everyone and catch up...and most of all, stunt! Having my best friend on the field made it a perfect day. Rach, I had the best time with you! I am always surprised we are still able to fly, especially after cranking out two kids. Just sayin'. We certainly weren't perfect and I definitely biffed several times (um, you know who you are-- hehe), but it was absolutely worth it! Ronnie (one of the alumni cheer guys) came up to me said I had a "joker grin" I was so happy. He was right - there is just nothing like it. Stunting keeps me young. I sat on a happy cloud for the rest of the day and for several days following. Stunting will always hold a special place in my heart - and the people are what make it so addicting. Say what you want, but I adore it and always will! I ended up with a broken rib as a souvenir...but there is always a hangover for a good party, and this one was certainly worth it.

I look back and see miles of memories....very special ones that I will always cherish. And I look at where we are now, ten years later with two beautiful children and thank God. We are abundantly, ridiculously blessed.

Here are a few pics from our weekend:

Stunt practice in Dallas to get ready for the game - Mel and Jason Smith

Mel and Jason Maggard

Mel with Mike Martinez (the man that taught me how to stunt...many moons ago)
Mel and Jason
Alex & Kaitlyn - our future cheer squad
The entire alumni crew
My girl doing an awesome - ahh! This is a memory I'll never forget. Look at my expression in the background :)
Paper Dolls
Can you pick the two cheerleaders that don't have kids? Ah yes, the two that can still grab their foot! LOL!

Baylor football rose to the challenge, making Homecoming a Baylor Bowlcoming with a 47-42 win over Kansas State. With the victory, the Bears improve to 6-2 on the year, reaching bowl eligibility for the first time since 1995! I think we were good luck, don't you? Way to go, Bears!

Monday, October 25, 2010

We found our man!

I'll be honest..I was not in the mood to see another doctor today. I usually wake up energized and hopeful that "today will be the day we get our answer" for Carson's gut issues. I usually feel anxious and excited to meet and share all of our latest discoveries, but frankly I just wanted to be Mommy today. Carson and I had a fantastic morning. We started our day at the park and he was connecting with me so well. He learned to say "again" and I felt like everything in that moment was right. Why would I want to get a sitter to leave my kids and go "wah wah wah wah" to yet another doctor about our issues that no one seems to have the answers for. "FINE! I'll go, but I don't have to like it."-- I was actually in a great mood today, I just wasn't sure that this doctor would be "it" for us.

When I met Dr. Cavasos, he greeted me warmly and was impressed with my "large medical binder" full of lab results, records and notes I've taken along the way. I said, "Well, that's the good news. The bad news is that I didn't have the energy to fill out the eighth patient intake profile (it was 30 pages), so the binder and my loud mouth will just have to suffice." Needless to say, I appreciated that he was cool with just letting me share our story from day one.

I'll try to spare you from the nitty gritty details but the bottom line is that he agrees that all of Carson's symptoms are due to his GI issues. He believes that Carson was born with "leaky gut" aka "secretory vesicle swelling." His issues started at birth but several doctors have suggested this was an environmental trigger, so I was pleased with his explanation.

There is way too much to summary:
We are going to have IgG testing conducted to determine which foods are triggering an immune reaction (we have already done IgA and IgE testing and he strongly believes Carson's issues are IgG related and I do as well.) This test will show us how his body reacts to 96 foods. We have done extensive food allergy testing in the past and we know that his immune system is reacting. This is not a true IgE food allergy. I am excited to find out what the test reveals. As most of you know he is only able to eat five foods. It would be thrilling to expand his culinary resume a bit.

He went through the entire comprehensive nutritional evaluation with me and was able to explain every single detail! The other doctors have basically just said, "These are horrible test results and you need to find an expert." So, to have a person sit with me one-on-one for two hours and go through all 52 pages is my hero! I learned so much today. One of the issues I am concerned with is the outrageously high level of ammonia is his bloodstream. Dr. Cavasos explained that Carson is unable to break down protein, causing huge levels of dihydroxyphenylpropionic acid (that was fun to type), ammonia, etc. to invade his blood stream and on top of it, his body is unable to detoxify properly. It is nearly impossible for his stomach to function in these conditions. He said in just about every way imaginable his GI system is shut down. After he handed me a tissue, he asked me to look at his computer screen. He pulled up an identical test of a previous patient. "JJ" has levels that looked just like Carson! I was shocked to see that he had the exact same test available...and that he had treated a patient like my son. He told me that when "JJ" was four years old, he was an Autistic child that was unable to speak and was a "gut kiddo" just like Carson. Then he pulled up a screen shot taken 11 months later...THE LEVELS WERE NORMAL! I saw it with my own eyes. He just looked at me and said, "We can fix this. It is not going to be easy and it will not happen overnight, but we will correct your son's gut dysfunction."

Finally, he addressed the supplements. He agreed that the supplements we were giving him are necessary for Carson because he is hugely deficient in so many areas, but he explained that we are basically throwing the supplements in the trash and irritating a wound by giving them to him with his gut in this state. He said that once we are able to establish balance and proper digestion his body will be able to absorb these supplements as needed. That made perfect sense to me! I loved knowing that taking him off the supplements (for now) is indeed the right decision. We have seen such tremendous progress, I can hardly imagine what he will be like after we get his gut healed up. I believe the lingering Autistic behaviors will disappear with time. I do think we will have to remain on a gluten free diet and make permanent dietary changes, but I can live with that.

Long story long, he gave me a treatment plan to address the acids and toxins in the blood and we will wait and get the IgG tests back to see where we need to make adjustments in his diet. We will see Dr. C again in four weeks. I absolutely know we found our man! I sent an email to a group of prayer warriors today even admitting my hesitations, but also said that I wouldn't limit God and I would give this guy a chance." I am very thankful for this day. I'll keep you posted...

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."- Matthew 17:20

And all God's people said, "AMEN!"

Darby Family Photoshoot, 2010

My dear friend and maid of honor, Rachel, came to take photos of our family, October 15 -16. I am ridiculously blessed to have her in my life for a myriad of reasons. A bonus perk is that she happens to own a professional photography studio and has an incredible eye for capturing the right moments...not just the canned, cheesy poses on film. The first grouping of photos were taken at an abandoned railroad in Plano. The next round of pictures were taken at the Dallas Arboretum. I have to say, I am thoroughly pleased with all of them. I had to cut out a ton to show the world...but every single photo was special to me. Prepare yourself for massive photo overload! (Click to enlarge).

The money shot!


I am so in love!

My world!

I can't handle how much I love these pictures. I will cherish them forever. What a perfect moment in time. Thank you, Rachel!