The Antlers and Gills “Year in Review” series continues.  I shall pick up where from where I concluded…

April:  Anxiety, helplessness, frustration, exhaustion, worry were all things that shrouded my whole sense of being during April.  Each day was a struggle for me as a mom; Drake continued to get worse as the month progressed.  The Monner had always had eczema, horrible sleep issues, strange poos, was very skinny and dark circles lurked under his blue eyes.  Why was he sick?  Why had we not taken aggressive action sooner?  My best guess, things went overlooked for such a long time because Drake was such a happy kid.  He never made much of a fuss, and even though he was sleep deprived, was a pretty obedient, cheerful dude.  As the month progressed, the rashes became more than eczema, his legs were as red as a fire engine, he wasn’t urinating and suddenly he was having 20+ bowel movements in a day.  By the end of the month, Monner had lost a pound.  When talking about a 15lb 10 month old baby, a pound is a lot.  Doctor visits, specimen samples, bloodwork…nothing gave us answers.  The dawn of each April day brought no new information from the medical community; in fact, we wouldn’t find out what plagued our little man until May. 

Sheesh!  Writing the above paragraph produced a knot in my stomach.  Wow, what a truly scary time in our lives.  With that said, we did manage to still find some sunshine in the bleakness.  Continuing to hike and fish a bit when weather permitted helped to keep us sane.  As a treat to ourselves, and Drake, we bought Monner a new Osprey carrier.  Drake’s bathroom became a spa; he took a lot of oatmeal baths.  Our little tadpole also started swim lessons.  All in all, it was a pretty dandy month when I recall it, while focusing on the fun things.  A little home rearranging took place as well.  Realizing the need for a bigger play space, we moved the office and dedicated the family room to a play zone.  Dustin re-purposed a broken desk into a fly desk.  It’s not beautiful, but it works quite efficiently for Dustin.  

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May:  May arrived with zero answers about what was wrong with my little boy.  He continued to lose weight and have an excessive number of bowel movements.  By this time, I had lost my patience.  I wanted answers.  Dustin and I had suggested food allergies or maybe intolerance as the culprit.  Drake really did show have the classic signs of something amiss in the autoimmune department.  Despite our input, the doctors assured us it was a virus.  A virus?  This did not make a lick of sense to me.  He never had a fever, was not lethargic; he showed no signs of a kid struggling with a virus.  Finally, after serious diligence on my part, we got our answer.  Drake was allergic to the protein found in milk.  Actually, he was very allergic.  He was also tested for celiac via a blood test.  This test came back negative, but Drake did have a reaction on his wheat allergy test.  The doctor instructed us to nix all gluten and dairy from our diet and Drake’s.  Also, Drake’s sleep had been affected due to this as well. Because of his auto immune disorder (for back of a better word) he has a hard time retaining iron.  Iron retention is a key to deep sleep.  It was so nice to finally find an answer.

During this month, Drake also got to experience The Pan for the first time.  I chronicled this in an earlier post, so I won’t repeat a bunch of pictures from that.  He continued to love swim class.  A better companion could not be had during my volunteer time at Lily Lake.  Interacting with visitors and teaching Drake about the flora and fauna around the lake was second to none.  And, of course, we fished.  Drake loved every minute of it. 

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June:  Holy moly: we survived a year of parenting, and more importantly so did Drake! I am not sure which of those is the bigger miracle.  During the month, we saw a noticeable improvement in Drake’s health.  In fact, at his one year appointment, he had his biggest increase in weight ever.  Amazing, it is, the impact food allergies have. 

Both sets of parents and my aunt came out to celebrate Drake’s first birthday.  After some recipe testing, the Monner had a delicious cake and a scoop of ice cream.  No one will tell me my son will live without life’s treats!  “Have a Ball” was the theme; everything revolved around balls, Drake’s favorite thing.   

June held a lot of firsts: first birthday, first piece of cake, first trip to the park, first lawn mow, first camping overnight, first backpacking trip.  June is such a great month for a birthday.  Dustin and I planned that well (HA!).  At the end of the month, I thought to myself: does it get any better than this?!

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Until next time,


Written by Stephanie Mullins

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