Summer Ascending and the Medical Mayhem Quickie (yeah right) update

May we Wright ourselves right into June?

 We may at that. Summer is clamoring at the door, with the giant Ski to Sea kick off coming up this weekend.

Andrew will not be cycling this year, but he's still captaining a team and providing full mascotry for Team Dadbod yet again.

After that, well, it's June. Bring it on! Trips. Preschool reshuffling (up to 3 days a week and starting at 8 a.m. ack!) Family visits. Birthday parties.

In the meantime, Chaya's best friend (I think - honestly now that she's at preschool, her social life is far more her own business and less mine, but they are always so happy to see each other) Sebastian is off to Mexico for the summer.

 They plan to eventually move there, but this is "just" a four month visit this time. Claudia is probably doing it wrong by leaving during the warmest part of the year and returning once it gets nice and wet and cold. But she has citizenship hoops to jump through in fall.

This isn't the only original baby play date Exodus: her buddy Alex (and as importantly our family friends Jen and Joe... and their daughter Olivia too) will be moving to Virginia Beach in summer. It's a good thing for them: Joe is getting a job with tenure.** You can't really find fault with that. But it's definitely the end of an era.

** edit, everything I said about Joe and Jen's future contains middling accuracy, but rest assured they are moving somewhere better for a better job.

2nd year birthday bashes!

I guess you could say we had a final hoorah picnic in the Park with all the kids the other day, but we can at least hope it isn't the final-final. There will be trips and visits somehow. We'll coordinate. We shall.

. In other news, Chaya doesn't seem particularly aware of gender in many regards. She swaps gender pronouns regularly and occasionally announces Daddy or Mommy have anatomical features of the opposite biological sex. But she has reently discovered dresses. She's had dresses before, but never been particularly interested in them. Recently, she demands DRESS every other day or so. She now has plenty, and of course is persnickety and particular about which ones she wants in a given day. Today she demanded her tiger dress instead of pajamas. She's also discovered pigtails. My doing. My hair is an annoying in between length so I've been pulling it out of my face with pigtails. Chaya was fascinated and then wanted her own. She holds them like little horns and insists on wearing them to bed.

So, we might not get away with pixie-cuts for much longer. Which is unfortunate because it's still impossible to groom the little dervish and she still likes rubbing food and snot in her hair. We'll figure it out. Messy pretty monster chic?


It's been a while since we checked in on the Adella-"health" updates.I'm still not dead yet, but I'm awfully crumbly.

The reflux abides. It got a little better when I changed to a lower dose birth control from straight out HRT, but worse again after I got one of my daughter's baby plagues. Per my ENT's order, I also had a "barium swallow" test (very fun and the first fizzy drink that I've been able to have in a while... yeah it tasted like chalk, but the burping feeling was amazing). They're a full on medical kiddie-ride: you drink something thick and fizzy, and then get X-rayed as the liquid (and your tilt table) goes down. Amusing, but it didn't find any mechanical issues.

So, after a fairly meaningless follow up with the ENT, I then waited a month for a GI consult. The GI refreshingly supported my hesitancy to take PPIs (e.g. prilosec, nexium, etc). PPIs drastically reduce stomach acid, which is good in terms of lowering the acidity of stomach contents getting all over your upper airway. That's less good insofar as in doing so may interfere with mineral and vitamin absorption. They aren't super appealing for people who, like me, have low bone density to begin with. Anyways, my GI told me to continue my restricted low-aid diet (I miss you, Mexican food and Indian food), to take zantac, and that we'd do an endoscopy to see what's going on.

Unfortunately my insurance company is less supportive. In order for them to pay for an endoscopy, I need to have taken PPIs for at least 3 months. Meaning, I have to start taking something immediately and call again in three months, then wait another month or two (from what I understand of the scheduling calendar). And that's for a test that may or may not reveal much. I'm told the really definitive test is another one that you only qualify for after the endoscopy. But oh well. Break out the prilosec or whatever and more vitamin supplements for my pill container!

Meanwhile, my back two left molars have been turned into mush over the last 6 months. My dentist was quite concerned but felt reassured that I was getting medical help for the reflux. So more dental work of course and a prescription toothpaste! Disconcerting, but a time to be glad I have good dental and health insurance I suppose.

I did get orthotics finally, which will take 2-6 weeks to adjust to. Hoping those will help get me back to walking without pain and revolt.

I've also been seeing a massage therapist once a week and that is amazing. She is a very intense person with a dedication to figuring out WTF is going on with me. And she's one of very few health practitioners who an really look at my whole body. She's working on my arms, pectorals, back and... well I'm icing a lot. The sheer volume weird areas that are nothing but nasty knots is impressive.

Meanwhile, my orthopedist saw a bad looking disc and an atypical level of arthritis in my spine. He didn't explain much and instead wanted to send me for a steroid injection. I decided I wanted to slow it down and find out more first, since my whole body seems to be feeling effects (wrists, spasms in my legs, occasional lost sensation). I'm going to quiz him more thoroughly at an upcoming appointment.

Because why not, I also consulted with a chiropractor who turned out to be out of network on my insurance coverage. Whoops. She recommended three weekly adjustments for the conceivable future to address an ill-aligned lumbar vertebrae (pesky number 5 is VERY off). It was not highly inspiring that their lending library was almost entirely full of books about the evils of vaccines; nor was I thrilled to see they had some kind of note about how since they followed all these alternative wellness practices, they had great immune systems, so come on in to their clinic even if you're sick. More off-putting was the potential cost of an out of network series of adjustments. I"m not averse to finding a chiropractor in my network if that's safe, but I cannot pay out of pocket for that. We've already eaten up our HSA savings this year.

I am guessing my next steps are finding out more from the ortho about whom to consult for my legs and wrists/arms. If I can get a greater sense of all the moving (still moving if not so happily) parts, I think I could have a more fruitful PT relationship. Part of the problem with PT before was that I was inevitably stymied from doing at least several of the exercises by other injuries or the reflux.

Lord know. And maybe a different orthopedic specialist or sports medicine/rehab professional will add something to the mix. Or maybe the neurologist will have input. Who knows!

As doth the acid reflux, so doth I abide. With a little bit of highly capitalizable guilt-self-resentment or something about my current invisible illnessish existence. I feel so bad that I can't do all the crazy fun things Chaya keeps demanding I do that i even feel bad about not being able to do things I wouldn't have even done anyways.

I won't call my husband the kind of theory of mind psychological manipulation, but he's inadvertently (or not? Who can say with a savant?) nailed it a few times.

Like with his upcoming  fantasy trek to Japan to hike all around some amazing trails with his mom and her companions. He could have said "hey, darling, I'd like to leave you and our darling daughter for about 10 days while I use up the majority of my remaining vacation days, and 99% of my planning and attention bandwidth go off on a hiking trip in Japan." He could have.

But instead he said "There's this trip in Japan my mom's been planning. Would you be interested in going?" Knowing that  he's even said with no prompting from me that hiking with Chaya would be insane. Knowing that he's unpromptedly concluded that ten plus hour flights are really not doable with our three year old. Knowing at least theoretically that nobody is able to watch our toddler for 10+ days in a row even if we hadn't already agreed that the five night trip we took last year was "a little much for her." Knowing - I assume - that I have been having issues with my legs spasming and going numb after walking much. Knowing I have been dealing with reflux that makes it super hard to feed myself even at home. Knowing I have really bad back pain that gets worse with sitting (like on several hour flights).

And thus put me and or allowed me to put myself in a position where I bent all over myself explaining how this wasn't the right time, that I hoped we could xyz in a few years, and how I'd really like to do a smaller trip with just us...

Until I was just relieved that he said "I figured. Well, I'd like to go."

All leaving me still vaguely guilty that he will not see his daughter for two weeks AND is nearly out of vacation time to the point that he doesn't have any extra to spare on that other-summer trip to Tahoe with his mom or the Chicago trip to his cousin's wedding where we'll be travelling on my birthday. All because I'm lame. Somehow.


No I don't have time to see a shrink on top of all my other dental and medical appointments, why do you ask??

At any rate, we're all in as many pieces as is practical and buckling our seatbelts for our second Mount Vernon Summer. Start your engines (and plug in that darned air conditioner hose already!!!)

Sunbaskets and Sumac in the Surgery Ward

This is a story about Sunbaskets*. Sort of. It's minimally a story about surgery and broken collarbones and craziness in the kitchen. And ultimately it's a story about toddler and her keepers (keepees?? will she really keep us around much longer? Hard to say!)
* Sunbasket is one of those services for people who want the experience of cooking but who are short on time or inspiration. Once a week the sunbasketeer receives a huge box full of recyclable (sorta) packaging and cute packets or bunches of wholefood organickey ingredients that are perfectly portioned to the recipes allotted to each basket. Basketeers make the food, recycle all the packaging, feel good about themselves, and rinse and repeat.
This seems to be how a typical Sunbasket with a Toddler Evening looks:

Brief preface: this was after coming back from the hospital fairly late in the day following Daddy's big surgery. Daddy and Gramma Lisa were off to Haggen's to fill a prescription. I thought we'd better get some food on the table pronto and that they would enjoy having something waiting for them when they returned. Start the clock!! Vroom vroom. 

Chaya yells APPLE as I slice into a mango (diligently attempting to "halve" and then cut 1/2 inch strips before forgetting their specific instructions and going with my tried and true slash and dash cutting techniques). I tell Chaya I don't have an apple. This is a mango. She begins reaching into the cutting board and demanding some, but throws it on the floor when she discovers it is neither (1) actually an apple, nor (2) the delicious dried (and heavily sweetened) mango she used to love before mommy stopped buying them. 
A minute passes. Chaya yells "CHAYA" and gestures haughtily at the scallions I am now cutting. I used to let her chew on them while teething, so figure why not. She eats a little. I scoop up the remaining mango and scallion from the floor.
Looking at the clock, I realize that there's little chance of getting a pot of water boiling and then cooking rice before dinner, so I decide to ad lib a bit and use the rice cooker for the little bag of Sunbasket rice. 
Chaya discovers a pack of gum. She gleefully follows me around the kitchen sticking each stick individually into my pocket as I ping pong between the rice cooker and the ten places I swear I saw the measuring cup recently. No water is spilled on the head of toddlers, but I avoid tripping over said-toddler only by the grace of god. 
 Booms the tiny tyrant: "Momma hold my hand!!!" I ask her to wait, as I'm carrying a bowl of lime juice and honey, and desperately looking for the alleppo peppers that supposedly came with this mix.
Chaya drags a chair from the dining room table towards the kitchen. It snags on the linoleum and she begins to howl bitter recriminations while the chair threatens to tip on top of her. I gently guide the chair back into the war zone, and she continues pushing it towards the stove.  Interception while flailing around a cod (that is salted and oiled but not covered in miso maple syrup whatever, since that too has mysteriously disappeared)
Chaya demands "EGG! Open the fridge! Egg!" I give her a hardboiled egg. She runs through the living room brandishing said egg. She returns seconds later with the top broken off and presents it to me. While I'm attempting to flip a fish, she demands I open the rest of the egg. I peel the egg. She yells WHITE EGG victoriously, and then bites off the top. YOLK OUT! She lays both egg white and yolk on the range and turns around towards the fridge, gesturing passionately. She yells EGG! I explain that she does not get another egg until she's eaten the first one. She refuses to allow me to throw it out, but doesn't eat it either. Instead she repeats EGG in a variety of different whines and imperatives. 
I run to the living room and sweep up the egg mush created earlier. On my way back to the kitchen, I attempt to clear space at the table to fill with plates and silverware. 
Chaya pushes the chair to the fridge and starts mashing buttons until the water starts spraying out of the dispenser. Fortunately,  I have anticipated the moment, and always cups underneath the dispenser nozzle. As I move sizzling fish off the stove, Chaya extricates the cup of water and waves it over her head. I intervene with a gasp and place the cup on the counter. I do not actually knock it over the next minute, but it's close. 
The rice cooker goes off. I ignore it. Chaya yells BEEP. I guiltily ignore her too as I flounder about with cod, salad, and the "ok seriously what is Chaya gonna eat (she hates most fish and there really isn't enough rice for her and everyone else given the allotment), how about some yakitori rice from the freezer leftover section... sure, she'll throw it around and then demand CHEESE probably but hey something in the bowl" Chaya leaps up to the chair and insists on being the one - the ONLY one - to close the microwave. I finally manage to get her food in the microwave. As I'm leaning over to clean a fishy mess, Chaya bangs the microwave into my head. I mutter an impressive stream of euphemistic imprecations and say something like "Chaya, hon'... mommy hurt her head." Understatement!
Chaya grows bored and grabs my hand, attempting to take me to the living room. I apologize for the tenth time and explain I need to mix the salad.
Chaya yells CHAYA EAT!
I give her some salad. She spits it out. I give her some mango. She says "not a fan." EGG she howls. I offer her the prior egg. She howls some more. She says something about crackers. Or rice. Now it's rice. 
The rice! Oh crap. I release the steam and check on the rice, which has been on "keep warm" for the last 10 minutes. It's kind of a gooey gelatinous mess, but technically still rice. I stop the rice cooker and ladle the rice onto plates. It's past toddler dinner time and I haven't heard from Andrew or his mom recently. They're at Haggen's waiting for prescription drugs and/or buying cookie ingredients and/or planning to go out to dinner and catch us later. Whichever. Hangry toddler must eat. I am not quite sure what to do with the fish or rice. The rice is a lost enough cause, so I let it get cold. The fish I keep fairly insulated in a pyrex container under wrap. I throw several armfuls of dishes into the sink, since they are a little too gooey or burnt for the dishwasher straight out. 
I start to lay out my food  and toddler yells FISH. I assume she wants a fishstick since she usually hates fish other than fishtsticks. She howls as I go towards the bag of fishstick and yells FISH... so I give her my cod. She eats it - to my surprise - and demands more, yelling FISH SWISH SWISH SWISH!. 
I pick off all the cod from my salad and put it on a plate, which I put at the table. Chaya descends upon it like a vulture coming upon her first carrion of the month. 
Taking my opportunity, I throw together some more food on my plate, store the cod as best I can and sort of sit down to eat. And as we muddle through our plain cod and sticky rice mush, I think perhaps Sunbasket is not exactly for us at this time.*

*Of course to redeem your free gift, you have to sign up for a subscription. AND you have to cancel the next week's order before you've even received your first box. I naturally forgot to cancel before the next week's automatic renewal. Holy moley! Ok the food was good (I think - 2/3 of the ingredients were things that set off reflux for me... the cod was good and the garlic and onions on everything else smelled divine), but $80 for three meals (for nominally two people, except for said dietary limits and Andrew's appetite means mostly for one)? Dude I don't spend that much when I eat out!  
Benightedly, I may try a few of the other competing meal services, since they are all flocking into my Facebook feed with discounted offers now. I usually cook in advance during naptimes and just set the timer or reheat in a microwave before dinnertime, but perhaps we'll gradually improve on our adventures in cookery. Perhaps.
Stay updated on that one.
In other culinary toddler news, Chaya has taken to sprinkling sumac (a spice I use to substitute in for lemon and citrusey notes) on her eggs in the morning. I had left some in a salt shaker for my own use and she's become obsessed with it. I have to say (1) way healthier than that much salt, which would be the alternative considering her obsession with the shaker stemmed from watching Andrew salt his eggs (more tenderly than she might) in the mornings, (2) surprisingly delicious on eggs.
In exchange, she's basically given up on all other manifestations of fiber, vegetables etc. Her drothers would be to eat white flour crackers, cheese, egg whites, chocolate and cookies from now on... unfortunately she's inherited the digestive systems of my side of the family. Andrew's family seems to have pretty fast guts, if you will. They can definitely get away with (and probably do better with) more refined grains, higher animal proteins, sugars and butters and other things that would leave me clamoring for a bottle of Miralax. My family thrives on obscene amounts of plant based fiber, which Andrew may sometimes suffer the brunt of when I get a little too "this is how I like to eat." Anyways, it means we do our best to sneak fiber somehow into her preferences (at least she likes okra at the moment, to continue her strange toddlerness) and miralax into her "pink water" (toddler vitamin water because no she seriously will just intentionally dehydrate herself into a state of massive discomfort if you dare to offer her plain water).
And now for the medical update/how-did-we-get-here

Last Thursday, Andrew got himself some collarbone surgery! He's back in a sling for a while and has found a cycling replacement for the Ski to Sea, which is a truly bittersweet thing to say. It was a weird experience. His mom came up to hang out with him so I could watch Chaya. I didn't really think much of the out-patient surgery in theory. Very safe, ultimately. But I was anxious and distracted all day until he texted me that he was in recovery and "feeling drunk." He's recovering well, but glad for the painkillers they prescribed him.

So it's been a wild and whacky few days in our household. Chaya's parents maybe are not helping Chaya "touch the sky" as often as she'd like. Though mommy can kind of get her onto her shoulders without totally destroying her wrists and tendons (I'm sojourning my medical mysteries through the musculo-skeletal system these days with a menu of things that don't work gud at the moment!).

And Chaya's nursing daddy back to health, because she's considerate like that.

But we have food. We have family. And we have a ton of weird insulating packages that are technically recyclable if you can (1) process them in a few complicated ways, (2) fit them into your overstuffed recycling bin!
Bring on the Sun Baskets... because we've already paid for them anyways.
Note to parents; use tv. Maybe in a few years they can help int he cute ways Sunbasket suggests, but until then... tv...

April Showers on your Wedding/Moving/Surgery Day

April! Andrew and I recently celebrated a handful of anniversaries. Our first year in the new house and town.. Five years married. Six years since that fateful April Fool's engagement. Five years of Andrew's engineering employment with old EI-EI-OOOOOOOOH-Nelly!

It rained on our wedding day. And oh - vernal varieties of pluvial pulchritude - it's raining a lot these days too. Guessing there's some kind of heavy handed moral mummery about how new life must spring from the dreariest dampness in there.

But let's start with the flowers. Because they're flowering in all their allergenic glory. Even Chaya's apple tree has survived that hot and dry summer and cold winter. It's looking quite verdant already.

Our little flower herself continues to spew brilliance (only 50% snot and phlegm-based). The youngest Wright is clearly no longer a piddling two and a half.

 No no, she may not be three yet, but I am not quite there for reporting age in six month increments. She's got such a depth of complex syntatical structures, wicked ideas, numeric understandings, emotional nuance, and coordination that blows away her February self. As predicted, her time in preschool has attended a major mental, social and physical spurt. Kid is most definitely coming up on the exciting TWO AND THREE QUARTERS. But right now, more like "2.7" We leave to you to decide if that's base 12 or base 10 (Andrew joke).

We're still on a schedule of twice weekly preschool with a little music class mixed in there. This summer, we'll escalate to thrice. Because, well, she likes it a lot. Itty bitty Art School suits her.

We're going through an appropriately artistic phase with an obsession over markers, coloring, and drawing. She's made quick magnificence of her first coloring book. And mommy and daddy have both been drawn into (har har) the chromatic Fauvism. Our meals now involve several pads of paper and the three of us all scribbling away in our own separate spheres.

Can I just say that washable markers may be the best invention ever imagined? Chaya also rather enjoys markering the table, demanding I spray water on the drawing, and then wiping it up with a wipe. This alone is an art project. And the marker actually completely comes off. Yes, daddy and mommy have also started coloring straight on our brilliantly cleanable Ikea table. Not so much on our faces in the same exuberant way that Chaya likes to. Maybe in time.

The elder Wrights continue to crumble but in a loving way.

After a seven month stall in healing, Andrew has finally been cleared for plating. This means he'll be a little more Wolverine and a little less lamed (fingers crossed). Basically things are just not knitting together right in his collarbone, so they're going to put a little mechanical wizardry in there to start the healing process all over, but much faster. He'll be going in sometime on May 3rd (exact time to be determined in cable serviceman style with a last minute informative phone call just to muck up childcare and the like). Then probably some time in a sling and maybe another month or two of healing. He gets to keep using his tantilizingly-named "bone stimulator" in the meantime and take the wretchedly-redolent Vitamin D drops in the interim.

Not to be outdone, I've got my usual rotating health oddities. My hands are currently de-chillblained and largely look like hands again. My reflux issues come and go but are currently a little mellower on a very observant diet. I had the ever exciting "barium swallow" test, in which I swallowed radioactive soda and got pictures of my insides taken. They were beautiful, but revealed no abnormalities. So that's goodish news. And I've currently received a prescription for a lower dose birth control pill after a "fun" tour through actual hormone replacement, which left me with the full scale progesterone miseries.

So I go back to some prior issues: back, arch, and neuropathy. I have no idea where one thing begins and another end but it adds up to "not super able to move/sleep/exist without some kind of serious stiffness and discomfort." I used to think numbness/tingling in my hands and feet was just part of the Raynaud's, but I guess not exactly. I've always have hands and feet that are prone to falling asleep faster and occasionally get said neuropathy. There's also tingling that seems to come from my lower back and down my leg. There's tingling that seems to come from my injured arch and the tarsal/tibial area around it. And there's an increasing bit of weakness and muscle spasm in a very tight leg that doesn't thrill me. I've got knots in my calves instead of muscle these days and it hurts much worse after walking. And I get some seriously reduced sensation in my right leg and foot right now.

The tingles touch my fingers, with some reduced sensation sometimes and some weakness that may just be texter's thumb.  I've been waiting much of the year for a neurology appointment that will not come until July. In the meantime, I am limping along conjuring up slivers of body for other specialists to look at. A podiatrist is arranging for custom orthotics to help the pronation and arch issues. It's quite possible that the old running injury is turning into tarsal tunnel syndrome. It's also possible that whatever compressed disc in my lumbar region is causing sciatica, so I'm seeing an orthopedist and have had an MRI done. My doctor finally sent a referral for a electrodiagnostic test through the orthopedics in the interim. Lord for all I know the twitching ain't fasticulations as much as the first stages of ALS. Wheee. Who knows. Or maybe it's all in my head and i'm taking psychosomatic to special new levels. But enough about my medical mystery mayhem... for now.  I'm out of shape, but still alive so far and awaiting new and exciting testing to hopefully tell me if there's a progression I'm due for or maybe even some kind of treatment. In the meantime, I'm happy for whatever energy I have.

It's cute that whenever I say Chaya goes to preschool she says "mamma go to doctor." But you know, I like to sometimes mix it up. Sometimes Mamma go to church. Or I try. I attempted going to the 8 a.m. "service" at the church I attended on Easter. This because it fit  better with our current schedule. But turns out that it kind of lacks anything I'd connect with church other than being in a church. That is, it was five women who read the Book of Common Prayer together for a half hour. No music. No sermon. No standing or sitting even. So back to the drawing board/Ikea table. We've talked about maybe I go to the actual church service and let Andrew know if their coffee hour is sufficiently full of "little treats" to justify dropping in to say hello to coffee hour.

And while I have that old present of the present, I'm trying to learn to be present in those present moments.

I always go back and forth with my internet addictions. I think there's a fair deal of histrionics over our usage of electronics, but I have noticed that I am much terser with Chaya when using my smartphone. I know there's research supporting that parents tend to have harsher interactions with children when their using their phones. I always question cause and effect, but I do think that a pattern I notice is that Chaya will momentarily be off doing her own thing. I'll then let my thumbs wander to the lockscreen of the ol' pixel. And of course just when I'm in the middle of a long diatribe against somebody else's strange political developmental theological dietary theory... MAMMA! And if I close the phone I'll lose everything. If I keep writing Chaya will get more and more rabid. And it gets high pressure. It gets intense. Crazy 2.75 year olds are prone to doing risky things when unattended. And that's just arguing. What if I've actually wandered into a conversation with somebody I liked?

So I'm trying a little bit more just to take minimal steps to limit my wandering texters.

It's actually quite amazing how easily the temptation can be mitigated just by obstructing habit. I turned off all my notifications, as well as turning the sound off on my phone. So if i look at the phone face, there's nothing there. Blank and boring. There's a lockscreen and an empty home page. I've also started carrying the phone in my bag instead of my pocket. And I've started leaving it on the charger in the kitchen when we're home.

To make this more doable, I've been carrying at least one pen everywhere because I'm one of those people who needs to take notes constantly. But that seems to work pretty well. The issue of the camera is still tough, since I need to constantly photograph my child's every moment. Sometimes I wish I still had a standalone camera, but at least when the notifications are off, I don't get horribly distracted.

I'm still constantly hovering over the computer, but at least it's usually locked with a screensaver that Chaya likes (pictures of herself).

And so we stumble on with our slings, our surgeries and our rainy days. Fortunately little Miss Thing has a rain suit and boots. And the rest of us will just spray ourselves down with mildew killer and wait for the sunshine (and all those fun allergens!) with a fist full of tylenol and claritin!

Paschal Pesach Party Weekend.

Happy Easter/Passover/April Fool's Day/Wright Engagaversary!

Big day to fill some big horsie rainboots over here.

What a weekend. It's been a mix of fast action and something a little different. In many ways, the time I spent with infant Chaya, and when I was pregnant, I felt intimately connected with the divine and selfless. It's only now that we emerge as separate individuals that I turn back to my own connection to _____ (insert something that doesn't sound prosaic and banal in attempting to capture something spiritual. Oh boy are we separate entitiies, as Miss Healthy-Attachment's new favorite game of "No MOMMA!!!" explodes into inconvenient timing galore.

For Lent, I decided to mix in a little mindfulness with my phone use (as usual). I also began engaging in something akin to contemplative prayer. I read a small passage from the Episcopal Services reader, then sat for about ten minutes listening to Palestrina's Sicut Cervus and a few others. I know silence it more apropos, but the music has always had a certain way of guiding me into and beyond myself. It's been sometimes challenging even to slice out that time, but valuable. And it's continued a path home that perhaps I'd begun some time ago. This simmered well into the culmination of Lent and all the depth of thought and passion involved.

This weekend was certainly a melee of colliding (and complementing) holidays colliding. As seems to be the case for several years before and to come Easter and Passover coincide. I love this in some aspects. It is also exhausting!

 In what I hope to be the beginning of a long tradition, Chaya's Gramma Lisa and Tom came out for the weekend to celebrate Passover. And so forget Chrismahaunnakwanza. This was our Peachy Pascal Pesach Party Weekend.

The Pesach was rather appropriate for a holiday celebrating leaving in flight. If we don't have time to leaven the bread, then are we really going to actually come up with candles and matches and anything anyone needs at all?? There were some missed communications, I swear, I started with the best organization. I really did start making an inventory of our kitchen to supplement appropriately, but well wires crossed. Not thinking the kitchen was going to be used, and then everyone thinking everyone else was making food and... naturally we ended up with the entire Seder meal being cooked in a kitchen that was particularly filthy, chaotic (especially since the whirlwind cleaning may have involved shoving several things into several drawers to free up space for impending ingredients). Naturally we had very little that was needed.

And in the perfect messiness of said improvisation we managed to pull something together quite perfect for toddling Chaya and her friends Sebastian and Cedrick.

Chaya guzzled enough grapejuice to give herself GI distress for a couple of days, but made up for that by eating almost entirely matzo bread. Cedrick proved to be the most adventurous eater of the kiddos, tasting a bit of everying. We sang and stumbled our way through Sammy the Spider's First Passover, the Haggadah that I thought perhaps was not going to be adult-approved after we reviewed several addition grown-up Haggadah the day before. Bitter herb and horseradish were consumed. And Affikomen was discovered with only a little - a lot - of adult help.

The weekend continued as full clip with a few meals out at glacially cuncatory restaurants (picked by the Wrights of course, but at least COA was delicious) and some excited tours of all the Non-Fred-Meyer places one might purchase foods, as some people apparently are nonplussed at shopping in a grocery store that also sells clothes, autoparts and hunting gear.

We made it out of the weekend with a new cast iron dutch oven and a grill. And the salmon from a local fish market made it into everyone's bellies. Chaya also led several excursions through the grass and otherwise delighted her doting grandparents (who likewise delighted her).

On Saturday, we also attended Chaya's third egg hunt of the season at Claudia's house. This time things clicked with the imp and she rounded up bags full of eggs. Claudia, being a very good witch, conjured up some beautiful weather, so all the children and families lolled on the grass in their yard afterwards.

Things capped off with a christening of the new grill and a slightly late and only moderately manic evening with the toddler.

Kiddo was scurried to bed in between some manic meltdowns, as she said goodbye to her visitors and mommy and daddy cleaned and appropriately recluttered the kitchen.

Of course, we began the morning an Easter morning with a "basket" (ok, a strainer because it was the right size) to share with Daddy.

Needless to say breakfast was chocolate (other food thrown on the floor in disdain as Chaya demanded more CHICKEN EGG, which apparently meant easter eggs). I didn't even put that much candy in her bag, but that was all she'd eat regardless

She did enjoy her Easter bonnet though!

We perhaps were all feeling a little holiday burnout by this morning, but I'm happy that I decided to go ahead and try out the church service at the St. Paul's down the road. In all the hubub, I was struggling to have the contemplative time that usually attends Easter weekend.

The "Holy Week" (the stretch between Palm Sunday and Easter) is a complex cornucopia of mystical and familiar for children. I remember it well. The smooth texture of the palms across my lips, the tenderness and intimacy of foot washing, the solemnity of last communion,  the pain of the cross mixed with a dizzying understanding of the Agape of self-sacrifice, the gravid state of loss and hope, and the eerie joy of rebirth. Tied to Christian theology, it is powerful. Even from a purely secular state, the messages are powerful, but I am not purely secular.

It's the music, ritual, and community I've experienced since before I had the words to philosophize. It's hard not to walk into a service and find myself unmoved. Each subsequent manifestation connects me through the ages to those times past. Yes, I can find myself a blubbery teary mess in any opera, ballet, or symphony because of a beauty of human experience too expansive to be described, and because of the childhood familiarity that draws me through time to my earliest memories. Church has a similar blend of spiritual transcendence with earthly roots for me.

 I needed the familiar service today. Church here is quite different than the St. Paul's my dad attends. Church was quite small and the congregation only hinted at filling it halfway. There is no children's program. Instead, there's a place in the back for children to play. There is no choir. There is a beautiful organ and a few talented pianists and organists.

But the vibe is all so familiar.

I've missed Advent. I've missed Holy week, Maunday Thursday, Good Friday, even the idea of Easter Vigil (though... yawn...). I've missed the gravity of Lent. The familiar calls and responses. The prayers and psalms and hymns.

As I come  back to my own sense of the divine. I'm beginning to grasp the complexity of being an "interfaith couple." For quite some time I've considered myself spiritually fluid, believing that all religions are merely slivered glimpses of the divine. Before Chaya was born, I pretty well said that what mattered to me was finding a spiritual community. Jewish, Muslm, Buddhist, Unitarian... all would fill me with different expressions of that epiphanic spiritual joy. Granted, I still snuck out and attended services on my own time with my dad or alone... I see now how powerful that familiarity of the experienced rites are for me.

I don't want to force my faith on anyone, but (1) I want to find a way to share it, and (2) it is lonely not sharing it. Andrew's faith is his own to figure out, but his very strong roots and identity are based on Judaism. That is beautiful, and there is a lot of commonality between our upbringings in those regards. But for him it is very specific to the story of his family and their ancestor's experience. And, as perhaps is expected, there's an almost implicit hesitancy at expressions of a religion that has largely been used to oppress his own. I realize I've emphasized the secular aspects of the Christian traditions for some time because these feel less threatening. And that I want to find ways to celebrate my traditions in an open and non-doctrinal way to my kiddo. As much as I want him to continue to tell her the story of her Jewish family and their roots.

It can be especially challenging when religions and their holidays won't take turns!! I'm sure there are many more years to sort it out, but I'm glad to find a place that may be my spiritual roost for a while.

And, now that we've been gifted matches, we won't have to attempt to burn the house down trying to light candles on the electric stove burner... so perhaps a little Advent reading and wreath may be in order next year.

The end of the service heralded something our whole family can get behind though: brunch potluck with Easter ham for the big meat eater. Andrew and Chaya met us at the service and we brunched with another few families who were first time attendees, including one of Chaya's preschoolmates.

It was grounding, but definitely the easter grass that broke the bunnie's back for my little toddler, judging by the fifty meltdowns she's had leading into naptime today.

It's been an amazing weekend, but we may be about ready for a spell of perfunctory days. Or outright boring, since Preschool is on break this week. Ah well, at least mommy has to head out for a barium swallow tomorrow during naptime. I'm sure that will be exciting!

Until then, enjoy the smears of chocolate bunnies and extra hugs to you and your families.

Sprung Past the Aye-aye-ds of March

Mid-March? Spring Equinox?? Zounds, we are nearly coming up on the one year anniversary of our Mount Vernonite status! Exciting. Amazing to think that 1/3 of Chaya's life has now been here and it's going to keep expanding from here. Big girls is bursting ito 4T as we speak!

So far, March goes well. Nobody was stabbed on the Ides. Saint Patrick's Day occurred. Oh that magical day where we celebrate the fact that Irish Americans maybe had a tough start in the US but then gave us green beer and big parades... Or is it when S. Paddy the Leprechaun sneaks into houses and leaves green jello in the toilets? I can't keep up!

 Saint Patrick did not hit our house when it comes to snakes. Thank goodness, because Chaya is a budding herpetologist here. The Muppets on her diapers are "frogs" and I'm pretty sure her first imaginary friend was a "snake" who lives and sleeps and talks to Chaya about lord knows what (fruit maybe? She does like to eat fruit). Everything long and circular is a "snake" in Chaya world and she loves them. Makes sense, given all the snakes in her books are quite happy and delightful. But snakes are admittedly pretty cool. She also digs chameleons and lizards, because they are also pretty cool.

Mostly for St. Paddy's day, we celebrated by wearing a little more green (and orange where possible because we are Protestant), and eating greener food. Pesto on shamrock ravioli totally is Irish, right?

Next weekend will be even more exciting (albeit less chromatically emphatic). On Saturday we go in for Chaya's second haircut. And then... oh and then... Mommy and Daddy are getting out of the way so Chaya can have a full day with Gramma Pam. Chaya loves GP (or PAAAAAM as she still calls her), and often banishes mommy to the kitchen when they're having a playdate. But this will be the first time Pam will get to put Chaya down for a nap. Mommy and daddy, meanwhile, will be going to their first PNB performance in a handful of years. It used to be our thing, so I'm kind of excited.

The next weekend will be Chaya's first observed Passover Pasach. Ohhh yeah. Gramma Lisa and (Not-Grampa) Tom (still working on his official title there!) are visiting. We have a children's Haggadah involving a slightly psychadelic and terrifying spider (Sammy!) celebrating his very first Passover. We'll see how Chaya tolerates it. I think we really need like twenty different illustrated haggadahs to keep up with Chaya's "Mamma READ A BOOK!... DIFFERENT BOOK!" Preferably featuring snakes, bunnies, and dinosaurs. Sammy the Spider is pretty good, but there are some pages with a ton of WORDS per picture.

There will also be an Easter get-together and egg hunt. There will no doubt be cute photos and chocolate bunny goo smeared everywhere!

And of course we'll see how I do with the holiday weekend. The reflux abides (dude does it), but it really does seem to be keeping a bit more under control when I follow the dietary guidelines for LPR. This includes basically cutting out several delightful foods (garlic, onion, chocolate, coffee, tomatoes, and anything with a pH below 5, such as almost all fruits) and spices. Also best to stay upright for 3 hours after eating and I prefer to go to bed fairly early, so Passover will be an interesting stretch for me. Especially after Daylight Savings time. We may have to fudge the sun-down and employ some black out curtains for Chaya's bedtime alone. I'm also realizing that as traditionally made, I can basically have the roast egg, parsley and/or romaine, some whole wheat matza and maybe a banana larabar crushed with water to approximate Charoset. We'll swing it.

Before we get to all that, I have several lightening round specialist appointments to run through. ENT on Tuesday. Orthopedist on Thursday. I'm going to go ahead and make the original appointment I scheduled with Everett Rheumatology before getting the earlier appointment, because I'm still getting rashes/chillblains and a few other symptoms that would make a specialist in Raynaud's in particular useful.

I'll try to refrain from kvetching about all my maladies for the rest of this space, but let's pretend I'm actually being profound instead. It's weird. I really do feel like the weird crap my body is giving me is fine, but I also feel this persistent guilt and incredulity about the ways it limits me. When I go out in slightly chilly weather, I seem to get a bad reaction in my hands that can last for a few weeks. I'm still sensitive to heat. My right arch and back both seem to flare up when I do much of any exercise. And if not that, then the reflux makes most exercise too unpleasant. I have pinched nerves or neuropathy from my upper back into my hands that makes my wrists and fingers feel weak and some moving and lifting uncomfortable. It goes on. And I still don't enjoy or succeed going out late.

So I've slowed down a ton in the last year or two. I have even more dietary restrictions than before, so socializing becomes a little more difficult. The dry eyes and mouth makes all kinds of things more uncomfortable. Travel really zaps me. Etc etc.

And again, as long as I'm in my little cave, I think that's fine and just life, but as soon as somebody suggests we do something "fun"... well I feel like I'm bleeding out all the fun I had in my introvert reserves. I feel bad for Andrew, who has so many things he wants to do, trips to take, adventures to make. He's dealing with his own weird limitations in a slow-healing collarbone (probably low vitamin D). I think that has helped him understand a bit of where I'm coming from, but it's still kind of several degrees of magnitude apart. So, trying to manage that balance.

I am realizing that I"m only 35. I feel like so much of life is behind me, but by even conservative estimates, I'm just shy of halfway through my likely life. I have aches and pains through my body. I don't know what that means but that I"m not "old" and I'm not infirmed exactly. Just limited. And hopefully that I have time to discover ways to work with my body instead of trying to work against it. And hopefully I can still be fun for Chaya somehow.

I was also realizing that Chaya and I will have a very different relationship than I did with my mom. In some ways. I was the second child so my childhood is certainly informed by that dynamic. But beyond that, my mom and I were besties in my world. The divorce was the best thing that happened to my relationship with my dad, as I was mostly ambivalent towards his presence and rules in our house of fun before that. I didn't really care for my grandparents (no offense, but I definitely did not get excited about hanging out with them). I did enjoy preschool when I got there, but I started later. My mom was so full of life and energy, she filled a million roles and stayed one of my closest friends through my life in various ways.

Chaya has a much broader attachment network. She banishes me from the house/room to play with her gramma. She gets upset if I don't take my "treadmill time" or "momma go downstairs" after weekend breakfasts, because that's her time with Daddy.

She digs her other grandparents a ton as well.

She loves preschool and hugs and trusts all the teachers there. It's really cool. I won't say it takes the pressure off of me. But it changes the dynamic. She'll have so many different people to love and trust in a different way than I did. And given my personality, I suspect Chaya and I will have more battles than my mom and I did (almost none). And I bet we're due for a serious Daddy phase soon.

No evaluation there, but just interesting. Again we are never our parents and our children are never ourselves. Perhaps it means that my physical limitations won't be as unfortunate, since Chaya will have plenty of people to have crazy-fun with.

And of course I love the little bugger and I'm so touched that she seems to like me as well as love me. Even when I'm boring. Even when I don't let her climb up and try to balance on my head for the fifth time.

And maybe - a gal can dream - there's some specialist out there who might at least give me a name or a something to take the edge off the bother and add some edge onto the pleasant. But if not, we trod on. Well into April and springing through spring! Break out the claritin, it's time for life to bloom!!

Seeing Heaven With the Eyes of a Snotty Tired Child.

Spring has not technically sprung, but some gigantic clock in the sky has, so bring on the sunlight and oven-bake our main room as I ponder the meaning of "it" and a bag of "all" chips.

We have weathered the time change via a nasty cold. Oddly convenient timing, since it both wrecks naps and makes for earlier bedtimes... which usually makes for earlier wakings which... the cycle is ongoing. We may need a few more DSTs to hop into the mix at this rate!!

Meanwhile, I can no longer distinguish cold symptoms from reflux from lord knows whatever other things are wrong with me. So far, we're pretty sure it's not brain cancer or MS (likely not testicular cancer or gout either). I had a lovely little MRI to just try out that theory. Loud banging and atonal sounds felt a lot like modern music to me, and all in all a superior experience than accupuncture. I have a million things potentially wrong with me still waiting to be unraveled, but whatever. Time will out... something... maybe. In the meantime, I'll take the luxury of having something as banal as "a nasty cold." Boy is it a wringer. Probably would be less so if, say, the little snot monster didn't greet the dawn with forty minutes of howling. Interspersed with gleeful energy interspersed with yet more meltdowns over the presence of snot in every possible pore and orifice as the day goes on.
I'm a little spent, emotionally and physically, but a wee bit in a Lenten wonder as well.
Forgive me as I get all sacerdotal on y'all.

“Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them. —Mark 10:13-16
I so often hear of God being cast in the parental role. This always has me wondering (the more and more I inhabit said parental role): Does God the Father/Mother really feel like parents do? Constantly frustrated, confused, sometimes annoyed, scared, guiltily impatient and yet amused at the illogical oddities of creation? Unsure and tired? Checking her watch and wondering how anything is going to get done today? So totally unsure. But somehow instinctively doing the right things when the moments call and discovering along the way that despite it all, things are as they should be and creation somehow thrives? Is god breathless in awe of what we are? Humbled by our faith? Radiating a love beyond God's own comprehension?
I can't really say. But I can ask whether we are true children of God. Do we have a secure attachment in God? No matter how many times I feel distracted, semi-present, or just no fun, Chaya still lights up and giggles at me, demands to be held without ever questioning her right to do so (no matter that some days my response is to cringe and look deflated because I REALLY REALLY need to get something done and my back is sore and...). She lets me leave, knowing with certainty that I will return. She rails against the world in my arms despite my complicity in its inequities. And she never ever doubts that she is LOVED. Ever. Her faith truly stuns me, as I have no inkling of how I have earned such attachment. I am middling. I have no special tricks. I lack Mary Poppins' magic. I'm so often unappreciative and so often flawed.
She doesn't hesitate ever to show her deepest expressions. I can't imagine letting loose the howls and recrimination that storm inside of me on a bad day... not with another person. For their sake, I refrain, but also through pride. To have somebody see me in such a weak and disheveled state makes me a little queasy.
The way that she howls and sobs in my arms, stares at me with her snotty face and quivering eyes and simply shrieks. Somehow feeling I need to be there, but asking nothing beyond that, except occasionally to be held. Not assuming I can make it better. But also not hesitating to worry that I see ugliness in her sadness. Never considering that I might look away or fail to respond. She lets herself be so honest in such an unimaginable way.
Despite my human frailties - my boredoms, my uneasiness, my occasional blundering - she doesn't doubt that I am present and always will be. She believes - she knows - it is her place in this world to be loved and to be held and to feel unabashed affection. She knows to never hesitate to demand the attention and love that she requires. It isn't a naive untested faith she has. I am constantly getting things wrong in her little world of Chaya order and she knows this. Sometimes I bring the wrong book and it is devastating. Sometimes, I say the wrong thing. Sometimes I am simply helpless as a discomfort in her own world or mood exceeds my hands. Sometimes I stop her from doing something or force her to do something she dislikes. And she is not shy about expressing her disapproval. But it doesn't change the love, the confidence, or the faith.
It makes me think if I could have one modicum of that faith and entitlement that she places in me (in my love and presence), perhaps I truly would be in the kingdom of God at this very moment.
And I think of all the ways in which we doggedly and dogmatically angst over our un/worthiness. How preposterous a question to ask whether Chaya is "worthy" of my love! She laughs at the thought and so do I. She is my love. It is not a question of subject-object intermediated by qualitative anything. But the sheer embodiment of love within me. There is no question. No contingencies. No quantity or quality. Merely love. And I think then are we not also beyond that question of worth. Neither worthy nor unworthy, but simply God's LOVE. And I wonder if we were able to believe that wholeheartedly, unabashedly, without reservation, wouldn't we then be in heaven?
I can't say whether "God" is like a parent, but I think there is so much more to being God's child than people frame it as. This is never about fealty or obedience. But something so much deeper and more staggering.
And I hope, very much that on the days that I emotionally collapse on the floor, God/the universe/and everything can give a sigh, check its watch and maybe sit with me knowing that somehow in all the mess, I do actually have that same sense of entitlement and faith. Somewhere in there.

Acid Dropping as the Toddler Returns and Watches the Fastest Tracts.

I left my blog hanging from a cliff (and not one of those half masticated kid's Clif Bars that Chaya strews about like flower petals in a wedding aisle), missing my husband and child and speculating about the particular contours of my life and death with whatever Raynaud's associated nastiness a rheumatologist might discover. Then I was like "wait, break-time it's Mardi Gras and we've got a toddler preschool Valentine's Exchange and parade to do!"

And, as always, I'm still alive! And not currently living with any diagnoses except Raynaud's, odd-body-syndrome, and probably some kind of all purpose psychological label involving the words "neurotic" or "generalized anxiety"

Chaya and Andrew had a great time tromping around in the mountains. As I was not there Chaya was vergingly angelic on the plane ride. She was intimidated by the dog but also delighted. She tromped in snow. She took her naps and slept at night (or so Andrew thinks, but then again I've seen how much he can sleep through, so who knows what wild nonsense she got up to once he was in bed!) And she didn't universally reject me upon her return. In fact, little changed in our relationship, although I think maybe she and Andrew have a little more confidence with each other now. And no doubt Andrew is further convinced that I am either (1) making up some of the wearing joys of primary parenting, or (2) bringing out Chaya's most demanding and boisterous side. Guilty as charged I'm sure on the latter, but that is the world of primary parents. Really.

 And, after various spells of wallowing and Dr. Googling myself, I mellowed into a pretty jammin' routine of eating moderately, walking, wandering, and watching two of the millions of comic book movies I've missed in the intervening years since childbirth. The last film I watched in the theaters was Avengers 2 (which nearly triggered premature labor at the time). Then I visited my own parents, ate moderate and safe foods, and packed up some more of my stuff from the old house that my mom is just about to sell.

I also moved onto my first round of the sugar pill phase of my new birth control. Lo and behold, my body decided to menstruate (TMI, my toosh - you've been through oh so much of the nitty gritty, this barely scratches the surface). I surely thought it'd forgotten how to do that! Even Dr. Cho was selling birth control as a great option in terms of never having to have a period again (given my history). Ah well. This becomes challenging since Chaya has a magnetic attraction to maxi pads (stuffed animal diapers basically) and bandaids. We never have either readily available for use in the home, despite them typically being scattered every which way like tinsel on a tree. But it's still heartening to know my body occasionally does things it's "supposed to."

And so, things continue. Kids came back. We had a reunion with Chaya's besties from way back at a nice Mexican restaurant a week ago. I got a haircut this week. We live exciting and crazy lives!

Chaya's about to up her preschooling to twice a week. She enjoys it so much (and I have so many
darned appointments to keep up with, that it's becoming necessary at this point!) There was some confusion about which day and how to coordinate, but I finally just decided to drop her off today. I think they would take her every day if I weren't too dilatory about compensation.


Last week I had my long awaited appointment with a rheumatologist. We're still waiting on bloodwork, but based on a physical exam and family history, she is skeptical that I have an autoimmune disorder. She investigated my hands for signs of "pitting" and ulcers (common with secondary Raynauds) and did a nailfold capilloscopy, which also suggested my capillaries were normal. She was bemused at a faint orangey hue, but finally speculated that it was likely something to do with eating a ton of carrots and squash (actually this is plausible based on a list of foods people might eat to acquire caratonemia  She thought my face had a redness but nothing malar (lupus butterfly rash).

I went through my long list of symptoms and she bandied them back at me:

1. Raynaud's, vasovagal syncope, flushing face and skin, peripheral neuropathy, benign palpitations... are all under the control of the autonomic nervous system. believes they're related. Didn't call it dysautonomia exactly, but suggested I may learn to control these parts of my body through a practice of biofeedback or meditative practices like Qi Gong. She said it would be interesting to see how longer term use of birth control might affect things. Boy is my life always "interesting," particularly to medical professionals.

2. Dry mouth. She agreed my mouth was dry and that there weren't really any medications to blame. But she also didn't think it showed signs of sjorngren's level of dryness or the associated damage.

3. Dry eyes. This one was an easy bandy since I have a family history of dry eye syndrome and have had LASIK. .

4. LPR (silent heartburn symptoms that include constant hoarseness, throat pain, lump in throat, difficulty eating, etc). She said that was fairly common among the population, and not a huge sign of autoimmune dismotility in and of itself. She recommended enzymes and dietary modifications. She also suggested going back on Claritin as allergies have some overlap.

5. Other stuff: hormones and thyroid and not her wheelhouse, but "interesting".

6. Aches and pains. Not joint or connective tissue related as much as sciatic or the like.

So, pending a blood test, I'm more or less back on my own for a bit. But I ain't done with the specialists here.

I am seriously considering consulting an accupuncturist who also offers private qi gong instruction, since I do know that she takes insurance and it has a decent track record of helping. It's amazing I've lived in Bellingham and Mt Vernon so much and yet never seen one at this point.

I am also still waiting on a neurology appointment in several more months, which may or may not be relevant (Raynaud's IS a neurovascular issue, and autonomic nervous system functions are neurological...)

And then there's the miserable reflux. I think I will try changing birth control next cycle, since this seemed to be contemporaneous, but I'm not sure if it will help. I may also consult an ENT or have other testing to see what the balance is between mechanics, hormones, allergies and whatnot.

LPR, if this is what it is, is a special form of reflux. It's harder to see the direct cause and effect, but I can tell that if I eat quite a few of my favorite things, or if I eat much at a time, OR if I eat anywhere near bedtime, it sucks. I get mucusey. I feel a little food creeping back up or just have a difficult time swallowing. My throat suddenly gets sore if I lean forward or backwards. And eventually it turns into post nasal drip. I have read some fairly credible consensus that this is triggered off by acid reflu aspirating up very fast and bringing pepcin (a digestive enzyme) into the nose/throat/larynx, and mouth. The reflux is probably due to a loose valve somewhere, but once it happens, it's a self-perpetuating cycle. Pepcin stokes the acid and feeds on acidic conditions. It slowly dies in alkaline environments.

That's part of why acid blockers are often useful BUT the really effective ones (PPIs) (1) have a crappy efficacy with LPR, (2) totally screw with the stomach's ability to absorb several vitamins and minerals. Huge risk of deficiencies and osteoperosis, which I'm already at risk for. And there's a dependency and rebound effect that makes it harder and harder to get off of them. It's still an important intervention but not one to be taken lightly.

I've also seen some peer reviewed studies that dietary interventions (Mediterranean diet and alkaline water) were technically more effective than PPI use. So while we wait to see how things pan out, I'm watching my diet again, at least as much as it is limiting me.

 It's really a bummer here. I finally manage to get out from the lode stone of being underweight. Break some of my orthorexic tendencies and get to a place where my body actually seems to do things like "respond to hormones". And now I can't eat much at once or much of anything without some serious punishment.

There are a handful of different "GERD/LPR Diets" out there. (GERD is the medical term gastroesomethingsucks reflux disorder - e.g. "frequent heartburn and other reflux issues"). Every case is idiosyncratic and every sufferer has different triggers. It's harder to figure those out with LPR, so it can be helpful to have a really minimal diet of generally safe foods and then slowly reintroduce other foods to get the trigger.

As I've said, there's credible research that a low acid diet might help to heal the acid damage of LPR, particularly. There are two major takes that approach it from this angle. One is called Dropping Acid, started by an ENT who pioneered a lot of research into Silent Reflux. The competing "low acid" version is called Acid Watchers, also concocted by an ENT several years later with a little updated research.

 They both have a "healing phase" in which the patient eats only foods above a PH of 5 (and avoids other known triggers) and then a phase in which you work things back in. They differ in the nitty gritty.

They're both very healthy diets, except that they may come a bit from the assumption that people with reflux could benefit from losing weight and probably were eating 3 bigger meals a day. Revolutionary to move up to a whole 6 times a day! Given how little I can eat at a time, that is NOT enough. In fact, many people I've spoken with feel that their difficulties eating have caused them to drop weight. And it's challenging to get enough food, given it all takes preparation time and money.

There's a third one that's particularly cultish, called Fast Tract Diet. This was developed by a microbiologist to treat something called SIBO, but he's expanded his opinion to credit heartburn with this as well. It's all a very complex algebraic take on the Low FODMAPS diet (on steroids). His theory is that it's all about how fermentable foods are. Food ferment in the stomach and that feeds SIBO, which in turn causes every kind of woe. Basically it includes a ton of common trigger foods and it low carb. People swear by it, but it scares me. Oatmeal and bananas are bad? Really?? In fact it's kind of nuts in terms of how little fruits/veggies/whole-grains one can have. Seriously, Wonder Bread is more highly recommended than oats. And it's super high fat.

There are also more generalized diets. The common sense stuff is semi-based in science, but not super well reviewed.

I'm loosely following the Acid Watcher Diet, but I think there's a dizzying degree of whooo in it.

Of course there may well be some underlying intolerance or allergy going on. I definitely have allergies generally. And there are connections. But of course I have no idea what they are and how they interact.

Or this. Because every support group for any medical condition has one of these (this is a poster who posts almost the identical comment on EVERY SINGLE post from a new user).

"Just a bit of information. Raynaud’s is often the first sign of an impending autoimmune disease invading your body. Yes, dress warmly and keep your core warm, but while you do that and live your life, leaky gut has done a job on you and invited disease to take hold. It might be lupus, Scleroderma, Sjogren’s, arthritis or a gut issue, but it will be something. I’m living the lack of knowledge...ha you have Raynaud’s so keep warm. Well I am now in possession of 5 autoimmune diseases. Read all you can because you can stop this in its tracks and just deal with Raynaud’s by removing all wheat, rye and barley from your diet. Are you celiac because that is one major way leaky gut gets started. Get tested because if you have it, so does your family and they too will have issues but they might be different from you and none of them could be gut related. I like The Autoimmune Fix by Dr Tom Obryan and his site Leaky gut comes from eating inflammatory foods and can only be fixed by removing all 100% of those foods and that’s not just bread and cookies, but hidden foods like soy sauce and bouillon, barley is beer. I can say this because I have done the research and I just want to let you know there is an answer. It’s not easy at first, but it’s really not easy battling sickness that takes your life away. Give it 3 weeks to see some beneficial change.

So, I totally disagree on so many counts, but actually some of my symptoms could indicate Celiac by modern research, so I may ask about that and if things don't clear up I may consider a FODMAP style phase to figure out if anything is triggering me.

In the meantime I'll be "doing the research" and/or staring at Facebook while trying to figure out what I can give to Chaya that she'll actually eat that WON'T be problematic when she then decides she'd rather feed me the rest of her meal.