When I was in (fast and furious) labor with Otto, without pain medication, I quickly learned to use the breaks between contractions to come into the present moment and breathe. Just before he actually emerged from my body, I felt I was about to come apart at the seams. My midwives encouraged me to "Look! Taylor, look, here he comes!" but my eyes were shut tight, and I screamed "I need a break! I need a BREAK!" There was no break. Then, he was here, and everything in the entire universe was utterly perfect, quiet, warm, still, and I hadn't split in two as I'd felt I was surely going to.

For the past ten months, Kaspar has been under siege as Austin's allergy "season" has inundated him with ultra high levels of one type of pollen, or two, sometimes three at a time. And molds. Within minutes of playing outside, his skin is red and splotchy, -- it looks like he's been clawed.

He has indeed been literally clawed while indoors, as well. He's scratched himself bloody. It has been impossible for me to leave him alone in a room -- he scratches immediately. Once he starts, he can't stop. This goes on, more or less, 24 hours a day. Between that, and a nursing baby, I have been averaging, maybe, 2-3 (interruped) hours of sleep each night. For months, and months and months.

This is what it was like when he was a baby. Then he was better. For SO long. And everything was entirely different. Normal. Normal-ish. (Normal ish with epi pens present.)

Now it is back and it has been relentless, and I yelled at Kaspar yesterday, because he wouldn't stop scratching. Then I felt like an asshole, all night, all night through his shuffling and scratching. I have practiced, over these past months, breathing during the breaks -- the days when the pollens are lower and he is better, playing, laughing, not scratching for several hours at a time. Today, he had acupuncture and was instantly relieved, lay there relaxing. We were given new herbs. We're going to start allergy shots, "very unlikely" risk of death and all (this is what Western Medicine has to offer... not for food allergies, but for seasonal allergies. There are no guarantees, but they help many people, so maybe they'll help our guy). Everyone keeps saying the pollens are about to get better... They've been saying that for a long time, though, so... we are going to relocate, because two weeks of springtime pollens and crisp ocean air compared with 10 months of relentless allergens combined with two months of crippling heat is NO CONTEST. We won't stop and we won't give up and we are still laughing a lot and making things and you may have noticed that I haven't been writing but I HAVE been marveling at this beautiful (easiest ever... thankfully) baby and appreciating the resilience of spirit in this poor allergic boy. And mostly not losing my shit at him. Today, I'm not yelling. But every cell in my body is screaming "I need a BREAK." And there isn't one. He's scratching again. Right now. Because I took him for a walk.

Aaron and I recently watched Ken Burns' Dust Bowl documentary. In it, Burns describes the way the women would clean their homes every day, after everything had been covered in a later of dirt. They'd clean everything out, sweeping and polishing and scrubbing and dusting, and the next day, the tsunamis of dust would blow in again, covering everything. Indoors and out. Sisyphusian. I can relate.

I know I won't split in two, though. I hope this feeling means we are close, almost delivered, and that we will savor sleep, and normalcy, almost-normalcy, all the more, every day from that point on.

A dear friend of mine who is battling cancer (like a total badass: Sarah you are amazing) said to me yesterday that making lemonade out of lemons is simple enough, but making it out of shitballs is another thing entirely. Truer words have never been spoken. It's pretty difficult to find the meaning behind a child's suffering. We're just making our way through the shitball storm -- an exhausting, costly, frustrating endeavor. But one thing I can say with confidence is that our lives are filled with wonderful, loving people. We lucked out in that department. And although I am barely holding my work together, let alone returning texts, emails and a whole bunch of Linked In invitations (sorry guys, I haven't signed in there since, like, 2008, and do not plan to any time soon), know that your every kindness has counted for a LOT. (And by all means text/email/etc me again if I haven't gotten back to you, because I have just simply forgotten.) When this storm clears, which it will, I will be here to help you through yours. Because yours will clear, too. Storms always do. Even after a decade of dust tsunamis.

I'll prove it to you.

Thank you for the love and patience and for not telling me that I look awful even though I do. Thank you even more for sending thoughts and prayers Kaspar's way. Please keep doing that.

05/05/2014 17:15

I'm so sorry to hear things are rough again for Kaspar. I hope things start to improve soon.

10/29/2014 11:28

After reading about Kaspar's struggles with allergies, I feel compelled to write to you in the hope that I can make you aware of healing methods beyond western medicine. Please look up the GAPS diet from Dr. Natascha Campbell-McBride. She has a clinic in England and has been helping hundreds of people start new pain-free lives. This healing diet heals the digestive tract and, thereby, heals many illnesses, disorders, syndromes, whatever one wishes to call them. It all starts in our gut. Heal the gut and the symptoms will go away. I've suffered from terrible allergies every spring since 1982. Since being on the GAPS diet, I had zero allergy symptoms this spring. Zero. A miracle? No. Healing the gut by eating non-inflammatory foods. Google GAPS diet and buy the book. It's hard work but worth the results. I wish you and yours well.


Leave a Reply.