Thursday, January 12, 2012

Allow me to introduce my inspirations!

My family is the driving force behind anything I do.  I feel commissioned by the Lord to do the best I can to take care of them.  Of course, very often, I fall short.  My children are like other children- they make mistakes, they work hard, they are passionate about what they believe in most, they talk back, they LOVE their friends, and so on and so on!  Boy do I love them beyond words! I've been pondering whom I should introduce first.  Should I begin with my husband? After all, he is my God-given partner for life.  Should I begin with my oldest daughter?  She is the first born?  Should I begin with my son?  He was the first of us to be very sick with food allergies and the first one diagnosed.  Should I begin with my middle child?  She's suffered probably the longest and really inspires me to eat well and cook better.

Don on our good friend's pontoon boat
August of 2011.  Isn't he handsome?
After some thought and deliberation, I decided to introduce you to Donald Joseph Colligan.  He's my hubby!  To date, he does not have any diagnosed food allergies.  He works hard for us every day!  I love him!!  
Don loves to enjoy life!  We spend many hours in our pool out back and he just adores his children and his friends.  Any opportunity he has to be with them or to help them, he does.  He likes people to think he's not compassionate, but I know better!  He cares very deeply!

Next I'll introduce my kids in birth order.  

Kayli all dressed up for
the annual DANCE! Workshop
Company awards banquet
First, is Kayli Marie Colligan.  She's 16 now and a junior in high school.  I suspect Kayli has suffered from food allergies since she was small.  Knowing what we know, we've opted to not have her tested, but to eliminate and limit those things that make her feel "sick". We've learned recently and from examining her past eating habits that she seems to not tolerate milk or beef well. (I'm allergic to dairy, beef, and veal) She's NEVER liked any kind of beef and to this day, cannot eat it.  She can tolerate small amounts of milk or cheese, but has a limit.  I just can't believe she'll graduate next year!  Here she is, my gorgeous girl!

Amy all dressed up for the
Annual DANCE! Workshop
Company awards Banquet
To the right is Amy Therese Colligan. She is just about 14 and in 8th grade.  Amy does have known food allergies. She can't have any cow's milk or goat's milk of any kind without getting sick.  The irony of it is that she did not test positive with the skin prick tests, but she had every symptom.  She had rashes, eczema, sinusitis, major GI pain, and the list goes on.  We ran the gamut to figure out what was wrong.  She also can't have egg that is concentrated or raw- like scrambled eggs, Caesar dressing, or mayo.  She can tolerate the egg if it is baked in a recipe, but not as a wash for fried foods.  Who can believe she'll be going to high school next year? AHH! Isn't she pretty?

Kevin being the Captain of our
good friend's pontoon boat.
This is my son, Kevin Michael Colligan.  Kevin has TERRIBLE allergies.  He has many, many pollen allergies, multiple food allergies, and is mildly allergic to cats and dogs.  Kevin's list of foods are peas, peanuts, soy, grapefruit, corn, coconut, possibly lemons and because of the coconut, we avoid tree nuts.  He also seems to have issues when a fruit or veggie is "in season".  I am no scientist or doctor, but his food allergies are all foods that are plants, so I can't help but wonder if there is a connection to the pollen.  Honey seems to bother him quite a bit as well. He was the first of us to be diagnosed officially with any allergies.  He DID test positive on the skin prick tests, in fact, very severely.  Fortunately, he's never suffered from anaphylaxis.  PRAISE GOD.  Fortunately, Kevin can have milk, gluten, and seeds!  He loves Sun Butter- it's delicious and so good for you!  Try it with your apples as an alternative to peanut butter! 

Finally, there's me.  I'm the wife; the mom; the chef; the teacher.  I wish I could say I balance life well, but I make loads of mistakes and have days that I'm very, very lazy!  
Recently, though,  I've discovered that I love to write. Periodically, I write devotions on my Colligans Corner blog and now I'm writing this!   So, here's my story.

This is my little cousin, Nick, and I on Christmas Eve 2011.  I love this picture.
Growing up, I never had a problem with my weight.  I could eat whatever I wanted.  If I gained a few  pounds, I'd just be cautious for a few weeks and the extra couple of pounds would shed off.  Over the past few years, however, this has not been the case!  After my son was born, almost ten years ago, I began to have a mess of "issues" which are not necessary to get into.  I did lose my "baby fat", but about 4 or 5 years ago, I began to pack on the pounds.  I was horrified when I discovered that I was considered OBESE.  Yes, not just over weight, but OBESE.  That word frightened me.  Now, keep in mind, I was "doctoring" for numerous symptoms, but never really diagnosed and docs kept sending me for tests and giving me more and more drugs to take.  I didn't have a medicine chest, I had an entire medical cabinet.  It was terrible.  Finally, I made friends with a very lovely woman named Donna.  Donna told me about a Naturopathic doctor, so I went to see her.  Now, in the state of NJ, Naturopathic docs are not licensed.  It isn't because they are inferior in anyway to MD's or DO's, but because it costs so much money to lobby for the licensure and there are only a handful in the state.  My insurance does not cover my visits to her, BUT I am surely saving LOADS of money by not being on all those prescriptions.  I've been treated by her now for the past two years.  The problem of my weight still remained.  I was good at maintaining and gaining when there were special occasions, but I could not lose anything.  I joined gyms, had trainers...  So, finally totally frustrated, I went back to my Naturopathic doc.  We ran down my symptoms again and she decided to do a blood work  panel to see if I had any food allergies.  Boy, was I amazed!  I discovered that I am very allergic to cow's milk and products such as milk, cheeses and yogurt, goat's milk, glutens, beef (veal too), shrimp (and other shellfish), and  oats.  I was stunned.  There's more to my medical story, but this is about the foods, so we'll save that for another time!

We've been really creative and are so fortunate to have a great organic section in our local food store and a small health food store nearby.  We don't have a big chain like Trader Joe's, Wegmans, or Whole Foods close by, but we manage fine!

So, here I go.  Join me on my adventure!!

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Remember that your mother taught you if you don't haven anything nice, don't say anything at all!! I welcome suggestions, comments, questions, and your stories, but please don't be mean-spirited. This life is hard to get through and I'm grateful that you stopped by to visit!!