A Child is born
My first son Jul was born, and like most mothers, I adored him and doted on him, and above all I wanted everything to be perfect for him, but sadly that was not to be. Very early on my husband and I detected that something was not quite right. Jul did not take to breastfeeding, or other suggested formulas, vomited a lot, had regular diarrhea, suffered from dehydration, had severe allergic reactions, and although in a lot of other ways he seemed perfectly normal – he was bright, alert and social, constant small aggravations and illnesses worried us. Jul had viral meningitis at nine months old, followed by ear and throat infections, rotavirus and other maladies. We took Jul to his doctor at that time, and others doctors too but none of them really took the time to investigate if anything more was wrong outside of the current symptoms they were treating. I have to admit that it was then that I started to feel unheard and even more concerned for my son’s future health.
At the same time as my child was struggling through the first few years of his little life, I began further studies towards a career change. My initial goals had been in the direction of becoming a teacher, but I changed my major when I realised that I could be a better advocate for my son and his wellness if I knew more, and thus my learning began towards a degree in health and wellness with a focus on nutritional science.
What happened next, brought our entire family to its knees. At twenty-eight weeks pregnant with my second son, Jul suffered from tonsillitis, which despite medication did not recover from, that soon became progressively worse. After several trips to the doctor, we were eventually told to take him straight to A&E to do blood work. Jul’s results showed critically low red blood cells; he was blue-lighted by emergency ambulance to a specialist oncology hospital for suspected Leukaemia.
I cannot tell you the feeling of watching a drama unfold in front of you that is indeed your very life. Sadly, for some of you reading this I know your stories will be much worse than mine, and happily for others they will not. I felt the passing hours and days slip by as I watched my sweet child in pain and confusion (for all that was gong on around him). Further tests did not show obvious Leukaemia cells and so we waited, transfusions were given, and we waited some more, until a bone marrow extraction was advised.
When Hope Is All You Have
When you are in a specialist hospital, when all around you is sickness, you quickly come to the realisation that this is your future. That the diagnosis you hear between the curtains being told to the parents of a two-year-old or explained to a fifteen-year-old will soon be your own.
Hand in hand, trembling, praying for strength, my husband and I entered the office of Jul’s consultant to hear his results. Jul did not have Leukaemia but Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP), a condition that causes the number of platelets in the blood to reduce, usually a sign of something wrong with the immune system. Jul would need to go on steroids, that could alter his mood, take regular blood work and be monitored (for a few months at least), but in a few days, Jul could go home. Unlike some of the very sick children, we had seen. As for us, as his parents, we could not have been more grateful.
From that moment I knew I had to fight harder to find a way to help Jul. Through my studies, I had dramatically changed his diet and that of the whole family’s, and indeed our lifestyles, but I just knew that medically we were still missing a piece of a very large puzzle, and I was the advocate Jul needed to be able to find it .
We were fortunate enough to find a wonderful paediatrician who gave us the time and consideration to talk through what had happened. This doctor insisted on many tests Jul had not been given before, and after just a few days we were given a clear diagnosis. Jul had an antibody deficiency, which had been there since birth and that he would live with for a lifetime. Despite the fact that no remedy or drug exist to create or replace the missing antibody there are some ways to manage it, to prevent the body becoming weaker each time it is compromised (like so many times before). As his mother, I have been devoted to following through with every recommended piece of advice.
And so because of what Jul went through, what we went through as a family, I continued with my studies and became relentless in my pursuit of knowledge, and began to purposely steer my whole family towards an optimal lifestyle. I think I realised at that point that for me, the health challenges I faced within my own family could offer others the best opportunity to achieve good health.
As a practising health counsellor, I have become even more determined to set an example that others can follow. Nowadays, sadly, most health and nutrition advice is out-dated and/or misleading and lacks a clear foundation on the many aspects that are imperative to lasting results. As I have personally experienced and seen in the home of my many clients, health success is never the result of pure chance; it is with a driven purpose and sincere effort that accomplishments are made.
A Mother’s Message
As I continue to raise my three sons, now nine, five and two, I feel on a daily basis the extent to which I am personally responsible for our family’s health, particularly nutrition. Even as a health professional I understand the enormity of this and how difficult it can be to learn the steps for necessary change.
While health encompasses many vital components, I feel confident in saying that holistic nutrition is key, and often the catalyst for all-round health. In my recently released book NOURISH, which was written in response to the questions I am consistently asked I guide the reader through the five focus points that may challenge your current concept of what it takes to achieve optimal nutrition and to successfully nourish your family, in and outside of the home. Each focus point will introduce you to an approach that may be new to you. The information, and the real-life experiences that I write about will slowly enhance your understanding, begin of further your education on this current topic, provide you with simple but effective methods to implement right away, and empower you so that transformation can happen.
About The Author
Tamar is a dedicated wife, and mother to her three sons. At the forefront of holistic nutrition education, Tamar works passionately to create change one life at a time. Tamar is the sole creator of Henrys Health, a counselling practice and online forum dedicated to helping others nurture health.