NutrEval Diagnostic Test

Well, what do you know...right after I posted about how awesome our week had been, everything went WAY WAY WAY downhill!

Life is like that right?

Starting on Monday, we have had epic meltdowns at least once a day. For those who aren't familiar with special needs children, there is a difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. All children have tantrums - they're normal. They are usually resolved by talking with them, reasoning, helping them understand, etc. This is not the case with a meltdown. A meltdown is a total and complete breakdown and nothing that is said or done will fix it or stop it. (I just found this good explanation of what a meltdown is). It just has to run it's course. It can be incredibly frustrating! But, knowing what it is always helps me to remain calm and patient (truth: I don't ALWAYS remain calm and patient but the more knowledge I have about the nature of meltdowns, the easier it is becoming to keep my cool during them). I realize that during a meltdown, Max's brain is not working properly and he is not in control. It really sucks to be having them daily again, though. They last upwards of an hour sometimes. And nothing can help them :( I think he even had a panic attack during one of them. It was a pretty severe meltdown.

The only thing I can think that is triggering them is being off of his supplements in preparation for doing the NutrEval Diagnostic test. In order for the results to be accurate, I took him off all of his supplements a week in advance. A few days later is when the meltdowns began. He has been eating allergy free so I am fairly certain they were not triggered by food reactions. It has been good for me to see because sometimes it feels like these supplements just cost money and don't do anything but WOW. They do a lot! Because he has been a different kid without them. And the only supplements I have been giving him consistently are the basics like probiotics, cod liver oil, multivitamin, and enzymes. One other thing that I've noticed has been a trigger has been hunger. I am thinking he may be dealing with some hypoglycemia because hunger has possibly been a factor in these epic meltdowns. When he melts down, he is always very aggressive towards me. Kicking me, hitting me, slapping me. It is not okay but I don't know how to handle it. He's so strong now and when he melts down he's totally out of control. I can't put him in his room (trust me, I try!) because he won't stay in there. I also don't want to leave him alone during the meltdowns because I don't want him to feel abandoned when he is his most vulnerable. I'm at a loss of what to do though because he also needs to understand that hitting and attacking me or his sisters is NOT okay. Needless to say, it's been a pretty hard week.

I was so worried about getting a urine sample this morning for his test, that I couldn't sleep last night. I probably only got 3 hours of sleep total. I had tried to get a sample yesterday morning but he already emptied his bladder into his pull up, so it was a no go. The problem is that the urine has to be frozen at least two hours before delivering it to the healthcare provider, so I needed to get it done in time for his blood work! And I wanted to get his blood work done ASAP so that I could get him back on his basic supplements. Last night he went to bed in underwear which I was nervous about because he is not able to stay dry at night. Around 4 am, I was so anxious that I just decided to go ahead and wake him up, just praying he wouldn't freak out and would be able to go pee in a cup for me. It was such a blessing because even though he was wet when he woke up, he was able to go enough in the cup for me to get a good sample (I had to fill three vials). He didn't melt down or get angry (which has been the case in the past when I try to wake him up to use the bathroom). I think it helped that I promised him that he could play the iPad at 7 am for 20 minutes. He does well with very firm, clear boundaries. Thankfully, he went back to sleep until 6:15 this morning and then cuddled with me until 7 when he turned on the iPad. He was an AWESOME listener (another answer to prayers...no meltdown!) and turned off the iPad right at 7:20 am to get in the car for his blood draw. He did wonderfully at the lab getting his blood work done. He was very calm and sat right on my lap. He didn't wince or cry and was so brave. I promised him a special breakfast afterwards so we bought some gluten free donuts and bread, then went home and made french toast. He also requested hot chocolate (made with rice milk, cocoa, honey, and vanilla). The donuts and bread were not totally allergy friendly because they had eggs and corn but I told him today we weren't going to worry about that! It was his special treat for doing so well. He kept saying "But I can't eat eggs" and I just kept reassuring him that his body would do just fine and that it was a super special treat. I sure hope that someday he doesn't have to worry so much about what foods he can and can't eat...right now he is VERY aware of it. Which is a good thing, for being in public, but it also makes me sad that it even has to be something he worries about at almost 6 years old.

I'm SO glad it's over and am hoping that I can sleep tonight! I am super eager for the results of the test. For more information about what this test is, click here. It is basically a complete nutritional analysis. It will show what he is and isn't deficient in as far as vitamins, minerals, amino acids, fatty acids, etc. goes. It also checks for gut dysbiosis (uneven bacteria and yeast levels in the gut) as well as heavy metal toxicity. The cool thing about the test is that it only cost me $159. Since our insurance is on their Easy Pay program, they bill the rest to insurance. It is about a $1500 test. Even if our insurance won't cover everything, Genova Diagnostics won't come back to me for the remaining amount. All I have to pay is $159. That is pretty miraculous! When I've had the baby and have nursed several months, I'd like to do the test for me too. Another good test is the Organic Acids Test from Great Plains Laboratory. That test costs $299 without insurance, so I was grateful when my doctor told me about the NutrEval test, which is very comprehensive and costs me less.

I am just really excited to get his results so that we can take a more targeted approach with his supplementation. It will be really cool to see exactly what's going on in his body. We are definitely dealing with some malabsorption issues because he has only gained 2 pounds in the past year. For his age, children should be gaining between 5 and 8 pounds a year, I believe. So hopefully we can address some of these nutritional imbalances and get some good healing to happen!! Wish us luck!

Oh, we also started him again on Diflucan today to address yeast overgrowth so hopefully we will see some improvement with that too.