Noah turned 9 last weekend - it was a quietish celebration compared to some of his other birthday parties, but just right for the stage we are at right now just starting out in a new town.
He invited three friends (one couldn't make it) from his class at school. They had fun doing a short scooter ride around the block collecting scavenger hunt clues for a prize on their return, played some Smash Bros on the Wii U, ate KFC and smashed a toffee ice-cream cake that Mark had made.
On his actual birthday, Noah requested pancakes for breakfast which he helped make. After a Skype with Grandma and Granddad showing how cool his Harry Potter robes looked that they'd sent him for his birthday, we went out for a walk on the Te Awa cycleway to try out his new Blunt scooter.
After lunch Noah had ANOTHER party to go to - one of his friends who came to his party was having his own party but I picked him up a little early as we had Nana, Poppa and Aunty Alesha coming over for a build-your-own burger night.
My tummy hadn't felt great that day - I got a stitch like pain while we were out walking but put it down to either the steak I'd had the night before or a possible side effect of a nutritional cleanse programme called Isagenix I'd been trialling for 2 weeks - it was meant to be a 30-day plan but it hadn't really been making me feel any better and my bowels had been a bit all over the place so I made the decision to stop doing it.
It was a busy week with both boys having cross country practice every day, and practice for their school productions. Noah's class is doing 2 songs from Hairspray and he's thrilled to have one of the 6 main parts for the songs.
Mark spent three days driving up to Auckland each day for a retail management course - leaving home at 6.30am and not getting home till 7.30pm which made for a long day. On Wednesday, the pain in my side returned and got progressively worse throughout the day.
I made the decision to call on my mum late afternoon to come and look after the boys so I could go to the after hours medical centre in Te Awamutu (Cambridge doesn't have one) since I knew Mark wouldn't be home for a couple of hours at least. I battled through getting Noah to his football photos and getting them some dinner and then headed off in the dark and rain for the 20 minute trip.
When the doctor saw how much pain I was in, she said she thought I really should get it checked out at the hospital and she didn't think I should drive there - oh great. So my only alternative was to take an ambulance - I felt a bit of a fraud but didn't have much choice as Mark was still over an hour away and the medical centre was shutting shortly. As it turned out, taking the ambulance worked out in my favour as I was able to get straight into the emergency department.
Even so it took a while to be seen - blood tests and urine etc but they came back clear. The doctor who saw me had an atrocious bedside manner and basically said they couldn't do much more for me other than give me pain relief and suggest booking an ultrasound through the GP to rule out any gall bladder issues - they would have then sent me home at 2am except I had no way of getting home. By then the codeine had helped a little and I was moved to the short stay unit - luckily there was only one other old guy in there but I swear he must have got out of bed about a dozen times in the next four hours - he didn't have a clue where he was. Anyway I managed to doze a bit and morning eventually rolled around.
Poor Mark had to get the boys to Nana's at 6am on Thursday morning so he could still make the trip to Auckland in order for Nana to then drive them to school. I spent the day at home working quietly on the couch and by evening was feeling a little better. The ultrasound on Friday morning was also clear.
During the week when I was feeling OK I made baked apple chips and applesauce - I had a special little helper coring and peeling and spiralling all the apples for me.
Over the weekend the boys made lemon muffins and gingerbread for them, Mark made focaccia bread, and I made lamb and cauliflower soup, bone broth and chicken liver pate for my new diet. I also made my delicious chocolate orange cake for Alesha's birthday and homemade muesli bars for the boys - so it really was a weekend of baking amongst the other craziness! I've also been thinking about doing the autoimmune protocol diet for a long time - it really does have huge health benefits for anyone with autoimmune diseases like my Crohn's disease is. I've held off doing it until we got up here and got settled in properly but this latest episode has me convinced that I need to really give it a good go.
I'd already cut out coffee, grains, refined sugar and alcohol the past few weeks so the next steps is to eliminate eggs, nuts and seeds which is the hardest for me since I LOVE eggs and I love baking with almond meal. Anyway I know I need to commit to it and think I'm finally mentally ready to do so - it will make me a fun free zone for a while but it's for a very good purpose.
During the strictest part of the phase I'll just be eating meat, fish, veges (although not all - can't eat potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas as they are classified as nightshades and legumes) and fruit and baking with things like coconut flour and arrowroot instead of using the nut based flours I do now. After a certain amount of time (1-3 months probably) I will then start reintroducing the things I have eliminated but gradually to see which things have an effect on my digestion and body. It's really the only way to be sure how much things in the diet are affecting me - I already know gluten isn't great for me but I'll be very interested to see which other things I currently eat might be playing a part in my overall digestive health.
We are hoping this coming week is a little more mundane and uneventful on all counts!