Hello. I’m Laura. Wife to an extraordinary man. Mother to two small cherubs.
My eldest son Jack suffers from migraines.
Our fight to find a cause.
Our eldest child Jack has been suffering migraines and cyclical vomiting since he was 6 months old, although we have only had an official diagnosis since September last year (2017). How did we know our baby was having migraines? We didn’t. He was being investigated for epilepsy, heart and renal issues, allergies, auto immune diseases and finally, and most recently, tumours.
We have spent weeks in hospital over the short 2.5 years of his life investigating his ‘out of the box’ symptoms. Doctors were stumped. His test results were varied and ever changing. He’s been poked, prodded and scanned more than most kids his age.
So finally, after a week stay in Westmead Children’s Hospital last September (2017), we got a diagnosis. Abdominal migraines and cyclical vomiting. We were given the option to medicate him daily to try and prevent the migraines. There was no regard for dietary causes, no follow up, no referral. Nothing. For an otherwise healthy child, it didn’t sit well with me. Managing the symptoms simply wasn’t enough. I had to help my son. I had to find the cause.
How did I find out about FAILSAFE?
I happened upon the Fed Up website (www.fedup.com.au) while googling ‘aggression and diet’ and it has completely changed our lives. I had noticed since he was a baby that certain foods seemed to trigger his migraine/vomiting episodes but those foods didn’t seem to have anything in common. He also has erratic behaviours that I couldn’t quite explain. Sometimes ‘normal’ boisterous behaviour…other times he was out of control and completely confused.
Doctors had dismissed any food intolerance as the cause. When I read through other people’s stories on the Fed Up website, I cried and cried. Tears of relief. Of recognition. Of finally understanding and being understood.
He was a tricky case to crack. But I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t a deluded parent. He did have some form of food intolerance and now I was able to actively help him.
What were Jack’s symptoms?
All the highest forms of salicylates and amines were the foods that had triggered his migraines. Prunes, dates, mandarins, dark chocolate, nuts, coconut oil and grapes. Things he didn’t have too often but when he did, would send him into a cold sweat, almost unconscious state, followed by 12-15 hours of constant vomiting every 20 minutes or so. My husband noticed that he had a strong smell or odour just before he had an episode. Almost like sulphur, very earthy and strong. Interestingly, we haven’t noticed this smell since we started the diet.
These episodes could start at any time of the day, and would happen about 2-3 times over a 2 month period.
When each episode finished, he would often sit up as if nothing had happened and go back to his normal self. He would eat huge amounts after too, because his system had cleared out and he was starving and very dehydrated. People thought he had frequent food poisoning or gastro but I knew that it wasn’t the case.
Most recently, his episodes would include symptoms following in the days after. Photophobia (squinting in the light) and would suffer mini migraines for several days afterwards as well as erratic behaviours like out of control aggression, hyper activity, screaming, whinging constantly for days and being really tired all the time. Beyond the ‘normal’ realms of toddler behaviour. He has also always been quite small for his age and had a bloated tummy all of his life.
When he was a baby, these episodes could last only an hour, so by the time we got him to the hospital or doctor he had completely recovered. As he got closer to 2, his episodes got worse and lasted an entire day/night with milder symptoms following for a week or two.
How has FAILSAFE helped?
We are 2 months into the strict RPAH elimination diet and the results we have seen are phenomenal. Not only have we been migraine free since we started, but our son is happier, chattier and is much less aggressive, less hyper and out of control. He’s still a normal toddler, who whinges, says no (mostly when he’s tired…don’t we all!) and pushes over his little sister when she tries to pull apart his train tracks. This ‘normal’ tricky toddler behaviour comes and goes with a generally happy kid. Generally he is more in control of his emotions and much happier for it.
It took us 10 weeks to get to baseline as it seems he is very sensitive and it took the final steps; making my own washing powder, giving him rain water instead of tap water (collected by my mum, bless her), reducing legumes and giving him epsom salt baths every night to help flush out any toxins (especially after swimming lessons).
We are about to start the challenge phase to see what triggers his migraines and some challenging behaviours. I am nervous as we can expect to see these behaviours and symptoms return but I know looking forward, it’s the best way to help him live without chronic pain.
Why start a blog?
This diet has really been challenging with so many restrictions and I have felt defeated so many times. We have been gluten, dairy and soy free alongside the failsafe diet which has meant that many of the failsafe friendly recipes are not available to us. So I’ve had to come up with my own, with inspiration from some very clever blogs and resources out there.
I’m passionate about engaging in this already thriving community of support and encouragement surrounding the RPAH elimination diet. I’d love to share what I’m learning, recipes I’ve created in my chaotic kitchen and continuing to look forward, towards gut health and healing.
Come along with my family as we journey together to conquer this beast,