A year ago today, my daughter celebrated her 22nd birthday in Toronto as we prepared to bring her home a few days later. She remembers little of that day (or the months that followed), and was quite shocked to realize she would be 23 this year. In fact, if it wasn’t for the tattoo she got that day, she wouldn’t likely remember it at all.
We’ve come a long way since then...hitting rock bottom along the way, and then clawing our way out of the hole one achingly painful handgrip at a time. But, if you’ll excuse my mixing of metaphors here, I think I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel—and for once, it’s not a train.
Just over a month ago, Mika and I met with a naturopath who confirmed (through blood and urine analysis) what I had always suspected: that there were serious nutritional imbalances playing havoc with Mika’s brain chemistry. We embarked on a three-week elimination diet and a boatload of supplements (she was taking 15 capsules and two kinds of drops a day). Our follow-up appointment was this week, and it, too, confirmed what I thought/hoped/wanted to believe I was seeing: improvement.
As part of the process, Mika filled out a mood analysis before our first appointment, and again before this one. Some things haven’t changed yet (her sleep and overall optimism for her future), but others have. Major others. Such as she is no longer as self-critical as she was...and she no longer has thoughts of suicide.
I’ll let that last one sink in for a moment...mostly because I need to blink back tears and remember how to breathe at the very idea that my bright, beautiful little girl could harbour such darkness and despair in her heart. And to acknowledge the gratitude that swells in me knowing that I no longer have to do battle with that monster in her life. (Though I will remain watchful for a long, long time, I suspect.)
We’re far from done, yet. While I would love nothing more than to report that we have achieved full success in every area, the truth is that healing will take time. It took a long time to reach the low that we did, and it will take time—and patience—to recover. Mika’s yeast count was way, way high when she was initially tested, and so we’re doing a second round of candida treatment—this time with a prescription for Nystatin rather than the herbal concoction. Theoretically, it will be easier on her body...but the fact that there are fewer (and smaller!) capsules to take already makes it a winner. ;) We’ve also switched from an L-tryptophan supplement to something called SAMe, which we’re hoping will bring up her serotonin levels a little bit faster, helping with the depression side of things. And I’ve found a stronger dose of L-Dopa that she can take twice a day for the tremor in her hand. We go back to the naturopath again in about three weeks for a second follow-up and additional tweaking. Like I said, it’s a process.
And in the meantime? In the meantime, Mika has made her first solo trip downtown since last
summer. She has made plans with friends for Canada Day. She’s back to online gaming with friends from all over the world. She’s taken an interest in her appearance again. She’s cooked her own dinner twice in the last week. She live-streamed last night for the first time in more than a year. And she turns 23 today.
Happy birthday, my darling, precious girl. Happy, happy birthday!