|Lounging in Grandma and Pop's play pool, Summer 2010|
My name is Peggy and I am the mother of this beautiful little girl born in coastal Connecticut. My husband, Sam, is an active-duty Coast Guardsman and I manage our home with Esra and her younger sister, Estelle. As an eight year old, Esra is friendly and happy.
In May 2010, we moved from Groton, CT to Scottsdale, AZ. Here Sam is focused on preparations to take over leadership at his unit. He is a diligent officer doing his best to balance work and life. Along with Esra's challenges, he has to look out for me too. I have been sick for much of my life making it difficult to be a wife and mother. I did not have a name for my illness until recently. It is called Chronic Lyme Disease. Before my diagnosis in February of 2011, Sam usually had to take time-off from work to manage what I could not, which was everything above and beyond caring for myself and the children. Our family couldn't function without his steady paycheck, benefits and his help with medical appointments, respite schedules, legal issues with the Trust, Tricare wrangling, and general bureaucracy. That list does not include all the things he does to care for Esra when I cannot. But, now with a diagnosis and treatment plan, I am hopeful that things will only get better and easier for me to care for Esra and all of her needs so Sam can focus on his work.
Esra and her sister are busy with school at home, activities with the homeschool co-op, Esra's in-home therapies plus taking violin lessons from me and enjoying the children's program at church each Sunday. For the most part, we are homebodies. Living simply helps us care for Esra.
Incorporating a a whole food diet is essential to keeping Esra healthy. I emphasize a diet with only whole grains, fresh produce, natural sugars, no preservatives and no food dyes. On a good day, probiotics, fish oils and vitamins are added. But that is when the budget and memory allow. We have eliminated cow's milk too, since Esra is hearing impaired thanks to chronic sinus issues. She is responsive to sound, but we still use a creative combination of oral language, picture exchange, sign language and pointing at our house.
Esra was essentially non-verbal until four years old. That is when her two year old sister jumped into full sentences. We now hear more varied words and a growing repoitoire of two- and three-word sentences.