Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Think Zebra

In medical school, many doctors learn the saying "when you hear hoof beats, think horses, not zebras" and are taught to focus on the likeliest possibilities when making a diagnosis, not the unusual ones. However, sometimes physicians need to look for a zebra. Patients with primary immunodeficiency diseases are the zebras of the medical world.

April is PI Awareness Month.

Before the diagnosis, life was not easy, my daughter saw so many doctors and was in the hospital so many times because she was always sick. Isabelle got so sick, her pediatrician referred us to immunology; but sad to say, this first specialist did not perform all the tests needed to confirm a diagnosis. Then my daughter started having more seizures due to the sicknesses and her epilepsy specialist referred us to a different specialist for a second opinion. I took my daughter to see Dr. Susan Pacheco and she performed all the tests needed to confirm a diagnosis.

Isabelle was diagnosed with CVID in 2013. I was overwhelmed, but hopeful at the same time. My daughter started immunoglobulin therapy right away. The term "immunoglobulin" refers to the fraction of blood plasma that contains immunoglobulins, or antibodies. These immunoglobulins (Ig) in the plasma are IgG, IgM, IgA, IgD, and IgE. Individuals who are unable to produce adequate amounts of Ig or antibodies, such as my daughter, benefit from replacement therapy with Ig.

It is important to understand that the Ig that is given partly replaces what the body should be making, but it does not stimulate the patient's own immune system to make more Ig. Since Ig only replaces the missing end product, but does not correct the patient's defect in antibody production, Ig replacement is usually necessary for the patient's lifetime. In addition, the Ig only provides temporary protection. Most antibodies, whether produced by the patient's own immune system or given in the form of Ig replacement, are used up or "metabolized" by the body and must be constantly replenished.

Isabelle's Ig replacement therapy is administered subcutaneously (SCIG) weekly. SCIG is injected slowly, directly under the skin. This treatment plan has improved my daughter's health and quality of life. Yes, she still gets sick, but she is now able to recover within two weeks, not two months.

All individuals diagnosed with a primary immunodeficiency have overcome different obstacles in their lives. Isabelle is only one zebra in the medical world; but she is a strong, brave, little zebra!

Think Zebra!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Gluten-Free Strawberry Shortcake

Sometimes being on a gluten-free diet means you have to experiment with different recipes. Well, this past weekend, I created this gluten-free recipe, and it has got to be the best cake recipe I have ever made.

1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
dash of salt
whipped cream
2 cups strawberries, sliced

Preheat oven to 350*F. Grease muffin tins with coconut oil. In large bowl, beat together coconut oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and beat until well-combined and no lumps remain. Pour into the muffin tins (leave room for shortcakes to rise). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown, and toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 5 minutes. Carefully remove from muffin tins and let cool completely. Top shortcakes with whipped cream and strawberries. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Mystery of History

The Mystery of History by Linda Lacour Hobar is distinctively written from a Christian worldview. With an emphasis on reading, writing, research, and primary sources, The Mystery of History closely follows the Classical approach to education. Learning through trivium, younger, middle, and older students can all benefit from the variety of hands-on activities and study projects provided with each lesson. A history curriculum for all ages.

Each volume is written in chronological order and covers the following time periods:
Volume 1: Creation to the Resurrection
Volume 2: The Early Church and the Middle Ages
Volume 3: The Renaissance, Reformation, and Growth of Nations
Volume 4: Wars of Independence to Modern Times

I love being able to teach multiple grade levels using one resource and highly recommend The Mystery of History!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Thoughts on Testing

Have your child evaluated before ordering your curriculum. A standardized test will show the specific areas that your children have mastered and will also point out their weak areas. Many families have found that their children coming from public school have not truly mastered the required material for their grade. Under these circumstances, parents need to order curriculum that will start their children out on a strong foundation at their current academic level, not where their age or grade level indicates. This initial test also provides a basis of measurement for how well the homeschool student has progressed when compared to subsequent testing results. Standardized achievement tests should continue to be taken annually, since they provide a basis for evaluating the success of your home education, as well as being a valuable indicator that school is actually taking place in a bona fide and successful manner.

Visit for the CAT online test with immediate results. The online CAT Testing Service is for students entering grades 2-12 and cost $25 per student. You get test results as soon as you finish the test.