Dragon Hare Studios – Every single day of his life, I watch this child fight for health. Food poisons him, we don’t know what exactly it is, and it is an everyday battle to ensure he has food that is safe for his body. The specialist suspects that his body cannot process sugars but cannot confirm this is the case because he is too young to perform the tests needed for this type of condition. At three, he has another 3-4 years to wait.
For a long time, we have suspected an allergy to a preservative. Did you know, even spices are packed in anti-caking agents? Preservatives are in every food you buy in a store. In order to protect him, we had to stop buying food in stores and make all of his food from scratch using only fresh ingredients. At his peak distress, we sought help from a naturopathic doctor who recommended a diet called SCD. This diet is based on the chemical breakdown of foods. He now only eats very simple foods, and all of his foods must be cooked completely – ie mushy veggies, applesauce instead of raw apples and of course, made from scratch not out of a jar. He cannot have anything with sugar or starch in it – gluten free products which are very common now, are made with corn and potato starches which he cannot have.
So if you think of this from his point of view, it means gone from his life are such things as birthday cake, cookies, crackers, Easter eggs at Easter, chocolate at Christmas, ketchup, s’mores over a campfire, sandwiches and noodles. There will be no preschool for him, there is no Sunday school, playdates, eating in a restaurant, traditional holiday meals or family visits because we cannot risk food contamination. There are no “quick” meals we can make for him as everything must be cooked. Think about the logistics of that – how do you go away for the weekend or take a vacation when every meal must be cooked with no preservatives? How do you visit Grandma when her house is full of “poison”? What do you do when you forget lunch at home? How do you go to the city for a day of appointments/shopping without cooking? How do you hire a babysitter that is educated in food nutrition and knowledgeable about the chemical makeup of food?
He is three and doesn’t understand the connection between food and the extreme pain he suffers because of it. He craves the things he used to eat when we didn’t know that ketchup was a poison or that cookies created a monster in him. He expects Santa to bring him chocolate and the Easter bunny to hide eggs but neither can happen anymore. How do his older siblings feel towards him when they too cannot eat their breakfast cereal, expect the Easter bunny to arrive bearing treats or have birthday cake on their birthdays?
I recently read a quote that said something along the lines of “everybody is fighting a battle, some battles, you cannot see”, the quote went on to speak of being kind because you don’t recognize what kinds of battles someone is facing. This is my battle. The endless cooking, the simple wish to make grilled cheese and soup for supper or eat out when I’m so exhausted that I cannot see to cook, and even more than that, watching my son through endless nights, his little body arched and rigid as he screams, hour after hour, in extreme pain, helpless to stop the battle.
He is my son, heart of my heart. His name is Kaiel and it translates to mean “mighty warrior. This battle that we fight with this little warrior, against an unknown demon, is a mist of something out there that so far, has not let us defeat it.
This image was not a successful entry in the recent Professional Photographer’s of Canada National Image Competition. The judges mentioned the shadow on his face caused by his arm, the brightness of the sky in contrast to the darkness of the image and the dislike of the mist in the image stating it did not fit the image of a warrior. This was a very personal image for me, the likes that I have not submitted before. I had hoped it would be successful as it represents a very personal battle.