God has blessed Alice and me with three children. Two of them have had life-threatening conditions, but the Lord has healed them both. Bobby had lymphoma (click here for more) and Mary had a brain aneurysm (click here).
By the grace of God, our oldest child has never had a serious illness. Caroline (age 13) has been relatively healthy for her entire life. We thank God for this.
(This is a recent photo of Caroline.)
Even with Caroline we have had to deal with some physical issues. In her case it was food allergies. Specifically, after much difficulty, we discovered that she was allergic to BHT (a preservative) and Red 40 (a coloring).
We observed from a fairly early age that Caroline would almost have a personality change after eating certain foods. She was generally a happy and pleasant small child. However, after eating certain things she would get irritable, angry, and cry for almost no reason. She would throw temper tantrums and would not want to be held. As she grew older, her reactions became more predictable. It went like this: after eating something, Caroline would get irritable, feel lousy, get a headache, fall asleep on the couch, wake up and throw up, and then feel better.
When Caroline was a small child, I was a school psychologist in public schools here in Georgia. Because of my position, I dealt frequently with children who had these same types of behaviors at school. Some of those kids actually had ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Many who we thought had ADHD probably actually did not. Now that I think back on it, I wonder how many kids who have been medicated for ADHD actually just had food allergies.
As we tried to "weed out" certain foods from Caroline's diet, Red 40 was easy to find. We just avoided the color red. We later found out that Red 40 can be found in other dark colored things as well. Red 40 is not in healthy foods; it's usually in candy, cookies, and other pre-prepared things.
BHT was more difficult to find. We eventually realized that it was primarily in items like cereal, crackers, candy, and other things that needed to last a while. BHT was not in healthy foods.
These discoveries led us to eat a somewhat more healthy diet. We are by no means health-food fanatics, but this was a necessity.
Now that Caroline is 13, she has grown out of some of this. We are extremely thankful for that. This whole process has made us aware of what we are putting into our bodies. It also causes me to ponder how much poor behavior that we see out of children is caused by what they are eating.