HEALING BRODY – PART 5
I had spent the last few years living in the land of denial and being bombarded by doctor excuses for Brody’s health issues. One day, my good friend Debbie, talked me into going to a DAN! conference. I thought “Why not? It will be fun to get away for two days and have some adult time.” Little did I know, my world was about to be turned right side up.
We sat down in a convention room and waited for the conference to begin. I don’t remember who the first speaker was, but I do remember one specific question, “How many of you in here have a child or grandchild with autism?” Debbie and I raised our hands and sheepishly looked around. Would we be the only ones? My mouth dropped. There were too many hands to count. There was an electrical charge and energy in the room. Debbie and I grabbed hands. We were not alone!
All of us in the room shared one thing in common – autism, and that we were starving for information.
As the day progressed, I became re-energized. The fight that had been sucked out of me over the years was returning. Autism was much more than a brain disorder (as I had been led to believe) and I had the ability to make drastic changes in Brody’s outcome. I felt like I regained some sense of control. DAN! encouraged parents to question the status quo thinking running rampant through much of the medical establishment.
DAN! validated many of my concerns that had been dismissed by the pediatricians. I was not crazy and there were underlying health issues contributing to my son’s autistic behaviors. Unexplained rashes, constant vile smelling diarrhea were not normal. It was time to get to the root of problems and not put on another band-aide.
DAN! changed the way I looked at Brody and autism, and gave me hope and a sense of belonging. It was the kick-start I needed to begin my journey to regain Brody’s health. I couldn’t wait to get home. Brody was going on the Gluten/Casein Free Diet ASAP. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was optimistic.
To read more Healing Brody click here.
ANNIE’S STORY – PART TWELVE OF TWELVE
You may be asking, “What’s point of Annie’s Story?”
One point I wanted to draw attention to is that significant progress past the age of five is possible. I have lived it with Annie.
Most of the recovery stories told in the autism community are about children who snapped out of it around age three from just a few interventions. While I am happy for those children and parents, I think there needs to be more discussion about gains made by children after age five. Their stories may not be as dramatic. Their improvements may come slower, but they do happen. In my opinion, hope should not be abandoned once our children reach a certain age. Those of us with older children need to share our successes, no matter how small, to keep each other going.
I also wanted to share a recovering story that had a lot of twists and turns, gains and losses, ups and downs. Our path has not been straight. I had to fail miserably many, many times in order to stumble upon the right combination of interventions to help my daughter. I pray that other parents can learn from my numerous mistakes and perhaps, have an easier journey.
Much to my dismay, Annie did not make significant gains due to one “magic pill” and she did not recover overnight like you often read about on the internet. The skills she has recovered are the culmination of a lot of interventions and four years of persistence.
While sequential homeopathy and craniosacral therapy had the most dramatic results for us, I believe many of the other things we did (and still do) have played a part in Annie’s progress. Just like lots of health assaults caused Annie to regress in the first place, I believe lots of treatments have helped her come back to us. To summarize, the combination of interventions that I feel have gotten Annie where she is today are:
- Diet – GF/CF, eliminating allergy foods, rotation diet, paleo diet, organic, no processed foods
- MB12 shots
- Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
- Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)
- OSR #1
- Sequential Homeopathy
- Craniosacral Therapy
We are no longer doing HBOT or OSR, however, Annie is still on all the rest of the items listed above.
The third and final reason I told this story is purely selfish. It was to have a written record of all we’ve been through as a family, how far we’ve come, and all that I have to thank God for. I certainly have days when I like to wallow in sadness, self-pity, and worry for the future. But when those days come, I am going to read the following to remind myself that I should not complain. Things are not perfect, but wow…they are so much better than they used to be.
I am thankful:
- For every time my daughter is blabbering away about nothing (verbal stimming) because I remember when… she didn’t speak one word.
- For every time my daughter leaves toys strewn all over my house because I remember when… she wouldn’t play with any toys at all.
- For every morning when it takes my daughter a half hour to pick out an outfit that she will agree to wear to school because I remember when… she was so “out of it” that she didn’t even realize she was wearing clothes.
- For every time she pesters me to buy her a million toys when we go to a store because I remember when… bringing her to a store resulted in a meltdown of epic proportions or she’d get so fixated on one toy that I couldn’t get her to move.
- For every time my daughter interrupts me because I remember when… she wouldn’t acknowledge my existence and didn’t want to interact with me in any way.
- For the little scraps of paper my daughter leaves all over my house because I remember when… she couldn’t write, draw, color or cut one thing.
- For every time my daughter tries to play with another child, only to be rejected or made fun of, because I remember when… she isolated herself and stayed in her own little world.
- For every time my daughter grabs my face, turns it towards her and says, “Look!” when she wants my attention because I remember when… all she did was stare at the ground.
If Annie had not regressed, I would have taken all of this for granted. I have come to realize Annie’s regression into autism is exactly what I needed to put life into perspective. Things that used to “rock my world” no longer cause me to blink an eye. I know what true pain and suffering is and I know true joy as well.
I’ll keep you updated on Annie’s journey. And please let me know of any interventions that have worked for your child. I’d be nowhere on this journey without the advice of smart parents who are fighting every day to make their children’s lives better.
We were given these children for a reason. I think there are certain traits we share in common. Never giving up on our children is number one.
To conclude Annie’s story, I thought it would be fitting to provide a summary of her journey into and her journey (thus far) out of autism. Seeing her progression in one place, in my opinion, emphasizes how far Annie has come. If you are interested, please click the following link: http://www.healthinducedautism.com/annie-and-brody—then-and-now.html.
For parts 1-11 of Annie’s Story, http://ventography.wordpress.com/category/annies-story/
ANNIE’S STORY – PART ELEVEN OF TWELVE
Annie was now five years old and I had just come out of the worst depression of my life. I decided to try sequential homeopathy as a last-ditch effort to recover Annie. I wasn’t expecting it to work. I couldn’t handle getting my hopes up only to be crushed once again. I fully intended to give up on my quest to recover Annie if sequential homeopathy was another giant disappointment.
We started homeopathy while Leah was away for the summer. While she was gone, I had seen some amazing things. Most noteworthy, Annie was becoming conversational. Prior to homeopathy, Annie could speak in sentences, but only regarding things she cared about or wanted. There was no back and forth conversation… she was just blabbering. She couldn’t ask or answer any questions.
After two months of homeopathy, she was doing both. I could actually have a conversation with my daughter about her day, what she likes, what she doesn’t like, what she was thinking about… it was a dream come true. Also, Annie’s mood improved drastically. She seemed like the happy, smiley, care-free child she was prior to her regression.
My parents noticed the change. Her school noticed the change. Our neighbors noticed the change. But I didn’t want to tell Leah for two reasons. First, because I didn’t know if these changes would last. Second, because I knew Leah was the perfect person to tell me the truth. She would tell me if Annie really had changed because she hadn’t seen Annie in two months. Maybe everyone else was just trying to make me feel better.
Leah came home and we scheduled a time for the kids to play. I held my breath and didn’t say a word to Leah about the changes I had noticed in Annie. To my delight, Leah confirmed the exact same things I was seeing. I could tell by the look on her face and the tone of her voice, she was shocked and impressed. Annie even had a rudimentary conversation with her.
I was experiencing another “defining moment” with autism. I could feel that something was different this time… maybe this was actually going to work. I allowed myself to get my hopes up… just a little.
In another prayer session, craniosacral therapy popped into my head. I heard about craniosacral many years earlier, but had dismissed it immediately because it involves therapists laying their hands on the child in order to clear energy blockages. With Annie’s sensory issues, I figured my mom and I would have to hold her down while the therapists “did their thing.” I just wasn’t up for another “scream fest” so I decided not to pursue it. But now, because of homeopathy, her emotions were under better control. Maybe it was worth a try?
Our first craniosacral session was for two consecutive hours. I figured it was going to be a nightmare. I was blown away when Annie climbed right up on the massage table and cooperated with the therapists, without even making a peep of protest. For the first time since she regressed, I could see a look of relaxation and peace on Annie’s face. She loved it. In fact, when our two hours were up, that’s when Annie got upset… she didn’t want to leave. Luckily, we were there for treatments the entire week so we were able to get her to leave without too much of a scene.
After our week of treatments, we started noticing several changes. The most dramatic was that Annie’s sensory issues were drastically improved. She no longer covered her ears, she didn’t seem sensitive to light anymore, and she was no longer as picky about the clothing she wore.
Three months later, we went back for three more days of craniosacral treatments. Prior to the treatments, Annie could not write a thing, she hated drawing, and despised coloring. She was six years old at this point, so she should have been writing and enjoying arts and crafts. After the treatments, Annie came home and started drawing elaborate stick figure drawings that were very detailed. She even drew animals and scenes. All she wanted to do was draw. She was a drawing maniac for a week and then it happened… she started writing.
She wrote story after story. She probably had all these pent-up stories in her head that she was unable to express and now, she was thrilled that she could release them. Her handwriting was sloppy and hard to read and her drawings were not age-appropriate, but we couldn’t have cared less. We were thrilled that she actually liked drawing and writing!
Every month, we did more homeopathic “clears” where we gave her remedies to clear various traumas Annie had suffered during her life. Every month we saw more incredible gains.
After two years of steady monthly improvements with homeopathy: Annie’s OCD and anxiety went away, her verbal stimming became rare, she no longer got sick every other week, her coloring looked better (she looked healthier), the diarrhea went away, she told me she was no longer in pain, Annie was on target academically (except handwriting), she managed to make a few friends, and she was sleeping through the night (AMEN).
I can’t explain homeopathy as well as I’d like to. Most people in the USA think it is crazy or simply the “placebo effect.” However, it has actually been around longer than western medicine and is very common (accepted) in places like Europe. Homeopathy believes that “like cures like” (Sound familiar? Think vaccines.) and that the body has the ability to heal itself if that healing force is not suppressed (like it often is with autism).
All I can tell you is that sequential homeopathy and craniosacral resulted in giant improvements for my daughter. They are both energy therapies, so I believe they compliment each other and may have a synergistic effect. Will they work for your child? I wish I knew. That’s the frustrating thing about autism. As we all know, a one size fits all approach does not exist. However, I believe homeopathy and craniosacral therapy are safer than some of the other interventions out there and they likely won’t hurt your child. So maybe, they are worth a try.
You are now caught up to where Annie is today. She is, for the most part, a happy, well-adjusted 7-year-old.
Do I consider Annie fully recovered from autism? No. Not yet. But I have faith that she will be.
What is my definition of recovery? When Annie can attend a “regular” school (without a para or any other supports) and be indistinguishable from her neurotypical peers. I believe this goal will be achievable for Annie in the next 2-3 years. I’ll keep you posted as our story unfolds.
One more post to follow with my thoughts and takeaways from Annie’s story.
To be continued…
For parts 1 – 11 of Annie’s story, http://ventography.wordpress.com/category/annies-story/
For more about homeopathy, http://www.healthinducedautism.com/homeopathy.html
For more about craniosacral, http://www.healthinducedautism.com/craniosacral-osteopathic-manipulative-therapy.html
ANNIE’S STORY – PART FOUR OF TWELVE
After Annie’s regression, I spent three months being held hostage by depression. I spent my days crying and praying Annie would come back to me to no avail.
On her second birthday, something made me “snap out of it.” I started hearing a loud clock, ticking over my head, reminding me I had no time to waste (this clock still plagues me to this day).
I was ready to take action. If early intervention was key, I was ready to intervene. I was a computer researching madwoman.
One day, while reading about therapy for autism, I stumbled on the words:
Autism – Recovery is Possible.
This was, for me, another defining autism moment. Those four words gave me the hope I had been missing for the last several months. I had never heard children could recover from autism, let alone did I know anything about how health relates to autism. My brain was on fire with excitement. I did not leave my computer for the next week. I read about special diets, supplements, chelation, etc. until I thought my eyes would fall out.
“Sign me up; where should I start?” I asked myself. The Gluten Free Casein Free (GF/CF) diet seemed pretty low risk. I called my mom to ask her what she thought. She thought it couldn’t hurt, so I immediately called my husband and asked him to meet me at Whole Foods Market (even though it was 8pm). I had him watch Annie so that I could concentrate on buying a whole new array of foods.
I made Annie go GF/CF cold turkey and she was not pleased. Prior to the diet change, she lived on cheese and pizza. Annie went on a hunger strike and I contemplated throwing in the towel, but something told me to keep going… I had to at least give it two weeks. Prior to the diet, Annie walked with her head down and arms out to the side like a robot, making strange “gunk-gunk” noises all day long. Her noises were like nails on a chalkboard to me.
After 2 weeks of the GF/CF diet, it was like a fog had been lifted for Annie! She actually looked up for the first time in months. She even looked in my eyes occasionally. I felt like she was aware of my presence again and she cared whether or not I was around. She started using a few gestures and even a word here and there to communicate with us.
Although the GF/CF diet certainly wasn’t the dramatic cure for Annie that I read about on the internet, her subtle improvements were enough to keep me going. I knew I was on the right path with the diet, but I needed to keep adding more building blocks.
Up next…supplements. I was off to the races!
To be continued…
Annie’s Story Part 2 http://ventography.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-prequel/
For more information on the GF/CF Diet go to http://www.healthinducedautism.com/gluten-freecasein-free-gfcf-diet.html.