Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Way of life and death...of BUGS!

So today I was one of the lucky homeowners to spot an ant in my house, IN IT, where they DON'T BELONG!! Eeeeeew!! First it was one, then another....and another, this one was bold enough to steal a morsel of food from my kitchen, which actually isn't that hard to accomplish with two young children. I managed to find a handful of them coming from the front half of the house, which makes sense, because that is the part of the house that is at ground level, the back is at the second story. As you know, having a chemical sensitive child means I couldn't just run and grab some ant spray to get the suckers. I stood there thinking, "Now what?" This isn't in the biomedical manual!! Ok, so thinking along the terms of natural the first natural volitile thing I could come up with was VINEGAR!! I ran for the bottle, poured some into a squeeze bottle and went around soaking every crack and crevise on that side of the house, all the while big-toe-squashing the little buggers I found along the way. They don't die easily either so I finally got smart enough to soak a paper towel with the vinegar and use that. I sprayed outside along the house too. At least vinegar is a natural cleaner too, so I killed two bugs with one stone...hardy har har.

In a matter of 30 min, I managed to douse my house in vinegar, but I am proud to say there wasn't a pesky bug in sight for most of the day and it was squeaky clean to boot. Every now and then I would find a straggler roaming the middle of the room. Apparantly, what the vinegar does (which I didn't know before I soaked my house with it) is it masks their trail. They leave a trail that allows them to get back to their home, so when you get rid of that, they literally get confused! So I went on the hunt for more natural bug remedies and found these little tid bits:

* Vinegar can be used to destroy ant trails.
Without clear trails, the ants will get confused and may stay outside for a while. You can use it diluted with water or straight. And, of course, vinegar is also a great household homemade cleaner, so not only do you get rid of the ants, you get some cleaning done too.

* Cinnamon and black pepper are both increasingly being used in garden and
indoor insect control. You can try dusting the outdoor nests with either of these spices.
Cinnamon is more beneficial as a natural barrier to stop them from coming in -- it's most effective when you find the source of where the ants are coming in.

* Add borax to sugar.
Many people believe that you should use a 50-50 concentration, however, ultimately the goal is to have the ants bring borax back to their nests. Starting with a lower concentration such as 5% or 10% borax to sugar and gradually increasing it to 40%-50% will allow the ants to have more time to bring more back. The mixture should be placed where you see the ants or on the ant trails.

* Baby powder or talcum powder is not appreciated by these bugs. The theory is if you dust the ants and the trail, they stop coming.

* Liquid soap diluted with water is an easy way to wipe out your pests while
not harming your people. When used outside as a spray, you'll want to dilute the soap (such as Dr. Bronner's Organic Castile Soap) -- roughly 1 or 2 tablespoons per quart of water to kill the pests but not your plants.

* Bay leaves,
cloves, and cayenne pepper have long been used for ant control. Try putting one of these at their entry point, and in drawers, shelves, etc., where the ants are going, to prevent them from coming in.

* Peppermint can be sprayed around your home's perimeter and at ant entry
points. This will deter them from coming inside. More resources: SimpleGiftsFarm.com, Sugar Ant Hotel from Care2.

Fruit flies
* Clean up any ripe fruit droppings and take out the trash (or if you are a green superstar, your compost!) nightly for a few days -- fruit flies lay their eggs in overripe fruit.

* Apple cider vinegar is a great natural way to get rid of fruit flies. Pour some into a glass, and place a paper funnel over the container. Fruit flies love the smell and will fly into the glass, but will not find their way back out the funnel (for 4 of 5 fruit flies...).

* Leave a glass of cheap wine (apparently, fruit flies particularly like chardonnay) out. Mix a bit of detergent in it. The flies will sip on it and die shortly thereafter.

* Make your own fly paper by boiling water, sugar, and corn syrup together. Spread the mixture on brown paper grocery bags and wait for the flies to stick.

* Suck up flies through the back of an old hair dryer. The flies will go in the hot back end of the dryer and fry.

* Basil deters fruit flies. Mix some basil oil with water and spray your kitchen.

* Make a trap from an old soda bottle to catch wasps. Using a 2-liter soda bottle, cut off the top 1/3 of the way down. Flip the top so that the bottle neck is facing down into the rest of the bottle. Tape or staple the bottle neck to the outside of the bottom piece so that it fits tight. Fill the bottle part way with soda or fruit juice. You could even line the top of the bottle with jam to help attract the wasps. Wasps will enter the bottle but will not be
able to get out. Clean and refill the trap daily or as needed.

* Remove the nest. If you find a hanging nest, wait until the wasps are less active (namely, at night). Carefully approach the nest. Put a cloth or plastic trash bag entirely over the next and quickly tie it off at the top. Remove the nest from wherever it is hanging, then submerge the bag under water and weigh it down with a rock.
More resources: EarthEasy, Get Rid of Things.

Slugs can be a huge pest in any garden. They're fond of eating plants, shrubs, and mosses, much to any gardener's chagrin.

* Fill small bowls with stale beer and place the bowls strategically in areas
of the garden where the slugs are most active. Slugs apparently like stale beer, so they climb in to drink and they meet their maker (they drown in the liquid).

* Other eco-friendly slug-fighting tactics include liquids that work similarly such as grape juice or a tea made from yeast, honey, and water. More resources: Mother Earth's Garden

And I found this post on a message board thread, makes you really want to think twice about using Equal (HATE that stuff):

"Aspartame is great for killing small ants if they are in your house... We dumped
a few packets of Equal in the corner of our kitchen and the next morning had a
little sad pile of dead ants. Makes you think twice about dumping the stuff in
your coffee, for sure....

It's funny I read that aspartame used as an ant killer was an "urban myth" or
something before we tried it, but in my own little experiment it sure worked.
Makes you wonder who is really controlling what we read."

My mother has always said, "Necessity is the mother of invention" - it sure is!

More questions, as usual

Another new layer unfolds. It always appears that with our gains, comes the confusion of additional changes. We have been seeing major gains in Grayson lately, he is just flourishing in between rounds of chelation, but with each round we unveil yet another new possible problem. It seems like we change his supplements monthly....talk about heavy on the wallet? And with each new issue comes the recommendation of more testing...also out of pocket expenses for us. We just can't keep going at this pace or we will be out of a house in no time! We are trying to pace ourselves, but this is something that is very hard to do. A parent wants to do EVERYTHING possible to help their child, NOW, not when the paycheck allows it. It is painful to know that we need to be doing more for him, but we are forced to decide on what is most important at the time...ya know, like eat dinner or try a new supplement that MIGHT work...pay the gas bill or run another test to see how his liver is handling the chelation. How does one prioritize these things when they don't have a decent flow of income, is beyond me?? I am grateful for our ability to at least do what we can.

So the antifunal and antibacterial meds worked wonders, wow, what a difference!! We see such marvelous gains in him, he is calmer more regularly, he is waking in a GREAT mood, sleeping well and until after 8am every day (heaven!) sometimes I even have to wake him after 9:15am! The down side to the meds is that they put additional strain on the liver, which mercury and chelation also do. This is such a balancing game. We have increased the appropriate vitamins: vitamin C, B and E three times a day, plus we have added an additional liver support, artichoke extract. We also figured out that he probably has adrenal fatigue, which would cause the severe mood swings so we added Adrenal Cortex Extract, perhaps this is the cause for our recent wows. He has been pretty amazing for the past three days or so...hmmm, yes, it might be the ACE after all! BUT....isn't this always the way, with all these great changes we have seen a significant increase in itching. Crazy, frustrating, nonstop all over body itching!! He uses the back of his hands rather than fingertips, he rubs under his chin, across his forehead, along the sides of his head and ears, up his forearms rubbing them along the sides of his body, then he truly itches in the classic sense, his shins and ankles, both sides at the same time. This goes on all the time lately and it has been irking me trying to figure out the cause. We have spoken with Dr. Woeller and Dr. Schmidt. We have considered allergies, although it's not consistent with anything in particular (we tried removing foods and using Benedryl, which interestingly sometimes helps for a while) but nothing seemed to be addressing the root cause. I posted this concern on the Autism-Mercury Yahoo Group site and one person struck a cord. He said that liver stress can cause whole body itching. Between chelation, heavy metals moving through his body and then taking the additional medications, this makes complete sense. Of course, he recommended more testing, but he also said that if we increase his liver support and the itching subsides, we have our answer. I tested this tonight and it seems to have actually worked!! Although, only for about 2 hours or so. I am going to work with his Milk Thistle (which I don't think I have been dosing enough daily) and artichoke extract and might even add in another liver support, maybe going back to the liver life. Even with this newest event, we couldn't be happier with the results of the medications! We have to go back on them for one more round, to be sure we got all of the spores in every stage of their life cycle. Then about 7 days after we stop the Flagyl this time around, we are going to do another OAT test and see how his levels have changed. This is all fine and dandy, but what I am really curious about is how we will keep them down naturally, after we have stopped all of the meds. That is yet to be determined and only time will tell, but for now, I am enjoying the ride!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Here I am as the mad scientist! This is what it looks like when I split capsules. I wear the mask, because the DMSA and ALA give me a headache even to breath it. Since I am still nursing and have silver fillings (50% mercury) in my mouth, I like to take this precaution so as not to mobilize the mercury.

Antifungals and Antibacterials

Is that a word, antibacterial? It doesn't seem like it should be. So anyway, with the constant battle with yeast and clostridia, and his OAT test showing such high levels of each, Dr. Woeller recommended prescription strength meds. We added some bacteria fighting probiotics like Sacc. Boulardi and Culturelle, which do seem to be helping, but just not enough. Yesterday we had an appointment with our local DAN! doctor. He prescribed flagyl for ten days with a ten day refill, Diflucan for ten days on, ten off and another ten on, as well as Nystatin sort of indefinitely. The flagyl is an antibiotic specifically for clostridia, it will also address any hidden gardia spores. The Diflucan and Nystatin are both for yeast. Since Grayson had levels of tartaric acid, it means the yeast is interacting with the gut lining, nice huh? When I hear these things, I am envisioning little battles going on inside of his already little body, ACK! Not something a mother wants to picture. The Nystatin is not absorbed, so it will get the yeast floating throught he blood, etc. The Diflucan is more of a systemic and absorbed treatement to get the yeast that is consdiered "gut boring"....eeew!

We have been advised to start the Diflucan and Flagyl today then add the Nystatin in on day four, so we don't get severe die-off. Die off with gut bugs like this is hard on the body, especially the liver and gallbladder, because they are toxic little buggers and once you kill them, they are even more toxic, and are floating through and out of the body in high quantities. These chemicals they release are neurotoxic so we will likely see a worsening effect in about 48-72 hours. I ahve read that these symptoms can last from days to possibly even a week or more. Looking forward to it (hiding head under pillow).

Ok, well it's Friday which means it is time for me to get my mask on and make some compounded DMSA pills. I might even go out on a limb and try the ALA again at a lower dose, since we have the meds in place to help with yeast overgrowth, here's to hoping!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

RECIPE - Turkey Roll-Ups

If you are like me, you are probably always searching for new and exciting recipes. With a limited diet like Grayson's, that is quite a challenging feat! Lunch seems to be our more challenging meal, oh and snacks, ugh! I try to make food fun when I have the time. Here is a simple recipe that always goes over well, the toothpicks make it a fun food! I even enjoy this one, he he.

Applegate Farms smoked turkey deli meat (prepackaged)
cabbage (or lettuce of choice, we love raw cabbage)
grape tomatoes
dressing of choice, we use an all natural honey mustard
bacon is a nice addition although we didn't use it this time (forgot, whoops)

I like to dry off the turkey meat, since it is packaged in some minimal fluid, then all you do is line the turkey with the ingredients all in a row, roll, pick and slice!

Here is Mr. Man himself, ready to grab his plate and go. I had to hold him back to take the picture above, he had his hands all in the pictures!! He ate two plates full of this faster than I could clean up the mess!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

To ALA or not to ALA

Alpha Lipoic Acid....ahhhhh the joys of chelation. So, the typical protocol for chelation involves first lowering the body burden of mercury using DMSA, which is what we have been doing for 5 rounds, meaning five sleepless-emotional-yeasty weekends full of fun! ha ha We take 4 to 11 day breaks in between those weekends and lately it appears that we are best with 11 day breaks. Then comes the ALA, dun duu duu duuuun. ALA is the only known chelator to cross the blood brain barrier. This is the scary part, because mercury can get into the brain and for some reason, it gets lost or comfy in there and doesn't come back out, and then you have....yup, neurological problems and for many it's called autism! So I repeat, ALA is the only known chelator to cross the blood brain barrier, which is the very same barrier that is SUPPOSED to protect the brain. The problem with this is that it's a two way street, the ALA can help remove the mercury, but it can also usher mercury INTO the brain, if there are any current exposures to mercury going on. In other words, if you have silver fillings - AKA amalgams - DON'T TOUCH THIS STUFF WITH A TEN FOOT POLE!!! Amazingly, ALA is a supplement that many people unknowingly take without realizing that they could be causing damage, especially if they have fillings. So anyway, I could get so easily side tracked on this topic.

We added the ALA at the same dose we are using with the DMSA. That means that I am splitting a teeny tiny, itty bitty 50mg capsule THIRTY TWO ways! UGH!!! The texture is very funny too, it's like cotton candy rather than powdery, so every time I would try to split a mini pile, it would pop or jump into little shards of annoyingness! And picture this, me with my face mask on (because I have a mouth full of silver and immediately get a headache from opening the capsules) using little pieces of paper to split these teeny weeny capsules a trillion ways just to fill an enormous capsule with this pin head sized portion of cotton candy for Grayson to take. It's practically empty!! I think I might start adding his vit C, B and magnesium into these very same capsules so he doesn't have to take a different capsule for each and it would fill up the emptiness of the capsule, it's like he's swallowing a bunch of air. Here you go Grayson, it's time for your air....I mean, ALA. Gulp, burp!

Getting back to the point, yet again, the ALA, ummmm yeah! Not so sure we are ready for this. It caused a whole slew of symptoms that we were unprepared for. It's not uncommon to see some signs of yeast overgrowth during chelation, but we are now two days post chelation and he is STILL verbally stimmy. He is doing this strange random giggle that has nothing to do with anything happening at the moment. In fact, he could be just sitting and doing nothing or looking out of the window in the car and he giggles. Not even a funny ha-ha type of giggle, it's a weird gutteral giggle that sounds more like a nervous tic. So here is the list of "symptoms" we experienced this round:

- very sensitive emotionally (although this isn't unusual for him with ANY
changes to weather, diet or schedule)
- swatting at his head, overall head and face itchiness (he used to do this a
LOT before biomedical treatment and we don't see it too much in between rounds
except with yeast overgrowth)
- defiance and resistance galore (lucky us)
- he did mostly well during the middle of his round, but at times he was highly
stimmy, verbally (strange random giggles even when he was alone) and with touch
(he had to trace everything with his hands).
- when the ALA wore off, things got crazy. For example, we went out to dinner for my birthday and had ended our last two doses with just DMSA to "sop up" any free floating mercury. It was only 2 hours from our last DMSA, but about 5 hours from the last
ALA. At first, he was great at dinner, then suddenly, it was like a switch
flipped on him, he started itching like CRAZY, everywhere (legs, arms, face, ears, head
swatting), he started turning around in his seat to trace the outlines of the
chair rungs, he was whacking the chair sides with his elbows over and over,
rubbing his wrists on the table, swatting his head like crazy (this is one we
had constantly before biomedicine), and he was a ball of emotions, couldn't
handle ANY changes to his expectations (finding pine nuts in his salad threw him
over the edge). He just couldn't sit still and relax, his anxiety level seemed
through the roof! Oh and the energy, after dinner, we went out to walk around
outside and he was loud and running and running, so not like him!! He had a
hard time going to sleep also.
- then the day after ending the round, the random giggles continued, but
he is more level-headed emotionally so far.
- his first two BMs of the day so far have been one very very pale and floating
one followed by a very loose and slightly darker colored one. Both had a lot of
undigested foods in them. (Sorry if that is TMI!)

So I am researching and asking tons of questions to doctors and fellow moms who are going through this. I can't decide, if we should stick it out for another round (Lord help me, if we do) or if we should back off with the ALA for now and just continue with the DMSA until we get his body burden down more (leaning more this direction). I have been told that, if we up his yeast protocol and give doses of vit C and magnesium with each chelation dose, we might be able to help the side effects. We just haven't decided yet. Any great ideas?