Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A new chapter in our lives and in this blog

So on to a new chapter in our lives in this household.  We have always focused on treating Grayson's health concerns and tried to prevent with Gavin although some genetic things are inevitable, I am sure.  With my mouth full of amalgams, I expect some of that to effect him, at minimum.  He is completely unvaccinated with the exception of the vitamin K shot at the hospital.  We made the educated decision to allow that considering he would be circumcised.

Little signs that things weren't completely right showed themselves over the past 22 months of his life.  He has always caught illnesses with such ease that it has made it hard for us to enjoy trips that include any number of people all getting together, one of the illnesses even resulted in a febrile seizure when he hadn't even had a high temp, in fact, he was at the end of his illness.  It was Grayson's 4th birthday and I will never forget that day!  A ride in an ambulance resulted in a two day stay at the hospital with tubes and tests galore.  The happy ending was us going home with a healthy child who had no underlying conditions to set this incident off, yet another reason to consider the possibility that genetics, immune function and heavy metals factored into his inability to stay healthy.

We decided to have Gavin's hair tested for toxic and essential elements based on some concerns we have had with mood swings, aggression, bloating, problems with chronic yeast and bacteria, slow growth, and what seems like a slowing in his developmental progression.  It's so hard to assess this age, since there are normal variances in development, pains associated with teething and changes in growth patterns.  There was a sale on the Doctor's Data, Inc. hair test which pushed me just over the edge of the fence I was sitting on.  Getting 2 grams of hair from his fine wispy head of hair (only below the ears in back) was no easy task.  I kept cutting and snipping and trying to place my scissors in locations far enough away from where I took other chunks so it wouldn't be noticeable.  I just wasn't ready to snip off his wispy baby curls yet. 

Results.....drum roll please....yes, mercury is at play here, along with a few other co-contenders, namely antimony, tin, phosphorus and titanium.  He also had a slew of low essential elements like calcium, magnesium, potassium, and strontium.   It's never quite that simple though, since there is a whole host of factors at play.  The end result it still the same, so we chose chelation.  We are old pros at it by now and his supplements are already on par with one who needs chelation, so we just dove right in.  His first round was nothing short of remarkable.  It started with the expected and the usual increased irritation then slowly progressed into improvements that just could have not developed overnight.  His speech improved by leaps and bounds, his cognitive clarity was completely unreal, even his physical development jumped in a matter of one day.  He has always been afraid to explore steps while standing.  He is comfortable on steps, as long as he is sitting.  On his third day of chelation, Grayson yelled to me, "MOM!!!  Mom, Gavin just went down the stairs without holding on".  I turned to find him coming down the three steps at the bottom plateau of our kitchen stairwell, standing up and not holding onto anything.  He was so impressed with himself that he continued to repeat this feat over and over with ease!  It looked as if he had been walking down huge steps with his tiny self for ages, when in fact, his body was able to allow him to process the event normally, without fear, for the very first time.  Children with toxic metal overload tend to be delayed in fine and gross motor skills as well as harboring inappropriate fears, so this comes as no surprise to me.  Something else we noticed while on this round is a connectedness that I would never have known he lacked in without seeing what he was capable of!  You just don't know how unwell your child is until you see the comparison of well v.s. unwell in that same little person.  Gavin has always been social, makes great eye contact when he is being social and loves people, so I never really gave this area much thought.  I didn't think there was anything lacking, he was doing all the right things, but what I didn't realize, is how much more he is capable of!  Dave couldn't believe his eyes and ears the minute he came through the door after work.  He was promptly greeted with a wave of a little hand and a resounding, "Hi daddyyyyyy!" And every moment of the evening included direct and purposeful connections between Gavin and us.  He smiled with delight and playfully interacted with each and every one of us.  He showed his sense of humor, he waited more patiently, he goofed around with Grayson, he glowed with enjoyment fromt he world around him.  It made us realize that he is often in his own world, tantruming about having to share with his brother, running off in a tirade of anger just to come back and start it all over again.  Terrible twos seems to give us the rite of passage that entitles our kids to unruliness, but is this really a stage that deserves so much leniency?  I learned otherwise this weekend!

To wrap up the round and finalize the proof that chelation is a smart step with Gavin, he is acting as would be expected post-round.....irritable, aggressive, emotional, clingy, hungry, tired and just plain difficult, along with some new activities like standing with his head on the floor and flapping his hands when distressed.  Some of this is due to the redistribution of mercury/heavy metals, and some of it is directly related to the yeast overgrowth that comes with the joys of mobilizing mercury in the blood stream.  So we now have to clean up the disaster left behind by the metals, increasing his yeast protocol, letting him rest more than usual and keeping his moods as level as is possible as he goes through this inevitable phase of the process.  Reminds me of cancer chemotherapy in a way.  We stir things up in the body to ward off the ickies, then have to deal with the ugly ramifications left behind.

In addition to starting chelation, we bought a multitude of products to help us reduce the kid's exposure to antimony, arsenic and phosphorus.  While Gavin's arsenic levels were not out of range, they were on the high end of the normal range (along with a few others), which is again no surprise, since these metals, in addition to being part of the elevations caused by mercury, are also found in mattresses, carpet and furniture like couches, basically anything that is flame retardant, even their cute little jammies that aren't labeled otherwise!!  Did you know that companies are not obligated to label products that are treated with these hazardous products?!  We spent a small fortune on polyethylene mattress covers, one inch thick organic cotton mattress pads and organic sheets for the boys.  My next step is going to be to purchase a cleaner/sealant for the wall to wall carpeting that covers more than half of our home, but I need to find a dealer for that product.  One day at a time.

Grayson has started asking questions about biomedicine and why we do the things we do.  I welcome questions, because with it comes the opportunity educate him and share information that will ultimately create the building blocks to ensure that they will have their own ability to continue the lifestyle on their own some day.  The fact that he is asking questions also means that he is ready to hear the answers.  I never want to push him so that he shuts down.  He is very inquisitive and I love when he reiterates his knowledge back to us, surprising us with his level of understanding.  So today, he wanted to know why he had to take two DMG tablets instead of one.  In my explanation of how the the body works, I was trying to help him grasp the idea of us helping his body until his body can do this work on it's own.  I explained that mercury is hindering some of the functions of his body, one in particular being methylation, so until we remove decent amounts of mercury from his body, we have to help the body function properly by giving him the DMG which is a methylator.  Then, I told him that it is similar to driving.  His head cocked to one side and he said, "Huh?!".  I told him that until he gets his license, he still has to get around so in the meantime, we will drive him where he needs to go...until he is able to do it himself, some day in the future.  We are helping him function until he can successfully function on his own without help.  After some thought, his response was, "I get it." and I am sure he did.

The matter of choice - The harsh truth, yes, I am harsh!

Ok, so I hear this topic frequently and honestly, I'm a bit frustrated by it.  The idea of not having the choice to eat healthier.  Not having a CHOICE...?  Really people?  I understand there are some rural areas where choices really are a problem and I also understand that cost can factor into these "choices", but we do what we have to and I truly believe that, if you were faced with a tragic illness, that meant you HAD to make the choice to eat different, you would....would you not?  Where there is a will, there is a way.  And let's just say, if it was your child, you would go to the ends of the earth and you would mortgage your house over and over again, if it meant keeping him or her on this earth with you longer.  That I know.  There is no parent out there who would say, "Well, sorry kiddo, I just can't keep you healthy, I can't afford it".  We make choices to prioritize the important things in our lives, eating healthy and making good decisions for the health of our families is OUR job, it is OUR responsibility, no doctor is going to provide you with a quick fix when you or your child comes down with an autoimmune disease, celiac, diabetes, or even cancer, will they?  In fact, they don't WANT to, because they would lose their job, if they cured these illnesses, along with the drug companies and the researchers and scientists....they wouldn't have jobs either.  I didn't write this to go down that road, but you get my point.

I can't stress enough how important prevention is when it comes to the vast number of illnesses we are seeing on the rise in North America.  People, we HAVE choices, in fact, some of them SAVE you money.  When you clean with white vinegar that costs a few bucks a gallon instead of paying an arm and a leg for small dangerous bottles chemicals that each handle a different job, one for the toilet, one for the glass, one for the wood, one for the floors, one for the sink.....see where I am going with this?? Do you really think that the microbes that infest your kitchen sink are all that different from the ones on your floors, or the ones on your door knobs, or even different from your toilet microbes...unfortunately, they aren't.  Scary thought, huh?  Yes, the surfaces are different, but when you are using something natural with disinfecting abilities, it works on ALL surfaces.  If you want to save money in the long run then, keep yourself healthy and you will have less doctor co-pays, less prescription co-pays, less time out of work (if that applies)....people, buying an organic strawberry, potato, lettuce, etc, is not going to make or break the bank.  You need to be smart about your decisions, not everything you buy needs to be organic and pricey, but there definitely ARE things that should be organic.  And this isn't the only way to stay healthy.  Wash your veggies.  Clean your house smarter.  Avoid plastics.  Remove toxins.  Stop smoking (more financial savings).  Don't feed your kids or yourselves refined sugars by the boatloads (which means everything that is pre-made).  Don't eat food colorings.  Don't spray your lawns with expensive and unnecessary chemicals that you then track into your homes where your crawling baby is going to ingest them.  This is the reality of what we need to consider.  The bottom line is that living a healthier lifestyle is doable.  Yes, it means possibly researching and buying a few books or looking things up online.  Turn off the tv for a few minutes each night, do some reading... is your family's life worth it?  We plan ahead for our futures by stashing away the 401(k) money, by setting up college funds, why can't we think ahead like that for our health?  Probably because someone else isn't doing it for us.  So I hope this might kick you in the butt and encourage you to do some research, make some plans, buy some supplements, throw out your harsh cleaners, eat fresh raw veggies, in fact, try something new, get creative, make a simple green smoothie, have fun and LIVE your life healthier.  Do or die.....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Two steps forward, one back

This is just the story of our lives, isn't it?  We think we are moving right along and then something has to remind you how easily things can change with the wind.  We went home (my hometown in Connecticut) to celebrate my little sister's baby shower and the onslaught of 70+ guests has us reeling in the aftermath of careless illness somewhere from that crowd....along with my sister's fiance.  It amazes me how many people think it's ok to attend functions when they are "under the weather", she's pregnant for crying out loud!!   Sorry, one of my soapboxes!

So upon our return from our fabulous celebratory weekend, Grayson began vomiting all night, fever the next day, sure enough, he contracted strep throat.  He was actually perfectly fine the by the time I brought him into the walk-in clinic and everyone there thought I was nuts, but the nurse even said, "Your intuition was right, mom!" as she was signing our discharge paperwork with us.  I had the baby tested too, just to be sure, but amazingly, he came back negative, even after sharing cups with Grayson all weekend!!  There was one major difference in our maintenance ritual with the two boys before the illness....my husband stopped giving Grayson his Olive Leaf Extract (OLE), but continued it with his younger brother.  He was afraid the yeast flares it can cause would be troublesome on our trip, so he backed off the usual 200mg we were giving.  OLE fights strep, it's one of the few natural remedies that does!  It's a wonderful anti-bacterial in addition to being an anti-viral!!  So when we determined we were dealing with strep, I began increasing the baby's OLE by at least triple.  He was getting about 50-75mg two to three times a day, for maintenance, I upped it to 300-400mg three times a day.  He is doing GREAT still!!  Unfortunately, Grayson required Zithromax....my worst nightmare!  There are too many long term risks associated with the strep bacteria so I bit the bullet and went with the rx meds, afterall, this is why we should be avoiding them at all costs, unless they are NECESSARY....he is doing fabulous already on day two.  Bloating is the worst of his symptoms of this illness so far!  I have increased his yeast protocol to address the overgrowth caused by antibiotics and I am doubling his already massive amounts of probiotics at bedtime, so he is getting over 500 billion CFUs of probiotics!!  In order to comprehend that, most generic brands of probiotics offer you about 10 billion CFUs per capsule.  We brought out the big guns for the event!!  I want to be SURE that we will not undo all the hard work we have put into balancing that precious little gut of his.  We have come too far to let one round of antibiotics throw it all down the drain. 

This has also sparked some thought, because I once thought he could have PANDAS (AKA - Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections)
 which often manifests as a form of OCD accompanying this autoimmune disorder.  It happens when the same bacteria that causes strep throat and scarlet fever confuses the immune system, causing it to attack an area of the brain called the basal ganglia.  Abnormalities in the basal ganglia have been associated with OCD.  25% of kids with OCD are effected by PANDAS.  It's is often linked with kids on the spectrum, as well.  The symptoms were so closely related to Grayson's symptoms that I thought a bout of scarlet fever he had after his vaccinations at a year might have been related.  The kicker though is that anytime someone with PANDAS is exposed to strep, they have a severe attack of symptoms with aggression, OCD, sleep disturbances, fine motor problems, increased anxiety and tics.  This happened when he contracted strep at the start of his first year in preschool, almost two years ago now.  He was sweet as pie throughout this illness!!  Does this mean he doesn't have PANDAS at all?  Very possible.  Does that make me feel relieved?  You bet it does!!  PANDAS requires kids to be prophylactically treated with low dose antibiotics continuously, not good for a child who struggles with an imbalance in gut flora!!  The alternative is risky and expensive plasma exchange treatments.   So while I am sad that Grayson had to experience strep, that he had to be out of school for a week, and is on antibiotics, I am THRILLED to see that he didn't have the reaction to strep that I would have thought possible.  Another possibility is that our journey through biomedicine has brought us far enough over the hump that he is onto recovery...no looking back!!  Round 26 of chelation is right around the corner, moving on, happily!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Moving right along - What is it about outside?

So recently I started noticing that Grayson was doing considerably well when he woke up, but it seemed like as soon as he went outside, things would change.  He would become difficult, negative, angry, emotional, and the combination of symptoms would vary from day to day.  I was very interested to find out what the next Procedure in the BAX3000 (environmental) would result in, not to mention, I couldn't wait to treat whatever would be showing up!!

So this is the interesting list of things that have come up for Grayson:  feather mix, flourescent light, antifreeze, newspaper, mid-range unleaded fuel with ethanol, IgE, IgD, mildew, he has a genetic predisposition to flowers, then there were a few trees/plants that came up like catclaw and some that are native to the midwest.   Our younger son reacted to more than double Grayson's list!  He showed sensitivities to things like static electricity, titanium dioxide, methylparaben, teflon, the white tailed spider and even to, get this, UV-B, that is the SUN for crying out loud!!  No wonder my kids come in from outside emotional and unruly!  Everyone always talked about their kids tiring out from the sun and the outdoors, not mine....now I know why!  So, moving right along with treatment, can't wait to see what is in store for us next!

Monday, April 5, 2010

BAX3000 vaccine treatment

So on Wednesday Grayson was treated for vaccines using the BAX.  We didn't really expect to see anything different from our usual calm child afterwards.  We were hanging around the office with some people and I noticed that Grayson was acting strange, swatting at his head (which we haven't seen in a LONG time) and itching his ankles with the opposite foot again (something else we haven't seen in a while).  Then I noticed that his neck was spotted so I lifted his shirt and he had a smooth, red dotted rash all over his back, neck and upper chest!  He was irritable, fearful, hot and itchy.  He didn't want to talk to the other children in the office by himself, we had to sit with him.  He is the MOST social child you could ever meet, so this was VERY odd.  This is not the usual response to his treatments and it was definitely all of a sudden!  My husband was convinced it was an immediate reaction to the BAX and even the doctor said the rash looked like detox.  The days after treatment were a blur of exhaustion for me, he was emotional, moody, fearful of things that haven't bothered him in months like bugs outside, the sun was too hot for him to play on the deck (spring days with temps in the high sixties, low seventies), he was disturbed by my blender sound, and he was just plain mean to his little brother.  It is now Monday and today he has woken up like a different child, even more mellow and even-tempered than before!  He came downstairs first thing this morning and painted while waiting for me to wake up, he sang along with my loud blender, he went outside in long pants and a shirt and played in the hot sun (it's warmer this morning than the past few days have been), he is out playing golf on his own without fear of the bugs, and I can hear him interacting with his little brother beautifully.  When Gavin cries, he asks him if he is ok!!  And the ultimate change I have seen this morning, this may seem odd, has to do with going to the bathroom, ha ha ha.  I have been working on getting him to wipe himself after going #2 and he has been so resistant.  He is literally disgusted to the point of tears by the act of wiping and touching where it is "dirty".  This morning he was waiting for me to wipe him and I was involved with cleaning up after his little brother's breakfast mess, so I told him to get started by unrolling the toilet paper and tearing it off.  Next thing I know, he was trying himself, then a second time (because I always tell him to wipe and check again, lol, so he doesn't miss anything)!!!  He actually completed the entire process himself and was SO proud of doing it!!  So was it the BAX treatment or just coincidental timing?  I don't know, but I do know that there was a DEFINITE reaction immediately following treatment, that much we can't deny.  I can't tell you how happy I am to hear my son playing in the yard right now, trying to catch a moth in mid-air flight....the same child who this weekend was afraid to pass by bugs to leave the safety of the deck.