Sunday, February 26, 2012

Autism File - the magazine

My first issue of the Autism File arrived and was sitting on the counter calling my name for a few days before I really dug in.  You know how it can time?  That is a very rare commodity around here these days.  So it patiently waited until I decided to take some time for me one night when I retired early to be with my magazine.  That doesn't mean I didn't steal a few peeks in the meantime here and there, but I wanted uninterrupted time to take it all in.

At first glance, the cover is bold and informative without being too busy for our overburdened and cluttered minds.  Starring back at me is the beautiful and famous Holly Robinson Peete holding her handsome autistic son, RJ, in a familiar loving vice-grip, screaming pride and protection at the same time.  Of course, I want to know her story, is it like mine?  What page is that story on....oh wait, there is an article on toxicity, oh and folate deficiency, and ohmygoodness, there is the camel milk article by page at a time.

The topics?

All of interest, with one common denominator, how we CAN overcome and understand autism!  Ironically, I would happen to receive the very first Autism File with an article from a dear internet friend, Christina Adams, who is a member of our camel milk facebook group and has written about camel milk for healing!!  In the same magazine, a wonderful article about yeast overgrowth, from my very favorite Nutritionist, and another new internet friend, Julie Matthews.  I feel honored to be reading these fabulous articles from such knowledgeable women.  I am even more ecstatic to witness this information taking the floor in a powerful message connecting autism with repairable, treatable medical conditions, finally!  We, personally, started our journey with biomedicine and it's been good to us, we have a responder.  I have always wanted to scream our treatment successes from mountaintops for the whole world to hear.  This magazine is doing exactly that!  Kudos to you Autism File!  It is successful at being both the ears and the voice of many ASD families.

Getting off track here, let's get back to the topics.  As I sit here scanning through the magazine (which I thoroughly read already, from cover to cover, stretching late into the night), I see a wide variety of topics ranging from ways to nurture an autism family marriage and keeping dreams within reach of your child to the most effective ways to consider handling your ASD child's health issues, healing them from the inside out, thereby potentially dissolving their symptoms one at a time.   This magazine offers encouragement, hope, and most importantly answers...real answers, for and by real people!!  This is what we need, we need answers.  Doctors notoriously turn autism families away, suggesting that this is the best your child can be, "learn to live with it" - I have one word for those doctors - WRONG!  I may have a few other choice words too, but I will keep this clean.  =) 

Do you want to know what toxins can contribute to autism?  You will find it here.  Do you want to know what supplements are recommended for those on the spectrum?  You will find that here too.  Do you want to know what all the hubub is about the latest discovery on folate receptor antibodies?  Yup, you got it, that is here too.  You will even find the the reason camel milk is the latest topic on the tongues (no pun intended) of ASD parents.  Intertwined with all of these fabulous articles, will also find the latest and greatest on: recipes, foods for our severely restricted diets, information for the most cutting-edge labs to use for testing, the latest research, how to plan for your ASDer's future, ways to improve learning, and even the latest political challenges we face and/or overcome in the ASD community.  This is a very well-rounded magazine, chock full of information, capturing just about every facet of life impacted by autism. 

If you or someone you know has a child on the spectrum, or even ADHD, this resource is an absolute must-have!  All the latest and greatest is captured in this invaluable subscription and, if you are like me, it will serve as a jumping off point, spurring hours of research to find more....more to open those windows of opportunity into healing and helping our children.  My child is recovering, join me! 

No one says it better than Editor-in-Chief, Polly Tommey herself,

"The Autism File team is passionate about finding answers to the many critical questions surrounding the autism epidemic.  Why the dramatic rise in autism and Asperger's diagnoses over the past two decades? Why are so many ASD children and adults unable to get basic support? Why do so many students with autism fail to get the education that they need? Why are a great many people with autism living in pain, often with underlying medical conditions that go either undiagnosed or ignored?  The list goes on, and we will continue to work hard at getting the answers.  There are many brilliant doctors, scientists, researchers and autism groups working around the clock to achieve this.  The Autism File will continue to report on the very latest and bring it to your door."

Thank you Autism File, for getting the word out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The low down....and dirty

Get your mind out of the gutter!!  Dirty, hmm.  The only dirt I am referring to here is the soil, because the latest and greatest on us involves the soil!  Well, sort of. 

Mud pies and probiotics 

I believe there is a reason kids make (and eat) mud pies!  lol  Their body instinctively knows more than us germ-a-phobic parents!  Soil contains the very organisms that used to enter our body on a daily basis.  I know you are thinking, "but what about the parasites??"  Well, if you are ingesting certain microbes along side the parasites, those parasites have no chance of survival!  And chances are, if the soil is loaded with these beneficial bacteria, the bad guys are probably non-existent anyway.  Ahhh, mother nature....Now, I am not suggesting you run out back and make yourself a mud-pie for lunch, because today you can get those same bacteria in a capsule.  They are targeted to certain microbes and yes, they are parasite-free, haha.

Remember your grandmother talking to you about growing up on the farm?  I know mine did.  She raised animals, played in the dirt, rode horses, and ate foods grown in that very soil.  They didn't use anything but water to rinse those veggies too!  Today it's so eloquently referred to as "farm to table" and it's highly under-rated.  Before we tarnished our soils with pesticides, fertilizes and chemicals (be it natural or not), we had soil full of micro-organisms very beneficial to just about every aspect of our body chemistry and while they aren't natural residents of our intestines, they SHOULD be regular visitors!

These micro-organisms prevented the growth of anything harmful in the soil and ironically, they can do the same in our bodies!  The data is overwhelming and I will share a few links below, in case you want to read more, but before we get to that.  Let me share the results of our last five weeks using SBOs (soil-based organisms). 

We started them on very low doses on a Friday so that we could spend the weekend observing.  We didn't need to observe much though, because their uncontrolled yells, fighting and screeches could be heard from anywhere in the house.  We are no stranger to die-off and anything that results in die-off usually tells me that we are on the right track, but holy cow!!  But just like any other successful intervention, we also saw TONS of improvement.

Why the new probiotic? 

Just prior to starting the SBOs, Grayson had been going downhill, symptoms resembling his dark Clostridia-riddled days.  It was slow, but it was mounting.  He had begun to wake grumpy and irritable and this was quickly appearing to be the new norm, the OCD was trickling in and he had a new snort-tic, which we were trying to determine, if it had been related to the mold exposure he had at school (yeah, nice right?  A topic for another day, we are now homeschooling).  The symptoms were picking up speed and intensity.  Gavin on the other hand, had become a handful long before this.  Things had been going SO well, then suddenly we felt like we were hit by the pathogenic school bus from hell again.  I was increasing their three-times-daily natural anti-microbials without success.  Vague memories of Clostridia creeping back in, giving me nightmares!!  So we started the biofilm program back up and included Lumbrokinase this time.  It was going fairly well, but we were creeping back up the hill to better.  It wasn't fast enough for me.  I like to run when there is a hill on my horizon! 

In my usual nightly research mode, I came across a probiotic that was similar to some mentioned in our FB groups here and there.  I was intrigued, to say the least, because intertwined in the overgrowth madness, I felt like all I was doing was killing (the microbes, not the children).  This seemed to spur massive oxalate dumps.  Was it the chicken or the egg.  Were the pathogens causing the oxalates to build up or was the oxalate dumping causing the PH shift enabling the overgrowth.  Regardless, I needed to find out how to encourage the growth of the good guys.  Maybe in this way, we could salvage the few oxalabactor formigenes (the specific bacteria solely responsible for degrading oxalates from the diet) we have left.  Feed them, let them grow!!  If we can't buy them and put them back into our intestinal terrain, we needed something to protect the ones we have left.  I had personally begun to have oxalate dumps in this time period too, which had me seriously reconsidering the role of killing off microbes daily, even with the natural stuff, because this didn't start for me until I began the same regimen my kids were on.  I never had problems with chocolate, nuts, or carrots before.  But it wasn't long before I too was following in their footsteps.  Anytime we are killing off massive amounts of anything, we should question what else could be impaired in the process.  I knew it was the lesser of two evils at the time, but now I can say that I know differently.  But how would we do this successfully with such overgrowth challenges in the picture?

Jagged path to the finish line

As with anything else that sets our body straight, we experienced a healing crisis in the first weeks on the SBOs, plus to muddy the waters, we decided that giving the anti-microbials was counterproductive and would kill off these essential bacteria, so we stopped everything other than their supplements, camel milk, Lauricidin and nightly probiotics.  While ramping-up the SBOs we had incredible challenges.  There were days I was running toward the kitchen cabinet that holds our natural anti-microbials....running.  My husband had to stop me!  Thank goodness he had done as much research as I had done on the SBOs and believed in the science behind them.  He was much stronger than I in the moments of question.  As we foraged through the "symptoms" it began looking more like we were seeing a healing crisis, as defined here.  Here is a description of healing crisis from Shirley's Wellness Cafe -

"Healing Crisis: As with all true natural cure, the road to better health may begin with a healing crisis. As you move toward better health with natural healing programs and better nutrition, healing begins to occur. As part of the healing process the body will begin to discard toxic residues which have built up in your body over the years. The healing process usually does not occur without repercussions. During the initial phase of healing, as your body begins to clean house, (detoxify) and your vital energy begins to repair and rebuild internal organs, you may experience headache, uneasiness, flu like symptoms and fatigue. This is called a healing crisis. You may feel worse before you feel better. As you continue to improve, you may begin a process called retracing. For example, if you used to get skin rashes, the rashes may reappear or get worse for a period of time as your body eliminates toxins through the skin. You may also experience an initial increase in urination, or you may feel more nervous. In actuality, you are not getting worse, you are actually getting better. Eventually you will reach a plateau of better health. During the healing crisis, it is important to not suppress these temporary symptoms with drugs or the healing process may become interrupted."

and this

"One crisis is not always enough for a complete cure. The person in a chronic "locked" disease state will often have to go through cycles of healing crises, with each one improving the condition some. It has taken time to develop a chronically diseased state, and time is required to let go of the "locked" energy, piece by piece. It's like peeling the layers off an onion.

Often the crisis will come after one feels their very best and most energized, setting the stage for the elimination. The whole body gets into action. Most people feel an energy boost at the beginning until the toxins start dumping into the blood stream for elimination. Go as slowly as your body needs so your elimination is gradual and comfortable.

With a more serious condition, there may be many small crisis to go through before the system can become healthily balanced. Everything must be considered and given its proper place in the build-up to a healing crisis. One should expect it and work with the body, not resentfully against it.

What did our healing crisis look like?  In this order...
  • Better connections with both kids, but more-so with Gavin, including significant eye contact
  • Spontaneous singing from Grayson (who is normally extremely shy when it comes to performing in any way)
  • More affection
  • Grayson's snorting and Gavin's defiance significantly increased in frequency and intensity
  • Sensory defensiveness increased then fluctuated off and on for a few weeks
  • Anger and irritability
  • Both became clumsy, knocking things over, bumping into things and hurting themselves
  • Disproportionate reactions to anything frustrating
  • Yeast symptoms including: hyperactivity, mood swings, emotional liability, anxiety, sensory seeking and defensiveness
  • Many bowel changes (I won't gross you out with the details)
  • Repeated hiccup episodes, from both boys
  • Familial awareness in Gavin that never existed before (ie - one night he wouldn't let me in the kitchen while he surprised me with cleaning off the entire kitchen table from dinner, he's only 3)
  • Longer periods of the boys playing together
  • Gavin lost two chunks of hair from the scalp which is smooth where the hair was
  • Lack of focus
  • Explosive behaviors
  • Pain in ears for both (severe, like ear infections) which only lasted a day for each
  • Lethargy
  • Incredibly fidgety
  • Grayson began exhibiting tics we haven't seen in a while like head-tilting, jaw stretching and ear and head swatting
  • More irrational anger and hyperactivity
  • Gavin randomly experimenting with unknown foods and eating veggies
  • OCD in Grayson
  • Increased cooperation with both boys listening to me without argument
  • Increased hitting from Gavin
  • Bedtime routine more streamlined, less frantic
  • Sporadic sleep disturbances (not able to fall asleep, waking in the night, early waking)
  • Moods becoming more consistently happy with less of the above intermittently
  • Physical symptoms coming and going in Gavin: significant bloating, increased keratosis on arms, red spot like an inflammation under one eye, very dark circles under the eyes, broken blood vessels in one eye which increased when dose was increased, and eye pains for about a week
  • Grayson's tummy remaining flatter than ever
  • Increase in die-off symptoms appearing 45 minutes after dose, this increased to an hour and then it went away completely
  • Still seeing disproportionate irritability in Gavin and randomly with Grayson
  • Unsolicited report from school about Gavin having a "great day" and he's never really had a bad day
  • Grayson's snorting decreasing after going through a clear runny nose that burned his nose and lips for days
  • Increased cooperative play between the two boys
  • Grayson's mood consistently improving, only appropriately proportionate moments of frustration which diffuse easily
  • Gavin's BMs still changing, but many great ones in between
  • Gavin responding well to our requests
  • Intermittent yeasty signs coming and going, but since adding in Allimax (liquid garlic) this has tapered off quite a bit
  • Sensory defensiveness in both is gone
  • Intermittent bloating as doses are increased for Gavin
  • Old scar on Grayson's face fading, not as pink as before
  • Still seeing some random die-off symptoms, but less frequently and shorter in duration
  • Gavin expressing himself more vocally and clearly
  • My requests are met with a simple, "ok"
  • Consistent happiness all day, in both
  • Appropriate irritation for age of boys and tied to specific events
  • Gavin's keratosis is slowly clearing up 

So what does this mean exactly?  Well first I must say that we have gotten past many of the above symptoms.  Considering we've spent over a month with our children off of anti-microbials completely and we've seen incredible improvements says a lot more than my words can ever spell out here.

** UPDATE - To see our OAT results after a month and a half on these probiotics (with NO antimicrobials or antibiotics), click here.
Now I would like to share some links with you about SBOs.

Soil-based organisms and immune function

22 Ways soil-based organisms build dynamic health

Collective writings of SBO probiotics by Dr. Rosthschild

I've chosen a particular brand (Body Biotics), because of it's pure ingredients.  There are only a handful out there to begin with, but many are made with maltodextrin (made from corn and I would guess probably GMO), and contain traces of soy and dairy.  Some contain ingredients like chlorella and spirulina which are unsafe for mercury toxic people.  Body Biotics is the brand that Jordan Rubin used to heal himself from death's door, when Crohn's Disease had taken the best of him.  He went on to create his own product, but Body Biotics remains to be the purest formula my research has found.  For 30% off your orders, just sign up as a preferred member on their website and use my name in the referral field.  

Here is what you need to do:
  1. Go to the Body Biotics website.
  2. Create a membership under “Preferred Customer”. (click on the link)
  3. Under “Referring Party Information”, enter “Jessica Galligani”
  4. Once you have completed your registration (which is free), log out and then log back in again to see your discount (30% off the retail price, for life!).
 My husband and I have also been using this product with great success.  In fact, it's recommended that all members of the family at least use a maintenance dose since pathogens are shared and will just pass back and forth, reinfecting each other.  I am also off all of my anti-microbials!! =)