Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Physical Side of the Spectrum

Yesterday marked my bi-annual check-in with the medical community. What does this mean? Twice a year I must take my children to see our western pediatrician for a Well Visit, and yesterday was Sydney's 5 year Well Visit (the typical one). Don't you love this word? The irony!!!! So many thoughts come to mind I get dizzy just thinking how to arrange and dicipher them. Their definition of "well" is quite different than many parents with our kids. Indeed!

Don't get me wrong - I don't HATE western medicine. Quite the contrary, it's just not the be-all-end-all, one-stop-shopping. We do need it. I need it, but that's not all. If it wasn't for western medicine - neither of my children would be alive. Both were C-Sections, Syd had life-threatening bouts of the croup and survived by orapred and albuterol, and it would've been unlikely I would have made it back from my fall into major depression (thank you, Lexapro and Wellbutrin).

The days of western medicine ONLY are clearly over. Today we need nutritionists, primary care physicians and various specialists - heart doc, knee surgeon, neurologist, and chiropractors to get through our year. Don't you all remember when chiropractors were in the Voo Doo category? Economics have brought them mainstream via insurance companies seeing they work, as well as other alternative methods.

To make it bearable for me I prepare in two ways:
1) prepare a mantra for the vaccination spiel
2) select one or two questions that would be FUN to ask a western doctor

1) Mantra in mind, I sort of listen to the vaccination spiel, first from the nurse, then for our ped. The nurse says Sydney will need vaccinations, and I respond calmly and non-threatening "We don't do vaccinations, but thanks." The nurse responds in a scolding tone" OH, well she's going to really need them for Kindergarten - they simply won't let her attend". With no confrontation in my voice, matter of factly I say, "She doesn't need them for school. It's quite easy to sign an exemption form. Really, it was no big deal, pretty easy." Quickly, she backed down realizing I was simply hopeless. And of course she knew the options herself.

My mantra while my ped did his speech: "He is a good man. I know I'm doing the right thing", while remembering to breathe. Focusing on my breathe really calms me right down. When he finishes, he looks at me, hesitantly. Curiosity gets the best of him, each year. It's actually quite endearing. He says, "So when, if at all, do you plan on vaccinating?"

I say what I say each year, "We'll have to see what they learn about Autism over the next couple years. I'm a very conservative person. Until they know more about the GI and immune systems of our ASD children, I will wait."

He knows the rest, over the years we've bantered back-and-forth about it all. The subsets of Autism. That I refuse to add to my children's toxic load. I don't care only about mercury. I care about cadmium, alluminum, flouride and other metals. I care about the viruses (envelope, live viruses, however they are delivered), and how they impact our children's unique systems. I consider the whole child and the impact of living on this earth. Other questionable substances have been discussed at length: grocery store sunscreen, conventional produce, processed foods, GMO's additives and preservatives. I am thinking about new info I heard from my Bioset allergist - that 'Big Organic' is requesting to spray MSG on fruits and vegetables. What? I'm not kidding around here. Can we all shout endocrine disrupters? Anyone, anyone?

2) I ask him if there's anything to do to "counteract" the effects of chlorine since the kids will be in the pool all summer. He said that chlorine doesn't affect them systemically, so as long as you wash it off topically, we should be fine. Interesting response! And that was what I was looking for, entertainment.

All in all, the visit was a positive one - Sydney did great with the eyes, ears, and prick test for iron. She's really shot up this year - 90% for height and weight. Leo and his dad are very tall.

Syd hands our ped a bag of leafy veggies we picked that morning (chard, spinach, lettuce, basil, and peppermint). A piece offering I suppose. He was delighted. Ithink of our ped's OWN daughter, they are almost the same age. I wonder what's in THEIR fridge. I wonder what her little brother will be like.

He sees us pay, and he can't resist. He comes over and casually asks how Leo is. I chirp back "He's doing great! He's loving summer, and he's in camp right now." Maybe he's thinking about the 10 other ASD children that go to his practice and their quality of life. Who knows.

This experience reminds me how different each person on the spectrum is. Each person is their own special blend - we can't make blanket statements about treatment options. For more on this subject see http://www.hiddenrecovery.com/ and click on Therapy Bashing.

I think we were lucky - some kids are SO sick physically. More environmental, less genes/wiring I suppose. And some get better! I was chatting recently with a fellow recovered parent. Her son was SO sick physically. We didn't have that, it was pretty mild. With homeopathy, she was able to make him better physically. Because of this, he lost his autistic symptoms.

My friend has unique insight. Recently we were discussing those factions that dismiss any reference to Autism as an illness. For some, part of it is - hence providing another example of how different each person is on the spectrum. For us, if I didn't explore our biomedical options such as chelation, enzymes, and the GFCF/SCD diets, etc, Leo would still have communication and social problems. Was I wrong in doing these things? I don't think so! If I accepted his condtion 'as is' without exploring the viable options out there, he wouldn't have maximized his potential. For us, these things made an impact, a huge one. Again, Leo will always be wired differently, but today he is a healthier happier Leo.

My friend said, ' The fact that my son did get better proves it was not who he is. It was something that affected him.' And then later, 'Before the homeoapthy really kicked in, there were days when I questioned what I was doing and whether I should just give in and maybe consider it was just who my son was and then there would be glimmers of who he could be and I knew I couldn't do that. I couldn't just give up on him." And today her son no longer has an ASD diagnosis.

Today, both Leo and my friend's son are as healthy as they can be - we try every day.

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