Olivia's journey has been rough - to say the least. Born perfectly healthy, her declining health has always been called a mystery. Fifteen years have come and gone, with no change to the daily seizures that have held our hearts hostage..... until now. Finding HOPE and healing for our girl began with the introduction of Medicinal Cannabis - A controversial treatment for untreatable seizure disorders.

Her story briefly -

At 18-months she developed little "shaking spells" in the middle of the night. Olivia's journey has been rough - to say the least. Born perfectly healthy, her declining health has always been called a mystery. Fifteen years have come and gone, with no change to the daily seizures that have held our hearts hostage..... until now. Finding HOPE and healing for our girl began with the introduction of Medicinal Cannabis - A controversial treatment for untreatable seizure disorders.The Neurologist called them "Generalized Myoclonic Seizures". In many cases this can be the beginning of a degenerative condition, but month after month Olivia “defied” this inaccurate diagnosis by continuing to develop normally. Several months later, after a medical procedure, the little "shakes" became large jerks that would catapult her to the floor. She stopped talking, stopped responding to our voice and appeared have entered her own little world. The seizures continued to change. They soon became "drop" seizures and would come on with no warning and she would fall or crash into whatever was in front or below her. They continued to worsen into classic tonic clonic seizures that would last anywhere between 40 to 90 seconds.

Complexity was the word often used to describe Olivia's condition. We've done our due diligence.....we tried all the medications, none worked. We tried the supplement route through a well-known clinic in Chicago. We then tried the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), to which the Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS) diet is developed from. We saw such amazing results from this diet we decided to take her off the many supplements she was taking because we didn't think she needed them. Well, we were wrong, and she crashed. Apparently, the supplements were helping her --- it was not a coincidence. It made sense that to get her back (at least to the place before pulling the supplements away), we should just put her back on the supplements -- but it didn't happen that way. The complexity often used to describe her was now ten fold, any change we made "upset" her fragile hypersensitivity to change and her path became even more confusing and "crooked". The Medicinal Cannabis has finally given us a mechanism to control the extreme Neurological Inflammation racing through her little body -- something every anticonvulsant medication failed to deliver on.

Our beautiful girl

Our beautiful girl

As a parent to a severely autistic child who has daily uncontrolled seizures, the memory of her being "normal" has never been forgotten. The hope of helping, if not stopping her daily suffering has been an uphill journey. Approaching her situation from a diet perspective is not an entirely new idea. Olivia was on a version of the SCD diet in 2005 with some success because I never introduced the homemade yogurt, which is the main healing modality. The main difference between then and now is the knowledge base of Dr. McBride and her ability to share the wealth of information she personally gathered as she cured her own severely autistic child with the SCD diet.

I do respect and am thankful for the excellent emergency practices of the conventional medical institution. Their services have literally saved Olivia's life on numerous occasions. Alternative care has taught me so much about the power of your own immune system, and the tragedy that can follow when the immune system is damaged. Why these two worlds can't work together to shape and protect us all is a shame.

This blog is really about our journey over the last 15 years. Although the focus is Olivia and her recovery, I will also include how this has affected our whole family and how we have dealt with this unexpected interruption in our lives.

Hebrews 11:1 -

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Have a question or comment for me?

If you have a question or comment for me feel free to leave it under the "comments" section on the bottom of each individual post. If you would like to leave a private comment you can email me at kellynjohnson94@gmail.com.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Struggling faith

Courage doesn't always roar...
Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of 
the day saying,"I will try again tomorrow" M.A. Radmacher

It's been a while - I know!  June was a crazy, icky month.

I think the end of June was the climax to a heavy, burdensome start to summer.  It really began with a disheartening meeting with school administrators on Friday, June 8th - literally the first day of summer.  What should have been a 15 minute meeting to discuss the final details of her move from the elementary school to the middle, soon became an hour and half of defensive lobbying for her right to stay in the "level" of classroom she was currently accustomed to.  This "administrator" felt her needs would be best served in a more "intensive" classroom with children confined to wheelchairs with high needs.  This is a classic example of people making decisions for another without a complete understanding of the whole situation.  This woman totally blew the seizure portion of Olivia's care into an unrecognizable animal that needed to be confined for supposed "safety" reasons.  I respectively waited, as she muddled and rambled through explanation after explanation of worrying about Olivia's care at 21, until I could no longer subject myself to what this woman was speaking over Olivia's life.  Seated along side Olivia's "core" team, the lovely women who have cared for Olivia for 7 years, I finally blew my top!  An hour and a half later, the paperwork was completed for her move to the school of my choice.  Later, I apologized to her teacher for my reaction, and to my surprise her team had gathered after the meeting and they all talked with excitement, seemingly impressed with my decision to stand up and stop the meeting's direction.

In addition to that POW WOW, the proclamation of my faith has been taking a silent beating.  Comments like, "oh, well, we think you should be realistic about how much Olivia could recover", spoken by a friend who frequently talks with others about the wonders and amazing miracles that can happen when you pray to God.  Seriously, isn't that what faith is? To believe in that "unseen"?  Where does the word "be realistic" get inserted?  What about Romans 8:24-25 :

"For in hope we are saved. But who hopes for what he already sees? However, we hope for something we have not yet seen, and we patiently wait for it.

Add to this, a hard month of taking her off a major supplement and I am certifiably crazy, or maybe just off my rocker (HA!) Sorry if I am a complainer!

I guess I didn't realize just how much I was struggling lately. Having a disabled child has it's financial pressures.  Treatments, supplements and expensive food top the list for financial burdens in an economy that has seen better days.  I am thankful for Marty's amazing ability to keep the finances rolling in ~ especially when it is extremely stressful at work.  Fear has a way of creeping in when financial uncertainties arise - don't you think?  :(  Big sad face that represents my fearful heart.  Certainly, I have been wrestling again in a way that is familiar, yet foreign to me.

Several Sunday's ago, I rolled out of bed and felt an immediate need to go to church. Olivia was up, so I had to get her stuff together and as always I was running out the door with a mere 5 minutes to spare.  Usually, when I run late Lauren will just come to "big kid" church with me, instead of going to children's church.  For some reason, on this particular day, she was adamant about going to children's church.  As I was finally seated, I made a big sigh and settled in.  The pastor's sermon was in a series called "APPS : powered by Proverbs".  He started with some really funny app jokes, but quickly moved into the main point of his sermon ------- Wisdom.  As I listened, I began to perk up and soon felt as though this sermon may have just been written for me and my recently acquired heavy heart.  He talked about Solomon - how, when asked by God what he would like, he chose wisdom on how to govern the people. Wisdom, the jewel I have been searching for.  The very thing I need in Olivia's situation.  I used to feel led.  I felt I was going somewhere.  Then, June rolled around, and nothing.  If you have checked my blog, my last entry was May 26th.  I felt like I lost that feeling of being led.....of knowing what to write, what to do next with Olivia.........and that familiar feeling of dread, of fear and hopelessness was present again.

The sermon opened my eyes to what could be my problem.  My heart had changed.  I was fearful (again?).  I apparently didn't trust God to take care of our financial situation (even though our past proves that he has over and over).  So, in a nutshell, I was overly focused on not wanting to lose the little bit of what we do have financially. There just seems to be obstacles, and then more obstacles.  The pastor talked about God giving wisdom to people who's greatest desire is for others. He asked, "Is it about you".  Solomon's heart was in the right place.  Mine, not so much.  I truly believe my faith was under attack and I was taken out by immense spiritual warfare.  I do not think I even knew I was going down.

It was communion that Sunday, and they had some special music.  One addition that stuck out for me was this beautiful young girl who played the violin.  For some reason, I just love the sound of a violin.  When Olivia was a baby, channel 2 had a special on young musicians and I remember seeing this beautiful girl with long blond hair playing the violin.  It may sound silly, but I thought that someday Olivia would do just that.  Seeing that young beauty and her violin on the Hosanna! stage brought me back to that earlier dream for Olivia.

As I looked up from the benediction my eyes rested on the group of prayer partners that had so graciously devoted their weekend to pray for others.  I was debating on whether I should go up or not? Do I have time with Olivia at home? Soon this questioning stream was cut off as I scanned the prayers partners....and my steps began as I spotted the angel that was put there for me - it was Jan!  She would soon be seeing me walking toward her in a desperate way, as I struggled to even say hi before I burst into tears.  I know she didn't know what to do.

I think she thought that something "serious" had happened to Olivia.  Finally, I was able to start talking with her, revealing what had just been revealed to me through the sermon.  She continued to lift my spirits until I told her my feelings about the violin dream.  She shifted gears and told me that Olivia will be playing the violin in heaven..........errrrk  wrong answer.  Again, I must remind myself that this jewel of wisdom, what He is teaching me is for me, not for others.  It would be easier if that were the case, but it isn't - it never has been.

She encouraged me to go home and stand in front of my bed and tell God that I trust Him with everything, that I trust He will catch me, and then fall back onto my bed.  I have to admit, when I finally did it, it did feel good.  She told me that the pastor met with the prayer partners on Friday evening and told them that he completely changed his original sermon - to the point that it did not match the sermon notes. It matched my needs perfectly!!! Thank You God!

So as I emerge from this darkness once again, I am overcome with thankfulness that God so patiently and graciously puts up with me.  That He alone can fill me back up with courage and suddenly I am brave again.  I feel as though I have humbly crawled back into his lap as he covers me with his Divine purpose for my life, if I can boldly claim it.  It reminds me of a song that currently resides in my head, the same lines repeating over and over:

Time stands still
beauty in all she is
I will be brave
I will not let anything
Take away
What's standing in front of me
Every breath
Every hour has come to this

One step closer

I have died everyday
waiting for you
Darlin' don't be afraid
I have loved you for a
Thousand years
I'll love you for a
Thousand more

I don't know if this song was written for two people in love, but how I hear it is a word from our loving Father who has indeed inspired me to continue to be brave in my beliefs of the precious gift awaiting my darling girl, and I will do so as long as He inspires me.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Olivia & Lyme Disease - An unfortunate, inevitable diagnosis

I know what you are thinking.  Lyme disease? How on earth is this diagnosis possible? This kid really has bad luck ---- right? Luck definitely hasn't been on her side.

As I continue to learn how a normal little girl could essentially "fall apart" and completely lose her ability to talk, communicate and function as a human being, I continue to be amazed by the intricacies of the human body and their requirements for flawless function.

I first heard the words "Lyme Disease" as a diagnosis in May of 2010, and it was not for Olivia.  I had never thought of it, and neither had the doctors (both conventional and alternative).  What was even crazier was that I had never come across it in my research to find what went wrong and what could help. We have all heard about Lyme Disease in the news. I actually did know a child that had the disease, but in that instance he had those classic signs, mostly, I remember the severe joint pain.  He had to be around 7 or 8 and his legs hurt so bad he could hardly walk, all in a matter of weeks from the dreaded deer tick bite.  I think many of us think of Lyme disease as the debilitating joint pain with, of course,  the classic red bulls-eye rash that develops on the site.  What many people do not realize is that these classic cues to this disease only happens in 50% of the cases.  So, what's crazier is that 50% of people with Lyme disease have no idea that this opportunistic bacteria could be the cause of their health problems!

Neurological Lyme - no one really talks about the way this disease can effect people neurologically.  To many conventional doctors to  really "have" Lyme you must have the two major symptoms --- joint pain and a bulls-eye rash.  Not always, and what a shame, since the 50% that happen to go undiagnosed usually end up with some sort of chronic disease.

Neurological symptoms of Lyme disease are many and can vary from person to person.  These symptoms include:

Memory problems, poor reasoning, dyslexia, headaches, nerve pain, tremors, panic attacks, facial palsy, trouble swallowing, visual disturbance, mimic of neurological disorders such as MS or Parkinson's
In children -  behaviour changes, learning disabilities, headaches.

Other Lyme related illness'
Psychoses including hallucinations and delusions
Violent behaviour, irritability
Rage attacks/inability to control impulses/out of context crying spells
Anxiety/Panic attacks
Rapid mood swings that may mimic bipolar disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

With Olivia, I believe she was bit by a tick in the spring of 2005.  Out of no where, in 2005, she started having really bad headaches --- I mean really bad.  Walking, pacing, holding her head and crying,, sometimes screaming in pain. She had these debilitating headaches for a good year.  I had to give her ibuprofen and Tylenol every 4 hours and she still cried and held her head.  I took her to several doctors - even asked if they could be migraines but I was told over and over that people just don't have migraines every day like that.  She was in ABA therapy, progressing..... but then, all of a sudden she just spiraled down and lost everything.  The more I thought about it the more it made sense that Olivia could have contracted Lyme Disease.  The headaches just "started" one day --- and continued for what seemed like eternity.

When I first heard the diagnosis I admit I was skeptical.  On the long drive home from the doctor's office, I digested the information I learned from the doctor.  When I got home I hit the computer looking for any reputable resources and books to further my understanding.  This was just the beginning.  Confirmation after confirmation followed in the next several weeks.

A week later I had a college friend and her daughter over for lunch and she started telling me about a woman that used to sub for her (she is a teacher) that she reconnected with the last day of school.  When she saw her she asked where she had been.  "Oh Julie," the woman began.  "I think I have been to hell and back".  She went on to say that two years ago her 30 year old daughter was not feeling good --- they thought it was just the flu.  This flu just hung on, she felt as though she could not shake it.  About a year into it the mother asked the doctor to test her for Lyme disease --- it came back negative.  By April of this year the mother had to move in with the daughter because she could not even make it to the bathroom.  She was tested for everything under the sun and she progressively got worse.

Finally, she carried her daughter into the infectious disease department at Mayo and told them to figure out what was going on with her daughter.  She told them that she thought it was Lyme Disease, but she had several negative tests.  They just started treating her with the Lyme protocol and by June she able to walk normal!

Later that week, I dropped Olivia off at a babysitters house.  She told me of a friend of hers that had the infamous "bulls-eye rash", was treated with antibiotics but was never the same mentally.

In the last two years Olivia has acted like she has major joint pain/arthritis.  In fact, I remember my mom commenting that she walks like she's 70 years old.  Back when Olivia was five, we had to build a fence because Olivia would just take off and run ---- and boy could she run fast.  So fast, that if my mom was babysitting she could not catch her --- hence the fence:)

stimming ---- right on top of the mulch piles.  Since that time, Olivia could not keep weight on, she is so skinny --- which is another common characteristic of "chronic" Lyme disease.

I feel as though this may be another piece to her puzzle.  She was already immune compromised and at the time doctors did not test for Lyme disease like they do now, plus back then you were really only at risk and tested (so they thought) if you had the "bulls eye rash".

Minnesota ranks 8th in the nation for the number of Lyme cases.

We tested Olivia through the medical community - and it came back negative.  In the Lyme world that is of no surprise.  The medical profession uses a test called the ELISA test which is known to report false negatives.  And, as our doctor explained to me, unless you test within the first couple months of being exposed, the disease actually mutates and changes form so it no longer tests as an antibody in your blood.

We chose to take her to a Naturopathic doctor who specializes in Lyme Disease.  She ordered a more specialized test and a couple weeks later we got the results.  Olivia was POSITIVE for Lyme!  I knew something happened back in 2005.  The bad headaches came out of no where and she has continued to get worse and worse throughout the years.  2005 is when her seizures became big grand mal's  --- it's the year she was booted out of ABA ---- it was the year she started staying up all night, every other night.  In a nut shell she took a dive and I never knew why.

While talking with the Naturopath, she confirmed so many things, symptoms of Lyme disease that are soooooo Olivia  ------ like

Worsening seizures
Inability to gain and keep weight on
Losing her hair
Joint pain in her knees and ankles
Overwhelming fatigue and insomnia at the same time
Painful headaches
Weird breathing pattern that she developed a couple years ago

This bacteria wreaks havoc on your immune system. A weakened immune system isn't good for anyone, but for an epileptic it can be brutal.  Seizure thresholds are lowered when the body is sick, which generally results in more seizures.

Dr. W. Lee Cowden explains how he believes people get Lyme disease

In my opinion, Lyme disease is a condition that occurs because a person's total body load of toxins and other stressors has become conducive to the development of illness. As we go through life, we all accumulate a load of toxins from our environment.  That load includes chemical toxins, electromagnetic pollution, geopathic stress, heavy metals, as well as emotional traumas.   The sum total of all of these stressors finally creates a situation that makes a person susceptible to illness, so if that person gets bitten by a tick or mosquito that's carrying Lyme-related microbes, then it becomes easy for him/her to succumb to illness.

Dr. W. Lee Cowden is a board-certified cardiologist and specialist in Internal Medicine.  He has developed and refined treatment protocols for Lyme, cancer, autism, Parkinson's disease, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.  I enjoyed learning about the "beginning's" of the medical institution, starting way back with the "germ theory".  He explains:

Antoine Bechamp, was a contemporary of Louis Pasteur.  Bechamp said that when it comes to healing the body, the microorganisms are nothing, and that the body's environment, or terrain, is everything.  Pasteur, on the other hand, developed the germ theory, which is also called the pathogenic theory of medicine and which basically proposes that microorganisms are the cause of disease.  Bechamp was a very brilliant microbiologist, whereas Pasteur was a flamboyant chemist.  Even though Pasteur wasn't a microbiologist, he was more vocal and flamboyant, and his way of teaching practitioners at the time won out over Bechamp's.  On Pasteur's deathbed, he acknowledged that Bechamp was right in his theory and that he was wrong; however, by then it was too late, because Pasteur's ideas were already being put into medical literature and journals of the time.  Those ideas have been perpetuated in medicine to this day.

What's interesting is that the woman who developed the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), which is the basis of the GAPS protocol was a microbiologist, just like Antoine Bechamp.

In Olivia's case I tried many supplements, herbs and homeopathy - reaching out to the affordable treatment options offered in the alternative health arena.  But what I soon found was that the damage to her system was just too pervasive for a supplement or two to reverse.

I found Dr. McBride's opinion on Lyme very interesting.  She says:

Lyme disease is fashionable at the moment, as our medicine goes through fashions all the time; all sorts of problems are blamed on Lyme disease today.

Lyme disease is caused by bacteria of the family Borrelia which are transmitted by ticks. The natural hosts for ticks are wild animals, such as deer, squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and other animals. Borrelia has been in existence for a long time, possibly longer than us, humans. Yet Lyme disease has become so common only recently despite the fact that contact with wild animals is very minimal in our modern urbanised populations. So, what happened? A very big thing happened in the recent few decades: our immune systems got compromised by our modern life-styles and the environment which we, humans, have created. A good demonstration of this is what is happening to the bee population in the
industrialised world: the bees are dying out. They are dying out from a couple of opportunistic infections, which they used to be resistant to only a few decades ago. Why? Because their immunity has been compromised by all the spraying of the countryside done by our modern agriculture. We, humans, are no different. When your immune system is not working properly, you become susceptible to all sorts of infections, which used to be harmless.

People who suffer from chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, peripheral neuropathy, autoimmunity and other degenerative conditions, recently blamed on Lyme disease, are immune-compromised. The fact that Borrelia has been discovered by our science does not mean that it is the answer to these problems: when the immune system is disabled, all sorts of microbes can be at work, many of which we have not even discovered yet.  And indeed antibiotic treatment for Borrelia does not eradicate chronic degenerative
conditions, despite the fact that tests may show that this bacterium is gone. Very powerful antibiotics are used to treat Lyme disease, often intravenously and long-term. Antibiotics are not harmless! Healthy bodily flora is the most essential factor in keeping your immunity healthy. Antibiotics will destroy that factor very effectively, making your immune system even more disabled, making you even more vulnerable to Borrelia or any other pathogen.

So, if you suffer from a chronic degenerative condition and had a positive test for Lyme disease, don’t rush to have antibiotics. What you need to rush to do is to restore your immune system. Number one intervention is the food you eat! If you have digestivesymptoms, follow the GAPS Nutritional Protocol. If your digestion is OK, follow the Weston A Price-type diet. As your immune system starts working again, it will deal with Borrelia and lots of other microbes, which you don’t even need to know about. A good
percent of people, who test positive for Borrelia, have no symptoms and are healthy and well. Why? Because their immune systems are working properly! And make no mistake: well-functioning human immune system is infinitely cleverer, than any doctor or scientist!

What every one of us has to do is to find a balance, a harmony between the myriad of microbes living on us and inside us and our immune systems. So, focus on feeding, nourishing and nurturing your immune system, rather than killing,attacking or eradicating anything.

Her thoughts really line up with Olivia's journey.  Just like a small snowball let go at the top of a snowy hill, her condition started small but rolled and rolled out of control until it became bigger, more complex, and finally ---- out of control, much to big to be tamed by a "miracle" pill.

Something I find even more interesting is that Olivia finally did get that classic "bulls eye" rash, but not until I intervened with a radical switch in the foods that she was eating on a daily basis.  I may have mentioned earlier that I did have her on the SCD diet back in the winter of 2005, well, MY version of the SCD diet.  What I mean by this is that, I, like many parents in America believed that she, too, needed "treats" to feel good.  Why is it that as parents we feel bad if our kid doesn't have a sweet treat to enjoy?  Like we are depriving them of the good things in life to eat?  So, when she was on the diet she had plenty of nut muffins, fruit and vegetables, but none of the "mandatory" healing aids that are well described in the GAPS book.......namely chicken broth, fermented vegetables and homemade GAPS yogurt.  Is succumbing to that sweet tooth the only way to enjoy life?

Anyway, three weeks after I took Olivia off all grains and potatoes ------- WALLA she got the bulls eye!

The picture shows the first sign of the rash in the upper left frame.  In the following weeks, it spread out, and from the original bulls-eye small "shoots" went out, surrounding the circle.  From there, the "shoots" became small bulls-eyes of their own.  WOW is all I can say.  

I have learned that her getting the bulls-eye 6 years later happened because of the major shift I made in her diet.  More and more, people in the alternative health industry are talking about how grains and starchy foods cause inflammation to spread in a unhealthy body.  Taking Olivia off these grains and high starchy foods mobilized her immune system and it finally "recognized" the Lyme bacteria and set off the alarms (rash).  Getting the rash indicates a healthy system, unlike Olivia's which resulted in the organism spreading more and more, year after year.

Below is a news cast linking Lyme disease to autism.  If you are currently listening to the music on my blog, go to the grey bar at the bottom of the page and click on the "pause" button to listen to the following news video:

Autism linked to Lyme Disease

Now, take a look at the following video of Olivia - do you see the similarities between her and Mary Hendricks?

"We must never forget that what the patient takes beyond his ability to digest does harm." Dr. Samuel Gee

Saturday, May 26, 2012

More on seizures. It was an injury - not a genetic weakness.

injury /in·ju·ry/ (in´jer-e) wound or trauma; harm or hurt; usually applied to damage inflicted on the body by an external force.

I know what you are thinking..... How can seizures be a result of a damaged gut?

Abnormal gut flora, is present in anyone with digestive problems.  It starts out small, as many things do.  Sweet and starchy food feed pathogenic microbes, which in turn allows them to grow in number and damage the gut lining.  As I have learned, this damage is even escalated with antibiotic use.  Think Candida on steroids! Olivia had monthly ear infections which were treated with monthly doses of antibiotics.  In our modern day society (especially in the late 90's), ear infections = antibiotics. Antibiotics devastate the beneficial bacteria we all have in our bodies and it is not limited to our gut.  They change bacteria, viruses and fungi from benign to pathogenic, which allows them to cause disease. As I read Dr. McBride's information on antibiotics, I was shocked to read that they actually damage our immune system, which in turn makes us more vulnerable to infections, thus creating the "vicious cycle" of more antibiotics and more infections. Obviously there is a place for antibiotics, they can be a life saving drug. What about finding out WHY a child is getting ear infections on a monthly basis instead? Genius!

Dr. McBride says:
Proliferating pathogens in the gut start producing large amounts of toxins, which absorb through the damaged gut wall into the bloodstream and get carried to the brain. As the gut function deteriorates, the foods do not get the chance to be digested properly before they absorb through the damaged gut wall.  Once absorbed into the blood, these partially digested foods trigger very complex immune reactions (called food allergy or intolerance) which are capable of initiating seizures.  The combination of toxins and partially digested foods (being dealt with by the immune system) flowing from the gut to the brain, cause the epileptic activity.

This small paragraph does my soul a world of good! As I have mentioned in earlier posts, this is what happened with Olivia !!! At the beginning of this journey, and with the first appointment with an alternative doctor we ran all the tests that were suggested to run.  Allergy tests (IGE & IGG) included.  The results of these tests were good - she was only allergic to mold (IGE), and a couple foods on the (IGG) form. For those of you not familiar with allergy testing - IGE indicates a "true" allergy, which usually results in an immediate reaction.  IGG testing, on the other hand, is not a supported test in most conventional allergy clinics.  IGG is a "delayed" allergy reaction.  This type of allergy has been explained by several doctors as an allergy caused by the dreaded "leaky" or damaged gut (which Dr. McBride refers to in the above paragraph). IGG reactions are not immediate, but delayed, making them almost impossible to detect. Different foods break down at different speeds, causing different toxic reactions depending upon the food and your personal body chemistry.

Dr. McBride talks about one child's downward spiral, which ended with the development of a seizure disorder.  He was a normal kid, who at two was mentally and physically advanced for his age, was bright and well-coordinated. His  digestion was vulnerable - irregular stools and bloating. After he turned two, he began limiting his diet to sweet and starchy foods.  His digestion worsened, stools looked green and smelled of rotten fish. His outward appearance became thin, very pale with dark circles under his eyes.  By three he was lining up toys, becoming distant and became obsessed with things.  Just six months later he became clumsy and hyperactive, continuing to limit what he would eat. Then he started having absence seizures, he would roll his eyes up for a few seconds, then become unresponsive. Shortly thereafter, he had his first grand mal seizure.  Regression in his learning ability and development followed with all kinds of problems from the medication.  He started the GAPS diet, including the Introduction portion and was able to wean off the medications and the seizures reduced down to one or two very mild absences per week.

I love reading stories like this! I felt as though I was reading Olivia's story from the early years. I will never forget when she was going #2 15-20 times per day.  The smell did not smell human.  I know that because I am only giving you bits and pieces of her story at a time it may seem as though I sat back and watched these things develop in my child.  That is far from the truth.  I did what most moms would do.  I took her to my pediatrician (foul diaper in hand), who then referred me to a Pediatric Gastroenterologist.  I will never forget this appointment. Just thinking about it causes tears to well up in my eyes.  "No", he said, very confidently, "your daughter's apparent regression is not caused by these digestive problems." I explained the number of times she went #2 throughout the day, and pleaded with him to look at the contents of the diaper I conveniently had in my bag.  But he refused.  I really don't think he believed me.  I mean, who goes that much? He ordered a basic smear test, which eventually came back saying "conclusively" that everything was normal and told me there was nothing he could do.  Sadly, those were my trusting days, so I believed him.

Well, not surprisingly, one year later we repeated the allergy tests and within that year she had positive IGG tests for almost every single food! Her injured gut, which was first indicated by her foul stools and multiple stools/day, was worsening.  The damage was deep, and the "experts" of the day were blatantly uninformed, usually by choice.  This apparently was not taught when he went to school, therefore it did not exist.

Unfortunately, in Olivia's case the "injury" wasn't just once.  The second injury to her fragile immune system was the MMR vaccination (she is a registered VAERS child).

This song has been repeating itself in my head since I sat down to write this post:

Can't you see everything happens for a reason
There's a time, there's a place for every season
He knows what's best for you
So don't be afraid.

The same God who was with you then is with you now
The same God that led you in, will lead you out
So take all the fear and doubt
Go on and lay them down
The same God, the same God is with you now.

Just keep holding on
Oh keep holding on     (The Same God - Newsong)

That's my cue - I will keep holding on ;)

Monday, May 21, 2012

I don't despise small beginnings - She has gained 10 pounds!!!

Olivia has officially made it to the 70's - weight wise that is!  In the past, she consistently weighed between 62-64 pounds (since 2006).  This apparent stunted growth, or maybe even "failure to thrive" was, at times very frustrating.  Prior to 2006, she had always been in the 50% percentile at well child checks.

She has always had an amazing diet.  Although she was on a gluten free/casein free diet, she had an abundance of gluten free grains, fruits and vegetables, organic meat.  If someone witnessed how much food was going into her, they would usually comment that they wouldn't be able to eat that much in one sitting!

What I didn't realize then, was that it was all going in, and quickly coming out.  She was going #2 all day long.  The damage to her digestive tract was so severe that her body was unable to obtain the nutrients from the quality food she was eating.

I didn't know that you do not have to be thin to have a nutritional deficiency, but it sure does make sense. If an overweight child starts this diet, they will lose weight and gradually show the "masked" nutritional deficiency.

Dr. McBride explains that by following the GAPS nutritional protocol your digestive system starts absorbing foods properly and nourishing you; you will start building dense bones, healthy muscles and other tissues and organs and gaining weight as a result.  This is exactly what is happening with Olivia.  She is much "sturdier", less fragile looking.  Her limbs feel heavier, and her skinny little bird legs are finally looking a wee bit heavier. This is no coincidence!

I remember when she first started the GAPS intro diet, there were many "comments" like "what's with all the soup?"! I am sure people who have never heard of this diet may have questioned my choice of food for my VERY thin little girl.  To an outsider's view, the soup probably didn't look substantial enough for a sickly child. All I can say is looks can be deceiving!  You know when people are shocked when all of a sudden it takes 2, maybe three people to carry this 13 year old after a seizure, when in the past one was sufficient!

I am not being political in the least when I quote President Obama's statement from 2005.

"If you're walking down the right path and you're willing to keep walking, eventually you make progress."

I have walked down many treatment paths with Olivia in this journey ---- the drug path, the supplement path, the homeopathy path, the ABA path.   I know now that they were the wrong paths and that is exactly why I didn't make any progress.  This path, using food as medicine, not only feels right, it is right.  It's  undeniable progress - she was unable to gain weight for years - withing 5 months on the GAPS diet and she's not just a couple pounds heavier - but 10!!! Praise God!!

September 2011

May 2012

"Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin." Zechariah 4:10 

 I googled this verse for more understanding and started reading an entry from J.M. Farro's blog.  He says:

Several years ago, I read a true story about the humble beginnings of one of the most famous composers of all time. It told of how this composer rose to greatness, and ended up touching countless lives, by simply preparing music for the Sunday services at his church each week. At the time that I read this amazing story, I was feeling very discouraged and disheartened in my work for the Lord. Reading about this man's devotion and dedication inspired me and encouraged my heart. I had been laboring in the Lord's name for many years, and had received little recognition or reward. I often asked myself questions like, "Where are the blessings? Where are my rewards?" I eventually discovered that the thing that helped me most was to shift my focus from, "What's in it for me?" to "How can I help others?"

The Bible clearly states that God's people will be richly rewarded for loving and serving Him. But it doesn't say WHEN we will be rewarded, or even how. One reason for this is that God doesn't want us focusing on our rewards, but on doing the work He has assigned us to do while we're on this earth. And He expects us to perform our work faithfully. Jesus said, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much." (Luke 16:10 NASB) Before the Lord entrusts us with big assignments, He tests us in smaller ones. Some people aren't interested in doing seemingly insignificant tasks for God. What they don't realize is that God may never allow them to do great things for Him, unless they are first willing to do humble tasks, and to prove themselves trustworthy.

I really understand this man's discouragement.  I, too, feel as though I have "labored" for 11 long years.  I, too, try so very hard not to ask that question, "Where are the blessings".   So.....In my heart I know this news is representative of the "small beginnings" of a positive impact on Olivia's health and body.  In a sense I see this as a beginning of our entire family's transition out of this deep hole of despair to whatever God has planned for our story.  Olivia's story.  I always felt as though I needed to wait, to let it "play out", if you will, before I sat down and triumphantly wrote out each detail of her healing.  After reading Mr. Farro's enlightened opinion, it reminded me of how much her story may help others.  As I attempt to shift my focus away from "waiting for the healing", documenting our journey has become the focus. Those struggling with a sick child could benefit from the hope and faith filled journey I've been on, even if it doesn't play out the way I want it to. Focusing on and waiting for her healing is probably the reason I hadn't  started writing.  I wanted to make sure she was healed, because for some reason my heart felt as though the only way it could be a book, is if she were healed.  So maybe.....just maybe by stepping out with the faith He so graciously helped me develop, sharing our "raw" story is what I am meant to do for the time being - because reading someone's journey as it happens lends to the emotions that are sometimes forgotten when the moment has passed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Olivia's Health/Development Condition Statistics - Update

Weight - 72 pounds - she has gained 10 POUNDS !!!!!
Words - 0
Communication ability - pull someone to TV - now she actually sits down and watches the movie (before she used to just walk away and pace -  HUGE CHANGE
Favorite activity - stiming with string
Understanding ability - probably a 1 out of 10 maybe

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Is it Genetics?

Big news this month! Scientists believe they found a gene mutation for children with Autism. Click here to read one of the articles on the discovery:


This has always been a question people ask me ---- does Olivia's condition run in our family?  All I can say is that we have not seen this type of disability in either side of our families.  And although we took her to the U of M and had every available genetic test run on her (which she passed with flying colors), the genetic counselor ended our consultation with the comment, "Well, it's obviously a genetic error, we just haven't identified it scientifically yet." Hmmmmm.....

They didn't have the answers.....again.  Answers that made sense were not available.

I really liked how Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride answers this, what she says does make sense, especially in Olivia's case:

"Now and then we see articles in various journals reporting that some part of some gene has been found, which may have something to do with autism....... We are assured that scientists are working on it and that the genetic cause of these conditions will be found! Not that it will help the patients or their families, but it will put our minds at rest in that our children were meant to be disabled and there was nothing we could do about it!

In our modern world, genetics is a popular concept.  Almost every health problem is commonly blamed on genetics.  We pollute the water we drink, the food we eat, the air we breathe with industrial and nuclear wastes and when we get ill we blame it all on genetics.  We deplete our soils of minerals and other nutrients and replace them with pesticides, organophosphates, weedkillers and lots of other chemicals, we grow our crops on these soils, we eat these crops, we get ill and blame it all on genetics.  We damage our children's immune systems with vaccinations and antibiotics and blame it all on genetics.  We regularly consume processed foods with virtually no nourishment for the body that are full of chemicals and detrimental to health, and when we get ill we blame it all on genetics. We regularly intoxicate ourselves with alcohol, tobacco and drugs and when we get ill we blame it all on genetics.

We have epidemics of cancer, heart disease, learning disabilities, psychiatric maladies, autoimmune disorders etc etc etc.  These are all conditions which doctors very rarely encountered 100  years ago.  Have our genetics changed so quickly to cause these epidemics? For the last few decades genetic research or molecular biology has received the most research money in the Western world.  A lot of laboratories which used to do basic science have been converted into genetic research.  Billions have been poured into this area in every Western country. So, if every other scientist works in genetics then that is what they know and that is what they are going to think about when it comes to identifying the course of any disease.  Obesity? Don't worry about your eating habits. Just wait, we will find a gene to blame for it!.

As with other modern epidemics, there is a conclusion that there may be a genetic predisposition to the GAPS disorder rather than a genetic cause.  This predisposition can be made of tens or even hundreds of various genes, nobody knows yet how many and in what combinations.  But what we do know is that before any predisposition materializes into a disease it has to have certain environmental conditions.  Diet is a major part of this environmental conditioning.

There is a large body of research showing that maternal diet during pregnancy and the diet of a baby have a major impact on the genetics of that baby.  Apparently, there are many genes in a child which never become active.  For a gene to become operational it has to have certain conditions to express itself. Environment: our diet, lifestyle, pollution, stress, infections, etc. has a profound effect on what happens to the child's health. By changing the environment (diet etc.) we can make sure that whatever genetic predisposition the child may have, it will not develop into a disease.

In conclusion: it is possible that there are some non-specific genetic predispositions to autism, and other GAPS conditions, which quite likely overlap with a predisposition for autoimmune and digestive disorders and some weakness in the blood-brain barrier.  It is very likely that this predisposition is very widespread and that modern environmental factors make it materialize into disease much more often than 100 years ago, when the environment was different.  A century ago people may have had this predisposition just as much, but it did not show itself because the environment for it was not right - the diet was more natural, there was less pollution, less stress, no vaccinations, no antibiotics etc etc.  One hundred years ago the majority of doctors did not see autism in their practice at all.  Today we have a growing epidemic.  Genetics just don't work this way.  This epidemic can only be due to environmental factors: modern diet, lifestyles, vaccinations, drugs and pollution. Rather than dwelling on genetics, which we can do nothing about, I see this conclusion as positive, because there is a lot we can do to change the environment to help our children.  And those who have done so know that it works!"

I love how Dr. McBride dives further into causes of this disorder, separate from genetics.  Family history and learned behavior are things that are passed down from generation to generation.  Abnormal gut flora, which is the cornerstone of this treatment, is passed from mother to child. She explains it with this scenario:

Another familial factor is learned behavior. What children learn from their parents - what to eat, how to cook, what foods to choose from, personal values & priorities.  As Dr. McBride explains:

"Learned behaviours can vary quite dramatically from family to family. This is something being passed through generations without any genetic involvement.  But it is as important as genetics if not more so, because it will alter the gut flora, the pH, the metabolism and the biochemistry of the body.  And if the grandmother, daughter and granddaughter follow the same family behaviour then they will predispose themselves to similar health problems.  For example, imagine a family where rich sugary deserts were always a tradition together with a lot of bread, pies, biscuits and cakes.  This diet will alter the gut flora and promote an overgrowth of pathogenic microbes in the gut, which always has an unbalancing effect on the immune system.  At the same time this a very house-proud family, so there is a lot of cleaning and polishing with domestic chemicals, air fresheners, deodorants, personal care products and perfumes - all highly allergenic and toxic substances and another onslaught on already compromised immune systems.  We did not even come close to genetics here, but already you an see how the family can make us immune-compromised simply through learned behaviours."

How does this not make sense?  I feel as though my generation was the beginning of using processed food.  Casseroles made with pasta and cream of mushroom soup gained popularity for ease and economic reasons.  Thankfully, my mom did not like things from a can (and did not like pasta) so I escaped that sort of "processed food addiction".  Lunch and dinners at our house consisted of the same menu's over and over - meat, vegetable, vegetable, and my mom only had goodies like cakes and brownies for special occasions, never every night.  Boring yes, and at the time I grew tired of the same old thing.  But as I am learning, those meals preserved my immune system quite nicely.  It also confirms to me why Olivia was completely normal at birth until the little shakes started at 16 months.  Monthly doses of antibiotics, in addition to other factors took out her gut flora and set the stage for a very compromised immune system. I remember filling an antibiotic prescription once and the pharmacist said, "This is a pretty hefty dose for that little babe's body, I will call to check the accuracy." This memory makes me shudder. These words should have caused me to question, but I didn't - I trusted. Why did the doctor prescribing all these antibiotics think they were benign to the rest of her little body?

So, this is my answer to the people who have wondered about the genetic component of this tragedy.  I'll never forget the comment an acquaintance said while I was pregnant with Lauren.  She said, "Aren't you worried that your baby will turn out like Olivia?" The old me would have been extremely irritated by such an insensitive comment, but I was at peace.  In no way was I worried, because deep down I knew the truth and I knew that we would make different choices with our unborn daughter  -  choices I wished I would have made for Olivia.  Those choices, which included no vaccinations, have indeed produced a healthy child with a robust immune system.  Her diet has always consisted of low amounts of sugar and processed foods, and lots of fresh organic meat and vegetables and freshly pressed juice.  She may be one of the few six year olds that enjoys salmon, kale chips and kombucha tea!

To those reading this post whose future includes getting pregnant - get healthy yourself first!  There is an entire chapter in the GAPS book on this very subject.  You (and your future bundle of joy) will be thankful!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Close call! Olivia almost hit by a car!

Whew! Close call today.  An appliance repairman was leaving our house through the front door this evening.  As he approached the door, he thought Olivia wanted to go outside.  He opened the door and she took off down the lawn and darted right into the street.  This is what I was told anyway.  I was busy making dinner at the back of the house and did not realize anything was going on until my neighbor burst through the back door saying, "Kelly, your dau" - that's all she got out and I immediately raced past her thinking that Lauren got hit by a car (since Olivia is never outside without supervision).

As I approached the street I saw Olivia in our neighbor's arms and the poor gentleman who almost hit her pulled over and shaking.

I am posting this because although Olivia looks pretty normal (despite the seizure helmet she was wearing), she is not safe without supervision.  I know the service man's heart was in the right place, but she seriously was almost killed because of a gesture that was grossly inappropriate.

I am simply pointing out another anomaly of this autism epidemic.  When I was a kid, I don't remember any "normal looking" kids with such a serious development delay.  Sure, I knew kids with Downs Syndrome and Mental Retardation, but you could tell they were disabled because of their appearance.  Think about it.  In 1990, the autism rate was 4 or 5 in 10,000 -- now it is 1 in 88.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Confirmation I needed today

I have always said that even though Olivia is non verbal, can't follow a simple direction and hasn't showed any interest in anything but a string for years, I know in my heart that she is in there.  Many times I have thought that she is a smart cookie - smart but unable to show it.  A wave of confirmation flooded my soul as I watched this video today.

There is a reason I could never give up.  Someday Olivia's story will be powerful - I just know it.  She is in there........hopefully the steps I am taking will help her come out and talk with us SOON!

Autism Angel - Carly Fleischmann

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The problem with medications - Side Effects!!!

It's funny how you don't really think about how a medication may effect you or your family member.  I mean, it seems as though many people think (and we are told) that most side effects are rare.   A close family member of mine has been faced with this very situation.  Her legs started hurting really bad in October 2011.  Trusting the "powers that know" she talked with her orthopedic doctor about the pain.  He ran every test, every scan, including one for bone cancer.  According to her, the pain felt like her thigh muscle was being ripped off her bone.  Every test came back negative/normal.  The orthopedic doctor told her the pain could just go away on its own.  When it didn't, she started looking - started searching for what was happening to her.

She discovered that the side effects of a couple of her prescribed medications could possibly be the cause.  She had been on both meds for years, with what appeared to be no complaints.  First, she went off one and the pain was a little better, but not good enough. Finally she went to her GP doctor and told her about the pain.  Her doctor had a hunch that the pain could be a side effect of Lipitor, a medication she had been on for many years.  So, we did what many people do - we googled it.  We were amazed at the results  -  leg pain inquiries/discussion and support groups were everywhere. Real life  patients writing their real life experiences to the medication. I realize that many professionals (doctor's, lawyer's etc) roll their eyes when they hear of someone researching a problem online.  There may be some bad information out there --- but there also can be a lot of good!

Within 2 weeks of being off, her pain diminished amazingly.  Out on these sites, we learned that for some people it took 6-7 weeks to get rid of the pain.  For some, the pain never really went away.  What a painful lesson - literally.  I was thankful she wanted to get to the bottom of it.  Many would ask for a pain medication - not this stubborn German lady!

This past Monday while I was doing my bible study homework, I couldn't stop thinking --- "What is going on?" --"What am I missing?" "What is it?".  That night,  around 4:00 AM I was laying with an anxiety ridden Olivia, when a thought came to me --- Here I am, researching the side effects of Lipitor for my mom --- but  I had no idea what the side effects were of the medications that Olivia is  currently on. (Singulair, Allegra and Benedryl for her severe allergies.)

We are not strangers to horrific side effects from drugs.  I mean, we were unfortunately privy to "rare" side effects when Olivia was put on Keppra for her seizures.  She was on the Keppra for 5-months and the damage it did during those months was devastating.

The doctor put Olivia on Keppra in May 2008.  Her seizures got a little out of control following the femur fracture she had sustained in April.  I know what you are thinking.....WHAT? ----- My poor little girl.  A month later I noticed a major change in Olivia's personality.  Her once sweet disposition started to change.  At first it was an occasional pinch or an attempt to bite.  As time wore on, the pinching turned into gouging with her fingernails and the hitting became aggressive.  She was having daily rage episodes that lasted upwards of an hour.  By September,  I would have to put her in the car because she was so violent, and was so strong she became a threat to our then 2-year old daughter Lauren.  I could not leave Lauren alone in the same room with her. It wasn't until that October when a County nurse came for her annual visit.  When she saw that Olivia was on the Keppra she asked if I had seen any aggressive behavior that was new.  She said that several of her clients became very hostile on that drug. Confirmation!!  I knew something was up!  I just think you know your kid and when something is wrong.  Jenny McCarthy calls it your "Mommy Instinct".

As I started researching Keppra, I discovered that Olivia was having more side effects than the change in personality.  She had started doing really weird things on a daily basis.  She was hitting her legs and arms a lot with her hands and stomping around the house like she was a soldier (pins & needles in extremities side effect).  She was holding her urine for 9-10 hours which eventually ended with a puddle of urine to clean-up(painful urination side effect).  I remember hearing her fall in our living room.  As I approached her I was thinking, "Where did all that water come from".  As I lifted her little body from the mass amount of liquid, I realized she had slipped and fallen in her own pee.  The pain must have been so hard to bear that she held it until there was no more holding.  She became obsessed with going down our carpeted stairs on her butt, rubbing her back on the top of each stair (lower back pain side effect).  The school questioned where the bruising on her lower back came from.  Within a week of "connecting the dots" on her behavior changes,  she started hitting her head really hard with her hand, which is something she never did before (headache side effect).  By the time we took her off the drug (October, 2008), she was sitting on the floor hitting her head HARD for 4-hours.  These side effects were way worse that the seizures she was having at that time.  In this situation, taking her off the medication was necessary.  She was only on it for 5 months.  In due time, I know in my heart her seizures would have actually gotten worse FROM the Keppra.  This is the path of the medical community.  Start them on a drug, see side effects, put them on another drug for the side effects and so on and so on.  Soon you do not know if it was a real problem of yours or if it was caused by the drug. It needs to be mentioned that all of these side effects went away approximately 1 month after we weaned her down off the Keppra. If you want more information on this commom side effect, simply google "KEPRAGE"

Why is it that I thought the allergy medications she is on are benign?  Why on earth did I not question it? If she had such a hard time with the Keppra, why did I think she could handle Singulair, Allegra & Benadryl?

I started researching the singulair first and immediately felt sick to my stomach.  I never knew that Singulair (an asthma medication) had psychiatric and/or nervous system side effects.  In fact, for some people they were so severe they took their own life.  There have been class action lawsuits against Merck  for people who have suffered severe physical injury or death as a result of a suicide attempt while taking Singulair.

Singulair is a medication approved by the FDA for treatment of asthma and allergy symptoms.  It works by controlling chemicals that are released during allergic reactions which may lead to inflammation, congestion and other allergy symptoms.   These chemicals are called "leukotrienes".  So.....singulair blocks these Leukotrienes.  This is of course a simplified explanation, believe me I am no bio-chemist.

Olivia does not have asthma, but she does have some pretty severe allergies, although none of them produce an anaphylactic response.  Pfeiffer Treatment Center recommended and prescribed Singulair for the inflammation that occurs from an allergic response (which she had many). She was allergic to almost every food in some fashion.

Who really looks at the "Less Common Side Effects"? We are told that these conditions are extremely rare.....
Less common side effects of Singulair - agitation, aggression, hallucination, pins and aggressive behavior, indigestion, pancreatitis, muscle pain, muscle cramps, seizures restlessness, trouble sleeping.

Olivia would look and act dead tired almost all day long.  Many days she would be calm from about 4-8:30pm.  Then, around 8:30-9:00 she would get up from the couch - start stimming, walking around like someone just put a quarter in her.  I would feel her heart and it would be beating hard and fast.  I never really understood why, all of a sudden her disposition would change.  Each night the look of anxiety and agitation would dominate her whole being. The way her night progressed from here was different from night to night.  Sometimes she would be so anxious, almost appearing to be in a panic attack until she would get so worked up she would have a seizure.  Sometimes she would then go to sleep for the rest of the night, other nights the seizure would cause her to dip further into that anxiety ridden state and she would be up pacing the floors until the wee hours of the morning.  Many nights, especially lately, she has either had a night terror and/or a seizure in her sleep.

As I continued researching how other people responded to Singulair, I was shocked at the similarities to Olivia's reaction.  Trouble sleeping, anxiousness, restlessness, night terrors.  I felt thankful that parents of other children affected took the time to share their experiences on-line.  This is definitely one of those times researching the web paid off!

I've had a lot of questions - things that haven't made sense from the beginning of this nightmare.  As this treatment goes along, more and more of these nagging questions are being answered.  Two of these were answered through parents sharing their stories and it really validated what I thought had happened to Olivia.  These two incidences are other side effects of Singulair that are not listed on the package - they are precocious puberty and stunted growth.  I always wondered why Olivia developed pubic hair, seemingly overnight - at 8 1/2. It always seemed way too early.  Also, she pretty much stopped growing at 9.  Prior to the introduction of this drug she was always in the 50% in both height and weight.  Who ever would have imagined such unexplainable side effects - certainly not me.  Why on earth doctors feel comfortable prescribing this medication to children is beyond me. You can't make this stuff up!

Needless to say, I took her off the Singulair today. I am so thankful this information was available for me to consider what this drug was doing to her fragile system.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Article "The Life & Death of a Medical Pioneer" by Dr. James Biddle

I absolutely love this article written by Dr. James Biddle.  It was actually published in the Celtic Sea Salt Newsletter - Spring 2005.  It goes like this:

"On August 13, 1865, 47-year-old Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis died of what can only be described as a horrible, lonely death.  Most of his colleagues in medicine declined to attend his funeral, as did his wife and children.  What was it that this highly educated, compassionate man had done to brand him a lunatic and cost him his livelihood, his professional reputation, and even his life?

His struggle began when, on his 28th birthday, he became an assistant to Dr. Johannes Klein, the head of the Viennese General Hospital's maternity clinic.  Semmelweis, who held a medical degree from the University of Vienna,  as well as a master's degree in midwifery, was appalled at the mortality rate in the clinic.  At one point in the clinic's shameful history, 11 of 12 maternity patients perished from what was then called "child bed fever". Unsatisfied with any of the current explanations for the cause of child bed fever, Semmelweis began investigating the deadly disease on his own.  His research brought him to the conclusion that the disease was caused primarily by decaying particles of flesh carried on the hands of the physicians attending the doomed patients.  In those days, it was standard procedure for a  doctor to go directly from the dissection of a cadaver to an examination of a live patient.  Semmelweis developed a chloride of lime solution and insisted that the physicians in his section wash with it thoroughly before working on a live patient.  The mortality rate in his section dropped to almost zero.

Rather than embracing Semmelweis' solution, many doctors actively tried to discredit him.  One prominent physician published a condemnation of chlorine washing arguing that the amount of infective material around a fingernail would not possibly  be enough to kill a person.  Even though his findings were grossly misinterpreted by the medical establishment and rejected by many prominent physicians, Semmelweis continued to achieve dramatic success in surgical procedures considered extremely dangerous by even the most skilled of his contemporaries.

In 1856, the editor of a Viennese medical journal added the following words to the end of an otherwise favorable report on chlorine washing by one of Semmelweis's assistants: "We believe that this chlorine washing theory has long outlived its usefulness.  It is time we are no longer to be deceived by this theory." Eventually, embittered by his rejections and full of despair over the lives lost to child bed fever, Semmelweis began to deteriorate.  He started drinking heavily and spending time in the company of prostitutes.  He published angry open letters denouncing prominent obstetricians as irresponsible murderers.

An embarrassment to his colleagues and his family, Semmelweis was lured by a friend to the insane asylum and held there against his will.  When he discovered that he was being committed to the asylum he attempted to escape, got in a fight with the guards, and received the beating from which he would die two weeks later.  Ironically, the disease that killed him - blood poisoning - was one of the maladies that had ended so many lives in the Viennese maternity ward where his struggles had begun.

As disturbing as the Semmelweis story is, the appalling truth is that on a fundamental level little has changed for the better in the medical establishment.  Certainly, surgical hygiene has improved greatly and the technology of medicine has developed at an astonishing rate.  But what about the attitude of medicine? What about our objectivity and our ability to embrace new ideas? Are physicians today any more willing to admit error than they were in the days of Ignaz Semmelweis?"

I connected and felt confirmed as I read this article back in 2005.  Sadly, it's 2012 and the medical community continues to deny any involvement in this rising epidemic of Autism and learning disabilities that is plaguing our generation.  The constant attempt to "control" people through hopeless, devastating diagnosis's is heart wrenching.  How different are many of the doctors  of today from the egotistical doctors mentioned above?  Dr. Semmelweis was ahead of his time.  His discovery obviously intimidated and angered the "smarter", more seasoned physicians he crossed paths with.

Today, we see this in the Autism community.  Many "Semmelweis" physicians are highly educated; many unfortunately are the parents of an affected child.  They tirelessly work to show and prove that these children given this horrible life sentence can be cured.  In doing this, they also suffer the same criticism from many conventional doctors who deny the recoveries that take place daily.  Why do we give conventional medicine so much power?  In reality this is quite puzzling since they really don't have any answers for us with this epidemic, but for some reason they are given "expert" titles.  It makes me wonder ------ was it just ego that angered and mobilized the doctors against Dr. Semmelweis, or did our modern day greed somehow rear it's ugly head for them too?

I have also said that 50 years from now they just may look back at this generation and shake their heads, just as we do in response to the above article.  In today's world, surgical hygiene is a "no brainer"- is this what generations ahead will think about us injecting around 26 or so virus' (chemicals and all) into our bodies?  What will the mental illness statistics be then?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

She is starting to babble!!!!!

We are at about 10 weeks on the diet and this morning Olivia was actually babbling!!  Thank You Lord!  She sounded just like a little infant.  Ma......Me.......Bo.......I..... and on and on!  I haven't heard recognizable sounds from her since 2006!  More good news - she has now started gaining weight.  She now weighs 68 pounds.  This is huge since she hasn't weighed over 62 pounds since 2008.

I know the diet is working.  She's starting to be vocal, she is gaining weight, the color in her skin is slowly returning and most importantly her seizures are going DOWN!!!  Her teacher and I just realized that the last seizure she had at school was February 13th!  Amazingly impressive considering she was having them daily in December.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Beth Moore JAMES study letter to Coreene, Laura & Melinda

Oh how I can relate to this study ( JAMES - by Beth Moore) - especially the portion on faith perfected.

Foolish man! Are you willing to learn that faith without works is useless? Wasn't Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was active together with his works, and by works, faith was perfected. So the Scripture was fulfilled that says, Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness, and he was called God's friend. You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, wasn't Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
James 2:20-26 (HCSB)

Faith without works is useless.

I can relate to her observation that anyone who is unwilling to learn is an empty headed fool.  She, of course is referring to learning in our spiritual life, whereas I broadened the definition while reading the study material and have applied it to my experience with Olivia. I had to be willing to learn in both the spiritual and physical aspects of her tragedy.  Spiritually I was extremely immature and with Olivia not responding to the treatments outlined by the medical community it was either learn or accept.... and I couldn't accept.  Beth is spot on when she says that "our human tendency is to figure out quickly what we believe.  Then, from that point forward, stick to materials that affirm our early-determined belief system".  Isn't that the medical communities motto? I believe most people may think like this until they are pushed to reevaluate. So many have a belief that the medical community has all the answers to what ails us - I know I did.  But then they uttered those words, "Well, there isn't anything else we can do for your daughter." These words immediately ignited the desire to go outside "the box" and learn what others in the alternative community were saying/doing.

During this study it dawned on me that while I was learning, developing and perfecting my faith in God, as well as in myself, I needed to finally let go and be free of an opinion I have had about myself since early adulthood.  This opinion had been rooted in my consciousness, all from a statement said by my loving mother.  Of course she probably doesn't remember saying it, and for sure never intended it to effect me as much as it has. I have learned throughout the years that the enemy is so skilled at exaggerating, reminding and using words of loved ones against ourselves. When looking into furthering my education with a law degree, and being somewhat insecure about if I could do it, I reached out to my mom, who responded to this inquiry with , "Do you really think you could do that"?  This notion that family members never see the potential in fellow family members is not new - consider James earlier summation of his brother Jesus.  Also consider that Jesus was unable to perform his works in his hometown of Nazareth. Family just doesn't see it. So, as I embarked on learning about what happened to Olivia that question always reared it's ugly head.  "Do you really think you could do that?" In a nut shell, it haunted me, but I still did my part. Believing and learning what went wrong.  I am so thankful for this epiphany!  So long to what could be the root of my insecurity - in Jesus' name!!

In my heart I have always gone back to the "why me?" But now I can say ,"Why not me?" I remember when it first happened to Olivia I did not want to be the mother of a disabled child.  The very thought of having to "put up with" the extra work that was associated with the job was completely harrowing in nature - and believe me I was no hero.  Marty's step-father tried to "shake" it in to me one day when he grabbed hold of my shoulders and shook me, saying "You have to accept that you have a disable child", very sternly.  I looked him straight in the eyes, pulled my hands up to throw his hands off my shoulders and said, "I will NEVER accept it!" and walked out the door. I know now that he was very frustrated by this interruption in our lives and just wanted me to accept it so things could move on.

As Beth introduced us to James 2:21-25 and talked about how James recognizes and notes two Old Testament figures who's faith was perfected by works.

I always questioned why I received such an assignment since I never really "relied" on God until this happened with Olivia.  In my opinion there were so many other people who would have been better qualified. I mean, I am kind of just an average joe - think of my name - Kelly Johnson.  I am sure there are thousands of Kelly Johnson's just in the Minneapolis area alone.  To add to this "averageness", was a inherited feeling of fear in everything I did, and do.  Thinking the worst, even before it happened was my modus operandi! Couple that way off thinking with a tragedy like Olivia's and it should have spelled disaster. But that was not part of the "plan".  Because the "plan" included that I would finally run to and submit myself to God. I was amazed to learn that Rahab, the prostitute who chose to use her faith with the assignment that was only hers, was named in what Beth referred to as the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith!

This study is so timely for my squeamish self confidence.  I loved learning the little bit about Rahab.  I am showing my bible ignorance here!  This is just what God does for me.  He brings it back to a story about a woman that he used.  Not because she was a great female scholar, or even someone who was following his laws in the beginning - she was probably just an average joe who fell into the prostitution profession due to some hardship.  But as Beth said, "God still called her to faith."  I loved, loved, loved what Beth went on to say:

"God can change what people do.  He can change behavioral patterns that have been in play for decades.  he can change what we do to cope, to find comfort, to survive conflict, to count.  Like me, Rahab had done a same old thing for years.....and then she did something new. She believed God and acted on it."

And that is what I am doing.....I am simply believing God and  acting on it. God knows what will become of this story.

I feel as though Beth was really giving me a warning.  Here I am, poised to finally put my knowledge and experience on paper - to tell the world, and she includes a section on people who are called to teach.  I believe she was really talking about people who will be doing bible studies, but in my life I think it means teaching what I have learned about kids/people with extreme mental illnesses.  As usual, timely information as I get my blog ready for public view.  She warns us about 1) the temptation to teach more than we know, 2) the capacity to mislead, 3)the temptation to use the platform for personal agendas or opinions.  I really don't look at me sharing my story as teaching, but these rules still apply.  I was completely convicted with her final statement as she quoted Romans 12:7 "Let him teach".  To shrink back is disobedience.

Her discussion on James 3:10 was also enlightening to me.  It reads "Praising and cursing come out of the same mouth. My brothers, these things should not be this way".  Beth shows us that we have a choice...the tongue can bring comfort and courage, or it can bring destruction and deafness.  I want to illuminate comfort and courage in my writings. Especially for the young mom who recently lost the soul of her little babe.  I can relate so well to being left with a living, breathing shell that is their physical body.  Checked out.  Gone.

As I moved into Day Five of Week Four I am surprised at just how much of my past, and/or the beginning of this journey has been brought back to my attention.

She talks about bitter envy (or jealousy).  God  is so gracious in that He really shows me just how far I have come in so many area's.  Jealousy used to rule my thoughts after Olivia 'went away" from us.  I remember I was so angry and jealous of anyone that just so happened had a little girl.....especially the same age as Olivia.  I soon began distancing myself from anyone with a little girl.  It would eat me alive.  So, as I learned from Beth that jealousy takes root in insecurity it really made sense to me.

 I love how she says that "Wisdom often knows what to do, what is right, or what is awry.  Understanding often knows why."  Throughout the past 11 years I looked and prayed for wisdom.  I read anything I could about vaccine injured children, what helps, what doesn't.  But until that constant question of "why" was answered I still found my self confused with the "wisdom" of it all.  How does a perfectly normal child become unresponsive, unable to use their voice and begin to fixate on objects in motion?  It is accepted too easily in the medical community.  I often learned and then tried things with Olivia.....diets....supplements and the wisdom just further confused the understanding.  The damaged gut wall.  That is where it began with Olivia, and that is where the understanding ultimately led to a certain end, if you will.  It was also the end of a lack of confidence in the wisdom that I was accumulating throughout the years. In my case it was there all the time.  As I read information about a damaged or "leaky" gut, I just assumed that it must have been healed because of all the supplements I had given her.  I was grossly off target and really didn't understand it until I read the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book.

This study has certainly dug up some old feelings.  I could relate to the section regarding James 2:16. 'and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, keep warm and eat well, but you do not give them what the body needs, what good is it?" Empty blessings. Beth continues.......They don't have anything, yet we send them off speaking empty blessings.  Oh what a rush of validation swept over me when Beth explained this section. I mean, this kind of treatment happened to me over and over.  People, friends, family would listen to me talk about Olivia for oh so long and then the subject was changed to real life, but my heart was still broken. I could not move on to the next topic of life because it no longer included me. My life had stopped.  Year after year the uncertainty of Olivia's life grew more and more uncertain as her health continued to decline.  In our case, Olivia's chronic worsening condition failed to be the subject at hand in any conversation and the expectation that our lives were "normal" grew year after year.  I think that people just assumed that we had moved on...that we had accepted the drastic change in our lives and we were no longer affected.  This assumption was far from the truth.  We were submerged in a life that was depressing. Period. And who really wanted to know about it? No one. So.....Beth referring to people saying "have a good day ---- blessings to you", in that empty sort of way really hit home for me.

God is so good to me.  This study is really causing me to look back at those old hurts, deal with them and move on.  I know now that many people do not know what to say, and some choose to say words that are harsh because they want you to work through your troubles so they can have the old friend, son, daughter, brother. sister, back.  But what they fail to realize is that the breaking of your heart needs that "dignity of notice" that Beth finished up with.  Instead of people telling me that it must be "God's plan", or "her destiny", or even better yet "just accept you have a handicapped child"; how wonderful if could have been for them to simply say "THIS SUCKS", "Let me pray for her healing", or "I'm sorry this has happened".  You three made this so much better for me. I am forever grateful that you listened, let me cry and talk (non stop ;) ) when we met on those awesome Thursday's at 1:00! I am grateful that you didn't try and "talk me out" of the faith that was developing - even if your brain tried to coax your heart differently.  As I look back to that time, this grace was a requirement for me to make it out of that pit I was in.  There is a reason that I would literally "HOLD ON" until Thursday at 1:00!!  God equipped each of you masterfully to deal with this crazy mom and her sick kid!

Lauren & Her Amazing Godmothers!



Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ear Infections & Antibiotics - The road to becoming a GAPS patient

My little one Lauren was diagnosed today with an ear infection.  Her first one and she is 6 years old! Why am I making it out to be such a big deal? Because in her 6 years she has only had one!  Olivia, on the other hand, started having ear infections at 8 weeks old.  As a tiny baby, she was already entering the world of a GAPS patient. Dr. McBride has a whole chapter in her book about ear infections, or ear glue, as she likes to refer to them as.

I remember when Olivia started getting ear infections one after another, after another.  I always knew when she had one because she could not (would not) lay down for bed, or she would wake up in the middle of the night screaming.  As parents of kids with ear troubles know, the pain would always increase when in a horizontal position.  My mom would say, "What exactly is an ear infection?" My mom had six children who never experienced that sort of ear pain.  Dr. McBride attempts to answer the question, "Why do we have this ear infection epidemic?"

As she explained the structure of the ear and how ear infections develop it really made sense why Olivia struggled with them as a baby/toddler.  She further explains:

"The mouth, nose, throat, Eustachian tubes and middle ear of a newborn baby are sterile.  Fairly soon after birth, mouth, nose and throat get populated by a varied mixture of microbes, coming from the environment, mum, dad and anybody else who is in contact with the child.  Just as it happens with the gut, due to various factors which we have discussed, many children develop abnormal flora in that area.  This will do two things. First, the epithelium of the Eustachian tubes will start producing too much mucus in order to protect and clean itself.  Second, the tube tonsils will be in a chronic state of inflammation, blocking the entrance into the tubes and not allowing the mucus to drain out.  Fairly quickly the middle ear fills up with mucus.  This situation is called glue ear.  Mucus will not allow appropriate passage of sound through the middle ear, impairing the child's hearing and hence development.  A lot of children with glue ear do not become autistic, for example, but their general learning abilities suffer.  Speech delay is very common.  The mucus which fills their middle ear would provide a good growing environment for any infection which may come along from the back of the nose through the Eustachian tube.  When that happens the child gets the typical symptoms of ear infection - pain and fever, when antibiotics are usually prescribed.  Antibiotics clear away the infectious agent, but do not remove the glue ear.  In fact, in the long run, they make the situation worse by altering the bacterial flora in the nose and throat even further.  So, with the middle ear still filled with mucus, a good medium for growing bacteria, predictably the ear infection happens again and fairly soon."  Which is exactly what happened with Olivia.  She would get an ear infection, be put on antibiotics for 10-14 days only to repeat the cycle one week later.

We were living at my mom's house when Olivia's seizures started.  I clearly remember driving up to my mom's house and seeing Olivia in the large picture window.  I remember thinking to myself - "What shirt is she wearing?"  This question may seem weird, but as I looked at her it appeared as though she had a white shirt on with polka dots  on one whole side of the shirt, but not the other (sleeves and all).  As I entered the house and she ran to give me a hug, I realized that the shirt was a basic white shirt, the "dots" that fueled the question in my mind were actually blood drops from her ear.  Her right ear was so badly infected so often, that many times the infection would cause her ear to bleed continuously.  My poor little baby!

Reading Dr. McBride's chapter on ear infections was confirming, especially when she talked about a contributing factor to constant ear infections - ALLERGY TO MILK.  Approximately 9 months after this incident I took Olivia off milk and she hasn't had an ear infection since.  But, unfortunately, the resulting damage from the antibiotics had in a sense sealed her fate.

Dr. McBride further explains the damage done by antibiotics:

"A prescription of antibiotics.  It is the routine response of the medical profession pretty much everywhere
in the Western world.  We have discussed in detail what antibiotics do to the bodily flora (in the gut, on the skin, on all mucous membranes, including the nose, throat and ears).  Though the course of antibiotics will clear that particular ear infection, it will also lay the ground for the next one to come.  Apart from destroying the beneficial bacteria, antibiotics are usually given to small children in a syrup, which provides concentrated amounts of sugars and starches to encourage growth of pathogenic microbes in the throat, many of which are resistant to the antibiotic in that syrup.  As a result these pathogens start growing, even while the antibiotic is being administered.  "

How I wish I knew this then!!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What was broken now made whole

I can't believe that Olivia has only been on the GAPS diet for 8 weeks.........it feels like forever.  These past two months seem like a blur of intense situation after intense situation.  Sadly, it is almost comical.  After one situation, someone close to me remarked how "resilient" I am. How calm and strong I seem to be. When I tell him, "it really is not me, it's God," he gets all mad, telling me that God can't do that. I know better though. I do not know or cannot imagine a mother who is able to watch her child suffer so......without God.  I believe it would create a very sick soul. So thankful to have Him.

I guess the years of escaping to my car, sometimes in the middle of the night,  to listen to the worship songs has ingrained so many words of truth on my heart.  When my friend was telling me what God can and can't do, it made me think of Lauren in the backseat of my car belting out "Keep me here, Keep me here, there's nowhere else I want to be." I am always amazed at how well she picks up and remembers the lyrics to song after song.  Over the years, she has fallen asleep to these songs blaring in her ears.  For some reason I needed them loud.  This Meredith Andrews song always brings me back to that Peace that many long for and cannot find. There always seems to be one set of lyrics within a song that speak to me, and in this one my heart leaps as I sing, "In your nearness there is healing -  What was broken now made whole - Restoration in its fullness - Lasting hope for all who come."  
Draw me Nearer - Meredith Andrews

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Juicing - The age-old proven method of detoxing

Today I added fresh pressed juice to Olivia's diet.  We are in stage three of the intro diet, and hoping that the addition of the juice will help with the constipation she has developed. I have learned so much about the amazing health benefits of juicing.  It makes so much sense in Olivia's situation.  We already know that due to the gut damage she has not been absorbing vitamins and minerals like other people.  I think I have mentioned that she has not grown much since 2008.  Juicing not only helps your body detoxify the  bad, but it also provides those essential vitamins and minerals the body needs to function properly.  When you juice vegetables and fruits, your body assimilates and absorbs the nutrients quickly since there is little digestion required. I know now that the damage that Olivia's gut sustained greatly impaired her ability to digest high fiber foods such as vegetables and fruits, which consequently left her system unable to absorb the much needed nutrients.  The protocol recommends starting with 1-2 teaspoons.  I started Olivia on 2 teaspoons, 2X/day.  She is currently on romaine lettuce and apple.

Jake and I have been drinking fresh juice every morning for several months now.  With Jake I have seen several changes in his health.  First of all, he no longer has night terrors.  For others who have witnessed these bizarre nighttime "fits", having them gone is a blessing.  The absence correlates with the start of a juicing schedule.  I am excited to see what it does for Olivia.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Further thoughts on Beth Moore JAMES Study

Coreene recommended that I post some of these thoughts of my experiences in bible study to my blog.  As she mentioned, it really is a part of my whole testimony.  This JAMES study is amazing and I feel as though I am really connecting some major dots, and it's an answer to my many prayers for WISDOM.  Maybe other moms would benefit from knowing my steps to faith and hope.  I am sure they could identify with the following material from Beth's study.


I am sure I am like many woman doing the James study.  The feeling as though God is talking directly to me through Beth and her teachings.  The third video simply blew me away. Her gift of taking scriptures and pulling it into our everyday lives is astounding.

For those who haven’t seen session three, she camps on the two words JOY and ANGUISH.

Anguish.  What an awful word.  It even sounds bad coming out of your mouth.  She defines it so well.  Beth would never write a simple definition, to that she adds “The word “anguish” is often used to convey the added element of "mental distress”.  She continues to break the word down, pulling its Latin meaning “to choke” and the Greek meaning which comes from the word thlipsis meaning to crush, press, compress or squeeze.  To visualize someone in this compromised capacity is heart wrenching. The way she describes this deepens my compassion for people with mental illness of any kind....autism adhd depression anxiety bipolar schizophrenia etc etc etc.  God has shown me a world of deep anguish.  So deep that it looks as though it is impossible to change or heal.  Her study continues to show how 1) anguish and joy can coexist, 2) anguish and joy can trade places and 3) the source of anguish can morph into joy.

Like many, I have personally felt the first one.  I always have called Lauren "pure Joy" because she was given to us during a period of devastating anguish over Olivia's situation. It may sound weird but having her gave me the ability to press on.  I never knew that "Joy" itself has an organic quality - not in something but SOMEONE.  That SOMEONE being the Lord.  His gift of Lauren was not only timely but incredibly gracious. As I have learned, JOY is tied to relationships, not circumstances.

Lately, several intense situations have given me a taste of her concept of joy and anguish trading places. First it was the weird walking thing that happened to Lauren.  Yes, of course Toxic Synivitis happens to other children (who knew - right?).  Here I am, a mother of a child who supposedly has a "complex neurological" condition, that is then faced with my healthy child "appearing" as though she has developed a neurological condition in the course of 12-hours.  Talk about ANGUISH!!!  I will never forgot walking behind her to the bathroom, she walked as though she had cerebral palsy.  By the time we hit the stalls I just sat down and balled my eyes out.  I could not control it or keep it at bay any longer - complete ANGUISH. The enemy is so skillful isn't he.  He knows how much I have researched neurological conditions over the last 11 years.  He knows that I know it happens to healthy children.  A full day and night of being "choked, crushed, pressed, and squeezed". Exhausting. But, the next day that anguish was traded for joy as I learned the TRUTH about what was going on with her.  A virus in her joints ~ who knew of such a thing ~ not me.

Well, Beth had me hook, line and sinker from the start of the video, but then she went on to explain my life over the last 11 years.  That the source of anguish can MORPH into JOY.  She explained it as "the same roller coaster ride that gave you pain and nightmares ends up bringing you to your dream."  She continues to say that this sort of thing is frequently used in connection with the acts of God!

Beth Moore junkies know this all too well.  You can count on Beth to pull everything together at the end, where is resonates in your heart, as the video screen seems to pull you in further while the room gets comfortably quiet.  She finishes up the study explaining how mental anguish can be like the mind in labor. That anguish is meant to lead to a birth of something - that is, if you trust God.  If you choose to rebel you will give birth to wind (ISAIAH 26:17-18).  In this case you would never know what was meant to come out of your anguish.

No wonder I have so much passion --- it is God given!  This gives me further reason to persevere through the potholes and problems associated with the GAPS Diet and Olivia.  I will give birth to something, I just do not know what yet. Last week, I decided that I too will be on the diet.  How in the world can I talk and recommend something that I haven't done myself?  I know I will emerge even healthier than I am now.   I have only been on it two weeks and I have already felt the pain of not eating what everyone else is.  It takes some planning. I know in my heart that it will be worth it. While researching one day I came across this letter this guy posted on the GAPS sight.  Very powerful!


Schizo-Affective Disorder
I’m a 36 year old man who is about to celebrate his 37th birthday in a couple of days with, what appears to be, a significantly healed brain. I have much to celebrate.

See, I was diagnosed with Schizo Affective Disorder (a severe mental disorder that is a cross between Bipolar 1 and Schizophrenia.) This is a completely debilitating condition that has made life extremely difficult for me. Then I came across the GAPS diet a little while ago. In a short time, and for the first time in my life since I was diagnosed almost 15 years ago, I have been able to almost cut out my medication completely.

Now, I have had periods of remission in the past at different times. This, however, is different. During those remissions, I’d have to stay on the pills. It was impossible, as much as I tried, to come off them. I’d simply start feeling bad again.

Not this time. The GAPS diet is working!

There’s something, also, I have to note as well. The reason I dropped my medications (slowly), at all, was that as I progressed on the diet, I noticed I was feeling worse after and for approximately 6 – 8 hours after I’d pop my pills. I thought this was strange but quickly realized I was feeling negative effects from the Zoloft, Ativan and Abilify. The pills were making me feel bad.

It was as though my brain did not require them any longer and all I was left with were the side effects of the pills (sedation, etc). Therefore, I slowly cut them out.

I feel calm, stable, healthy, and good. I was erratic prior. I’m not now and I really hope this gives a ton of hope to many out there because, let’s face it, Schizo Affective Disorder is the [combination] of two horrific mental illnesses. I’m an extreme case. I had huge success! If I can get my life back… anyone can!

Thank you so much!!

November 10, 2010


I know that I will be saying something similar about Olivia's  recovery.  Like..... "She WAS an extreme case.  If she can get her life back.........any child CAN!!!"