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
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?
Friday, March 16, 2012
Article "The Life & Death of a Medical Pioneer" by Dr. James Biddle
"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?