GFCF Success

It’s been about 2 weeks since we went gluten and casein free. What a success we’ve had, especially with Nathan! For the first time in MONTHS he is not congested. The color returned to his cheeks. The dark black circles under his eyes are gone. The light returned to his eyes. Our mischievous happy healthy imp is back. And the best part? He is eating pretty well. He’s enjoying eating lots of grains & proteins. We stocked up on rice pasta, gfcf cookie and brownie mixes, and even goat cheese. What a difference it’s made in his life!

Izzy has struggled more as we’ve taken away a LOT of the foods she enjoys eating. But what I’ve noticed is that if we don’t have them around the house and only offer her healthy meals that she CAN eat, she is okay. The problems comes when she SEES something she wants, then there’s a struggle.

What a good move this was, I’m so excited to have done it and to have seen such great changes already!

Natural Flu Defense

I found this article and they mention a lot of the things I use to prevent/treat colds:

Natural Flu Defense

I always keep around the house:

- Tons of Emegen-C as well as high quality vitamin C
- Grapefruit seed extract which I put in water to gargle and in my neti pot
- Alpha CF for baby also helps to manage the symptoms
- Tea Tree extract vapo rub
- NAC (as mentioned in the article)
- Sinus Cleanse
- Roxalia for sore throat
- Probiotics

So those are some of my go-to tools to use when any of us get sick. If you have some good ones you use, please share!

Congestion and Allergies

One of the issues that I often discuss with other moms of kids with special needs is how to deal with congestion and secretions. Many kids with CP have difficulty swallowing, and do not have oral motor or facial control to blow their nose, spit out mucus, or cough out mucus. Then the mucus itself sits around in their throats, sinus, ears, and even lungs, causing illnesses, vomiting, and pulmonary problems.

So I figured the first thing I’d do is tackle the issue of why our kids are often more congested than usual. First I will write my thoughts, then below I have a few quotes that I hope will explain a bit better.

I believe that many of our kids suffer from allergies, primarily food allergies. One of the reasons is because their immune system is impacted due to lack of mobility, frequent use of antibiotics, hypotonic organs, and repetitive use of certain foods. Many kids with CP are fed with formulas containing lots of sugar, dairy, and wheat. Using the same food day after day after day causes intolerance in the body, which then becomes an allergy. The body starts recognizing those foods as an invaders, creates specific antibodies for those “invaders” and every time those foods are consumed, an immune reaction is triggered, which often includes production of histamine and other neurotransmitters. Histamine causes congestion. So our kids then have constant underlying congestion which may not manifest in an obvious runny nose but which creates that “wet” sound that we often hear when our kids breathe.

Then if there are other allergies, like environmental allergies, or other foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria are introduced, the immune reaction is even stronger (if the child has a normal immune system) which makes them incredibly congested, which creates the pattern of congestion, infection, and severe illness.

Below are some quotes illustrating this:

What happens with a food allergy is the body makes antibodies against a particular protein in the food. These antibodies which have been made against those certain food proteins stimulate the body to fight against those proteins even though the proteins themselves are harmless to the body. In essence, the immune system of a person with food allergies harms its own body as it tries to defend against this otherwise harmless “enemy”.

http://www.afkpeds.org/allergies-nasal-congestion_5037_ct.aspx

Food allergy is a hypersensitivity reaction, meaning that before an allergic reaction to an allergen in food can occur, a person needs to have been exposed previously, that is, sensitized, to the food. At the initial exposure, the allergen stimulates lymphocytes (specialized white blood cells) to produce the IgE antibody that is specific for the allergen. This IgE then is released and attaches to the surface of the mast cells in different tissues of the body. The next time the person eats that food, its allergen hones in on the specific IgE antibody on the surface of the mast cells and prompts the cells to release chemicals such as histamine. Depending upon the tissue in which they are released, these chemicals cause the various symptoms of food allergy.

http://www.medicinenet.com/food_allergy/article.htm

Your body’s immune system identifies allergens as intruders. It tackles these invaders by releasing several chemicals. Histamine, leukotrienes, prostaglandin, and tryptase are the chemicals the body uses to fight allergens in two phases.

Histamine is considered the most important early-phase defense. But when too much histamine is released, it may cause you to sneeze and feel congested. It can also cause other hay fever symptoms such as watery, itchy eyes, and a runny nose.

Histamine also causes your body to release other chemicals. Leukotrienes play a larger role in your body’s late-phase defense, and can cause nasal congestion.

http://www.allegra.com/histamine.aspx

So what to do about congestion and allergies?

I believe the first step is to identify food and environmental allergies. Unfortunately there are few conventional tests that delve into specific food allergies. However, nowadays there are many DAN doctors, biomedical doctors, naturopaths, and functional medicine doctors that will prescribe food allergy testing that looks at over 100 foods.

The most common, obvious allergens are dairy, wheat, eggs, and soy.

If you do not have one of those doctors close to you, you can try an allergy elimination diet – remove a food and watch your child for at least one week to see how he reacts. Of course this is not very reliable as there are too many factors – perhaps you removed the allergen but are giving him/her another allergen, so the reaction would continue the same. However, you may be lucky and stumble upon quick answers!

Once you know what foods your child is allergic to, there are a few more steps to take. At first you may want to eliminate the food from your child’s diet completely. This alone might help your child significantly. There are other ways of treating food allergies, including homeopathic remedies, NAET allergy elimination, and identifying the source of the food allergies.

In many cases, food allergies are caused by a leaky gut. If this is the case, you have to work on healing the leaky gut, otherwise the child will continue developing allergies to whatever you feed him. L-glutamine is a great supplement to help with a leaky gut, as well as other amino acids and minerals.

How you approach the allergy issue depends on the alternative health care practitioners available to you, and their “proven” approach to dealing with similar issues.

If congestion continues to be an issue, then of course it’s important to help the child manage the phlegm and secretions.

My “line of first defense” is the Neilmed Sinus Cleanse. You can read all about it here: On Boogers. After I use the sinus cleanse, Nathan almost always coughs and I can hear the mucus at the back of his throat. I then cover my finger in the towel that I used to cover him to prevent him from getting wet, and stick my finger into his mouth to stimulate his gag reflex. This makes him throw up and almost invariably he vomits the rest of the mucus that was floating around. Yes, very unpleasant, but works like a charm and has helped us a million times to help him recover from illnesses and problems.

By using the sinus cleanse a couple of times a day I can help him eliminate the mucus in his sinus, at the back of the nostrils, and at the throat. We do it every day since he has such intense allergies to help keep him “clear”.

There are also other supplements and homeopathic remedies that can help with congestion. Boiron makes one called Sinusalia, Heel makes Naso-Heel, and you can find others at a local health food store or online.

Nathan’s current homeopathic remedy which is helping him tremendously is a constitutional remedy prescribed by a very experienced homeopath. She chose it out of thousands and thousands of available remedies. She takes into consideration ALL of his symptoms and history, and then determines what she believes will address all of his symptoms most effectively. I wish I could recommend it for everyone but it is “his” specific remedy!

That’s as far as I’ve gotten in my “congestion” medical training. I am sure there is a “world” out there of other information, remedies, etc.

Please DO share if you have found other ways of helping your child. This obviously just reflects MY experiences with Nathan so there might be others with great ideas/information to share!

Emotional Health and Development

I read the post below and loved it.  This is the method we are following with Belle.  Here’s the link:

Emotional Health and Development of Self-Esteem in Infants

With all the articles and media  attention Magda Gerber and RIE has received during the last few months, we thought it might be appropriate to share some of the wonderful articles Magda and her colleagues have written over the years. While working at UCLA Child Care Services, the then director, June Sale introduced me to Magda and her work.  I first came to know Magda in 1978 while a student at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena.  Magda invited a number of students to participate in the development of RIE and along with my dear friend, Norma Friend; I attended the very first Resources for Infant Educarers training sessions.  Although it was almost 33 years ago, those classes and the time with Magda is deeply ingrained in my being.  Anyone who had the opportunity to meet Magda and spend time with her, knew they came in contact with a very special person.  She was more than an educator; she was a mentor and a friend to many.  When parents and educators met Magda for the first time, most realized this was an important moment in their lives.  Magda not only lived the philosophy but described the philosophy and methodology simply and with a clarity that is impossible to equal.

Today, I had the opportunity to speak to Linda Lingane of Northern California. She was more than happy to share an article she wrote in 1990 while researching self-esteem in infants.  The article appeared on the front page of the Winter 1990 Educaring Magazine.   Even after twenty-one years, Linda’s article continues to articulate the essence of RIE and what Magda was trying to share with the world.

Linda begins:

“A child’s strong self respect is based on two main convictions:  ‘I am lovable. (I matter and have value because I exist,) and I am worthwhile, I can handle myself and my environment with competence.  There is a big difference between being loved and feeling loved.” According to Dorothy Corkille Briggs. “Children value themselves to the degree they have been valued”.  Magda Gerber echoes this thought with “Respect is the basis of the RIE philosophy.  Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being, not as an object.”

“Helping children build self-esteem is the key to successful parenthood.” “We turn freely to medical and educational professionals to check children’s physical and intellectual progress.  But for guidance on nurturing children to emotional health, we are left largely on our own.  Even when symptoms appear, many parents regard consulting a psychologist as an admission of defeat…We, as well as our children, have to live with the results of our unintentional mistakes.  And these mistakes have a way of being passed on to future generations” (pp.xii-xiv)

“What are the current attitudes toward developing self-esteem in infants:  The RIE (Resources for Infant Educarers) approach is the only practical one I have found so far that focuses on the emotional health of infants.  (Since 1990 there continues to be substantial research on infant brain development, but it is RIE  that continues to lead the way in ‘caring for infants with respect’  after all these years.)   Yet the membership continues to be small.  The lack of interest and understanding is reflected in the fact that even today the overwhelming emphasis about self-esteem focuses on the rehabilitation of self-esteem in people over three years old.  Often times adults offer solutions to children (instead of encouraging children to work out their problems for themselves), and it is often suggested using distraction (which means that the child’s feelings are not being genuinely acknowledged).

RIE is based on the concept of balanced respect.  To be able to focus on respect implies that more basic human needs have also been fulfilled.   Balanced respect means that the parent is responsible for 1) respecting her/his needs and surrounding himself/herself with others who also show respect.  2) Respecting the child’s needs, and 3) striking a balance between both of them when needs conflict, as they often do.  To do this well involves taking the time to be sensitive to just what each side needs, sometimes a moment-to-moment basis.

  1. Respect for your child- According to RIE and Briggs, parents act as the primary mirrors as the child gradually defines for himself who he is.  In addition, in order to reflect respect for your child, it is important to do the following:
  1. Talk to your baby:  Tell your baby what is going to happen before it happens.  THEN wait for the baby’s response indicating that you were heard.  This is the first step in building an atmosphere of respect and creating the opportunity for you to slow down your pace when you interact with your child.  It also provides respect for whatever activity the child is doing that you must interrupt.
  2. Talk carefully:  Try to only say things in front of your baby that you would want him to hear and understand.  As we know through recent (2010) research babies can understand a tremendous amount from body language and tone of voice.
  3. Respect Feelings, especially “Negative Feelings”:  Babies have feelings, and strong ones.  It would be wise to assume that they can feel as deeply as you and I, just as they see and hear as clearly as adults.  Their organization of all this input is certainly different than an adult, but the important thing is that the feelings are real. Try to empathize, to understand the reasons behind all your child’s feelings. This, as you might imagine, is a draining task.  But it pays off for both of you:  the child receives more respect from you because you understand him (or try to) and, later, you receive more respect from the child because he is using your respect for him as a role model.  Do respect all cries.  Comfort, but do not try to actively suppress or shorten the crying—if he is crying, assume he needs to cry.  If the “negative” feeling –which might include anger, fear and hurt – is not respected by the adult (and it may be hard because most of us do not respect these feelings in ourselves), the negative situation will be unintentionally allowed to continue.  Respecting the feeling begins by acknowledging it and then using its energy to get away from the negative situation.  Separate the behavior from the person.
  4. Support Independent Action:  Do the minimum necessary, and let your child do the rest.  This gives the best opportunity for a feeling of competence to develop in the child.  Encourage your child in his attempt to comfort himself.  Encourage decision-making by offering choices as much as you can.  This method helps teach natural and logical consequences of the child’s sanctions and allows her to feel true mastery of her environment.  But you must be clear that the choices are being made within limits comfortable for you. (i.e., it is not crucial which choices she makes).  Remember how important it is for her to know that her wishes are respected, whether or not she gets her way.
  5. Allow free movement:  If a child is only in positions he can get into by himself, he is much more likely to develop confidence in his body and be able to move around.  Car seats are an obvious exception.  Before your baby is able to roll over, allow him to play on his back, not his front.  He will be able to see and do much more and will be able to relax more.
  6. Reduce Expectations:  With some things, we expect too little (i.e. self-dressing) and do for the child what she might do for herself.  With other things, it is easy to expect too much (i.e., the baby shouldn’t cry when mom leaves for just a while).  Try to limit you expectations to only those behaviors that need limits (even there, your child will take some time to test and really learn where your limits are).  When the child is behaving within the limits you have set, accept your child as he is so that he does not feel he must live up to your expectations or else risk your disappointment.  According to Dorothy Briggs and the RIE philosophy, “Children rarely question our expectations; instead, they question their personal adequacy…the one place parents make their greatest errors is in their expectations.” (pp.49,123)

Actively teaching your child is a common way of requesting performance, since the parent usually offers new information to the child and expects the child to respond in some way related to the teaching.  However, it is very important to “teach” your child in the sense of exposing him to new information.  The difference from the usual practice is that you should allow your child to choose whether or how he will attend to your information.  Remember that simply being around you provides a role model that is always teaching in that sense.  Intentional stimulation for infants should b done during care giving times when the “educarers” both cares for and educates while the child participates and learn cooperative self-help skills.

g. Encourage Rather Than Praise:  The distinction is subtle but important.  Praise is global; encouragement is specific and refers to action in the past tense.  Rather have a genuine encounter which is focused attention on our child.  “Be totally with him, even if only for a few moments.  Look at him with fresh eyes.  Become directly involved with the wonder of him. (pg 69).

h. Trust Your Child to Grow by Himself:  Growing at his own rate, in his own way, is best for him and his self-esteem.  The growth of a child can be likened to that of a plant that you are nurturing.  If you provide the right components, the plants will thrive.  The leaves need not, and should not, be pulled in order to make the plant grow.  The pot in which the plant grows must be made large as the roots grow.  In nurturing a child, it is important to trust her to grow in a safe, challenging environment into a wonderful individual.  Do not ask the child to perform (e.g., “Show Daddy what you did for the first time today! Or “what color is this?”

This is like pulling on plants leaves as it is growing; it does not support authenticity.  Requesting performance is not a problem as long as it is very clear that the child has the option of saying “no”; in other words, the parent does not expect performance.

EXAMPLE: “Please come over here so you can choose which shirt you want to wear”.  It is all right if the child does not perform; in this case the parent will perform instead.  In such situations where the parent would prefer performance by the child but does not need to demand it because of limit setting, role modeling of the action by the parent will have a gradual but powerful affect on the child,

2. Respect yourself, the carer the most difficult, most fundamental task.  Respecting the needs of an infant is far easier than respecting one’s own needs.  After all, the infant is brand new, and what you are doing with her is establishing new habits that replace no habits.  That is not true of respecting one’s own needs.  Becoming a parent challenges one’s development with the opportunity for personal growth.  Why is it important to grow personally, when your whole life is settling down after birth of your child?  Why is taking care of you important?  Why take care of yourself before the baby when your job as a parent is defined as taking care of the baby?  I can only offer my reasons…you must answer these questions for yourself.  The quality of your family life depends on your answers.

Parenting takes real work, especially if the philosophy and methodology I have described is different from what you would otherwise do.  By definition, work is draining.  It takes energy from you, and thus also from your child.

It usually only takes a short time to take care of your immediate needs, and a longer time to take care of your child.

You are the primary role model for your child, ad by respecting your own needs; you are setting a very important example for your child to later learn to respect his own needs.

Only after we truly respect ourselves are we able to genuinely respect others.

When you are able to satisfy your own needs on a regular basis, you are more able to nurture others:

3. Respect for both carer and the child:

a. Encourage Independent Play:  That gives the child important “alone” time away from the parent in a separate safe environment (a gated doorway is essential), allows him the chance to initiate learning and allows the parent to do whatever she wants to do when the child is awake.  This is less obvious when the baby is young and needs more attention, but it pays big dividends later to start liberating habits early.  Pay attention to whether you are feeling obligated to entertain your child.  Aim to be with him when you want to be.

b. Be Genuine:  This is not easy because authenticity is no as valued as politeness.  Keep in touch with your feelings as often as possible.  Tell your child how you are feeling when you are grumpy…and that your mood is not her fault.  Your anger can be thought of as a result of miscommunication and can be reduced as you improve communication both within yourself and with others.

c. Set Clear Limits:  As babies grow, they try to find out where their limits are.  You need to set limits where they are comfortable for you so you can consistently enforce the limit.

Being Respectful:  Let the baby test freely all the way up to the limit, then be both respectful and firm.  Be respectful of the person and firm with the behavior.  It is much easier to be one or the other, but balancing these goals is important.

Be respectful by acknowledging feelings.  Be brief and as concrete as you can while offering reasons for the limit.  If the child is very upset, save the reason for later. (A person cannot hear clearly when he is upset.)  If you make a habit of giving reasons for your request, you are much less likely to become controlling.  After all, if you cannot think of a good reason, then the request by definition unreasonable and perhaps should not be made.  (This is true only for requests made for the child to do or not do something; it is not true for statements you make about your feelings, for which you may not know a reason.)

Being Firm:  Firmness in limit setting allows the child to feel more secure.  Then he can work on being competent within those limits.  Firmness also demonstrates the conviction of the parent’s own rights and feelings, separate from the child.

Linda goes on to say: “I have set two kinds of limits for my son:  physical limits at the point of safety vs. non-safety (if I set it any sooner than that point, I would not be consistent over time).  I set the emotional limit around the concept of respect, meaning respect for me, other people, other life (plant and animal), and property.

Stanley Coopersmith, one of the major researchers of self-esteem in The Antecedents of Self-esteem (1967) writes ‘families of children with high self-esteem are marked by well-defined limits of behavior and clear statements of right and privileges, coexisting with the greater tolerance for individual expression and less drastic form of punishment… The parents of children with high self-esteem have continued to assert their authority…while at the same time permitting open discussion and dissent.” (pp257-260)

References:  Briggs,Dorothy Corkille  “Your Child’s Self Esteem”
Magda Gerber  “Dear Parent Caring for Infants with Respect”

-Post by: Roseann Murphy

Traumeel

If you’ve never heard of traumeel, well, it’s about time that changed. Traumeel is probably one of the most important weapons in my health arsenal.

It is a homeopathic anti-inflammatory ointment that can be used to reduce swelling and inflammation, for falls and bruises, for general aches and pains.

I keep a container of it with me at all times for when Isabelle falls. I used it when my wrist was hurting from typing too much. I even used it when I had a rash on my skin. It is marvelous.

And it WORKS. Amazingly well. Instant relief from pain. Oh – and I LATHERED it on after Belle’s birth, on the C-section scar. It was miraculous. I don’t know how I could’ve coped with the pain without Traumeel.

I usually get it at Whole Foods but you can order it online or from Amazon.

Sleep Positioning

This morning, the CEO of Aspen Seating and Nathan’s durable medical equipment rep came by the house to evaluate Nathan for an Aspen custom seating system.

Tom was a pediatric physical therapist before he started his own company so he wanted to evaluate Nathan before moving forward on one of his custom chairs.

After looking at the symmetry of his body and evaluating him in many positions, he said something that thrilled me. He said that Nathan’s body is in GREAT shape given his complexity and that he only sees a tiny bit of assymetry associated with the left hip. He was pleased at how well we’ve taken care of Nathan and commended us on a job well done.

He went on to tell us that as much as he would love to sell us a custom aspen chair – that Nathan doesn’t need it. Nathan would do just fine in a regular wheelchair seating system since his body is in such great shape. I was amazed by his honesty.

He proceeded to ask me about Nathan’s sleeping habits. I explained that Nathan sleeps on his belly because he has an exaggerated startle reflex and he can’t stay asleep on his back because he startles. While on his belly, he brings his legs up towards his stomach creating an assymetrical sleeping position.

He explained to me that sleep is one area that can really affect our kids’ bodies. Since they spend so many hours sleeping, their position while sleeping can correct problems or create problems. He explained that even if we have him in perfect alignment while sitting in a wheelchair, his body could still misalign and develop problems if he is not sleeping properly.

He recommended having him on his back, with his head raised, and a bolster under his knees. He said this will help keep his back straight and would probably even help with his hips.

Proper sitting without proper sleeping alignment was like having only one wing to fly. You need both in order to keep their bodies in good shape.

Nobody had ever talked to me about this so I was very grateful for his experience and honesty.

Nathan sleeps in a tempurpedic mattress but he explained that it’s not enough – he needs something to keep him in proper alignment. So now I have to call around to find something like what he described.

I just wanted to share this because I think it is very useful information for our little ones!

PS. Nathan is feeling much much better. Unfortunately Belle is the one that is REALLY sick and miserable.

KinesioTape

Nathan’s new PT kinestiotaped him, so I thought I’d share what that looks like, and the little I know about the tape.  After evaluating Nathan she believes that his abs are profoundly weak, as well as the sides of his necks.  He placed the tape on his stomach to give his abs some feedback and to help instigate flexion in his abs.  She also placed the tape on the sides of his neck to stimulate correction of the side to side motion of his head.  He is so much better when it comes to front and back, but he still needs more work on the side to side control of his neck.  She believes the feedback from the tape on the sides of the neck should help.  The tape should last 3-5 days and we can keep applying more and changing where we apply it.

[simage=1995,max,n,center,both][simage=1996,max,n,center,both][simage=1997,max,n,center,both][simage=1998,max,n,center,both]

Here’s more info on kinesiotape:

The Kinesio Taping® Method is a definitive rehabilitative taping technique that is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process while providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion as well as providing extended soft tissue manipulation to prolong the benefits of manual therapy administered within the clinical setting. Latex-free and wearable for days at a time, Kinesio® Tex Tape is safe for populations ranging from pediatric to geriatric, and successfully treats a variety of orthopedic, neuromuscular, neurological and other medical conditions. The Kinesio® Taping Method is a therapeutic taping technique not only offering your patient the support they are looking for, but also rehabilitating the affected condition as well. By targeting different receptors within the somatosensory system, Kinesio® Tex Tape alleviates pain and facilitates lymphatic drainage by microscopically lifting the skin. This lifting affect forms convolutions in the skin thus increasing interstitial space and allowing for a decrease in inflammation of the affected areas.

Based upon years of clinical use, Kinesio® Tex Tape is specifically applied to the patient based upon their needs after evaluation. The findings of the clinical evaluation or assessment dictate the specifics of the Kinesio® Tex Tape application and other possible treatments or modalities. With the utilization of single “I” strips or modifications in the shape of an “X”, “Y” or other specialized shapes as well as the direction and amount of stretch placed on the tape at time of application, Kinesio® Tex Tape can be applied in hundreds of ways and has the ability to re-educate the neuromuscular system, reduce pain and inflammation, enhance performance, prevent injury and promote good circulation and healing, and assist in returning the body to homeostasis.

The Kinesio Benefit
Evaluation and assessment are key in the treatment of any clinical condition. In order to get the desired results from a Kinesio Tex Tape application as well as any other treatment, a full assessment of your patient is necessary. In some cases, the treatment of a condition may require treatment of other underlying conditions as well. This assessment should include manual muscle testing, range of motion testing, gait assessment, and any other orthopedic special tests that you deem necessary. The information gained from these assessments will allow for the proper treatment protocol to be laid out. Kinesio Tex Tape can be a valuable addition to this protocol. It has been proven to have positive physiological effects on the skin, lymphatic and circulatory system, fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and joints. It can be used in conjunction with a multitude of other treatments and modalities within your clinic and is effective during the rehabilitative and chronic phases on an injury as well as being used for preventative measures.

Source: http://www.kinesiotaping.com/kinesio/method.html

Rolfing

Several months ago we started taking Nathan to weekly Rolfing sessions. Not only does Nathan love these sessions, but they have also been fundamental in keeping his body in good shape. Rolfing, along with ABR, both manipulate the connective tissue and myofascia. While ABR strengthens the myofascia, Rolfing elongates and stretches, which has keep Nathan with full range of motion and without contractures.

Without further ado, here is Tom, Nathan’s rolfing therapist:

Let me know if you have any questions, Tom said he’d be happy to answer any questions so we can turn this post into a Q&A.

Got Milk?

On our way to Chicago for some work meetings I sat next to a high powered businessman and we started talking about our kids, and the conversation rapidly evolved into discussions about our jobs. He works in marketing and is focusing on internet marketing, so we had lots in common to talk about. After a few minutes he told me that he spent 11 years working on the “Got Milk” marketing campaign, and that he was one of the first marketing executives to work on that account.

What I heard was pretty eye-opening.

He explained to me that, since milk is an expensive commodity (yes, a COMMODITY), their challenge when they started the campaign was to make people believe that it was NOT a commodity but a NECESSITY.

So what they did was they formed an alliance where all of the milk distributors teamed together to hire a very expensive PR agency. They created a “tax system” whereby for every single container of milk sold, a percentage would be paid for marketing the “milk collective”. So if you think of the “got milk” campaign – you never think of a brand – it promotes drinking milk, any milk, not a brand. By forming a collective it allowed them to have a much larger advertising budget for the product, and then they would all benefit from the campaign.

11 years ago the budget started at 35 million dollars a year to promote milk.

When he left the PR agency 4 years ago the budget was 235 million dollars a year.

Yes, my friends, 235 million dollars to promote milk. To tell people that milk is a necessity, not a commodity. To shift perception of milk so people think it’s healthy. To convince people that milk is the only source of calcium and that we all need it for bone health. 235 million dollars a year so every household in America would permanently keep a gallon of milk in their fridge.

Next time you believe that you HAVE to give your kids milk, you’ve been conned.

The truth is:

- Milk is NOT the only source of calcium – there are many other very healthy sources of calcium.

- You need magnesium to absorb calcium – so it’s very possible that you’re not absorbing ANY calcium from milk unless it has magnesium, and then you will only absorb as much calcium as there is magnesium.

- In order to meet the demand on milk, distributors use hormones and other products to increase production of milk and special tools to extract it. Often there is blood in the milk from these products which then cannot be removed and is disguised in the sold product. Also, what and how are those cows being fed? Doesn’t that affect quality of the milk?

- Milk proteins are very large and difficult to digest, and can cause problems for people with sensitive digestive systems.

- There are wonderful calcium/magnesium supplements that are better for the body than milk, like Floradix.

- Raw organic milk has valuable enzymes and other health benefits.

The obvious question is, if you stop giving your child milk, what can you replace it with? Here are some good milk replacement suggestions:

- Coconut milk
- Almond milk
- Hemp milk
- Rice milk

Some people also use soy but I am not a big fan of soy because the proteins in soy are also hard and difficult to digest.

I hope you find this as enlightening and eye-opening as I did!

On Boogers

Nathan’s immune system isn’t working too well right now, which keeps us on high alert. So today I thought I’d write about some of the things I use when Nathan is sick or starting to get sick.

Our worst enemy is boogers. Since Nathan can’t blow his nose or cough them out, the boogers stay in his system and perpetuate the infection, eventually causing more problems including bronchitis, ear, and sinus infections. So every time he gets sick, my #1 goal is to get rid of those boogers. I’ve tried a lot of things and by now I have what I believe is the very best booger removal system out there:

This isn’t alternative medicine. It was given to us by Nathan’s pediatrician. We get ours from CVS. They sell it at walmart, walgreens, CVS – pretty much any pharmacy. And it is AMAZING for getting rid of all of the mucus stuck at the top of the nasal passageways all the way to the very back and to the throat.

Here’s how you do it. Add one packet of the salt solution that it comes with. Make sure the water is pretty warm – not hot enough to burn the inside of your hand, but pretty warm. Then hold the child’s head slightly leaning forward and to one side (depending on what side you’re cleaning). Squirt really hard until you see the liquid coming out of the other nostril. And enjoy as you watch the flow of boogers!

Yes, it’s pretty uncomfortable. Yes, it’s pretty hard to do on kids that have head control. Yes, they hate it. But it is SOOO helpful. We even used it with Belle when she was really sick and it helped her tremendously. In fact a day after we started using it she was pretty much back to normal. But I will say, it took one adult holding her head with all of their strength to keep her still enough to do it, and it made her hysterical, but, it was worth it to get her healthy again.

Next on my toolkit is Tea Tree Therapy:

You can get it at Whole Foods or order it online. It is AMAZING to relieve congestion. I rub it on Nathan’s chest and upper back, on his throat, even a little bit on his sinus and just under his nose. It burns a little bit but, once again, the burn is worth it as it helps him tremendously.

And here’s a bonus about this oil. One day my hand was hurting very badly and all I had handy was the oil, so I put some on the area where it hurt. Lo and behold, the pain went away! I use it often on areas of inflammation and it seems to work wonder. My next experiment will be to massage Nathan’s arms and legs with it to see if it helps with his spasticity. I will let you know how it goes!

Finally, I use some homeopathic remedies if I feel he still needs a boost. I get them all at Whole Foods. My favorite right now is:

It’s called Alpha CF, and they have an adult and a baby version. I give it to Nathan every 30 minutes if he is on the verge of getting sick or running fevers, then every hour when he gets better, then every few hours as he improves. It works wonders.

I also give him as much Emergen-C as we can get into him. Again, Emergen-C can be found anywhere and it is a wonderful way of helping to strengthen his immune system to avoid illness. Once he is sick then it helps speed up recovery but doesn’t help to manage symptoms.

Right now this is my golden combination and is really helping us to keep Nathan’s illnesses from escalating. Unfortunately none of this are improving his immune system, they just prevent him from getting worse. I just though I’d share as we head into flu and cold season.

Leaky Gut Syndrome

I got the results of Nathan’s bloodwork and spoke with his DAN doctor about them, who told me ALL of his symptoms are classic leaky gut symptoms. So, what is leaky gut, you might be wondering:

Leaky gut syndrome describes a condition of altered or damaged bowel lining, caused by antibiotics, toxins, poor diet, parasites or infection can lead to increased permeability of the gut wall to toxins, microbes, undigested food, waste or larger than normal macromolecules.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leaky_gut_syndrome

He explained that all of the food allergies that I mentioned yesterday are because of the leaky gut. I did notice that he was allergic to all of the things that he eats the most. So the doctor explained that the proteins in the foods that he eats leak into the blood stream through the damaged intestine wall, and the body then produces antibodies and attacks them thinking they are foreign invaders.

So it’s not about “curing” his allergies or about avoiding the substances – it’s about fixing the leaky gut so that the proteins won’t leak out any more and then the food allergies will resolve themselves.

What was interesting is that in the blood work that his pediatrician did, she looked for IgE reactions to certain foods, and guess what? Everything that was in the IgG test was also in the IgE test: Corn, Cow’s milk, egg white, rice, walnuts, wheat . So the two tests matched (although in the IgG test we looked for reactions to many more foods). The DAN doctor told me not to worry about the dietary issue but to instead focus on helping him rebuild the intestinal walls.

In the blood work we also saw evidence of low cholesterol (we need to increase his fat intake), low neutrophils, high lymphocytes and eosinophils (which indicate a virus infection), high IgE count (proving our leaky gut syndrome diagnosis), high vitamin B6 and B12 levels, and a possible parasite infection. Oh, and it also showed that he is allergic to cat dander..good thing cats would be dog food at our house!

The blood panel basically showed an underactive immune system due to the inflammation and stress caused by the leaky gut syndrome…which is why he often gets sick.

We had worked on the leaky gut a couple of years ago, but unfortunately it seems like we backtracked (probably during the months that we broke his diet), so we are back to square one. The good thing is that his DAN doctor has a plan and believes with proper supplementation (starting with L-glutamine) we can get him back on the road to health.

Lotso’ Bits

* Peter Pan to the rescue!!! He rescued me from my aching heart yesterday… I missed him soooo much while I was away!

He had a great time with his dad, grandma, and nanny Marta, as you can see in his eyes. I was so pleased to find him chunky, happy, and in great spirits. The only down side is that he had a cough which seems to be developing into a cold…I hope it goes away soon!

* Because of the developing cold I took him to see an acupuncturist today…you can imagine my surprise when she pulls out a laser and tells me that she is about to go needle-free as the laser has even better results than needles! I was thrilled! She is going to help us with our laser – giving us points to use etc – to help Nathan with many things.

* One of the things that she will work on is a protocol called NAET – which helps with allergy elimination. He identifies the foods that Nathan is allergic to, then uses the laser to help eliminate the allergies. She has seen it work, over and over again, and she believes it will really help Nathan.

* Coincidentally, today we got results from Nathan’s IgA/IgG allergy testing with BioTek. I was DISMAYED at the results. He is highly allergic to many substances we’ve been giving him on an almost daily basis!

Extreme allergies:

Almonds, Barley, Beans, Buckwheat, Wheat, Hazelnuts, Lentils, Green Peas, Peanuts, White rice, Rye, Spelt, String Beans, Coconut, Corn, Oats, White potatoes, casein, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, milk, goat milk, whey, yogurt, chicken, egg white, egg yolk, turkey, honey,

Moderate Allergies

carrots, garlic, onion, zuchini, amaranth, kidney beans, pinto beans, pecan, sesame seed, sunflower seeds, walnuts, grapes, peaches, pineapple.

What are we supposed to feed this kid??? If NAET works, then hopefully we can get rid of all these allergies so he can once again eat whatever he wants! Keep your fingers crossed!

* We are supposed to leave on Saturday to New York…but with Nathan coming down with a cold and Belle sick, I’m wondering if we’ll be able to go? I’m taking them to the doc tomorrow, and got some great acupuncture points to work on with our laser, so I am hoping they’ll both recover in the next day or two!

* Nathan’s braces have been approved (finally!!) and we get to pick them up when we get back!

* I picked him up at school today and found the districts Orthopedic Impairment / Inclusion specialist evaluating Nathan. She was lovely! She totally saw the light in Nathan’s eyes and seemed to “get him”…I am happy that they have such a wonderful person evaluating and helping him.

* It’s nice to be back on the blog again!

Crises Averted

Nathan’s been on the verge of getting sick for the last few days. He started sounding raspy last Wednesday. By thursday he woke up a bit warm and sounding like he could possibly be sick. So we started Marcela therapy.

I went to Whole Foods and purchased some homeopathic remedies, which we started giving him every hour on the hour. Then we started using our sinus cleanse to wash out his nostrils. We mega dosed him on Emergen-C to increase his vitamin C levels. We rubbed a natural vap-rub on his back and chest.

By Friday afternoon he was almost fully recovered!

Unfortunately Saturday we went out and about to Santa Monica again and on Sunday he went to Disneyland with his dad and cousing (Belle, Catalina, Cybell and I are going this week) and by the time he got back last night he was almost sick again.

Last night he woke me up with a very wet cough and a ton of phlegm in his chest, so I started his “treatment” all over again. This morning he woke up well enough to go to school.

I’m happy that so far we’ve been able to keep him from getting too sick. Later on I will round up what I’ve been using so I can write a post on my “alternative cold treatment” in case it can help your kids too!

We also went to Dr. Kenny and it became clear that most of these issues are happening to Nathan again because we’ve been cheating on his diet. When Belle was born we fell off the GFCF diet bandwagon and he’s been eating pretty much anything. We also did this to try and help him gain weight. But the result has been the opposite. Breaking the diet has made him more mucusy, which makes it harder for him to eat and swallow, and also weakends his immune system.

The conclusion – the diet is not just helpful but ESSENTIAL for Nathan’s health so we are now re-committed to it and certain that we made the right choice to begin with. I’ll keep you guys posted about how he’s doing!

Moving Forward

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the last 4 years is the need to “keep it real”.

As much as I love the Anat Baniel Method, I just don’t feel that I would be providing Nathan with a substantial benefit by stopping everything and travelling to Northern California 3 times in 3 months. I feel that the best way we can help Nathan is by providing him a solid foundation with sustainable therapies.

All of my life I’ve been a All or Nothing type of person. And one of the most important lessons that I’ve been learning is to maintain balance, to keep in the middle way. Life is NOT all or nothing. Without balance, we have a chaotic internal environment. And with chaos there can not be peace and progress.

The last few days have been very difficult. I love ABM and do believe it can help Nathan a LOT. But should I throw away everything I’ve learned in the past year to find myself exactly where I was a few months ago? Or should I build on what I”ve learned and try and only engage in things that are balanced and sustainable?

My answer after much praying and meditating – remember sustainability. Slow and steady wins the race.

I really do believe that as much as it is our jobs as parents to help our kids fulfill their potential, our kids are here to help US too. And this journey with Nathan is teaching me what really matters in life, and the cost. Yes, maybe I could bulldoze through things and spend a lot of time up in Northern California so Nathan can receive intensive ABM – but what would be the cost? Our family life would suffer, our internal rhythm would suffer, our balance would suffer. Today, so long as my Nathan is healthy and happy, I believe that peace, balance and stability are as important as physical progress.

So my goal right now is to find a sustainable, balanced, realistc way of moving forward with ABM.

I have also decided to stick to the therapies that I know are effective: ABM, ABR, CME, HBOT, Laser reflex integration.

I already know without a shadow of a doubt that these therapies help Nathan. I’m not going to throw it all away now, especially when Nathan is doing well and making progress. I believe they all work together to help his brain mature and to maintain his body healthy.

Thank you so much to everyone who commented and gave me their support and opinions. I can’t tell you how much I value your input and support. I honestly feel so blessed to have this amazing community around us in our journey. Thank you thank you thank you!

Anat Baniel Method Day 2

Yesterday, I almost packed our bags and drove back home after our appointment with Anat Baniel.

The day started badly. Nathan appeared to have caught a cold after he recovered from bronchitis two weeks ago. He had a very snotty nose and didn’t want to eat. I didn’t get much sleep as Belle decided to nurse every hour. I was still hopeful that things would turn around when we saw Anat in the late afternoon.

We had our appointment with Neil in the early afternoon and it went well. He worked on teaching Nathan how to roll from back to belly. With this therapy it’s hard to know exactly what the therapist is doing but Nathan was happy and he seemed to be taking all of the information in.

We took a break and went to the bed and breakfast. During this break I applied a natural vapor rub product that I found at Whole Foods. It seemed to help Nathan tremendously – his breathing improved considerably.

After a short while we returned to the ABM center full of hope and excitement, ready to see Anat. She was supposed to see us at 5pm, but didn’t turn up until 5:35pm. The minute she saw us, she started coughing and looked very haggard.

We went to the treatment room and she kept coughing. A couple of minutes into the appointment she asked us what we put on Nathan and proceeded to tell us she was very allergic to it. So I had to run out with Nathan and try and wash off all the stuff in the bathroom. It was in his face, chest, back – even in his hair. You can imagine the adventure, trying to get rid of it all. We even had to take his shirt off. After about 15 minutes of this, we went back to the treatment room and Anat felt a bit better, at least she wasn’t coughing every 2 seconds.

She started working with Nathan – touching him on his back, chest, arms. She asked me a couple of questions – what was his diagnosis, what other things we’ve tried. Mostly she asked about where we were staying, what I do for a living, etc. Then she put him on his belly and did an exercise where he was on his elbows with his head up. He did a good job lifting and holding his head up. She started making him sway from side to side, trying to get him to keep his head from flopping to both directions. In the beginning he flopped to both extremes. But after a few repetitions he was controlling his head and keeping it more in the middle, and if it flopped, he would bring it back to the middle on his own.

Nathan seemed to like it and started laughing. Then at some point he started sobbing uncontrollably. She must’ve done something to hurt him – I had to take him from her to calm him down. Then after a few minutes I gave him back to her. She did the same exercise a couple more times.

Then to my utter surprise she said, okay, we’re done. In my head I was like, huh? Done? We just started? But I figured maybe time had flown and I hadn’t noticed (this happens to me often), so I grabbed my kid and started getting ready to get out of the room. I asked her quizzically, is that it? She said, well unless you have any questions..but looked utterly uninterested in answering any questions. So I said, well I have a million questions but wouldn’t even know where to start. So she told me that I seemed to understand what was going on very dismissively. I grabbed my kids and left.

When we got to the car I looked at the time – 6:02pm. The entire appointment with Anat took 25 mins. Here’s the thing. During the entire week we only have 2 appointments with Anat. The rest are with 2 other practitioners that Anat trained. That appointment was supposed to be the “big” appointment – where Anat would evaluate Nathan, talk to us about him, his potential, his treatmetn plan, and spend a good hour working with him.

Instead she saw us for a grand total of 25 minutes (including the cleaning Nathan off debacle), didn’t say anything about Nathan, and sent us on our merry way. That was the most expensive 20 minutes of my life – the appointment cost $400. Yes, you heard me right – $400 dollars.

Oh and to top it off, one of the only questions that she did ask me about Nathan was – can he DO anything? I had to do a double take. Is Anat Baniel really asking me if my Nathan can DO anything?

I answered with my usual spiel – he is very smart, he understands everything, cognitively he’s at about a 2 year level, he just has a hard time with movement. But shouldn’t that have been obvious to her? If she’d tried talking to him directly she would’ve figured that out in 2 seconds – Neil, the other practitioner, did.

I sat in the parking lot for a few minutes wondering what to do. Disappointment can’t even describe what I felt. We have been waiting for this appointment and trying to get the funding together for a long time. Now we were finally here but this lady couldn’t even give us the time of day.

It took a humongous effort for me to go back to that Center today – but I’m glad we did.

Today Nathan worked with Sylvie, who was absolutely amazing. She spent 45 minutes working very hard with Nathan. She talked to him, treated him with respect, asking him to do things, and he responded well. Immediately she knew that he was quite smart but needed help mapping movement in his brain. I was so pleased with the appointment.

Our afternoon appointment with Neil also went well and once again I saw Nathan responding well and trying to integrate what he was being taught.

Honestly if we hadn’t had such great appointments with Neil and Sylvie we probably would’ve gone home. But watching the two of them I was convinced that there is great merit to this method and that Nathan has potential.

We also talked to 3 families in the waiting room. One guy was there from France with his 5 year old daughter – this was his 5th trip from France. He was convinced it was helping his daughter and that’s why he kept making the trip. We also met another family with a daughter who is 12 and has CP. She is physically very affected but can speak. I asked her if she liked the therapy and she told me she loved it, she only wished she’d started sooner. This was their 2nd appointment in 6 months. The 3rd family we met was a mom and her 8 year old son. She has been going to the Center for 4 years, and feels that it has helped her soon more than anything else.

After we finished today’s appointment we walked around downtown San Rafael and had dinner and a sorbet and a really lovely time.

I wish our experience with Anat had been different. But I am happy that it has still been a positive and productive experience. I can’t really tell if Nathan is improving functionally or not – but there is time yet! I’ll keep you guys posted!

Water, water and more water!

I’ve talked about the importance of water and hydration before. It’s come up twice this week with a few friend so I figured I should write a post on it.

For proper health it’s essential to maintain the correct acid-alkaline balance. Our pH level affects every cell in the body. Acidic imbalances for a long period of time can lead to many health issues.

The body works hard to preserve a very narrow pH range, especially in the blood. In fact, the body will create tremendous stress on other tissues, body systems and organs to maintain the correct blood pH.

Some common side effects of an over acidic body consist of: low energy, fatigue, excess weight, poor digestion, along with aches and pains. Some more serious issues from long term acidity include: diabetes, osteoporosis, cancer and much more.

Acidity is brought on by three primary things:

First, ingesting acids. This consists of eating foods that contain processed sugar, dairy, and consuming meat. These foods create an acid ash in the body. These acids build up over time and the body’s ability to neutralize them begins to deteriorate.

Second, the bodies creation of acids. When the body becomes acidic bad bacteria, yeasts and other microforms begin to develop. These organisms are living so they create toxins. These toxins are very acidic to the body.

Third, Improper elimination of acids. All acids are not created equal. Some are weak and some are stronger. Weaker acids such as citric acid are easier to eliminate as compared to stronger acids such as uric acid. The body has many buffering systems to neutralize and eliminate acids, but nutritional abuse often compromises the body’s natural buffering systems and excess acids build up resulting in disease.

Proper pH balance begins with being hydrated. Water is the most important factor in maintaining the right balance. The body is made up of 70% water and loses approximately 2.5 liters per day just through normal bodily functions. The quality is just as important as the quantity of water you drink. Alkaline water is able to help your body prevent toxins and chemical substances from accumulating. Also, it helps transport minerals and nutrients required for cell metabolism. Alkaline water has been shown to be 6 times more hydrating than regular tap water or bottled water.

So along with eating properly, we need to be drinking plenty of water, the right water. Alkaline water has helped us all a LOT – it helps with digestion and the immune system specifically. I highly recommend it!

Insights

Today I read a book called “Your Inner Physican and You”, written by John Upledger, the guy who invented CranioSacral therapy. It was FASCINATING. For anyone who is interested in learning more about central nervous system function and how to improve overall physical and emotional health – I highly recommend this book.

Here are some of the highlights for me:

* Chronic conditions may be caused by subtle physical conditions such as positioning of the spine, skull bones, etc. For example, he describes reducing spasticity by working on cranial bones and the sacrum.

* There are emotional components to physical health. He describes a technique called somatoemotional release. By working with his hands he descovers areas of the body that have retained emotional trauma leading to imbalances.

* Subconscious memories can have very deep, long-lasting effects. He describes many stories of working with patients who’d had experiences when they were very young (one as young as 2 days old), and what they heard and felt changed their physical health for the rest of their lives. Think of all the things we do and say around our children that we don’t even think twice about?

* Intention matters. He describes the difference between healers is their intention and the belief in their work. He talks about healers who don’t really believe they can help, so they don’t. Then he talks about healers who have a profound belief in their work, so they have miraculous results. Intention also relates to the patient himself, therapists, parents, caretakers, etc. If we believe the person will not get better, it is likely he won’t. If we believe he will, he has a much greater chance of improvements.

* He talks a lot about hands-on healing and directional healing. He talks about simply using his hands to heal, without using specific craniosacral techniques. He describes feeling his hands heat up, and with this heat comes healing. He claims he has measured this heat and electrical responses when using his hands for healing and can scientifically proof the effect of hands-on healing. He also describes “directional healing” which means putting one hand on one side of the wound, and the other around the wound, and ‘sending” energy from one had to the other. This apparently causes healing.

Reading this book answers many questions I’ve recently been asking myself. Specifically:

- Why so some therapies work so well for one child, then you take another child and the therapy doesn’t help at all?

- Why do these very subtle therapies work so profoundly? ABR, Rolfing, ABM – they are all so subtle. Now I understand better. They are using energy to activate and strengthen the body. Most importantly they use energy to ignite the body’s self healing responses.

- Reading this book has given me a much better udnerstanding of ABR. This is exactly what ABR is – feeding the body and cells with energy. No wonder ABR is so effective!

- Why do I have to work on so many levels with Nathan? Because the body is so complex, and when the “quarterback” (the brain) doesn’t work, many things start to malfunction. If the craniosacral system isn’t working properly, many other bodily functions are negatively affected.

- Upldedger describes our Inner Physician – he claims we all have an inner physician that can help us heal. This is an innate desire to heal and improve. If you combine this inner physician with brain plasticity – then you can conclude that the body/brain always wants to learn and to improve. So what the lady from the Carter Centers told me about kids with holoprosencephaly not being able to improve – baloney. Perhaps it may require more effort and time and intensity – but kids with HPE are human and have craniosacral systems and inner physicians like everybody else, and the body’s tendency is to strive for healing. So if we provide opportunities, they will improve.

I have to admit I feel excited, encouraged, and so grateful that this book fell into my hands recently! I am more motivated and excited than I’ve been in a while!

A victory

Nathan is OFF his PREVACID!  Hooray hooray hallelujah!

A while ago I talked about wanting to take Nathan off prevacid.  So I added a couple of supplements, and told Owen to start giving him the prevacid every other day (he is the official prevacid doser).

Well Owen got mixed up and stopped giving it to him altogether.

Today I noticed the supply wasn’t dwindling so I asked Owen about it and the truth came out. And guess what. Nathan seems fine without his prevacid! He hasn’t been vomiting, he’s been eating better than ever, and he is still gaining weight.

It occurred to me that maybe this is the reason he’s been whining. But coincidentally this week he’s been much much better so whatever was bothering him seems to have passed. Thus it can’t be the lack of prevacid!

Nathan is fully off all pharmaceuticals! Hip Hip HOOOOOOOOOOORAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why we do it

I know some people think we’re crazy for doing all we do with Nathan. Some people think we’re chasing a dream and we should just accept reality and stop running around doing therapies. They think some of the stuff we do is nuts and why can’t we just follow convention.

The answer is so simple: Quality of Life.

I love Nathan exactly the way he is. I accept him. He is absolutely perfect. If he stays exactly the way he is for the rest of his life I will be blissfully happy with the incredible little person whose life I have the good fortune to share. Of course I have my human moments where I get down and want him to do more – but these are just moments.

As I have said many times before, my two primary goals for Nathan are Health and Happiness.

That is 80% of the reason we do what we do. The supplements we give him, the therapies we do, the activities and equipment we use – everything is meant to maintain his body in good health which prevents surgeries and illnesses which in turn keep him a happy, content little man.

In all honesty, I believe conventional medicine fails miserably at achieving this goal. Until I had Nathan, I was a 100% believer in conventional medicine. I never went to “alternative” doctors, I believed traditional doctors, I did what they told me to do, I took the prescriptions they gave me. But having seen how miserably conventional medicine failed Nathan, I was forced to seek alternative routes. Thereafter, it was simple.

Conventional – Nathan was sick all the time.
Alternative – Nathan became increasingly healthy and happy. He is rarely sick. He has not been hospitalized at all since we started with alternative treatments like muscle testing, chiropractic, nutritional supplements, and energy medicine.

Beyond simple. And since alternative medicine is so vast and unknown, it necessarily has to be a trial and error situation. How can we know what does or doesn’t work if we don’t try it? How do we know which ones are the good and the mediocre practitioners? So try we do. We try and we try and we try. And through trial and error we have found some fantastic treatments and healers.

But as you know and I openly share – nothing we’ve done has given Nathan any major functional gains. He is still not talking, not sitting, not holding up his head, not standing, not rolling, not not not. So why do we continue? Why do we keep trying and trying? Once again, it’s simple.

Quality of life. The other 20%.

Even the most minute of inchstones can make a huge difference to both Nathan’s quality of life and our quality of life as his family and support team.

Today I witnessed one of these inchstones. We’ve been working on “yes/no” responses using his 2 button switch talker. A few months ago, it was very hard for Nathan to use this switch because he didn’t have enough control of his hands to reach over to the furthest one. Also, he didn’t have enough precision to hit the button accurately.

Until today. Over lunch Nathan and I had one of our first “conversations”. Because of all the stuff we’ve done lately, he now has more control over his hand, and he gained the ability to flick his wrist so he can easily press either of the two buttons. He has so much more precision now and can do it consistently. So we started having a yes no conversation. It went something like this:

Nathan do you want more pasta? Yes. Do you want some water? No. More pasta? Yes. Did you have fun at school today? Yes. Do you want more medicine? No. Would you like to eat more pasta? Yes. How about water, would you like some? No. Would you like me to call daddy so he can say hi? Yes. Do you love your sister Belle? Yes. Are you ready for nite nite? No.

I kept changing the questions to see if he was hitting the buttons purposefully and he was 100% purposeful and very accurate. This conversation brought tears to my eyes! I can now “talk” to my son and he can express, clearly and consistently, what he wants! This is INCREDIBLE!

Can you put a price tag on that? Can you put an effort tag on that? Can you call me crazy for being willing to go to the ends of the earth to help Nathan gain these inchstones that mean so much to him and to us?

I love him just the way he is. But now I can also ask him what he wants/needs. Now we can have conversations. Now I can understand him better. Now I can take better care of him.

Every little inchstone goes a LONG way in improving Nathan’s, and our family’s, quality of life. Every drop of strength, every drop of control over his body, every muscle he masters, every reflex he overcomes, every new sound he can make – HUGE!

So if this means living out of an RV for weeks at a time, flying all over the place for various therapies, making immense sacrifices and effort … we will do it. We will do anything that gives him that little bit of extra control so he can access the world around him. So he can understand and express himself. So he can enjoy his life that much more. So he can stay healthy and happy.

He’s so worth it.

Nathan’s Supplements

I haven’t talked about Nathan’s supplements in a little while so I figured since little man is still away, today would be a good day to discuss this topic. I’m going to do this as a Q&A format as I think it’ll make things clearer:

How do you know what supplements to give him, and how much of each?

Dr. Kenny, Nathan’s alternative doctor, determines what Nathan needs and how much based on biofeedback. She has boxes and boxes of vials which represent all sorts of different supplements. She puts them against his body, and then uses muscle testing to see which ones he needs. I’ve talked about muscle testing here and here.

Also, every month I will order a couple of different supplements based on my research (from books, autism research, from reading blogs and forums) and I will bring them to her. Again, she puts them against his body and tests his response.

Then, once he tests strongly for a supplement, meaning that he needs it, she will muscle test to determine the amount. At the end of each session with Dr. Kenny, I have a new list of supplements to give him and how much of each.

I know it doesn’t sound like an exact science but it works for us! Nathan has been SO HEALTHY since we started seeing Dr. Kenny. Functional medicine doctors and DAN doctors might be more precise by testing using blood, urine, and stool cultures – but for me, as I tend to be more right brained, Dr. Kenny’s method works perfectly.

How do you give him all of the supplements?

This has been a slowly evolving art. It used to be very difficult, but now, we have it down to a science.

The first thing I do is grab a tiny cup, and then I open up all of the capsules and mix all of the powders from the capsules. If they are gels, I poke them with a knife or something sharp and mix them in there. If they are not in powder form, I crush them with a pill crusher or in between 2 spoons. If they are liquid, I just drop the amount in there. At the end, I end up with a little mountain of wet powder.

Then, I mix in just ONE spoonful of organic cinnamon apple sauce. That ONE spoonful is enough to give it some taste and to make it edible (it binds it together).

Finally, I add in some brown sugar to make it even sweeter.

The end product – an apple saucey texture with a very sweet taste that he eats in just 4 or 5 spoonfuls!

What supplements are you giving him?

This is what he is currently taking. I am linking to random sites, not necessarily the places where I order, so you can read the list of ingredients and see more details.

B6 – 17 drops
CoQ10 – 1
Rutivite – 1
Quantum brain complex – 1
Quantum brain complex – 1
Omega 3 oil – 1
Vit D3 – 1
5HTP – 1
Advanced Brain nutrients – 2
Quantum nerve complex – 2 twice a day
Neuroplex – 2
Neurolink – 2
Phospholipids – 1 tbsp
Combocillus – 1
Single Delight – 1 drop

The vast majority of these supplements are considered Brain Food and help to produce neuronutrients to help with brain development.

Other than these supplements, I have him on high dose B12 shots prescribed by his DAN doctor, which we give him every 4 days.

Finally, he is also on G-therapy.

Anything else?

My next goal is to finally get him completely off Prevacid, which he is still taking for reflux. I’ve ordered L-Glutamine and Slippery Elm to see if, between these two, we can control his reflux enough to lay off the Prevacid. This is, and has been, his only prescription medicine and I can’t wait to take him off it. Prevacid prevents proper digestion and absorption of nutrients so a lot of what we’re doing is counterproductive as the Prevacid doesn’t allow his body to fully process the supplements. I’ll keep you guys posted to let you know if we’re successful!

Cold Laser or Low Level Light Therapy

This is the new therapy that we are going to be starting with Nathan. This article does a great job of explaining it:

Cold-Laser Therapy: How and Why It Works

Here’s another page I found that summarizes LLLT.

My interest was supremely piqued after speaking to another mom of a beautiful girl with CP. She sent me these articles:

http://med-vetacupuncture.org/english/articles/lasercp.html

http://www.cpfirst.org/aboutus.html

Then, coincidentially, a lady who is pioneering the integration of this treatment for children with cerebral palsy is coming to the West Coast so she is going to train us on a protocol to use with the laser.

As usual, I’m going out on a limb and trying something pretty new and experimental. But I have a feeling about this one…so we’re going for it. The best part? The treatment consists on holding the laser on key acupuncture points throughout the body. Each treatment is only 10-15 minutes and is completely painless for Nathan.

Dr. Kenny worked on me and Nathan once with the laser, a long time ago, and it was supremely powerful – so I know there’s something to this! I will report my findings as we learn more!

Here’s a video showing the laser and the first exercise series I’ll be doing with Nathan (as soon as he gets home).

Exercise with Oxygen Therapy & Whole Body Vibration

I went to see Dr. Kenny today and she told me about a new things she’s been offering her patients. It’s called exercise with oxygen therapy. Knowing how much Nathan’s benefited from HBOT thus far I was really interested in hearing about it. But instead of telling me about it – she made me try it.

Basically she had me on an oxygen concentrator with a little bike pedal type thingy. I wore a nasal cannula so the oxygen was blowing directly into my nostrils.

Here’s kinda what it looked like:

With oxygen coming from a machine like this:

Pedaling a thingy like this:

The reason for it? Increasing oxygen supply and absorption to the body.

Here’s a brief explanation that I found on the internet:

Oxygen is our most important element for life. Wellness is totally dependent upon it. So far as body function is concerned, if you don’t use it you lose it. Any activity increases the human body’s need for oxygen. So we exercise with extra oxygen and whoopie!! Just a 30-60 minute session on our home model oxygen bar displaces harmful free radicals, neutralizes environmental toxins, and destroys anaerobic infectious bacteria, parasites, and microbes. Not to mention all the cellular repair you get.

Source: http://oxygen-therapy.biz/ Check out their page for a great explanation, or do a Google search, there’s quite a lot of info about it out there.

I have to admit that after about 15 min’s of this combination, I felt REALLY good! I left feeling more energized and with a sense of well-being. My interest and curiosity was piqued.

So as usual, my mind was off like a rocket. Hmmmm. Wouldn’t this be amazing for Nathan. This would be a fabulous complement to his home program. How can I get this set up for Nathan.

Then I remembered a conversation I had with another mom a couple of days ago. She was telling me that there is a way to modify the soft hyperbaric oxygen chambers to achieve a higher ATA. Currently Nathan is diving at 1.5 ATA in a hard chamber. The soft chamber that we have at home only goes up to 1.3 ATA. So after leaving Dr. Kenny’s, I was like..hmmm…if I can get this oxygen tank that Dr. Kenny has, and get that cannula into the chamber, and modify the chamber to go to 1.5 – VOILA! Nathan would get the same benefit from HBOT at HOME!

I started calling around and I had to admit that what I discovered made me laugh. It turns out that we ALREADY HAVE an oxygen concentrator! So all this time I could’ve been able to do BOTH of these ideas – diving in a hard chamber at 1.5 with 95% oxygen, and doing exercise with oxygen therapy! We had all the tools right in our own garage!

I had no idea that you could use the oxygen concentrator with a nasal cannula, I thought it could only “blow” oxygen into the chamber. I’ve had the chamber for over a year but we stopped using it because it didn’t seem to be working. It turns out there was a pot of gold in my own backyard and I didn’t even know it ;-)

Then I started thinking..well…how do I add in the exercise component?

I’ve solved one problem already – how to keep Nathan going with HBOT without having to go so far away. But what about the Exercise with Oxygen idea?

Two things occurred to me – what if I put him on the oxygen while I have him in the stander or the Merry Muscles? This way he is “exercising” WHILE receiving extra oxygen. The oxygen concentrator has wheels so I can move it around. It doesn’t have to stay with the chamber. So I can use it for dual purposes – in the HBOT chamber as well as while he’s “exercising”.

Then I remembered an infomercial I saw on TV a while back – exercise passively on a vibration platform! I started looking around and found this article: Whole Body Vibration Therapy.

I kept searching and found this study: Effects of Whole Body Vibration on a Child with Cerebral Palsy.

Of course once I started I couldn’t stop and I’ve been looking into this for a while now and … hmmm…. I think I’m on to something! No one’s ever mentioned this to me before (I’m surprised), but it seems to have a lot of potential!

Now think of this..what if we put it all together? One dive in the chamber in the morning before school, then in the afternoon, I can put him in the LiteGait to suspend him over a vibration plate, hook him up to the oxygen concentrator, and let him watch TV???!!!!!

Things that make me go…hmmmmmmmmmm…………….

PS – I didn’t paste too many links here about Whole Body Vibration or Exercise with Oxygen Therapy. There’s a TON of info on the internet about it so have a look around if you’re interested in knowing more!

Marcela’s Views on Rehabilitation

People often ask me why I do so many things with Nathan instead of sticking to one and committing to it.

The answer is simple: I do not believe that any ONE therapy can address ALL of Nathan’s needs. Nathan’s cerebral palsy affects him in every way therefore his needs are varied and multi-faceted.

Below is a chart that I keep referring to and building on. You can’t read it here, but if you click on it and go to Picasa, and use their ZOOM function (top right with a + sign and magnifying glass), you will be able to see the picture more clearly:

I believe brain rehabilitation for a child as profoundly impacted as Nathan includes the following categories:

- Brain Repair
- Brain remapping
- Biological
- Structure
- Energy Work
- Exercise / Movement
- Communication
- Social / Emotional

I’ll describe what role I believe each one of these categories plays in the “big picture”:

Brain Repair

These are therapies that work on the brain itself without requiring participation. They work on a very subtle level by creating new brain cells, repairing damaged cells, and awakening dormant cells.

Therapies that belong to this category are: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and Stem Cell Therapy. These are therapies that rehabilitate the actual cells of the brain. Stem cells create new brain cells and by having more cells available, improves the ability of the brain to communicate and function. HBOT improves oxygenation to the existing cells thus repairing damaged cells and awakening dormant cells.

Brain Re-mapping

The brain contains specific areas allocated for predetermined functions. For example, the occipital lobe handles vision. The basal ganglia coordinates movement, the cerebellum balance. Sometimes these areas are poorly developed. Therapies in these categories are meant to improve the definition and efficiency of brain mapping to improve bodily functions.

Therapies in these category include: Cuevas Medek Exercises, Anat Baniel Method, Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential. These therapies give the body sensory input in order to improve the brains connectivity and efficiency in processing stimuli. These therapies improve dendriditic connections and density, thus leading to improved neural communication.

Biological

In order for the body, specifically the central nervous system, to work at optimum capacity it has to have proper nutrients and biochemicals, such as neurotransmitters. Sometimes, however, the body cannot produce specific biochemicals or is not communicating effectively due to improper nutrition or damage in the genetic code. This area addresses nutrition in order to maximize bodily function as a whole – not just the brain. For example, if the digestive system is impacted, the immune system suffers, thus affecting the central nervous system. So in this area I address the body as a whole by optimizing the quality of foods and supplements consumed.

Therapies in this category include: Biomedical, nutrition, and G-therapy. Biomedical includes identifying food allergies and other irritants, detoxification, and proper supplementation. Nutrition relates to proper diet with healthy organic, natural foods. G-therapy is a homeopathic treatment that stimulates neurotransmitters and acts as a nerve growth factor. Together these treatments help to ensure that the body and central nervous system has the proper nutrition, minerals, herbs, etc to function properly.

Structure

When there is a brain injury, the child doesn’t move the way a typical child would, and this affects how the structure of the body develops. This in turn affects messaging to and from the brain, which again results in functional loss. It also leads to lots of pain and problems if a child develops problems like scoliosis, hip dysplasia, etc. This section addresses the structure of the body, including proper alignment of the spine as well as proper alignment of every part of the body. With incorrect alignment comes loss of function, so therapies in this section seek to improve structure in order to maintain health and to improve function.

Therapies in this section include: ABR (Advanced Biomechanical Rehabilitation), Osteopathy, Rolfing, Chiropractic, and Yoga. Each of these provides feedback to the body in order to preserve and/or correct alignment of the body.

Energy Work

The body has an innate ability to heal itself, but if there is a breakdown in energy flow, problems follow. This section addresses the subtle body and seeks to preserve and maintain overall health by enhancing energy flow.

Therapies in this category include: reiki, acupuncture, and body talk.

Exercise / Movement

Typical children spend the vast majority of their days running, jumping, playing, moving, exercising. Children with even mild movement problems may have difficulty engaging in these activities. Especially in the early years, the brain requires movement and proprioception to form connections and to enhance its development. The body also requires movement to remain healthy. Therefore therapies in this category are meant to keep the body healthy and to stimulate the brain.

Therapies in this category include: Suit Therapy, physical and occupational therapy, aquatic therapy, and hippotherapy. Notice that I am including physical and occupational therapies in this category. I believe these are valuable therapies in that they provide exercise and feedback to the brain, and can be very effective especially with children with mild injuries. But I believe that children with severe injuries need more intense interventions that address the brain.

Communication

Obviously it is important to address the child’s ability to eat, swallow, talk, and communicate. These improves brain development plus their quality of life.

Therapies in this category include: Vital Stim, Beckman oral motor exercises, speech therapy and augmentative communication therapy.

Social/Emotional

A brain injured child is first and foremost a child and also needs time to play and socialize! I believe this is a key part of the mix. A happy child can overcome immense odds.

Summary

Even though there may seem to be overlap in some of these categories, each of these addresses different needs of a severely brain injured child. I believe it is important to address all of these.

In this list I have only included the therapies that I have found to be effective in their categories. More could be added but I have only chosen ones that make sense to me, that are theoretically sound, and that have had a positive impact on Nathan and/or on other children.

In some cases I do more than one therapy per category. I believe that it is all feedback for the brain and the more we stimulate the brain, the better. When possible I try to stick to one therapy per category or to select complimentary ones, but it all depends on life circumstances. For example, if I cannot do CME, I choose another therapy in that category. Other times I combine them and will choose one therapy per category every week or every two weeks. For example, week 1 he may have reiki, week 2 acupuncture, week 3, bodytalk, week 4 reiki, etc. I believe in this way we are stimulating the same systems in different ways and keeping the brain active and responding at a higher level.

I know many people choose to find 1 or 2 things that work and they stick to those 100% of the time. But me, well, I like to view Nathan’s rehabilitation as a holistic approach and believe that doing a little bit of everything will bring him the most benefit!

DISCLAIMER: I am simply talking about what I believe works for us, and for Nathan. Everyone has their own views and experiences and knows what work for their children! I just believe that sharing knowledge is helpful as it may spark ideas for others. I don’t think rehabilitation is a one-size fits all sort of thing – it’s just whatever works best for you, your child, your familiy! This is what I choose for mine!

New study published on vaccines

Delayed acquisition of neonatal reflexes in newborn primates receiving a thimerosal-containing Hepatitis B vaccine: Influence of gestational age and birth weight

This is an interesting publication further proving the relationship between vaccines and neurological problems. It also takes into account birth weight and gestational age.

The conclusion is that there IS a correlation between vaccines and the acquisition of reflexes. Vaccinated primates acquired their reflexes much slower than non-vaccinated primates. The most delayed where infants with low gestational age and birth weight.

And the evidence accumulates!!!

The view from here

After many trials, we made it to the California Integrative Hyperbaric Institute. It was an absolutely terrifying experience as I was driving a 32 foot motor home and, well, it was terrifying. But we’re here and it’s all good. We didn’t make it in time for the first HBOT and suit therapy treatment this morning – it took way too long to get out the door and to drive down – so Nathan only did one HBOT treatment today. Tomorrow we start the full routine. So exciting!!!

Here’s the view from here:

A series of fortunate events…

…is leading us to the California Integrative Hyperbaric Center. Tomorrow. Yes, I mean like, Nathan will be finishing his first Hyperbaric dive in 12 hours. I’m a bit stunned by the speed of it all, and excited. Very excited.

I’ve posted here how much I’ve wanted Nathan to receive HBOT. But circumstances never allowed it in the past. This time we were guided and it all worked out beautifully.

Tomorrow morning at 6 am we will be taking my friend Aixa’s RV down to Irvine, where we will park it outside of the therapy center. By 8 am Nathan will be in the chamber receiving his first HBOT dive at 1.75 ATA and 100% oxygen. At 9:30 am, he will start working with a therapist from NapaCenter.org . Napa recently affiliated with the CIHC to run their intensive physical therapy program. So Nathan will get the benefit of both HBOT and Intensive Suit Therapy! He will receive 4 hours of physical therapy and then a 2nd HBOT dive in the afternoon. We will be down there for the whole month of February.

Okay, I can hear what you’re thinking from way over here. WHAT? I thought you said you were going to keep still for a while, and were done running around doing therapies. Now this??!!!

Unfortunately I’m not at liberty to disclose the details on how it worked out, but it did, what I can say is this was sent as a gift to Nathan. So off to Irvine we go. The good thing – it’s only an hour from our house, so we can come and go, and we don’t have to travel. We will be staying in the RV for the most part, but if for any reason we feel like coming home – it’s a relatively short drive. I just know I can’t make the drive every day, so we’ll be staying there most nights, and coming home on weekends.

Another exciting thing – we can do ABR in the HBOT chamber. So for 1 month he’ll get 2 hours of ABR, 2 hours of HBOT, and 4 hours of suit therapy! The HBOT and ABR will be painless for him and will require no effort. The suit therapy will be hard but I think he is ready for it. By the end of this week I’ll know!

Now I have to go and get us packed and the RV loaded and ready. I’ll write more tomorrow during Nathan’s first day! Wish us luck and send some prayers our way!

Talking about vaccines…

I found this links through someone I know on Facebook:

Worry

It seems this cute little girl is suffering terrible regression in her motor skills due to the swine flu vaccine. I feel terrible for her and for her mom, and will definitely be praying for them.

As for me – it reinforces my decision not to vaccinate Nathan or Belle.

When I took Nathan to his pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, she told me Nathan HAD to have the vaccine, if I didn’t give it to him I was literally risking his life. I didn’t argue with her, just told her I’d come back for it – I hope she wasn’t holding her breath! I don’t like confronting his doctor – she’s absolutely a wonderful person and doctor – but very opinionated. I am glad I am as opinionated as she is and can make up my own mind, without allowing scary tactics to work on me. They’re still waiting for us at his ped’s office.

I know millions of people have had this vaccine without adverse effects – I am just terrified that Nathan or Belle will be the “one in a million” – so I’d rather take great care of them with nutrition and supplements to ensure a healthy immune system. I know it’s totally different for every family, but for me personally, I’m just more scared to vaccinate than I am of what could happen if they are NOT vaccinated.

Vaccinations

If anyone is wondering whether I will vaccinate Belle (because I know you are all sitting around thinking about things like this ;-), the answer is a clear resounding NO.

Here’s a wonderful post explaining why: Vaccinations.

I WILL give Belle some vaccines – not all – and the ones I give her will be on an alternate, much gentler schedule. Since we are planning on going to Chile in September and Brasil in October this year, I will give her some vaccines to protect her against diseases that she could pick up while travelling – but I will definitely not follow the standard schedule. Here are some links to alternate schedules and other interesting information: Generation Rescue Vaccination Information.

Back on track

Today has been a wonderful day.

This morning I forgot Nathan’s wheelchair in my car at the mechanics, so when the bus came to pick him up, he couldn’t get on. He gave us a big lip and almost cried! He’s really loving the bus ride, and fortunately they agreed to pick him up last and rop him up first, so he’s only in the bus for 15 min’s max. He’s such a boy now! He’s starting to love cars and buses and little boy toys!

Afterwards, I pulled him out of school early and we went to see Dr. Kenny. He is in GREAT shape! His vital energy was at 996/1000 – meaning – he’s in great physical and emotional health! His vitamin protocol is about the same: B6, quantum brain complex, multi-pollen extract, omega 3 oil, eye q (oil), vitamin D, vitamin E, 5htp, Advanced brain nutrients, cyrofood, quantum nerve complex, neuroplex, nux vomica, phospholipids, and bulgarragus (probiotic). She tested him for the G-therapy and advised us to give him a 2 week rest period from the G. While we waited ad Dr. Kenny’s, he was standing against a chair, bearing weight, holding up his head, and turning the pages of the book. By the time I decided to film he’d been at it for a while and was tired, bu you can still get the idea:

Afterwards we went straight to his 2nd appointment with his new Anat Baniel Method therapist. It went FANTASTIC. This is such a subtle therapy that I can’t really describe how it works or what kind of effects it is having. All I know is that it “feels” right to me – my mommy gut is yelling YES YES YES! The therapist is only 20 minutes away so this therapy is completely SUSTAINABLE for us – this is my new favorite word :-) Our therapy plan/schedule is finally starting to fall into place – more on that tomorrow.

In the meantime, here are a couple of videos of Nathan in his ABM session:

How can so much cuteness fit into one little package??!!

What’s up!

It’s been quiet around here these days. Did we lose everyone during our vacation? If you are still here, say YO!

We’ve been busy little bees here at the Andrew house in Canyon Country.

Nathan is going to preschool! In the bus! He loves it! Every day the teacher tells me of new things he’s doing and how amazed she is by him. We are still trying to figure out what the best class will be for him, but check this out – his teacher has stopped by our house TWICE in the last few days to check in with me and let me know how Nathan is doing. She seems genuinely interested in his well-being so I am starting to put the mommy claws away and trusting that she has his best interest at heart. She told me today that they had him in a stander and he made choices with his hand, responding to a command to choose horse, cow, and other objects. He also did amazing at communicating with eye gaze. So as much as I resisted sending him to the local state preschool, I’m finding that sometimes when you let go a little and give up control, you find beautiful blessings just waiting to embrace you.

In other news: Nathan is now lined up for hippotherapy and aquatic therapy. I’m also thinking of having him start special needs yoga again. He will also be starting with a Rolfing practitioner this week.

And more exciting: He is going to have an Anat Baniel Method intensive next week! We found a local practitioner who is a mom of a child with special needs who learned the method. She is only about 30 min’s away! So next week Nathan will see her every day after school to see if ABM can be helpful to him.

We are also getting ourselves into the routine of doing an hour of ABR and an hour of CME every day. Things are falling into place for my little Munchkin!

Oh and tomorrow I have an appointment with the high risk perinatologist here in LA to take a look at Belle – I am excited and a bit nervous – throw a prayer up for us please!!!!

Hasta manana!

Rutivite

I know I like to preach. Whenever I encounter something I like, I want to jump on the rooftops and share it with the world, wanting to help. But maybe I preach too much? I hope that’s not the case.

Today I want to jump on the rooftops again. I think this may be more for us moms than for our kids. But it may help our kids too.

The product is called “Rutivite“. It is a buckwheat supplement that is meant to help circulation. But I’ve found it incredibly helpful mostly for pain. I’m not sure why, or how – but my guess is that improved circulation brings nutrients to parts that are starved for more oxygen and other nutrients – thus reducing pain.

I discovered it during one of my trips to England – a friend who has Fibromyalgia told me about it. So I started taking it for some pain I was having in my wrist and hand. Ever since then I’ve marvelled at this supplement. When I stop taking it, the pains come back. 2 days after I start taking it again, the pains are gone. Magic.

The only con – it’s not sold in the US. You have to order it online and it’s shipped from the UK. The supplement itself isn’t too expensive, but the shipping can add to it. So what I do is order the really really big container that lasts me like 6 months so I’m not constantly paying for shipping.

Carrying our kids around can hurt. I’m grateful to have this supplement so it doesn’t hurt quite so much :-)

Building blocks

All of us deal with the effects of the problems in our children’s brains, and today I realized that although I understand basic anatomy, it’s time for me to get in there and learn more. So I am starting my own studies on development and anatomy. I wanted to share a bit of info from a book I’m reading:

The human brain is built out of billions of nerve cells, or neurons, each of which is shaped much like a tree. Thus, a mature neuron has an extensive root system, called the dendrites, taht receives input from other neurons, and a trunk, or axon, that can be extremely long and ultimately branches out to relay information to the next neurons in its circuit. In between these two branched systems lies an enlarged area, the cell body, which contains the nucleus and oversees the cell’s basic metabolic functions. Within each neuron, information is transmitted electrically by brief impuluses called action potentials; but when the impuluse arrives at the end of each axon branch, the information must cross a gap, the synapse, in order to be transmitted to the next neuron in the circuit. The gap is traversed by the release of a chemical messenger, or neurotransmitter, from the presynaptic terminal of the axon. Neurotransmitter molecules then diffuse the short distance across the synapse, where they bind to special receptors on the postsynaptic neuron’s dendrites, triggering electrical responses in each such receiving neuron. This same sequence of electrical and chemical transmission repeats itself through every cell and synapse of the circuit.

Source: What’s going on in there

I wanted to focus a bit on neurotransmitters. Here’s Wikipedia’s definition:

he only direct action of a neurotransmitter is to activate a receptor. Therefore, the effects of a neurotransmitter system depend on the connections of the neurons that use the transmitter, and the chemical properties of the receptors that the transmitter binds to.

Here are a few examples of important neurotransmitter actions:

* Glutamate is used at the great majority of fast excitatory synapses in the brain and spinal cord. It is also used at most synapses that are “modifiable”, i.e. capable of increasing or decreasing in strength. Modifiable synapses are thought to be the main memory-storage elements in the brain.
* GABA is used at the great majority of fast inhibitory synapses in virtually every part of the brain. Many sedative/tranquilizing drugs act by enhancing the effects of GABA. Correspondingly glycine is the inhibitory transmitter in the spinal cord.
* Acetylcholine is distinguished as the transmitter at the neuromuscular junction connecting motor nerves to muscles. The paralytic arrow-poison curare acts by blocking transmission at these synapses. Acetylcholine also operates in many regions of the brain, but using different types of receptors.
* Dopamine has a number of important functions in the brain. It plays a critical role in the reward system, but dysfunction of the dopamine system is also implicated in Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.
* Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter. Most is produced by and found in the intestine (approximately 90%), and the remainder in central nervous system neurons. It functions to regulate appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature, mood, behaviour, muscle contraction, and function of the cardiovascular system and endocrine system. It is speculated to have a role in depression, as some depressed patients are seen to have lower concentrations of metabolites of serotonin in their cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue.[3]
* Substance P undecapeptide responsible for transmission of pain from certain sensory neurons to the central nervous system.

Neurons expressing certain types of neurotransmitters sometimes form distinct systems, where activation of the system affects large volumes of the brain, called volume transmission. Major neurotransmitter systems include the noradrenaline (norepinephrine) system, the dopamine system, the serotonin system and the cholinergic system.

Source: Wikipedia
So why am I talking about neurons and neurotransmitters? Because I wanted to point out that for therapies to work and be assimilated into the brain, neurotransmitters have to be present to carry the message and stimulate responses in other neurons. Without neurotransmitters, the capacity of the brain to respond and make connections is limited. And how do we make sure we are producing the right neurotransmitters? You guessed it – proper nutrition.

Happy Holidays

I’m not sure how much internet access I’m going to have in Colombia, so I’m going to write a last post before we jump on the plane tomorrow. Since I may not have a chance to say this later:

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I am so grateful to all of you who have shared this journey with us, inspired us, cheered us on, helped us when we were struggling, prayed for us, walked with us…we’ve felt to so blessed to have the opportunity to share this journey with so many wonderful friends – we are honored! Thank you for stopping by Nathan’s blog and for being a part of our lives.

As a holiday present, I wanted to leave you with the protocol that the new doctor gave Nathan. The treatment was MAGICAL and I wanted to share it with others, especially since it is winter and there’s horrible weather in most of the US:

Acute Cases (when you notice your child is sick):

Engystol & Grippe Heel – Day 1: 1/2 pill every 15 minutes for 2 hours, Day 2: 1/2 pills every 2 hours for 6 hours, Day 3: 1/2 pill 3 times in the day.

Maintenance:

Engystorl & Grippe Heel – 1/2 pills 3 times a day for 5 days, 4 days of rest.

Drainage and Immune strengthening (3 month period):

Nux Vomica & Lymphostot & Traumeel: 1/2 pill 3 times a day

The Maintenane and Drainage protocols can take place at hte same time, so you can combine Engystol, Grippe Heel, Nux Vomica, Lymphostot, & Traumeel and give your child all of them 3 times / day.

All of these medicines are made by Heel so you can read and learn about them online. These are all natural remedies and you can get them without a prescription.

If you guys decide to try this, please comment and let me know if this helped your child!

Happy holidays my wonderful friends, hope everyone has a lovely time, expect to hear little from me over the next few days, I am officially ON VACATION and that includes the internet! Bye!

PS I’ll try to post some pictures as we go through our vacation.

Nutrition and the brain

Okay this is the last thing I have to say about this topic, and then I’m moving on!

I did a bit of research and found a couple of articles that I found helpful/interesting:

Neuroscience for kids- Nutrition and the brain

Your brain is like a car. A car needs gasoline, oil, brake fluid and other materials to run properly. Your brain also needs special materials to run properly: glucose, vitamins, minerals and other essential chemicals. For example, the fuel (energy) for your brain is glucose. You can get glucose by eating carbohydrates or other foods that can be converted to glucose.

Your brain must manufacture the right proteins and fats to do things such as grow new connections or add myelin, the fatty sheath to axons. You do this by digesting proteins and fats in food and using the pieces, that is, the amino acids and fatty acids, to make the new brain proteins and fats. Without the correct amount and balance of particular building blocks, your brain will not work properly. Too little (deficiency) or too much (overabundance) of the necessary nutrient can affect the nervous system.

One thing that I found of particular interest:

The Journey Into the Brain
Nutrients must follow a tricky pathway to your brain and overcome several challenges:

1. They must gain entry to your body: if you don’t eat them, they will not be available to your brain.
2. Once in your stomach, they must survive an attack by acid that breaks some foods down.
3. Further along the digestive tract, they must be absorbed through the cells lining the intestine and transported through blood vessel walls into the bloodstream.
4. Traveling in the blood through the liver, nutrients need to avoid being metabolized (destroyed).
5. Once in the bloodstream, nutrients must cross small blood vessels into brain tissue. This transport from the blood to neurons is restricted by the blood brain barrier.

You know how I keep talking about the size of the peptides in milk and wheat? And how they create a “leaky gut” (perforations in the lining of the intestines where stuff leaks out)? Well, here it mentions how it works! If there is a leaky gut, many nutrients are lost and cannot make it to the brain, where they are needed for many functions (particularly to create neurotransmitters).

There’s a lot more info out there. I’ll leave you to do some research to find out if you believe there is a connection between nutrition and brain development.

To close this subject, I just want to emphasize the reason I’ve been talking about this. There are so many things we cannot control with our kids – their skills, equipment, sometimes how much therapy they get, etc. But one thing most of us DO have control over that CAN help our kids is nutrition. I can’t say that better nutrition, removing milk, is going to be a miracle cure. It may be for some kids, but not for all. It definitely hasn’t been for Nathan. All I’ve noticied is a general increase in health, cognition, and well-being. But my belief is that these conditions give our kids a boost for other developmental gains. If your kids is spendinga lot of time sick, think of all the wasted therapy time, etc?? We all know that eating healthy makes our body healthy. Same with our kids. So this is just one piece of the puzzle, which may be significant for some, minor for others, but a part nonetheless.

Okay we’re off to CME, have a great weekend!

If not milk, then what??

A few people commented on my Yahoo groups about the milk post, or on Facebook, so I wanted to address a few of those comments here:

* If I don’t give my kids milk, then what do I give him/her?

I might be completely off base here, but in my opinion, the best possible liquid to get into our kids is WATER! As you can probably tell by some of the posts I’ve written, I’m big on water. Our body is 70% water, and it needs hydration to function properly. A lack of hydration leads to many many problems. Water can also be curative. Alkaline water helps to keep the body at a slightly alkaline pH, which helps with many many things. There are books written on the subject so if you are interested, search the web! So the first thing I offer Nathan throughout the day, with meals, etc is water. However, I’ve been told by our nutritionist, Miranda Barret, that it’s not good to drink liquids with meals. You can consume about 1/2 cup with your meals, but water should be consumed 45 min’s before or after a meal. The reason is liquids dilutes the digestive enzymes needed for the stomach to properly break down food. So with meals, I give Nathan a tiny bit of water, and that’s it. Throughout the day, I offer him his cup many many times to get him to increase his intake of water.
In terms of milk replacements, there are some wonderful alternatives: almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, and hemp milk. Just be careful when you choose the brand – look at the label – make sure it’s NOT processed at a facility that processes wheat and dairy products.
Why not soy, you may be asking? The reason is that soy is also a big allergen. The peptides in soy products are smaller than in dairy, but still quite large. So I would avoid soy and go with one of the milks above. Also, it’s good to rotate the milks and not always stick to the same one over and over again, to prevent an intolerance from being formed.

* What about raw milk? Is it also harmful?

I honestly do not have an answer to this. I was told by a few people that raw milk has many good qualities, including enzymes and other health benefits. This would be a good topic for research, especially if raw milk is an option for you.

* My child NEEDS pediasure or a dairy formula to gain weight.

This is a pretty subjective topic and there are many varied opinions on this. Nathan’s doctor has always been from the school of thought that if he looks healthy, is getting taller, and is not sickly, then who cares if he doesn’t gain weight. In fact she thinks it’s great as it’s easier to carry a lighter disabled child. Someone recently showed me a growth chart which I think supports Dr. F’s views:
http://www.lifeexpectancy.org/articles/GrowthCharts.shtml
According to this chart, Nathan is in the 90% percentile for height and 50% for weight – for his level of mobility and disability.
I am not really sure what the argument is from the other side of the camp, as I haven’t experienced that. But I read posts all the time about parents whose doctors insist on high calorie diets for weight gain. Maybe someone can comment on this?

* My child cannot consume enough food by mouth to maintain proper calorie intake

How about a mixture? First trying to give them as much food real, healthy food as possible, then supplementing with formula. Of course life isn’t absolute, we can only do the best we can!!! We puree Nathan’s food to help with increase his intake. We also feed him about 6 times a day. Since it is tiring for him to eat, we give him 6 smaller meals so he can maintain his intake. We have also trained him to accept bigger spoonfuls so that we don’t spend hours feeding him each time! Each feeding takes a max of 20 min’s. This is something that his dad should take 100% credit for. Since Nathan was 6 months old, he insisted on giving him huge spoonfuls of food, and never gave up on teaching him to eat. I think that practice makes perfect, because placing such a demand on his body and brain made him learn how to do it! So Nathan eats pretty well – his foods are mostly pureed – but he handles them quite well because of all the practice he’s had. So in short – many smaller meals, as much nutritous foods as possible, using formula as a last resort.

* My child has a g-tube. What can I do?

Since Nathan doesn’t have a g-tube and I have no formal training other than my own personal experience, I do not have an answer to this question. However, I have heard many moms talk about using blenderdized diets for their kids with G-tubes. They use very high quality blenders to make the food very very very liquidy, then they push the food through the tube. I believe there are some Yahoo groups about this, here is one that I found: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/Blenderized-Diet/. I am sure there are more. Once you get the hang of the blenderized diet, then it would be important to find foods that boost caloric intake and oils. I will do some research on this and write a post about it soon.

* But what will I give my child when we go to restaurants?

The # 1 line of defense is – always make a bit of extra food and keep it in a tupperware at home! Whenever we go out to eat, we try to always bring Nathan’s food. Sometimes obviously this isn’t possible, so we try to find restaurants that we know will have food that he can eat: fried, baked, and mashed potatoes (careful, they’re often made with milk!), rice, beans, and soups. We always ask if what we order is made with milk – you’d be surprised at the places where milk is snuck in (many different soups). Ah, I just realized – it’s harder for us because Nathan doesn’t eat wheat either, so it limits us greatly. If you give your child wheat, then you have more choices. We’ve found that Nathan has never starved and we have always found something that we can feed him – even if it’s just french fries (most restaurants have french fries). We mash them with a fork or our fingers and feed them to him. He can’t speak, but with his eyes or sounds or gestures will often “ask us” for food – it’s hard saying know. But we know that the benefits far outweigh the difficulties. Oh, and we never eat candy or ice cream in font of him – that unhinges him. Food he can tolerate not getting any, but if he sees candy or ice cream, forget it. If he goes to a party or a place where we know he will inevitably see candy, we make him a batch of GFCF brownies or cake at home and bring it, and we substitute what other kids are eating with his own. Yes, it takes a bit of thought to do this – but it’s doable, I promise!!!

Okay, enough for today. Please let me know if you have more questions that we can all discuss! It would be wonderful if others shared their experiences so we can all help each other out!!!

My anti-milk campaign

Warning: I am not hoping to upset anyone with this post. I am simply hoping to inform. Please do not be offended if you don’t like what I am saying. I am just hoping to raise awareness to an issue that I consider important. If I upset you – I am sorry. It was not my intention.

Okay, that’s it. I’m declaring war against milk. Please don’t think I am attacking you if you give your kids milk. I am not. I am simply attacking the misinformation campaign that makes our society believe that not only is milk necessary for children, but that it’s GOOD for them. YUCK. Honestly, it pisses me off. I’m gonna admit that I believe it’s one of capitalism’s greatest deception. Think of how big the milk industry is.. billions? So why do you think they keep this myth going, all the “got milk” commercials, etc? MONEY MONEY MONEY!

Okay, I know I’m not usually an angry blogger. But this issue makes me really upset. VERY. Because I follow about 20 kid’s blogs, and I read about 6 Yahoo groups for families of children with special needs. And every day I read about kids having GI issues, constipation, tummy aches, pain, food rejection, reflux. Then typically the next thing I read is about their pediasure, or their milk, or something like that. And it makes me so sad. Parents go to a nutritionist who tells them to give their kids pediasure. Day after day after day, meal after meal after meal after meal after meal after meal after meal after meal. Can you imagine how you’d feel if you ate the same exact thing over and over and over again, for every meal, every day, for years? Let me give you an example. I went through an egg-eating phase. Every day for a few months I ate eggs every morning for breakfast. After a few months I noticed I didn’t feel quite right after eating eggs. I had some testing and did an allergy test and voila, I’d become allergic to eats simply because I ate them so much. I hadn’t been allergic months before (according to the test). Then I was allergic. Now think of kids who are given pediasure all the time! To that, add drinking milk every day, which is a known allergen, and give it to your kid day after day after day? Keep in mind, milk often produces an IgG reaction, not an IgE reaction. IgE is the reaction produced when people can’t breathe, who get swollen, etc. That is an IgE reaction. Milk often produces an IgG reaction. Here’s some info about IgG reactionS:

When an allergic reaction occurs, the immune system reacts by releasing cells called antibodies. The foods and inhaled particles that provoke the release of antibodies are called allergens. Two commonly produced antibodies are IgG (immunoglobulin G) and IgE (immunoglobulin E).

Conditions related to IgG allergies:

IgG allergic reactions occur over several hours or days. With an IgG allergic reaction, IgG antibodies attach themselves to the allergen and create an antibody-allergen complex. These complexes are normally removed by special cells in the liver and spleen called macrophages, but if they are present in large numbers and the allergen continues to be consumed, the body isn’t able to remove them fast enough. These allergen-antibody complexes accumulate and are deposited in body tissues, causing the release of inflammation causing chemicals which contribute to a variety of health problems:

Headaches and high blood pressure: may result from deposition of antibody-allergen complexes in blood vessels.

Mood disorders: Deposition of antibody-allergen complexes in nervous system tissues may contribute to hyperactivity, depression, anxiety, inability to concentrate and other mood disorders.

Asthma and recurring respiratory infections: Deposition of antibody-allergen complexes in lung tissue can cause a variety of respiratory problems.

Eczema and other skin conditions: may result from deposition of antibody-allergen complexes in the skin.

Joint pain: may result from deposition of allergen-antibody complexes in joints.

Runny noses and puffiness around the eyes: can result from allergic reactions.

Source: http://www.rmalab.com/index.php?id=13

These are some of the reactions caused by milk. And one of the main ingredients in Pediasure? MILK.

Here are the ingredients in pediasure:

Water, Sugar (Sucrose), Corn Maltodextrin, Milk Protein Concentrate, High Oleic Safflower Oil, Soy Oil, Whey Protein Concentrate, Medium Chain Triglycerides. Less than 0.5% of the following: Soy Protein Isolate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Cellulose Gel, Dextrose, Potassium Citrate, Magnesium Phosphate, Calcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Salt (Sodium Chloride), Potassium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Choline Chloride, Soy Lecithin, Monoglycerides, Ascorbic Acid, Calcium Carbonate, m-Inositol, Carrageenan, Taurine, Ferrous Sulfate, dl-Alpha-Tocopheryl Acetate, L-Carnitine, Zinc Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Niacinamide, Manganese Sulfate, Thiamine Chloride Hydrochloride, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin, Cupric Sulfate, Vitamin A Palmitate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Chromium Chloride, Potassium Iodide, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Selenate, Sodium Molybdate, Phylloquinone, Vitamin D3, and Cyanocobalamin. (FAN 8151-02)
Contains soy and milk ingredients.
Source: http://abbottnutrition.com/products/products.aspx?pid=224

The bolded part, not so good, but the 2nd part, not so bad, right? Lots of vitamins and minerals? But let me ask you a few questions, how do you think these vitamins will be absorbed when they are surrounded by sugar, dairy, and all sorts of chemicals? And did you notice SUGAR was the 2nd ingredient listed? And how do you feel about giving sugar to your kids? Would you give your typical child sugar for breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner every single day? And did you know that vitamins aren’t absorbed by the body just because they’re ingested? Did you know that to process certain vitamins, the body needs to have certain biochemicals present? For example, calcium can’t be absorbed without magnesium present? So just because pediasure has vitamins, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the vitamins are being absorbed, especially when they are delivered in a source choc-full of chemicals, dairy, and sugar. Why not give your child regular food and supplement for the vitamins and minerals with a multi-vitamin?

But I digress. I am ranting about milk. But I am also ranting against pediasure (and others like it) because it contains milk and it is one of the single most used products in the special needs world. Why would doctors prescribe these things, if they are harmful? Because medicine still hasn’t caught up to some of these subtle aspects of the body. Slowly slowly they are, but it’s taking them time (time that our kids don’t have). It takes decades to change beliefs in the medical world. Can you believe that only now, in the last couple of years, are doctors believing/understanding brain plasticity? That’s why we’re all told that our kids will not BLAH BLAH BLAH. Because docs believe the brain is fixed and cannot change. What a gross, horrendous misunderstanding!! We have all witnessed the miracles, we have all proven doctors wrong a million times – why can’t we prove them wrong again when it comes to dairy and pediasure?

Back to milk. Milk is NOT GOOD for children. It is believed that kids need milk because they need calcium for their bones to grow. They key is – they need CALCIUM, not milk. Milk is NOT a good source of calcium. There are a TON of other sources of calcium. I just bought Nathan Floradix, a great source of bio-available calcium. There are many others like it.

Here’s a little bit of information regarding the calicum/magnesium combo:

In order to absorb calcium, the body needs comparable amounts of another mineral element, magnesium. Milk and dairy products contain only small amounts of magnesium. Without the presence of magnesium, the body only absorbs 25 percent of the available dairy calcium content. The remainder of the calcium spells trouble. Without magnesium, excess calcium is utilized by the body in injurious ways. The body uses calcium to build the mortar on arterial walls which becomes atherosclerotic plaques. Excess calcium is converted by the kidneys into painful stones which grow in size like pearls in oysters, blocking our urinary tracts. Excess calcium contributes to arthritis; painful calcium buildup often is manifested as gout. The USDA has formulated a chart of recommended daily intakes of vitamins and minerals. The term that FDA uses is Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The RDA for calcium is 1500 mg. The RDA for magnesium is 750 mg.

Society stresses the importance of calcium, but rarely magnesium. Yet, magnesium is vital to enzymatic activity. In addition to insuring proper absorption of calcium, magnesium is critical to proper neural and muscular function and to maintaining proper pH balance in the body. Magnesium, along with vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), helps to dissolve calcium phosphate stones which often accumulate from excesses of dairy intake. Good sources of magnesium include beans, green leafy vegetables like kale and collards, whole grains and orange juice. Non-dairy sources of calcium include green leafy vegetables, almonds, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, oats, beans, parsley, sesame seeds and tofu.

Source: http://www.notmilk.com/deb/092098.html

There is a TON of good information about why dairy is poison in the NOTMILK site, so I won’t continue cutting and pasting here – you get the idea. But I will paste one last final bit of info:

Detox from Dairy

Can you maintain this most important change in your life for
just seven days?

That is your challenge and goal, for during that seven day
period of abstaining from all milk and dairy, one gallon of
mucus will be expelled from your kidneys, spleen, pancreas,
and other internal organs. If you still eat cheese, ice
cream, milk chocolate, and yogurt, your one-week experience
will be as if an internal fog has been dispersed from inside
of you.

Most people successfully weaning themselves from all milk
and dairy products immediately observe dramatic physical and
emotional changes. Better sleep, more energy, fewer mood
swings. Just seven days to a new you.

Take the challenge. Your body will thank you. So will those
who care most about you.

If you are daring enough, or doubting enough to think that
your new feelings are mere coincidence, plan a pizza party
with ice cream for dessert after your seven day milk-fast.
Remember the good and bad feelings, for in 15 hours after
your dairy feast, the famine of bad feelings returns.

I’ve done it. I’ve experienced it myself. I found this to be true. If you are afraid of removing dairy for your child, try it yourself first. See how it makes you feel. Then eat dairy, like the challenge says. I promise you will notice a difference. I cheat every once in a while, and boy, do I know it. My stomach hurts, I get heavy and tired, I get foggy, I lose energy. This is what our kids are feeling, without knowing how to articulate it, every single day. It makes me so angry!!!! Because we love our kids and want to do what’s best for them, but we are just not well informed by the medical world! Question – did any of you drink or do drugs while you were pregnant? My guess is the answer is a huge NO. Because you knew it was harmful. But nobody’s yet told us that milk is harmful for our kids so we give it to them anyways, without knowing any better. I want to do my bit in my tiny piece of the world and at least let you know what i know.

Please, I beg you, do some research. Investigate online. You don’t have to believe me. You don’t have to agree with me. All I’m asking you to do is – research. Learn. Then, if you find that what I’m saying can’t be substantiated, then that’s great – you made an informed decision. Remember, all I’m asking you to do here is to make an INFORMED decision. I just want you to have some awareness of this issue. I know I am grateful for the people who insisted I do some research. Removing dairy from Nathan’s diet is one of the absolute best, most wonderful things we have done for him. I am grateful.

I realize I’m almost finished and haven’t said one of the most important things: Casein, the protein that is left when milk is broken down, is very large and very difficult to absorb, especially for children that have central nervous disorders. From Generation Rescue: The simple explanation is that wheat and dairy proteins are very hard for the body to digest, often permeate the gut of children with environmental toxicity, get into the bloodstream where they do not belong, and serve as a neurotoxin creating “brain fog”. I wrote another explanation here: The GFCF diet. This post is already long enough so I can’t get into the specific issues of ingesting dairy for kids with special needs, especially as I already wrote about it in a separate post. But milk (and wheat) is even WORSE for kids with compromised central nervous systems.

Now let me leave you with some quotes from the NOTMILK site:

“Dairy products may play a major role in the development of ALLERGIES, asthma, sleep difficulties, and migraine headaches.”

Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 1983;19(9):806-809 Pediatrics 1989;84(4):595-603

“In reality, cow’s milk, especially processed cow’s milk, has been linked to a variety of health problems, including: mucous production, hemoglobin loss, childhood diabetes, heart disease, atherosclerosis, arthritis, kidney stones, mood swings, depression, irritability, ALLERGIES.”

Townsend Medical Letter, May, 1995, Julie Klotter, MD

“At least 50% of all children in the United States are allergic to cow’s milk, many undiagnosed. Dairy products are the leading cause of food allergy, often revealed by diarrhea, constipation, and fatigue. Many cases of asthma and sinus infections are reported to be relieved and even eliminated by cutting out dairy.”

Natural Health, July, 1994, Nathaniel Mead, MD

“Formula-fed babies, at the age of three months, were secreting low levels of serum antibodies to bovine proteins contained in their formula.”

“A Prospective Study of Humoral Immune Response to Cow Milk Antigens in the First Year of Life” Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, August, 1994, 5(3)

“Most formula fed infants developed symptoms of ALLERGIC rejection to cow milk proteins before one month of age. About 50-70% experienced rashes or other skin symptoms, 50-60 percent gastrointestinal symptoms, and 20-30 percent respiratory symptoms. The recommended therapy is to avoid cow’s milk.”

“Epidemiological and Immunological Aspects of Cow’s Milk Protein ALLERGY and Intolerance in Infancy.” Pediatric-Allergy-Immunology, August, 1994, 5(5 Suppl.)

By the way, these are the ingredients in a twinkie, not so different from Pediasure, huh:

“Enriched wheat flour, (niacin, a “B” vitamin), ferrous sulfate (iron), thiamin mononitrate (B1), riboflavin (B2), water, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated vegetable and/or animal shortening (contains one or more of: canola, corn, cottonseed or soybean oil, beef fat), eggs, dextrose. Contains 2% or less of: modified food starch, whey, leavenings (sodium and pyrophosphate, baking soda, monocalcium phosphate), salt, starch, yellow corn flour, corn syrup solids, emulsifiers mono and diglycerides, lecithin, polysorbate 60, dextrin, calcium caseinate, sodium stearoyl, lactylate, cellulose gum, wheat gluten, natural and artificial flavors, caramel color, artificial colors (yellow 5, red 40), sorbic acid (to retain freshness).”

HBOT testimonial

Eugenia, Mathew’s mom, sent me this video (thanks!!!!):

What a wonderful testimonial for HBOT! This, and hundreds of stories like it, is why I feel that I HAVE to give HBOT in a hard chamber a try. We’ve used a soft chamber, but I haven’t seen improvements from it and I think it’s because the oxygen concentration and the pressure from our chamber is too low. A hard chamber will give him 100% oxygen and much higher pressure which I think he needs due to the severity of his brain injury. I still haven’t ordered the mask as I’m waiting for confirmation from the doctor about what mask I have to order, then I’m hoping Nathan will be in the chamber sometime next week.

The good, the bad, and the rest

Another eventful day here in Santiago Chile for the Andrew De Vivo family. Last night I woke up to Nathan’s very labored breathing. I gave him what I call a breathing treatment, which in reality consists of using the Neti Pot, until I got all of the snot out of his nose and voila, he was breathing well again. A couple of hours later I heard him coughing and breathing heavy again, so I repeated the operation. This happened a few more times.

In the morning he seemed much better, so off he went to his CME therapy while I decided to take a mommy moment. I went to my very first tennis lesson down here in Santiago Chile! Boy was I out of shape! I had to take breaks every 5 minutes! Isabelle went for a ride! But I have to say – it was SOOOO fun!

Afterwards we had our appointment with the HBOT doctor at Clinica Las Condes. I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. He was very smart, knowledgeable, and understanding of my point of view and philosophy. He proposed the following. He doesn’t want to waste our time or money by doing 40 treatments without having quantifiable information about whether or not HBOT can help Nathan. So he wants to do a SPECT scan before his first treatment. Then he wants to do 5 treatments, then another SPECT scan. Based on the information from the SPECT scan, we can then decide whether or not we should move forward. He said that in the SPECT scan we should see whether new neurons are being activated quite clearly. This way we’re not shooting in the dark, or wasting time or money.

Believe it or not they have never treated a child with HBOT down here in Santiago. Apparently there are 2 other chambers available, but they only treat adults. This doctor is the first one offering HBOT treatments to children but so far, no one has been interested! So Nathan will be the first Chilean HBOT patient! The doctor is really excited, because if it works and we have quantifiable evidence in the SPECT scans, then it will motivate other children to receive treatments.

So the good is that YES, Nathan WILL be complementing CME with HBOT treatments! I am really excited!

The bad is that we may not be able to start next Monday as I had planned, for 2 reasons. One is that the doctor doesn’t have an oxygen mask small enough for Nathan. They have a multi-person chamber so they need a mask to deliver 100% oxygen straight to Nathan. So I have to order a mask from the US and have Owen send it to us before we can start the treatment.

The second reason is that Nathan has an infection :-( The doctor noticed he was snotty and said it is essential for Nathan to be in excellent shape before going into the chamber. So he ordered us to go straightaway to an Ear Nose and Throat doctor. We went straight to the ENT who was in the same hospital. I was expecting him to say, “don’t worry, it’s just a cold.” But it turns out Nathan has an infection in his adenoids so he has fluid build up in his ears, which is a huge no-no for HBOT treatments. Other than this infection, he said Nathan’s anatomy looks great. This is the first time Nathan is seen by an ENT so I am pleased to hear that everything works well!

We already started him on antibiotics and on some decongestants and the doctor believes that the fluid build up in his ears will have disappeared by the end of next week. So if we can expedite delivery of the mask, and he gets better from his infection, he will be ready to go within a week or two at most.

I have to admit I am thrilled that Nathan will be starting HBOT and I just hope all of the pieces fall into place soon so we can start this new phase in Nathan’s rehabilitation. I have a really really good feeling about this!

I’ve been a busy bee

Over the weekend while talking with my cousin in Buenos Aires, I made the final decision to stay in Santiago until mid-March. That’s about as late as I dare traveling while pregnant – I will be 7.5 months pregnant then. I’m excited that Nathan will have the chance to work with Ramon for a total of about 6 months!

Two nights ago I had a dream. I was deep asleep and I dreamt of Nathan in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. Somewhere in my subconscious mind I had the thought – this is what he needs to complement his work with Ramon. I woke up with this vivid awareness in my mind and jumped on the computer in the middle of the night, trying to find an HBOT chamber here in Santiago. I found one but the doctor said, “Sorry, we do not see children.” As I was begging him to reconsider, Ramon’s secretary Claudia heard me and said, “But Marcela, there are many other chambers, here are 2 more.” So I called around and tomorrow Nathan has an appointment for an evaluation with the doctor who runs the Hyperbaric Program at Clinica Las Condes.

My train of thought is the following: Instead of seeing Ramon twice a day, Nathan will see Ramon in the afternoons (which we had already planned for financial reasons). We will do another session with him at home. Then, every morning, I can take him to the Hyperbaric Chamber until he receives at least 40 treatments. Why mix the two, you may be wondering?

First of all, because I dreamt it. Second, it is recommended for people who have stem cell treatments to do 40 dives 90 days post Stem cell transplant. It is believed that the HBOT helps the new stem cells grow and “take hold” in the body. Nathan will be hitting the 90 day mark on Nov. 15th – which is exactly when I was scheduled to start just 1 session a day with Ramon. The third reason for considering HBOT is to enhance his performance in CME. I found a fantastic summary of HBOT here. In my hopeful mommy mind, my thought process is to increase his energy with the increased level of oxygenation to “prime” the brain to receive Ramon’s message loud and clear. As an analogy, imagine throwing a coin into a swimming pool, it takes much longer to reach the bottom than throwing a coin from the 2nd story of a building through air. My hope is that HBOT will be like throwing a coin through air and that Nathan’s response to Ramon’s treatment, and general health and brain development, will be enhanced.

Oh, and to complement my evil plan even more. Nathan will be in a multi-person chamber, so someone will go in there with him (I have to find out about the baby, but if I can’t, Denise will go in with him). He will be in the chamber for at least 1 hour every day. I believe they will allow us to bring a DVD player into the chamber. My hope is to have him watch a movie while Denise or I do ABR on him while in the chamber! This way we can get 2 hours of ABR in every day – one while he’s in the chamber, the other from 7-8pm, which we’ve been doing the for the last couple of weeks. We’re just doing 1 exercise right now (chest), I’m just trying to get into a good rhythm and to see some improvements in one area of his body to give me more energy and belief towards ABR.

So if all goes according to my plan, he will have 2 CME sessions, 1 HBOT session, and 2 hours of ABR every day. AND he would still have time to go to preschool :-) His day would look like this: 9am HBOT/ABR, 10:30am CME at home, 11:30am lunch and nap. 3pm CME with Ramon, 4-6pm preschool, 6-7pm dinner, 7-8pm ABR.

So that, my friends, is what I’ve been up to this week. Scheming away. If all goes as planned, Nathan will be starting HBOT and his new rhythm on Monday, November 16th. I’ll keep you posted!

About Water

In Feb 2008, I came across some information about drinking water that was quite an eye opener for me. To summarize, I learned that bottled water was quite harmful as it’s very acidic and devoid of necessary minerals. I also learned that disease thrives in an acidic environment, and that it’s very important to maintain a neutral or slightly alkaline pH. Finally, I learned that tap water is treated with chlorine which is a known carcinogenic (causes cancer). These discoveries led me to learn about different options for drinking water and I purchased a water ionizer. Once again, since Nathan has a compromised central nervous system, I think it’s extra important to protect him from the inside out – since we are all about 70% water (the brain even more than that!).

Romi Sink, a good friend who subsequently started a business selling water ionizers and other water treatment products, was kind enough to allow me to publish an article talking about different kinds of water systems, the pros and cons, and summarizing why it is ESSENTIAL to change your water. Thank you Romi!

Why Filter Clean Water?

This post primarily addresses the pros and cons of filtering municipal tap water that has been treated to adhere to government standards of water quality. Most water treatment centers around neutralizing bacteria and pathogens that are either found in or can develop in municipal water supplies.

Every municipal water source has water quality standards that must be met to ensure “safe” drinking water. These standards address what is in the water that is being delivered to homes and at what levels. Chlorine and Fluoride are the two most common additives used eliminate bacteria and pathogens to prevent disease.

Chlorine itself is a known carcinogen, but that’s not the end of it. When chlorine combines with organic materials found in source water it forms byproducts, most commonly Trihalomethanes or THM. THM’s include chloroform, promoform and dichlorobromethane – all known carcinogens. The EPA has recognized the health risks of these disinfectant byproducts and has set “acceptable standards” for quanities in drinking water. If you are drinking city/municipal water, you are also consuming THM’s.

THM’s have been associated with early-term miscarriages and slow fetal development. Chloroform, one of the THM chemicals, has also been linked to cancer and tumors of the liver and kidneys. Studies have found a significant link between drinking chlorinated water and increased incidents of both bladder and colorectal cancers.

Before I go any further, yes – I am making an argument for filtering your drinking water. And yes – I sell water filtration products. This article is not designed to be a scare tactic to boost sales, rather an informative piece to inform consumers about the hazards of disinfectant by-products in municipal water sources and solutions to reducing your risk.

At this point, chlorine seems to be a necessary evil to keep our municipal water supplies safe from disease forming pathogens and bacteria. There are options for removing chlorine and its byproducts. Most are more affordable than switching to bottled water and more environmentally friendly than adding to the number of plastic bottles in our nation’s landfills.

“Ultimate Pre-Filtration” – Reverse osmosis purification systems remove EVERYTHING from source water. Chemicals, pesticides, trace pharmaceuticals, chlorine, bactera – everything. The downside to reverse osmosis is that it leaves water “empty” which causes it to draw key minerals from our bodies. It also leaves water “acidic” which is known to weaken the immune system and promote early aging.

Reverse Osmosis with a re-mineralizing filter will effectively remove everything from your water, but will add back in trace minerals which are healthy for the body and can leave the water less acidic.

The RO with Pre-Filtration system that I sell costs $380 and your annual maintenance cost will be around $200. You can find detailed information on the “Ultimate Pre-Filtration System” here.
http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/ultimate-pre-filtration-package.html

Filtration for City Water w/Fluoride – This system has been called the next best thing to RO. It will effectively remove chlorine, chloramines, THM’s, Fluoride, heavy metals and a number of other contaminants found in city water. This system sells for $200 and your annuall maintenance cost will be around $150. You can find more information on this pre-filtration system here: http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/h3-pre-filtration-for-city-water-with-fluoride.html

“At the Very Least” – At the very least you should consider a filter that removes chlorine. The chlorine filter I recommend and sell effectively removes chlorine, some bacteria, bad odor and taste and other basic contaminants. You can find the Chlorine pre-filter here: http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/gac-pre-filter-canister.html

“The Very Best” – Water Ionizers effectively remove chlorine, most bacteria, odor, bad taste and up to 50% of fluoride. In addition to providing “clean” water, these units give you the option to adjust the alkalinity of the water.

Through the process of electrolysis, the molecular structure of the water is changed, reducing the water cluster size, separating alkaline from acid and creating antioxidant properties.

Any sort of supplement taken with alkaline ionized water will be absorbed more quickly by the body. For this reason, taking prescription medication with alkaline ionized water is not advised. Every water ionizer has a “neutral” setting where water is filtered but no ionization takes place. This is the setting you would use to take prescription medications or to produce water to drink with meals. The alkalinity of the water neutralizes the stomach acids necessary to properly break down foods so that the body can absorb the nutrients. You should avoid drinking alkaline ionized water at or within 30 minutes of meals.

Alkaline ionized water drinkers have seen improvements in diabetes, blood pressure and digestive problems. The anti-oxidant properties of the water along with the alkalinity reduce acidity in the system and help flush toxins from the body. Disease cannot live in an alkaline environment. Drinking alkaline ionized water can boost your immune system.

For more information on the benefits of drinking alkaline ionized water please visit http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/articles/health-benefits.html

Water Ionizers range in price from $650 to $4,000. The annual maintenance costs of water ionizer (filter replacement) are between $55 – $200 depending on the water ionizer you choose and your actual usage. For information on the water ionizers available please visit http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/product-comparison.html

A quick word about what really happens when you take a shower. Chlorine and THM’s are absorbed through digestion (drinking) but they are also absorbed by inhalation and through the skin. Blood sample analyses of 25 women concluded that THM concentrations were increased four-fold after showering with water that had been treated with Chlorine.

You can find more detailed information about chlorine, trihalomethanes and water here at these sites: http://www.theolivebranch.com/water/trihalo.htm
http://www.pure-earth.com/chlorine.html

I use and recommend AquaSana shower filters. They remove chlorine and other contaminants. Aside from reducing your exposure to chlorine while bathing, other happy side effects that I have experienced have been shinier, more manageable hair, softer skin and a significant improvement in a skin condition I have had most of my life – tiny bumps on my upper arms.

After discovering what a difference a filtered shower could make I gave these filters away to all of my family members for Christmas. My father visited me shortly after I installed mine and asked me to order one for him to have when he got back home.

I recommend using a hand-held wand with at least a four-foot hose with your shower filter. When I take a bath I prop the shower wand up on the side of the tub and fill the tub with filtered water. My dog is less “itchy” since I started using the Aquasana Shower to bathe her. The handheld wand option is also helpful when bathing small children.

For more information on the AquaSana Shower filter please visit http://www.waterionizerauthority.com/aquasana-shower.html

Whether you have immediate health issues that you are trying to address or you are looking for something to add to your overall health and wellness plan, START WITH YOUR WATER. At the very least, limiting your exposure to known carcinogens will reduce your risk of cancer. Many people who begin filtering their water or using a water ionizer find that they actually start drinking more water – which is recommended by almost any doctor.

Sadly we may never be able to stop the pollution of our planet’s water supplies. With big business, big money and big government all wheeling and dealing, the prognosis for our plantet’s source water just isn’t good. And for the time being, the most reliable way to remove the threat of pathogens and bacteria from our water supplies seems to be continued use of chlorine as a disinfectant.

Take a few moments to do some research yourself – you’ll find a wealth of information on the hazards of disinfectant byproducts. Then weigh your options. Bottled water versus filtering at home. In most cases, after the initial investment you’ll be paying far less to maintain point-of-use filter products in your home than buying bottled water. And you’ll be doing your part to slow the build-up of plastics in our landfills.

For more information on the filtration products mentioned here you can visit my website, WaterIonizerAuthority.com.

(c) Romi Sink
Water Ionizer Authority
(866) 649-4380

Itis

After my gastroenteritis it seems it was Nathan’s turn for an ‘itis – Bronchitis.

It seems to be mild so far – he’s coughing a lot and generally miserable – and we’re doing our best to manage the symptoms at home. Sonia told us of a protocol using homeopathic medicine that we’re hoping will help him. Worst case scenario we’ll have to take him to the hospital.

The good news is that Owen is here! He made it safely last night. Nathan almost passed out with joy when he saw him. He is SOOO happy to have his daddy around.

Please keep us in your prayers as we continue to take a beating from Chile!

Return on Investment

ROI is something that is highly discussed in the business world, but you hardly ever hear this word in the special needs world. In my opinion, this is a big mistake. ROI needs to be as common to our vocabulary as the words “therapy” or “progress.”

In the business world, few actions are made without a thorough evaluation of ROI. If we spend $1000 in advertising, will the results bring increased revenue? For every dollar invested, how much will be made? If a machine is puchased, how will it improve the company? Will it increase revenue by saving time? By increasing production? By producing a product that can be sold for X amount of dollars? Sometimes the results are very specific and can be pinpointed to the exact dollar. For every $1 dollar invested, $5 will be earned. Other times, there are only vague projections and it is impossible to pinpoint specific numbers.

Stay with me. I know must of us don’t like thinking about business but I think it’s important to make this connection. Because we in the special needs world are the most taxed for resources – money, time, energy. So EVERYTHING needs to be evaluated from the point of view of ROI.

In this blog I have talked about a lot of different therapeutic modalities. There are literally a MILLION ways of spending your resources (Time, Energy, Money). There are different therapies targeting different developmental aspects, nutritional supplements, organic foods, equipment, lots of different types of assistance. So how do you choose?

I figured I’d write down some of the things I consider when trying to make decisions.

* Free is never really free. Many people go to traditional therapies because they are free (paid for by the state or federal government) or covered by insurance. What we don’t realize is that these therapies have a heavy cost in time and energy. Energy for the parents in getting to the therapies, energy expended by the child, and time. Not just the time spent in the therapy, but the time (months, years) lost if the therapy is not effective. So before you do something because it is free, think again. What is the REAL cost? I can assure you, it’s MUCH greater than most of us realize.

* Is is sustainable? What can offer the maximum impact for the least amount of resources? For example, there may be a therapist that is AMAZING but is extremely costly, requires a lot of TEM, and is very difficult to incorporate. So although taking your child there would be the best, is it really? Would it be better perhaps to settle for someone who is slightly less effective but more sustainable?

* By choosing a program, what do you have to leave out? There are many therapies out there that offer home programs. These can range from being VERY time consuming and demanding, to minimally demanding. Whenever you are doing a therapy with a home program, you have to be clear about what you’re leaving out in order to implement the home program. Perhaps this home program can improve cognition, but what are the costs for the child’s motor development? Or vice versa?

* How does the program affect the rest of the family? There are so many stories about how siblings are affected by having a special needs child in the family. Jodi Picoult has written a couple of books that delve on this topic and are worth reading. I think it’s really important to consider this!

* What is the cost of function vs happiness? Perhaps a therapy can provide improved function but at what cost to the emotional state of the child? And what about long terms vs short term happiness? Perhaps short term unhappiness leads to long term function and happiness, but how/where do you draw the line? How do you know that the program is going to yield long term gains?

I know more than anything these are just questions to be considered. And there are many many more. But I figured it would be helpful to raise some of the issues.

Me, personally, when I analyze a therapy, I try to look at the following:

* What is the cost of this therapy vs others?
* What is the best case outcome of this therapy and the worst case outcome?
* If all we get is the worst case outcome, will I have felt that the investment was worthwhile?
* What am I leaving out if I do this therapy with Nathan?
* How will this affect his emotional well being? What about mine and Owen’s well being?
* If I don’t do this program, will I always wonder and feel that I left a stone unturned?

Obviously, I have made many poor choices in the last 3 years. In wanting to do too much I don’t do enough of anything. Mainly because I didn’t have a whole lot of clarity about the points mentioned above. Lately I have thought a lot about this and am a lot more conscientious of these issues when making decisions. Which is why I didn’t send Nathan to the state preschool. The ROI just wasn’t there. Which is why we are here in Santiago Chile doing Medek. The ROI looks favorable to me.

Generally, I am also trying to pick ONE thing/doctor/therapy/practitioner in each category and stick to it:

* Physical development: Medek
* Biochemistry: Dr. Kenny
* Nutrition: Organic foods and GFCF diet
* Supplements: those focusing on brain development
* Speech development: Dynavox
* Exercise: swimming in the pool
* Structure: Rolfing (and soon to resume ABR)
* Overall health: BodyTalk

I am still missing a few components but in general, we are getting closer and closer to having a STAR team and program for Nathan!

Now here’s the twist. We have tried so much: stem cells, auditory integration, CME Medek, traditional PT, OT, ST, DT, ABR, AIAHP/REACH, suit therapy, and more.

Can I honestly say that Nathan has made significan gains from all of these things? Nathan still can’t hold up his head, roll, sit on his own, or speak. He has minimal control of his body and minimal use of his hands. But what I can say is that he hasn’t regressed. He is very very healthy. His cognition and understanding seems better. He seems more responsive and aware when I talk to him and recognizes more and more words and objects. He can now bear weight on his legs and squat to stand with balance support. He has decent head control when he is excited. He hasn’t been hospitalized since Dec 2006. He hasn’t needed any surgeries other than the shunt. He eats quite well orally. He can drink decently from a cup. He is alert and interactive and happy and funny. Is this sufficient ROI for the amount of time, energy, and money that we have spent on Nathan’s rehabilitation? ABSOLUTELY! I am grateful for everything Nathan has going for him. Would I like more? Sure! That’s why I am more selective now about ROI.

Anyways, I know this is something every special needs parent has considered but this is rarely talked about, so I thought I’d bring it to light and hopefully start a discussion! I hope to hear what other parents think about this!

Today’s appointment with Dr. Kenny

It’s been about 6 months since we started seeing Dr. Kenny. I have to say that was one of the best decisions we have made regarding Nathan. He is so healthy these days and I can see the vitality in his face, in his energy, in his attitude and actions. I am so grateful to have found her.

This is what we found today:

Biological energy: 970 / 1000
Physical energy: 996 / 1000
Vital energy: 1000

Meaning: He is in great physical and emotional health! The first time we saw her he was at 4, 8, and 200, so you can see how much he has progressed. She explained to us that now that his body is at optimum levels of energy, it will be much easier for his brain to create new pathways and for him to improve developmentally.

Which reminds me…today, he blew me away! He played in his wingbo for about 20 minutes and HELD UP HIS HEAD THE WHOLE TIME! Usually he fatigues after 30 seconds or so. Today, he just held it and held it and held it! I was so excited!

Going back to the appointment. This is his latest list of supplements:

Before Breakfast
Phospholipids 1 tsp
Musk 1 tsp

Breakfast Smoothie
Combocillus 2 caps
Niacin 1 cap
Spleen 1 cap
Min Chex 1 cap
Vitamin E 1 pill
Q. Nerve 1 cap
Advanced Brain 1 cap
Rutavite 2caps
EyeQ 2 caps
CoQ10 1 cap
5htp 1 cap
Manuks Honey 1 baby Spoon
Chinese tea ½ pack

Breakfast drops
B6 8 drops
European Walnut 2 drops
Fig Tree 5 drops

45 minutes after breakfast
Gtherapy 3 balls
Cat claw 2 drops on heart

Morning Snack
Spleen 1 cap
Min Chex 1 cap
Fig Tree 5 drops
IH formula 1 Tsp

Dinner
Neurolink 2 cap
Prevacid 1 tab

Before Bed
GTherapy 3 balls

I’ve talked to a couple of parents about how to get supplements into their kids. I figured I’d share what we’ve settled into doing.

First thing in the morning, before he has anything in his stomach, I give him the musk and the phospholipids. They are disgusting so if he throws up, none of his food will come up. Then I give him a couple of spoonfulls of his breakfast so he can chase it with something yummy.

Then I add a tablespoon of something liquidy (in our case, coconut non-dairy kefir) into a container. Then I mix all of the supplements in together. I combine everything that comes in capsules, crush the pills, EVERYTHING – and mix it together. Then it comes out to about 4 or 5 spoonfuls. I lean his wheelchair way back so he can’t spit it out, and then get it all into him. Afterwards, he is free to enjoy breakfast.

This is the first time in almost a year that we are being able to get all of his supplements into him every day – and it’s working really well for him. I see the positive impact that it’s all having!

We also talked about Nathan’s current program. She muscle tested him for the therapies that he is doing and helped us prioritize. Here’s what came up:

1 Rolfing – YES
2 Reike by mom – YES
3 Listening therapy – YES
4 Yoga for the Special Child with Catherine – YES
4 BodyTalk Access – YES
4 BodyTalk System – YES
5 Oil wraps – YES
6 Osteopathy with Dr. Brousseau – YES

These are all YESes, but are lower in priority, and we can fit them in if/when we can.

• Craniosacral with Brenda – YES
• AIAHP – YES
• Dr. Kim’s teas – YES
• G-therapy – YES
• Kidwalk/Hart Walker – practice walking – YES
• Mhbot for naps – YES

These are the NO’s for now. These may change later, but for now, Nathan doesn’t need them.

• Biofeedback with Dr. McDonald – NO
• Oil baths – NO
• Conductive education – NO
• Augmentative Communication Device Dynavox with Eyemax – NO
• Umbilical Cord Stem Cells in China – NO
• Nathan’s DAN doctor – NO
• Yoga for the Special Child at home – NO
• Hippotherapy – NO

I was impressed to see that it was very close to the ideas/intuitions I had.

Finally, she told us to avoid giving him dairy, gluten, corn, white rice, and eggs.

I was very pleased with the appointment and wanted to share!

Let’s Talk BodyTalk

Yesterday I went to my first BodyTalk Access class. I almost didn’t as I was so sick but I figured it was the best time to try it as maybe it would make me feel better. I have to say – it was EXCELLENT.

BodyTalk is a healing modality created on the basic premise that the body has built-in mechanism to heal itself. Sometimes the body is not able to heal itself because some of it’s circuits are temporarily shot or because it needs a little bit of help identifying the most effective ways of healing itself.

In the BodyTalk Access class, we were taught a series of 5 exercises that can be done on a regular basis to help improve how the body functions. Taken from their website:

The first two techniques balance the brain, so that the brain is turned on and communicating appropriately. The next two techniques balance the metabolic processes of the body and the entire immune system, helping the body be more resilient to stress and external forces, such as germs and viruses. The final technique helps to balance posture and the physical structure of the body, thus improving range-of-motion, flexibility and overall coordination of the muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The Fast Aid routine combines two of the above techniques to assist in helping the body recover from all sorts of minor to major injuries by shifting the body out of a state of shock and trauma back into the growth and healing mode. Fast Aid is highly flexible, incredibly fast and can be used anytime or place to assist in the recovery from injuries and trauma.

What impressed me tremendously is that it seems like they are taking many of the ideas that I have been learning about and have created a succinct, effective method for healing.

I was a bit skeptical when I went to the class, especially as the instructor told story after story about miraculous things that happened to people receiving BodyTalk access. But I have to admit I became a believer when I woke up this morning without any pain in my bladder and with more energy than I’ve had in a while.

Tomorrow I will try to film myself doing a BodyTalk Access session with Nathan so I can share.

I am really excited about this and believe that I am on to something! I signed up for the next class which will teach me muscle testing and more in-depth ways of using BodyTalk to improve health.