Sunday, July 25, 2010

Abby Update

I apologize for the amount of time since my last post. I have been spending my time trying to be a good mommy, and working hard to get Abby well again. I was scanning my usual blogs when I realized how much has changed since my last post, and I decided that you all deserve an update!

A few weeks prior to my last post, I ran across this wonderful blog: The Enlightened Homemaker. Shari Goodman has 5 children, one of whom has Autism. She is incredibly knowledgeable about taking care of the body naturally, among other things, and has been a guiding light for me through this whole experience. I posted a comment on her blog with a link to my blog, and she read my last post on Abby. She referred me to a world-renowned doctor in So. California that treats (and cures) Autistic children, as well as children with tummy issues (since they kind of go hand-in-hand). His name is Dr. Kurt Woeller, and I was amazed to find out that his office is just 5 minutes away from our house! I would have driven hours to see him, but talk about meant-to-be! I made an appointment right away.

The visit with Dr. Woeller was life-changing. He opened up a whole new world. Not only did he help me to realize that I’m NOT crazy, and there really was something wrong with Abby, but he also reassured me that there is a lot I can do to help her get better. He started out by asking about her symptoms. Exactly what was wrong, and when did I first notice? I basically reiterated everything that I said on the blog, and he asked a few questions. Then he explained exactly what he believed happened in Abby’s tiny body during her vaccine reaction.

(On our way to Disneyland as Abby's reward for filling her Sticker Chart. Thanks for the passes Granny-K!)

He explained that there are different types of vaccine reactions, and all range from mild to severe. Judging from her current symptoms and the symptoms she had during her reaction (high fever, vomiting, and going into such a deep sleep that I couldn’t wake her) he believes that Abby experienced moderate encephalitis (brain swelling) and that it caused damage to some of the nerves in her brain stem. He explained that Abby was lucky; had her swelling been any worse, it could have led to severe brain damage (ADHD, Autism). He explained that the nerves that control all of our bodily functions originate in the brain stem, and spread down through our body like an upside-down tree. Some of the most common nerves that are damaged during vaccine-educed encephalitis are the nerves that extend to the gut.

**That statement was like a light-bulb turning on for me. That explains the issues with Abby’s tummy. That is why she was always constipated no matter how many prunes or salads I fed her- the nerves that tell her intestines to move food through her bowel don’t work right! **

He went on to explain that certain vaccines can cause the gut to become inflamed, which can cause permanent damage to digestive function. This is why many kids who have had vaccine reactions (including Autistic kids) have to be on a Yeast/Gluten/Dairy-free diet. Due to the problems with her gut and her symptoms at the time of the appointment, Dr. Woeller also theorized that Abby had Candida- a yeast build-up throughout her whole body and most likely had developed Leaky Gut as a result (you can read all about Candida and Leaky Gut by clicking here).

I cannot tell you how relieved I was to finally find a doctor who knew exactly what was wrong with my daughter. I had been to one pediatrician so often that I swear she thought I was making it all up for attention. The pediatrician we switched to was getting there, when I finally gave up, and decided that going the conventional route was a waste of time. Having Dr. Woeller confirm that there WAS something wrong and that he knew how to treat it literally brought tears to my eyes.

Now for the treatments…

Dr. Woeller sent us home with two tests- urine and stool- so he could determine exactly what types of bacteria were overwhelming Abby’s digestive tract (judging by the size of her swollen belly, there had to be something in there). He recommended a few natural remedies for her constipation - Slipery Elm, Magnesium Citrate, Probiotics, etc. He also told me that MB12 has been proven to repair nerve damage, and he recommended RevitaPop Suckers as a great way to deliver a daily dose. He also said to make sure she is getting plenty of DHA oils, and to try to cleanse the Yeast out of her system.

(Pre-school field trip to the local dairy.)

I am happy to report that these few small changes Dr. Woeller recommended have made a world of difference for Abby. Here is what we are doing on a daily basis:

  1. DHA supplement
  2. RevitaPop
  3. YeastBeater drops morning and night
  4. Herbal Laxative tea every night after dinner. We have been experimenting with the natural constipation remedies Dr. Woeller recommended, but most of them Abby just won’t eat. This tea seems to be working (at least she will drink it willingly) as long as I add hot cocoa mix to the water and make it her after-dinner “treat.”

What has changed:

  1. No more yeast problems, like yeast infections, bladder infections, and wetting the bed! WooHoo!
  2. She makes it to the potty on time! Prior to treatment, Abby would wet her pants 2-3 times a day because the Yeast in her system was causing her pelvic muscles to swell and loose control easily. Now, it happens maybe once a month. MUCH better! The Laundry Fairy is VERY pleased.
  3. No more “loopiness,” or glazed-eyes, and no more running into walls J
  4. Longer periods of concentration without boredom, and she can hold a conversation with me without “zoning-out.”
  5. No more terrible belly-aches and constipation.
  6. We made a sticker chart (another great Dr. Woeller idea) to help make pooping a “positive” experience. Abby still isn’t convinced, but she does enjoy putting stickers on her chart and picking her prizes.
(Getting her face painted at a party.)

What we’re still working on:

  1. Getting to the potty in time, ALL the time. I think the yeast infections were the primary cause before, but now that she’s improved, I think that maybe her nerve damage has something to do with why she still has occasional accidents- delayed warning system.
  2. Gluten/Yeast/Dairy-free diet. We have Abby on the YeastBeater drops, which are doing a great job of keeping her system yeast-free. The next goal is to heal her gut, and a strict diet will help with that. We did attempt strict Yeast-free eating for about 2 weeks- I filled our cupboard with Yeast/Gluten-free snacks, and cooked meals from a special “Yeast-Free” cookbook. The problems we ran into were that Yeast-free snacks are soooo expensive, and they are incredibly CONSTIPATING. They wreaked havoc on Abby’s little digestive system as well as the family budget. There are ways around this, but everyone hated my “Yeast-Free” meals, and Tom practically begged me to stop torturing him with vegetables. I have been on the hunt for some yummy Yeast-Free recipes, and we decided to just take it a step at a time, and just focus on getting Abby regular for now.
  3. We have to find a Probiotic Abby will take, and get those tests back /see Dr. Woeller again. Abby's aggression and irritability have gone up, which is a sure sign that she has a Claustridia infection- a bacteria that can take over when a patient is on an anti-fungal to get rid of yeast. The tests are $300 each, and a visit with Dr. Woeller is $400 each time. Neither is covered by insurance. It's so frustrating when you can't give your child the care they need in the speed you would like because of financial restrictions. Anyone have an extra $1000 lying around?

During our visit, Dr. Woeller made a comment that really hit home for me. He asked what my plans were for future vaccinations. I told him "Never again." He looked relieved, and told me about another patient who had a vaccine reaction similar to Abby's. He treated the patient, and he improved. Then the parents decided to continue with the vaccination schedule. The boy had another reaction, and became Autistic. He said that little boy was just one example, and that he has seen this happen many times throughout his career. I was firm in my decision not to vaccinate my kids, but I secretly doubted myself time and again. After hearing those stories from Dr. Woeller, I KNOW I am never vaccinating again. My poor Abby's health depends on it!

**And to all you moms out there wondering if you should vaccinate your kids: From what Dr. Woeller said, vaccine reactions only get worse. If your child had any kind of a reaction to a previous vaccine, STOP! The next one will be worse... but there’s no way to know how much worse it will be until it’s too late. THAT'S the scary part.**

(On a picnic during a Primary field trip. No, all that junk food isn't ours. Friends brought some to share with all the kids, and for my kids, it was a VERY special treat. Nothing like that resides in our house :) )

I know we have a long way to go, and I have so much to learn. None-the-less, I am thrilled that Abby has made the progress she has in the past few months, and I am so grateful to all those who have led us in the right direction. If you have a child suffering from the effects of vaccines, don’t give up! There are people out there to help you heal your child, and a brighter future lies ahead. You just have to look.


Sara said...

I had no idea you were going through this with Abby. I'm so happy to hear that you've figured it out atleast. (that is half the battle) Hope she continues to do better!

Saddie said...

I am SO SO glad that you've found a doctor who will listen to you and can help you help your little girl. There's nothing quite as stressful as knowing there's a problem, but being treated like a psycho mom who doesn't know anything. Ugh! I have a friend here who's daughter was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and has to go the whole gluten-free route. You two have my sincerest sympathies! Talk about a life change - and so much more expensive! But the wonderful changes diet can bring are SO worth it. I'm especially glad to hear that your sweet, precocious Abby is becoming more the little girl I knew. What a sweet relief. Good luck with everything!

Palmyra said...

Thanks for the post. It makes so much sense that if he had a bad reaction, the next time could be worse. I don't want to take that chance. Thanks again for the post, and I'm so happy to hear that your little girl is finally getting the help she needs. It is so hard to find good doctors now a days.

The Gray Family said...

glad she's doing better good luck!

the keller fam said...

Wow! What a blessing that the doctor was only 5 minutes away! I am so glad for ALL of you that she is getting better:)

arroyo fam said...

Thanks, Krista for the update & all the info on vaccines. I have been really reluctant to start my 4 month old on her vaccines. I was slightly concerned with my now 3 yr old when she was a baby. Same thing, talked to my dr and he reassured me it was no problem. I have been really concerned with my baby. Thanks for all the books & sites to check out. I appreciate you taking the time to relate your experience.
Glad to hear Abby is doing so much better!

Anonymous said...

I am sorry your daughters has been so badly affected by vaccines - it is terrible. But have you done as much research on infectious diseases as you have the negative effects of vaccines? Do you know that if we are all not vaccinated then eventually none if us has immunity? Polio has not been eradicated - do you really want your kids and other kids to be susceptible? Before you advocate you should consider the consequences - it is a truly dangerous choice you are making. Your daughter could easily have autism AND polio. Because we have never experienced an epidemic (thanks to vaccines) we do not know how tragic it can be.

Krista Jones said...

Thank you for your comment, and yes, I have looked into infectious diseases. Thoroughly. Thank goodness we haven't experienced an outbreak and I don't know first hand how tragic it can be. However, the more research I do on infectious diseases, the more I realize that Autism is the greatest risk our society faces right now. No, there is no cure for some diseases, such as Polio. However only a very small percentage of those who catch Polio will ever experience any lasting effects from the disease. Rates of children who are suffering from Autism are much higher than that.

Yes, there is a risk that my children could be seriously harmed or die from a disease I have chosen not to vaccinate them against. I hope that never happens, but if it does, I will have to live with the choice I made. However, I would also have to live with the knowledge that I vaccinated my children knowing that they would almost certainly have a reaction, the results of which could be devastating. And for what? "Just in case"? No thank you.