Autism recovered?

Medical experts say it's not possible to recover autism. We have living proof in the form of three children, that it IS possible. In my blog you will find recovery stories, along with information regarding health that I have learned over the years. And sometimes just snippets of life to give hope that yes, life can be normal after the hard work is done.

Sit back, enjoy, and be hopeful! RECOVERY HAPPENS!

**Kids names have been changed to protect the innocent and naughty alike. ;)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving fun

So Thanksgiving was bigger this year than usual. I generally don't do that much food wise b/c finding substitutes for the traditional foods makes my head spin but this year I was feeling the groove. My husband has ALWAYS told me to just go easy with holiday foods b/c he doesn't care if it's the usual stuff. They generally have a party in his squadron anyway and he gets pumpkin pie there... and that's what matters. lol

First you should know my parents were here. Aren't they cute??

With my parents being here, we had more allergens to add to our list. BUT, I am very glad to add them to our list to have them here. Having them here makes all things sparkly and totally worth it!! :)

So we started off our morning with Wassail. Yumm yummm! We substituted the usual xylitol for honey and couldn't tell a difference. Let me just tell you, Wassail makes the house smell like holidays. Even if we didn't drink it, I would have it simmering on the stove all day just for the smell. We all sucked it down all day though even though it was hot outside and not really Wassail weather. ;)

I was supposed to give the kids pumpkin smoothies for breakfast but didn't have my brain during breakfast prep and made the usual smoothie. So a few hours later, I made them individual pumpkin smoothies. It's all the ingredients of a pumpkin pie (no eggs and there's coconut milk instead of dairy) complete with spices; so basically it's a drinkable pumpkin pie. :D

Then we decided to paint turkey place mats. But there was a twist, we had to pull names out of a hat (or in our case, out of a paint cup) and make one for whomever you drew. It was tons of fun and everyone got into it!! I was surprised b/c I did not think all the adults would enjoy it but they did.

Then it was playtime with Pawpaw. Kate got a GALLOPING piggy back ride. Then Pawpaw got mobbed by kidlets when he got too close to the floor. That's pretty much what they did for a long time.

Oh and yes, Pawpaw shaved his Sean Connery look off between paint time and play time. :D

I cooked a free-range turkey in the oven. It came out tasty-o! Then there was onion and garlic kale, potatoes (red and sweet) and acorn squash with cinnamon. Waaaay more starchiness than we eat normally but it's a special day so we lived on the edge. ;)

For desert we had what was going to be a raw fruity thing but I ended up cooking it and then topping with coconut ice cream!! That was the FIRST desert I have made for a holiday in at least 6 years. Daddyman couldn't remember me having ever done anything since the kids allergies hit so it might be as much as 11 years. HA! I forgot to take a picture but mushed up fruit isn't pretty anyway. The ice cream was pretty. :)

I think we watched a movie or something after that. I can't remember but I think it was Danny Kaye's "The Court Jester". Tony was laughing so much that it made Daddyman and I LOL. Just love that old movies are still funny. :D

On a side note, Daddyman was working that day (the military doesn't take days off ya know) but he got to come home early so that was very special. We had anticipated seeing him for only an hour or two before bed but he got to spend most of the day with us. Yay!

And that is about it. A normal holiday as far as I can tell!! :D

Monday, November 29, 2010

Autism, look what you've done to me

I generally try not to gripe too much. Well except to my mom b/c she's my sounding board so she hears some of the exhaustion and frustration, but mostly I'm upbeat about things. I'm a glass half-full kinda girl.

But the other day I was telling my doc how frustrated I was over all these allergies. Eleven years of food allergies that rule our lives and cause mind-numbing terror to our parently (yeah I know that's not a word) souls. Yeesh. He gently said "But look at your life now. Would you be this person if life had been different? Would your kids have their tight loving bond if your family had gone differently?" I blithely agreed that it was good but then came home and thought on that hard.

Before autism, I was all about the hair, makeup, clothes, shoes, cars, perfect house, perfect everything... all the shallow things in life. I was all about me.

After autism, those things just don't matter anymore.

Somewhere along the way autism did something weird to me, it made me grow up.

I stopped caring about hair, makeup, clothes, cars, frivolous things. Not that I don't take care of myself but now instead of scheduling an every 6 week hair appt to keep the color perfect, I get a haircut a year if I'm lucky. Makeup? It happens sometimes but generally only when I have a speaking engagement. Clothes? I shop at goodwill now and am happy to have clothes without holes in them. I don't even know what's in style! Cars? I have one, husband has one. We'll drive those things into the ground before we think of spending a dime on another vehicle. Shoes? I'm still wearing shoes from 10 years ago. I did buy a pair of sandals last year but it was a necessity.

My perspective has changed 180 degrees, to say the least. My house is nice but definitely not perfect. Rather than spend my hours making things just so, I spend my hours in the kitchen making sure those kidlets have good nutrition going in. I still have tons of pictures that should be on the walls. The walls are in desperate need of painting. Instead of trying out the latest restaurant, I spend time figuring out how to make my garden grow. Instead of googling to find the perfect gift this year, I'm on chat boards and forums, reading the pain of others still in autism and trying to help... feeling helpless and wondering if I'm making a difference. Am I giving someone hope? Is someone encouraged by my words? Instead of trying to make the world revolve around me, I am thrilled to know it doesn't.

At many points during autism recovery, I didn't get haircuts. That money was necessary for supplements, testing, procedures, doc consults, food. I WANTED a haircut, there just wasn't justification for it. Now, it's different. There is so much more to life than trying to look perfect (no one is anyway so why pretend?). I enjoy a nice hair style. I like looking nice, it's just not my everything. My car isn't perfect but it's not a big deal. My clothes are far from lovely but it's not important. People are important.

And I think that's what I missed before autism. When it was all about me, people didn't matter. It disgusts me a little to think of the level of selfishness back then. Double yeesh!

But you know what is amazing?? When autism found us, people EVERYWHERE jumped in to help. Looking back, it is astonishing to see how many hundreds of people rushed to my aid. Yes, many of them were virtual helpers known only to me by their sign names on chat boards. Many others were real life people who went above and beyond to help us. A community of people I never knew existed jumped at the opportunity to help complete and total strangers. And I will always be indebted to each one of them b/c they taught me to give unselfishly of myself in the pursuit of even just a single child.

That's what autism did to me. It introduced me to a whole group of warriors. It made me leave behind all the selfish & vain pursuits of an empty life. It made me put aside my southern belle gentility and become someone completely real. Gone is the self-absorbed woman-child and in her place stands a warrior-mom who loves her family fiercely and sees the world through completely different eyes. I get to marvel at my children's achievements. How many parents don't see the wonder of their child's laughter, their sparkling eyes, their beautiful toes, their wonderful brilliance? I'm sure many parents appreciate these things but before autism, I was so wrapped up in me that I often didn't appreciate the miracles living under my own roof.

So autism although I still hate what you did to my kids, for this I thank you. Thank you for causing me to grow. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to reach one more family and extend a little bit of hope.

And thank you Lord Jesus for allowing autism to teach me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Butterfly (the puppy)

Remember my post about my fur sisters? Well I forgot to take a pic of Butterfly before my dad took her home but she's back so I took this pic of her. Isn't she a cutie pie??!!?

This sweet puppy now lives with my parents but before she came to live with them, she was severely abused and neglected. When she was returned to the breeder, she was horribly ill, a complete mess and very gross but the worst thing was the maggots living on her. Truly, I cannot imagine allowing a dog to be so mistreated. Thankfully she was returned to her breeder who worked very hard to help her. However she still struggles with major health challenges. She has to wear the collar b/c she tries to chew her tail off. It's in horrible shape right now and she stinks. Not the smell of a dog needing a bath but the smell of sickness. Poor thing, she just moans and cries sometimes b/c she itches so badly. My dad will rub her to help but her skin flakes off so it can't be done too much. We know her sickness is inside her body and we are just seeing the symptoms on the outside.

My parents have her on a raw diet which is THE diet to heal animals. Dogs are supposed to eat raw. Dogs were wild long before they became domesticated and in the wild they don't cook their food after they catch it. They eat it raw. That's the ways dogs stomachs are designed. Fortunately many forward thinking companies make raw food prepackaged... which is perfect for my parents. :)

She sees a holistic vet who has given her a few homeopathic remedies. While she has improved some since coming to live with my parents, she still suffers terribly. The vet said her immune system is shot and it will take a long time to heal it.

Boy, we know all about that! We have the kid version of that here. :(

So my parents spend much time, money and brain power trying to help this little girl. If anyone knows something that will help her, please email me or post here. It's hard to watch her suffer and we are on a steep learning curve with homeopathic and natural dog treatments. There has to be more for her than Elizabethan collars and misery. She has a sweet spirit (really!! which is surprising considering her past but I think she knows she safe here) and we really want to help her achieve health. Please, if you can help, let me know.

And thank you. :)

Successful food challenges so far

I'm writing this here for me to remember but also so others who are interested can see our progress. We have been doing Bioveda treatments for about 6 months now. It has not been the FAST magic bullet I was dreaming of but it is helping. So far, hubby has seen ALL of his allergies disappear. Well, he has to challenge bananas Monday but all the others have gone. He was allergic to tomatoes, grapes, raisins and eggs. With eggs, he still has to limit himself to about 3 a day but otherwise he is good on all these foods. Very impressive I think! For me, I have seen more emotional healing than anything else so far. Although it's a post for another day, I will say when I saw "grief" pop up as my #1 emotion, it really brought me to my knees in admitting that I had shoved that particular emotion aside for years; and once I dealt with it, there was some serious physical and emotional healing for me. Yay me! :D

I can also now eat gluten without needing an immediate and serious nap. I still don't WANT to eat it b/c of the problems it CAN cause, but now I won't have trouble driving if I accidentally get some cross contamination. I feel asleep at the wheel once b/c of gluten. That scared the crappola out of me and I haven't had gluten on purpose since; other than to challenge my body after my gluten trial.

For the kids we have successfully challenged the following foods:
Tony: beans (pinto & black) -- hallelujah for cheap and easy protein!
Grace: potatoes and rice
Kate: coconut (hello coconut ice cream!!), carrots

Shoot, I think there are more. I will come back and note them as I remember. The doc has it all written on his paper but I don't have it written down.

Although this has been a long time and people generally don't take this long, the doc said that my kids are rare in that fact that their bodies (aka: immune system) has tagged multiple foods as death bringers multiple times and it will take multiple treatments on each food to calm the system down enough to assure the body that these foods are ok. Although the kids have been treated for eggs (once), nuts and gluten and I think even dairy, I am not willing to challenge those foods yet. I know at some point I will have too but I am truly terrified of those foods for them so I will have to see all the minor allergens go away before I will trust the biggies are cleared enough to challenge.

The doc said he anticipates treating them for a minimum of a year. I didn't realize treatments could take that long but knowing how damaged and hyper their immune system is, I can understand why.

My mom also stayed with us for about 2 months to get treated as well. She is so allergic to corn that if she SMELLS it, she will have trouble breathing. Target is definitely a store she cannot go in. lol After several treatments, she was able to be in the presence of popcorn without trouble... that may seem small but it's really huge for her! She still cannot eat it but at least it won't kill her to smell it. :) She has to go home but will get treated again next time she comes so we'll see if we can't knock that corn allergy out a little further.

Hmmm so that's it for now. I will update as we lose more food allergies. Pray for us that it happens soon. As Tony gets older and nears puberty, I really worry for him the most. I want him to be able to do guy things and at this point in his health, guy things are out. But God is the mighty healer and I believe He will honor our efforts.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Count your blessings

Our pastor has been working his way through the book of John and this week we were encouraged to count our blessings. We actually ended the service singing that song. Now I have to admit that having a tired/bored/restless/whatever 5 year old in church with me every week keeps me from hearing and/or concentrating probably 90% of the time. I get snatches of stuff here and there but never a full sermon; so I have learned to grab as much as I can out of the snatches. Kate can't help being 5 and I am training her but the very act of training her to sit and listen consumes the majority of my brain space during that hour. But today when we sang Count Your Blessings, she was being good b/c she knew it was almost over and I got to really listen to the words instead of just mindlessly singing & keeping her from goofing around. I grew up singing this song, none of the words were a surprise, but sometimes you just get used to songs and don't HEAR them when you sing. As the pastor was saying, we can get comfortable with Christ and forget his glory & awesomeness... the same happens to songs when we get comfortable and forget the glory and truth of them. In fact that same happens with many things... marriages, relationships, blessings... we can get so used to them that we forget to be grateful for them.

The second verse is what really struck me today.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?

Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,

And you will keep singing as the days go by.

Am I ever burdened? Oh my gosh, am I ever!! For the last 11 years life has been incredibly difficult. Not just inconveniently difficult but almost unbearably difficult. I know I've said it before but I will say it again... knowing that everything outside your own house could kill your child is stressful beyond words. Autism was terrible but we're done with that now. But still... the food allergies... ugh. Sometimes I just want to run away from it all but of course I could never do that. As I tell my kids, I'd be bored out of my mind without them around. :D But burdened? Oh yeah. Every time my kids get left out of something every other kid can do, every time they look sad but try to tell me "It's ok that we can't ...", every time they throw a fit b/c they're tired of being left out, every time they feel unsafe and afraid, every time my kids hurt b/c of the choices that were made for them before I knew what I know now. A burden on my heart is an inadequate description really.

Does this cross seem heavy to bear? Well yeah! If you have kids, you know nothing hurts you more than the pain your kids endure. Sometimes I feel downright picked on in all of this; which is of course a very selfish view as this isn't even about me. But I am the mom and my heart breaks when they hurt. Every dream I ever had of doing all the typical little kids things has been dashed repeatedly through the years. Is that hard to bear? Yep.

Count your blessings every doubt will fly. That sounds so trite... count my blessings. Not always an easy task but when done, I have to say doubts DO fly. Hope is renewed each time.

And I'll keep singing as the days go by.
Really? Hmmmm maybe so.

So let's count blessings...

*Doctors who understand the true root cause of the kids problems and work tirelessly to help repair the issues
*Husband who brings home a paycheck every month and doesn't squawk over the amount of money going to medical issues, supplements, alternative docs and other things that most people don't spend money on
* Parents who help me ALOT, both financially, emotionally and spiritually
*A church where they work hard to include my kids in many of the childrens activities
*Kids who connect with me and talk to me
*Autism is gone
* I get to home school
*Kids who think I am Wonder Woman (or at least think I'm a hero of some sort)
*Friends who pray for me
*Friends who pray for the kids health issues
* A father who lends my mom to us for months at a time although he REALLY misses her badly each time
* A mom who listens to me cry, rant, rave, squawk, yell, go bonkers... and loves me anyway :)
*The ability to feed my kids healthy foods (not everyone can afford real food unfortunately)
*Again, a husband who doesn't pitch temper tantrums over how much of his hard earned money goes to the alternative medicine and kids healing... I probably can't say that one enough
* Hope
*The ability to educate myself for the betterment of my families health
* A nice house
*A nice vehicle
* The ability to pay all our bills and live in comfort
*Freedom to worship
*A house full of STUFF with the only goal of making our lives easier
*Epipens so when an emergency happens, there's a solution
*A GOD who loves my kids more than I am capable of doing

I think that's the biggest one. God knows the suffering. He knows. He sees the struggles, the heartbreak, the danger, the stress, the fear; and He gives me the tools every day to face it all.

Now THAT is something to sing about.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fairy gardens

Today Grace was telling a friend of ours about fairies. I mentioned that she could see them all here and then I got home and realized that she couldn't... I only have one picture posted! So this is a collection of all our gardens so far. There was a recent thread on The Well-Trained Mind forum discussing fairies so it's been on my mind a bit extra as well. :)

Very first garden ever... created from the clippings the nursery gave her

Kate rearranged her garden so many times that I didn't get pictures of most of them. Hers was mostly a few plants and alot of dirt. By the end of the day, it was just the fairies. lol

Tony didn't want to miss out on the fun but wasn't the least bit interested in fairies so he made an army fort.

First indoor garden... sorry about the lighting
Tony actually made this one for a friend's birthday present

Our second indoor garden

Yes, this is a fairy house made of legos

Happy Halloween fairies!
I didn't get any pictures of the beach scene she created. We'll do that one again in the summer.
Here is the indoor garden as it looks right now

Grace already has a bunch of handmade furniture made for the next house. She has grand plans for all the houses she will build in the park once spring hits. She's also hoping like mad that it will snow this winter so she can create a snow fort. :D

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tony's birthday present

Zero VOC paint...isn't it pretty?!? He said it was the BEST present ever. :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A smoochie in exchange for some yard work... good deal all 'round!

It's from last year but I was browsing pictures and just couldn't NOT post this. :)

Sunday, November 7, 2010


This weekend at the conference I met a precious lady. She is probably in her 40's. She told me that her husband passed away just a few months ago while she was finishing up her certification to become a chiropractor. Understandably she has not eaten much and her stress has been severe. Her husband owed an organic restaurant and it's doing well so she wanted to keep it going. So on top of finishing a degree, trying to start her own chiropractic business and being a full time mom, she's grieving the loss of her husband while trying to learn the ropes of his business. She still had her wedding ring on so that tells me she misses him. I cannot imagine how she must feel.

I was so glad to be able to give her some kefir. She said it soothed her tummy (which has been in real pain since her husband died). By the time I left today, she had probably consumed 1/2 a bottle of kefir, her appetite was back (she has not been hungry) and she had a smile on her face. What a joy it was to me to be able to provide her that small comfort.

She impressed me so much with her courage. To be dealing with all she is and to take time to travel to another state and learn how to help others overcome autism. Wow. Now that is one amazing woman! I know I ministered to her but she ministered to me too. With her actions she reminded me to cherish my moments with those I love. To keep going when it would be easier to give up. Such a precious soul.

Conference is done

And I am tired! It's funny b/c this was by far the smallest conference I have done but it was just as emotionally charged. I think every time I talk will be that way... maybe it will get less so the more I do it.

I didn't just speak at this conference, I also worked for Body Ecology. I represent them at many conferences throughout the year. This diet is not easy and I have done it (and still do it) with three kids so it's encouraging for other parents to speak with someone who's been there done that and can hold their hand through the hard part..

Months ahead of a conference, I project how many will be there (based on the conference coordinator numbers) and work to make reservations for hotels, vehicles, plane tickets, etc. All the little details that have to be done ahead of time. Because this one was in my home town it was not complicated in any way. No reservations were necessary although I did have supplies from Body Ecology shipped. Unfortunately the conference heads did not give us a very accurate number and we planned for 250. Twelve docs showed up. Although I do not appreciate the misrepresentation on the part of the conference heads, I still made some good connections. Twelve more chiropractors are now trained and ready to help children with autism get better. I know not all children will recover 100%, but I do believe the majority of children will be improved to some degree.

One thing you hear over and over from parents of children with autism is that they have gut problems. If all a parent treats is the gut, that cannot help but improve a child's quality of life! (Imagine having constant gut pain... would you be cheerful and playful? Yeah, me either!) But of course these docs are trained to do so much more. I had some time to speak in depth with several of them and it's so wonderful to see these doctors who are willing to go against the mainstream, to be the odd man out, to seek out (and find) answers to helping these sweet children. So, SO precious to me.

It's also wonderful to see people, vendors and doctors alike, who have no child with autism and yet they fight like the dickens to help. God bless those who work so hard to help the wounded. Those are my heroes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preparing for a conference

As I sit here preparing for this weekends speaking engagement, I am struggling with getting my mind organized. I have a general speech, which is just our story of the kids lives through autism and recovery. I don't give medical advice or anything, just share our story. I am the only speaker who shares a story in this fashion, all the other speakers are professionals of one sort or another. I am the "giving hope" speaker. I love that. I love that our story gives hope to others.

This time is more difficult though. There will be only doctors there, no parents. (Well I'm sure some of the docs are parents but they are there for professional training) In the past, I have always catered my speech to the parents because they're the ones who need to hear that it can be done. This time I need to focus more on how professionals can help parents. I am having a terrible time tweaking our story to encourage docs rather than parents.

It is, as always, a heart wrenching experience to be going through their stories once again. When you add pictures to the story, it becomes so much more poignant. The horrors captures on film speak louder than just hearing it from the mouth. Pictures really are worth a thousand words and we've got alot of pictures. :) It is such a blessing to see where they were and where they are now. SUCH a difference.

Praise God!! :D

May I continue to appreciate the blessings in this house before they are grown up and living lives of their own.

Boys and their toys

Boys playing with transformers


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