Hooray!

Another school visit in Frisco is on my calendar! The Kindergarten classes at Boals Elementary and I will be enjoying ALL BETTER together on Monday, April 7th.

The Boals librarian, Nancy, is excited about the visit and will be facilitating sending pre-orders home with the kids in March. I’d love to have another really successful order of books (like at Memorial Baptist’s CDO!) 

My sincere thanks go out to Melissa Howell for generously purchasing a copy of ALL BETTER last fall for the Boals library (where her wonderful son–Luke–attends school.) Big thanks, Melissa, making the introduction of ALL BETTER to Boals Elementary!

I’m looking forward to meeting Nancy and the wonderful kids & staff at Boals.

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER. Date: February 26, 2008, 11:09 pm | No Comments »

15  Feb
The Results Are In

[Editorial Note: This post is L-O-N-G and is specifically intended for friends and family who have shown interest in Ethan’s treatment regarding Asperger’s Syndrome or those who may be considering treating a loved one biomedically.

Quite literally–the results are in this blog entry! We have results from the tests run through Ethan’s new BioMedical/DAN! (Defeat Autism Now!) doctor (Dr. Seshagiri Rao) during December and January.

On a quest to do everything emotionally, medically, physically and environmentally possible to ensure Ethan finds success at home, school and in life in spite of Asperger’s Syndrome, we are now pursuing healing Ethan’s body from the inside out. With blood taken in Dr. Rao’s office on Dec. 21st and 7 specimen samples collected and mailed from home throughout January, we are now sprinting full speed on this quest’s first path and can literally “see” the convergent paths in our near future.

Path #1: Rid Ethan’s body of an unhealthy yeast/fungal (Candida) overgrowth. My research shows that overgrowth like Ethan’s lead children to act more impulsive and aggressive than they would with a healthy, or proper, amount of yeast in their “gut.” Both impulsivity and aggression have been ongoing issues with Ethan for the past year.

Often times, excessive use of antibiotics can be to blame for yeast/fungal overgrowths like this. [Ethan had a long bout of battles with recurrent ear infections until we had tubes placed in his ears and adenoids removed by our ENT in March of 2007 . . . thus, Ethan was prescribed LOTS of antibiotics to fight those infections prior to March.] Antibiotics–while prescribed to kill off the “bad” bodily infection–also kill all of the “good” probiotics at the same time. When these probiotics aren’t replenished, the yeast has a perfect breeding ground to multiply like mad and take over. So, while we are treating Ethan’s mad yeast with a prescription anti-fungal, Nizerol, that’s simply not enough. We are also supplementing daily with beneficial probiotics to replenish the “good” in his system and we have implemented a Candida Control diet.

The CC diet means we must remove ALL sugars (candy, cakes, ice cream, etc.) and yeast (in typical Gluten-Free breads and crackers, etc.) plus certain foods which are high in natural sugars (think strawberries, melons, grapes and raisins) as well as any vinegar containing foods (Ethan loves a good sour pickle.) Anyone who has eaten with us in the past knows that we are strictly limited by our Gluten-Free diet already, so adding these further restrictions has been rather difficult. Difficult but do-able! Ethan is already asking people, (after 15 days on the Nizerol and CC diet,) “Does that have sugar in it? I’m on a sugar-free diet.” He’s such a trooper! I’ve already seen improvements in several aspects of his daily functioning and hope that this trend will only continue.

Path #2: Research and implement a Low Oxalate Diet (LOD.) Ethan’s Oxalic Acid tested high. This diet should help us to wrangle Ethan’s yeast and maintain a healthy digestive tract. [Note: My research at present is minimal and ongoing for the LOD, however if there is interest, I will post additional information in the coming weeks.] 

Path #3: Balance Ethan’s Copper-to-Zinc (C2Z) ratio. In a healthy system, this ratio should be 1:1; Ethan’s is seriously out of whack and is most likely contributing to how his body is not effectively processing OUT heavy metals [see below–Path #6.] As such, we have added a daily supplement of Zinc, to Ethan’s growing list of supplements, to balance his C2Z ratio.

Path #4: Boost Ethan’s Taurine levels so he can effectively handle stressors. From the neurotransmitters test, we found that Ethan has super-low levels of Taurine [an organic acid] and as a result is likely living in a state of near-constant stress! As we supplement with Taurine and 5-HTP (HydroxyTryptoPhan,) Ethan’s system should be able to re-balance and supply effective amounts of Serotonin to his brain to alleviate this high-stress feeling. [We’ve started Taurine but will not start the 5-HTP for two weeks to allow his body some adjustment time to the Taurine.]

Path #5: Correct a Vitamin B12 deficiency in Ethan’s body. This one will be relatively easy. I have found B12 sublingual tabs that should do the trick but plan to wait a few weeks before implementing this one so that I can accurately evaluate any side-effects we see coming from these different additions.

Path #6: Relieve the burden of heavy metals polluting Ethan’s delicate system at present. Test results reveal that Ethan has very high levels of not only mercury (YUCK!–see my post about vaccinations) but also lead and arsenic. Due to his totally out of whack system function, he cannot adequately process these toxins out of his system and will need some additional help. We are waiting until we get his yeast under control and his Zinc levels to a healthy C2Z range before we consider starting routine chelating. But, that’s what it boils down to–darn it! He is going to need a chelating agent return his these levels to “healthy” amounts of mercury, lead and arsenic.

My research indicates that there are many forms of chelation available: some purely dietary (think cilantro and chlorella); others that are capsules taken orally (DMSA and DMPS); or, finally, IV chelation. My prayer is that Ethan responds well to the dietary and/or capsule means so that he will not have to undergo IV chelation to remove these burdens. [I’ve already started to add more, fresh cilantro to our diet.] But, we’ll cross that bridge when our present path converges with “the chelation path.”

There is SO MUCH GOOD NEWS that we acquired from these tests. First, I am of the opinion that simply KNOWING what deficiencies and imbalances we’re dealing with gives us something to work toward, and in essence is good news. Additionally, we also learned that Ethan is processing Casein effectively, which was one of my big concerns going into these tests. While Ethan has been Gluten-Free since his conception (literally) I was concerned that we *might* need to take all dairy out of his diet, too. Thankfully, that is NOT necessary and with the other dietary changes listed above, I’m quite relieved. We also found that his blood CBC blood levels look good and that his Iron levels are excellent. His Immunoglobulin is normal and most of his “titers” are registering implied immunity to many of the “scary” diseases out there. We did find that his Tetanus Antitoxoid is registering low so he may need a tetanus booster at some point. This means that while I “dutifully” had him immunized on the CDC’s schedule, [simply because I didn’t know better and that there were/are alternative schedules we could’ve chosen for him,] Ethan’s system may still not be fully protected. This is good information to have, though.

I will note that we are doing lots of other stuff already to help Ethan. His daily supplements already include 2 multi-vitamins, extra Vitamin C, Magnesium in the form of Peter Gillham’s Kid’s Calm, Melatonin to aid in restorative sleep, Essential Fatty Acids (DHA), and a homeopathic blend call “Attend” to help him maintain focus.

Ethan also receives Occupational and Physical Therapy weekly with a wonderful therapist; attends a Social Skills group weekly with two other boys and a highly trained therapist who is also mother to a 9 year old boy with Autism; takes swimming lessons with “neurotypical” peers weekly; receives speech therapy biweekly through his specialized Individual Education Plan [IEP] in the Public Preschool for Children with Disablilities [PPCD] which he attends for 3 hours daily with full inclusion into the school’s Pre-K program; participates in Ice Skating lessons weekly; and is currently on a waiting list to receive Hippo Therapy (Horse Riding Therapy) at a local ranch.

Ethan is sleeping much better than he was last fall and as a result I am more able to focus on all that this life requires. My goal is to maintain a balance for Ethan in providing what he needs while not over doing it. I want and expect only the best for him. It seems to me that we have been guided to all of the right “paths” on this journey and I pray that we are continually led down those paths.

Ethan is extremely verbal and that in itself is a monumental blessing. He is able to tell me that he loves me … that he’s mad at me… that his clothes itch … when he is in pain and a million other things! We are able to share a love of Children’s Literature and gain mutual affection from hugging and cuddling. Ethan is a gift and I am thankful for EVERY SINGLE moment I have with him. Thank you, God, for blessing my life with this extremely smart, challenging, handsome, funny, exuberant and at times difficult-to-raise boy.

Many years ago I opened a Peking Noodle Co. fortune cookie (while I am GF, I still open them to get the fortune) which said, “Your path may be difficult but will be rewarding.” That original fortune slip hangs inconspicuously in my kitchen; most would probably never know it is there, but I know. Occasionally when I stop to reread it, I smile to myself recalling that I was actually “warned” that my path would be difficult but most importantly rewarding.

Ethan’s Thankful Mama,

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome. Date: February 15, 2008, 4:36 pm | 4 Comments »

This Ad paid for by Generation Rescue will go in the Feb. 12th USA Today and is a VERY good source to compare how many vaccines we (the general USA public) give kids now in comparison to not so long ago plus highlights the MAJOR rise in autism from then and now . . . it also does a good job in describing in very few words why following this particular overwhelming vaccine schedule *might* not be the best idea for every single kiddo alive and how MORE research should be done as soon as possible.

I would encourage you to pass this along to anyone you know who is pregnant or has an infant or small child; I feel it is always best to have as much information as possible as you go into your pediatrician’s office. Sincerely, I wish I had known 5 years ago all that I know now. If you or someone you know has questions about how to plan an abbreviated vaccine schedule for a child–there are resources out there–and I’ll be glad to share what I know. As parents we have the choice to “go with the flow” based on the CDC’s schedule or “slow the flow” according our particular beliefs. Given the opportunity for a “do over” for Ethan, I would certainly “slow the flow” and give vaccines on an abbreviated schedule.I fully see and understand the importance of vaccinations in our global society, but I also see and understand (more so than ANYONE) the monumental importance of my precious son, Ethan’s, health and well being!Check it out: http://www.generationrescue.org/pdf/080212.pdf. Pass it on if you wish.

Warmly,

~Leigh Mother to Ethan, 5 years old living with Asperger’s Syndrome and Sensory Processing Disorders 

Posted by Leigh, filed under Asperger's Syndrome. Date: February 12, 2008, 11:46 pm | 1 Comment »

My very 1st public book signing for ALL BETTER went very well yesterday with a constant stream of friends and family and a few random B & N visitors making for a complete sell out! Simply can’t beat that. Not only did we sell out, but the last two customers (my dear friends and writing colleagues Jiaan and Bonnie,) were *fighting* over the last two books. (They each wanted two copies a piece!) Don’t forget, Ladies, I’m “hooked up” with the publisher . . .

Sincere thanks to all of my amazing friends, family and colleagues who took the time to come see me at Barnes & Noble seated next to the cool poster advertising ALL BETTER and the event, (which will be framed and hanging in my office soon!) Oh, my Mom & Dad will be getting a poster in the mail soon, too, to hang at their place in NM! Big thanks to Creekwalk Village B & N’s wonderful Julie Rummel-Hudson who coordinated the event, too.

Following the signing, Greg, Ethan and I went to our favorite restaurant in Plano (Laura’s Bistro) with two of my Serendipity Sisters (critique group members, Linda & Diane,) and some of their sweet family members, for some tasty Gluten-Free foods and treats. (We all missed Sister #4–Becky–who is in Houston with her family.)

For a quick peek of me signing copies with a super-special and absolutely adorable visitor on Saturday, check out my friend and colleague–Tessa’s–blog entry from yesterday: Pardon Our Poo.

Many, many sincere thanks to everyone who made this event a memorable success. I feel truly blessed to have such amazing people surrounding me!

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER. Date: February 10, 2008, 9:46 pm | No Comments »

My very first, formal ALL BETTER book signing at Barnes & Noble is just a few days away! It has been amazing to see how the community has supported getting the word out about this fun “1st time” event. Check out these fantastic sites listing event information for their readers about *my* signing:

 Dallas/Fort Worth Go City Kids

Frisco Online Calendar of Events for Kids

DallasChild Magazine Blog

Also, Matt Lafata’s next extensive Frisco newsletter [which should come out tomorrow] will highlight the event. Check out Matt’s site.

Last, but certainly not least, look at *my* Author Event information page at the Barnes & Noble site!

If you’re in the area on Saturday, February 9th, please drop in and say hello. I’ll be at the Creekwalk Village Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 801 W. 15th Street, in Plano, TX from noon to 2pm. It will be nice to see some familiar faces and meet some new kids & families.

All Best,

~Leigh

Posted by Leigh, filed under ALL BETTER. Date: February 6, 2008, 9:20 pm | 2 Comments »