For us, it started with fire ant bites. His immune system over-reacted (specifically his Immunoglobulin E or IgE) by killing the very antibodies created by his immune system for the purpose of attacking the fire ant venom. He was killing the good guys with the bad guys. Most people don’t have an auto-immune disorder—they just have a reaction. But if there is an auto-immune over-reaction, if there is a war coming, it will be during the second or later encounter, not the first time. So, because there was no anaphylactic reaction the first time, we don’t realize what is coming the next time. An anaphylactic reaction brings immediate inflammation, grotesque swelling, massive skin rashes, repetitive vomiting, and finally swelling of the breathing tube from the mouth into the lungs so that no oxygen can get through. It is a horror to helplessly watch when you don’t know what is happening.
With such trauma, my son’s body stopped making human growth hormone, and with no growing forward, he started growing backward, or regressing. That was five years ago. I have learned a lot since then.
My son also didn’t sweat, which means that his sad, thin, little body hoarded all its toxins with no way to purge or flush them away. I was tempted to chelate, desperate for his healing. Instead, I listened to the wisdom of Rosemary Slade, Occupational Therapist, who pretty much ordered me to start him on the The GAPS Diet (N. Campbell-McBride, 1988), a natural, slow, healthy-diet approach to detoxing his body. (Note: To chelate is to offer a bio-chemical docking station to bond with the toxins in the body; they later float out harmlessly in the body waste. Essential fatty acids (EFAs) are slow, natural chelaters; here is a link to Wikipedia’s definition. )
Big gloppy starch molecules don’t always break down into the smaller, efficiently nutritional pieces which in turn create a vast array of domino-effect, bio-chemical, chain reactions necessary for the brain and body to function. These same big gloppy starch molecules might just float around, sneak out of the sores and holes in the damaged digestive system, and escape into the blood system, causing essentially a drunken stupor or hazy focus.
The GAPS Diet is cooking like Grandma used to cook. From scratch, from healthy ingredients. A quick list of what you can eat (meat, fish, dairy, eggs, veggies, fruits, fats) and what you can’t (potatoes, rice, corn, sugar, refined white stuff, carbohydrates) is an oversimplification. When you read Dr. Campbell-McBride’s book, she teaches you much about the chemistry and medical science involved. I believe what she says.
I have learned to make a decent Wheat Thin equivalent and GAPS cookies for him. He loves snacking on plantain chips. Life with GAPS isn’t perfect, but it is now a comfortable habit, even when traveling. His body was in great distress, which drove me to GAPS, and we have stayed faithful for more than 18 months. His mental clarity is better, his expressive language is improving, and his eye contact now almost stops my heart it is so steady and full of mischief. We have added ½ cup brown rice daily, with oversight from Dr. Kendal Stewart, who advises a small amount of low-glycemic (<50) complex carbohydrate, given his age and body type. My son also struggles with mitochondria deficits, so the boost of energy from the small amount of complex carbohydrate is beneficial to his 6-year old body chemistry.
We have success with nutritional ingredients, transdermal supplements, probiotics and kefir, all tools of natural, slow, do-no-harm healing for his body and brain. I look forward to sharing more about that next time. Blessings to you today.
Gayle Fisher is an adjunct continuing education instructor at Lone Star College Montgomery in The Woodlands, Texas. She is a founding co-facilitator of www.SpecialNeedsSibs.org, a sibling-directed, local support group. She is Mom to a gifted teenage daughter and a young son with learning differences, expressive speech apraxia, sensory integration challenges and pervasive developmental delay (PDD-NOS). Visit Gayle’s website at www.GettingSorted.com.