Category Archives: J

PANDAS – delighting in the recovery

Oh, how I am delighting in the healing process….  This morning my little buddy climbed in between me and his daddy in bed.  At first sight of him, I was not thrilled with his arrival in our bedroom.  I have never enjoyed having him come to “snuggle” because he just won’t be still.  We beg him to hold his body still – to no avail….for years.  It’s a knee jerk into my back or an arm slap or some other physical annoyance when all I want to do is sleep at 6AM on a Saturday morning.  Well, this morning was special.  J held his body still.  He put his back against mine and lay in the bed for 30 minutes or more.   At first I thought I was mistaken about which child had joined us.  After confirming it was my J, I had to speak to him to be sure he was really awake.  Totally awake.  Wow.  I have read that PANDAS causes tics, but I didn’t really think we were dealing with that – my J is just hyperactive.  But, now I wonder if the non-stop movement is related to tics caused by PANDAS.  I laid there reflecting on the other changes I’ve seen this week.  On the way to school yesterday, he said to me, “mommy, can you teach me to read?” Up until this point it seemed he had no interest in such things.  Over the last two weeks, he has started to really enjoy his soccer ball.  The ball never held his attention for more than a minute or two in the past.  He doesn’t have a basketball, so he has started to dribble his soccer ball – he has asked me to count how many times he can dribble it.  This may sound like a totally normal boy to you, and that is really my point.  He has never been “normal,” and I am loving it!!  Praise God for this amazing progress!  4 weeks on On Guard Plus to fight the PANDAS – that’s all we have changed.

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PANDAS

3 weeks ago we heard from Dr. N that J has extremely high strep titers. He has PANDAS (pediatric auto-immune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with strep). This auto-immune disorder is responsible for all kinds of behavioral issues, from ADHD & tics to OCD & emotional lability and everything in between. Could it be that PANDAS has been contributing to my J’s struggles for years?? Could this be another major piece of his puzzle?  Well, Praise God, I am beside myself right now thinking back over the last few days. The very day that we got the PANDAS news, I started J on OnGuard Plus. I actually know 3 families that have dealt with this nightmare before me, and I know that antibiotics are typically prescribed for very extended periods of time. Well, we can’t do that with J. His gut is too inflamed. So, what do I have in my all-natural medicine cabinet for my little buddy – OnGuard Plus. It contains the doTERRA essential oils of On Guard, oregano, melissa, & black pepper. I’ve been giving it to him 3 times per day for the last 3 weeks. I noticed the change in J on Thursday afternoon. We were alone in the van on the way to see Dr. N. J talked the entire trip about ideas for his birthday party, about a hunting trip he’d like to go on with dad where he would hunt for bears not wild hogs, about his school day… Just talking – at a level I had never talked with him before. This new pattern has continued through the weekend. We saw him voluntarily walk away from the Wii & dig out a traffic puzzle game and work on it for 45 minutes. The focus he demonstrated floors me. He did all kinds of pretending with G today. So fun, like neurologically normal little people! Please Lord, may these positive changes continue…

J - 3 weeks on On Guard Plus

On Guard Plus is anti-viral & anti-bacterial with many additional side benefits – like the power of melissa on brain function.  We are just so thankful for our oils!!

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“I can’t! I’m old!”

What a great morning we were having last week. Things were going so well with J, Baby G, G & MK that I thought we should have a treat and go out to lunch.  You moms who have kiddos with special needs know how hard it is to get out.  The only place I would consider taking my crew for lunch is Fuddruckers because it’s laid back, they have games for the kids, & they have gluten-free hamburger buns!

The kids were so excited to be “out” to lunch!  I must say that I got caught up in the excitement and let the kids grab their cups from me.  They have the new soda machines, the ones where there are a million choices…. I got to the machine in time to put half water in G & J’s cups but let them make their choice for drink.  J picked MinuteMaid “strawberry lemonade.” I put –strawberry lemonade- in quotes, because there’s no strawberry or lemon in it at all! 0% juice – high fructose corn syrup, chemicals, and red dye.  Following my request, “please don’t suck it down until after you eat your food,” J drank his entire drink.  We’re still working on obedience!  I’m sure the drink tasted like candy to him as he never gets anything like that.  So, needless to say, he didn’t get much lunch eaten.  He bounced from table to games and back.

After about an hour in the restaurant, we loaded in the van to go home.  As I’m pulling out, I confirm that all seat belts are buckled.  Thankfully G & J have been buckling their own seatbelts for a year now.  No, J is not buckled.  Determined not to get miffed, I calmly ask J to buckle his seatbelt once again.   He’s looking at the seatbelt and says to me in an unsure voice, “I can’t.  I’m old.” I don’t think much of this statement at first, and firmly tell him: You are 5 years old.  You have been buckling your own seatbelt for over a year. Please buckle.  Then he starts to get frantic and yells, “I can’t! I’m old!” He was unable to connect the clip with the buckle.  His brain could not process the simple task that he had doing for a long time. After several outbursts of the same words “I can’t! I’m old!” his big sister got up to buckle him.  And, then it hit me.  The drink had made him unable to function.  What was he feeling in that moment to tell me that he’s old??  He must have been frightened.  How many times have I fussed at him when it was me who gave him something to cause his brain to malfunction?  Never again will I let my children drink the poison.

Then my heart and mind naturally go to other kids….the kids whose moms and dads are still buying Capri-sun, Hi-C, and the like.  They don’t know the impact the corn-syrup, chemicals, and dyes are having on their children’s brains.  Some kids get “juice” boxes with their lunch every day.  Even if the reaction is not as intense as my J’s – the impact is certainly a reduction in the child’s potential.

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Filed under Beginning, Gluten free, J, Nutrition, sensory integration

Nutritionally depleted

I brought J in for a re-evaluation with Dr. N in May.  During the physical exam, J’s pupils did not respond to light – This was very scary to me….I’m thinking his brain is damaged!  Dr. N ordered an MRI to check J’s brain.  In addition to the MRI, a NutrEval was ordered along with other standard tests and a genetic test to evaluate his methylation pathway — a ton of labs.  We were so thankful to have all that blood drawn while J was sedated for the MRI.  We heard within a couple of days that the MRI came back normal.  Praise God!  We can’t be sure, but my guess is that J must have been in “fight or flight” mode – really scared in the dark room for his pupils to remain dilated like that.

We had to wait nearly a month to get other results.  J’s nutritional evaluation came back showing him to be extremely depleted.  His brain was starving for fuel!  I can honestly say J is my best eater and I feed him good food.  So, when you get results like this you have to fight the guilt.  This is not my fault.  It has to be a gut issue or a need issue – some kids need a lot more support than other kids.  Thankfully, I have remained extremely faithful with the fish oil (we are using the doTERRA IQmega liquid – I put about a teaspoon into the kids orange juice each morning), and his omega 3 levels looked great!  Well I won’t bore you with all the details, but the following levels were EXTREMELY low: Vitamin C, alpha Lipoic Acid, Thiamin-B1, Riboflavin-B2, Magnesium, and Zinc.  This test, the NutrEval, gives recommendations for supplement levels.  I jumped on it that very day mixing up a concoction in J’s orange juice.  Can you even believe that just 2 short days later, J started coloring in the lines?  Previously, we hardly saw anything but wild scribbling, and at OT, his therapist was amazed at the change in J.  On the 4th day after we began the supplementing, I saw him lying on the floor with a pencil and paper drawing a very detailed rocket!!  When the change is so drastic, it makes you marvel.  What if we hadn’t done that testing? His brain was not getting the nourishment it needs – no fuel – no performance.  It feels amazing to make this forward progress.

The testing also revealed that J has a severely compromised methylation pathway and blood sugar regulation issues.  J’s zinc levels are very low which can alter neurotransmitter synthesis.  Now we have done more genetic tests that are, again, quite revealing.   What is neurological inflammation, what causes it, and what can be done?? J’s glutamate levels were extremely high.  What is that doing?  Like I said, it’s been a whirlwind since I last posted on this blog.  I’ll do my best to fill you in soon because it’s all so important.   Stay tuned.  There is hope for every child!

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Sensory Integration

So much has happened with J and Baby G in the last 6 months, hence the long delay since posting.  The Speech therapist we saw in December recommended we get an OT evaluation on J. So, we did that in January.  A gift straight from the Lord – a very thorough & smart Occupational Therapist checked out my little man.   Among several problems that she picked up, she noted that J’s left eye was not tracking with his right eye.  She immediately referred us to a developmental optometrist.

Another blessing – Dr. A is a very caring, patient, and smart doctor!  This appointment led us down a route of investigation that I hadn’t dreamed of.   Dr. A initially had us try patching his left eye for 4 hours per day and his right eye for 2 as both eyes were very weak and unable to track together.  We did this for 12 weeks, and unfortunately J’s eyes did not improve with the patching therapy.  We then ran a Platform Posturography test on J, which was incredibly revealing.  The human body relies on information from 3 systems: the visual system (eyes), the somatosensory system (muscles & joints) and the vestibular system (inner ear-balance). Normally the systems work together to provide information to your brain about how you keep upright and balanced as you move through space.  The test isolates the systems and determines how they function as a unit.  J had better balance with his eyes closed and his muscles & joints disengaged.  His eyes, muscles, and joints are throwing him off?!?  This explains so many things…  Since he relies mainly on vestibular stimulation to determine his place in space, he’s got to have that vestibular fluid always swishing around.  His constant need for motion – there it is – that’s why!  The constant request by us for him to hold still is so unrealistic – he’s disoriented if he’s not moving. Geez, no wonder he falls out of chairs, he’s always moving to keep the fluid rocking in his ears.  These findings are a bit overwhelming as the thought of years of sensory integration therapy is daunting.  But, oh how sad it makes me to think that other kids like J are medicated to make them hold still when they NEED to be moving!!  There is hope for every child!

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Layers

On Cloud 9…. Wow, I wanted to be very methodical about getting our family stories out in order on this blog, but I must jump in today and tell you about my amazing J.  What a wonderful morning we have had!  I took him to be evaluated for speech, since his wonderful Pre-K 4 teacher at PCA was concerned that he has difficulty communicating his needs and feelings.  Sometimes he withdraws at school.  Well, it’s NOT a speech problem!  J scored in the normal range for all areas of the testing: Total language, auditory comprehension, and verbal communication.  So, we will continue to investigate what his needs are.  My gut says it’s a sensory processing problem, and sometimes he just gets overwhelmed at school.  We’ll get an O.T. evaluation soon to see if we can help him work through this.

Other than the scores, what is completely remarkable and amazing about this morning is that the therapist told me J sat still for over an hour and worked very well with her.  Before today, this therapist was a complete stranger, and the old J would never have gone with her into the testing room and certainly would not have been able to focus for over an hour!  I know my boy is smart, and it feels so amazing to be validated in that.  The therapist told me that he was correctly answering questions for children 6-7 years old (He’s 4 1/3 years old now).  God is so good.   You have to remember, less than 2 years ago, he wasn’t speaking at all and couldn’t make eye contact.

Layers.  That’s what it’s been like with J.  Peeling back layers, one at a time…..

January 2011: we removed gluten and casein from his diet – 2 weeks later, he was able to stop his eyes and make eye contact for the first time in what seemed like forever.

March 2011: we added probiotics, and a high quality multi-vitamin to the kids’ regimen.  The language began to come very quickly for J.

Long break with pregnancy & birth of Baby G…

April 2012: started fish oil everyday & started using natural peanut butter –  2 weeks later, my boy expressed feelings to me for the first time.  I heard these statements: “Mommy, I feel so alone.” “Mommy, I love you.” “Mommy, I’m scared.” It was so surprising to hear things like this from a boy that I wondered if I would be able to go that deep with.  I got more hugs and more closeness.  Following the fish oil, he was able to play pretend for the first time.  It’s like he couldn’t access his imagination before starting the fish oil.  Prior to this, we had to get rid of a lot of toys because J would just throw them.  He did not know how to play with toys.

August 2012: started J on doTERRA essential oils for ADHD (Balance, Vetiver, and In-Tune), and he is able to sit still and participate in school.

October 2012: Took J for a vaccine (clay-packing) detox.  (more on this in a future post)

October 2012: Started chiropractic with Dr. Shelton.  J’s spine was a wreck and he was VERY tense.  She has been adjusting him regularly (3 times a week at first, and now we are just going 1 time per week).  I took this picture of my boy sitting at the table coloring after the second week of chiropractic treatment.  He has NEVER asked to color before, and he sat there for 20 minutes focused and being creative.  What a joy to witness!

J coloring

I just pray that you will understand that there is hope for every child.  Most doctors and most parents would have medicated the wild animal child I had just under 2 years ago.  Without drugs, we have seen a transformation that our close friends and family marvel at.  Praise God!

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The beginning…

Welcome to the Empowering Dr. Mom blog!  I am starting this blog… because I have to.  I just cannot keep what I have learned over the last 18 months to myself.  You simply must know! My experiences have been difficult, but now, perhaps, good will come from our suffering.  Along our journey we have learned that we simply cannot completely and blindly rely on what our doctors tell us…and I now know that I need to share this with others.  We have to investigate and advocate for ourselves and our children.   This revelation has changed our lives forever…and I hope that, by sharing it with you, it may change your lives too!

My journey into “natural medicine” began in January 2011 when my mind was opened to a different way of doing things.   I had planned to start my very underweight 7 year old daughter, M.K., on a gluten-free / casein-free diet to try to heal her digestive system. I had suspected it was damaged by 10 weeks on a feeding tube and many antibiotics in the N.I.C.U. after being born 9 weeks premature. I don’t recall how I came to this idea of diet changes that would lead to intestinal healing, but I suspect my friend Natalie led me down this road.  In preparation for this big dietary switch, my precious friend gave me a book called the G-Free diet by Elizabeth Hasselbeck. There was one brief chapter in this book that indicated gluten (the protein in wheat) & casein (the protein in diary) had been linked to autism and ADHD. My thoughts immediately went to my son, J, who was 2.5 at the time…because I couldn’t help but think he may be autistic.  In addition to his very wild behavior, he was unable to make eye contact (when did this happen??  As a baby he was able to make eye contact with me – future post) and he was not speaking.  I received this information as if it were a message straight from God, and took all of us off of gluten & casein.  I remember where I was sitting, approximately 2 weeks into this gluten-free / casein-free lifestyle, when my son made eye contact and rattled off some jibberish as if he were talking to me.  In his own broken way, he WAS speaking to me.  I absolutely will never forget the feeling of elation that I experienced that day.  My boy had the ability to make eye contact!!!  Please understand that I had taken J to be evaluated by numerous professionals.  Not one single doctor or therapist ever suggested dietary changes.  Why is that?  After the dramatic changes began in J, I talked to the therapists who had been coming weekly to our home to work with J in speech and motor development.  The therapists told me that they had heard that removing gluten & casein may benefit children with J’s issues, but that they did not mention it because most moms didn’t want to try something so difficult.  What?!?  Not give me the chance to try because it might be hard?  My J has gone from no speech in January of 2011 to testing at the 70th percentile for language in May 2012.  I contribute all of this progress to “natural” methods including: gluten/casein free eating, vetiver (an essential oil), vitamins, increasing good fats in his diet, fish oil, and his amazing teachers at the Early Childhood School in Frisco.  I’ll share all the details regarding these methods in a future post.

I have some dear friends who are as passionate about natural healing as I am, and they will join me on this blog.  We want to communicate to you that there very well may be a better way to live than what your doctor is telling you.  I have no medical degree and only my own experiences to share.  I pray that you will benefit.

Just last week, I saw a little boy (maybe 10 years old) rocking himself while making loud grunting sounds.  The Lord revealed to me that this could have very easily been my son, and it was only by His grace that I was given the information needed for my J to receive healing.  I believe that He wants me to share this information with you!  So, please check back to hear more of my experiences and lessons learned, to hear from other Moms and theirs, and to learn about how essential oils are changing our lives.

Thanks for coming along with us on this journey!

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