Monday, January 26, 2009

High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated with Mercury!

This is beyond scary. Take a look in your pantry and see how many foods have high fructose corn syrup listed as the first or second ingredient. Then, read these articles:

Not So Sweet: Missing Mercury and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Much High Fructose Corn Syrup Contaminated With
Mercury, New Study Finds

Mercury from chlor-alkali plants: measured concentrations in food product sugar

We haven't had any products with HFCS since we started Michael on GFCF back in March, but it's still scary. I can't wait to see what their lobby comes back with next - commercials saying that mercury is actually good for you? Maybe they should team up with Offit!

Now, if you are reading this and thinking that mercury risk applies mostly to children, take a look at this article from PubMed.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kim Stagliano's HuffPo Piece

If any of you haven't read this piece, it is very powerful,and so true. Please take the time to read it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Night Accidents and L-Theanine

L-Theanine has been a wonderful supplement to help Michael relax, and lessen his overall anxiety. However, I think we've found a rather unpleasant timing issue.

Michael has always done well keeping dry at night. However, he has had two 'accidents' in the last couple months. The first happened the first night we moved his L-Theanine to before bed. We made that change because it is supposed to help him sleep at night. Apparently, it helps him sleep way too soundly. Based on that, we moved it to after school so he could relax and sleep, but wake up if he needs to.

Yesterday, we got home late from his appt with Dr. Megson. He ended up having his 'after school' supplements after 6pm. We forgot about the L-Theanine issue. Last night we had another accident. So, there is definitely a one to one correlation.

I just wanted to write this out in case anyone else has any accident issues where L-Theanine might be the culprit. Overall, it's wonderful for him, but timing is essential!

Monday, January 19, 2009

What a wonderful few days!!!

I know it’s been a while since my last post, and I really resolve to write more often. The last few days have just been so amazing I wanted to sit back and just enjoy it. I’ll try to go in order.

Saturday morning Michael was playing with his Thomas recycling center. It has spaces for glass, plastic and can cargo. Also, we have been recycling at home as long as Michael can remember. With this background, my brother-in-law decided to show Michael a short video on how paper is made. Michael was so fascinated, he asked Dan to show him videos on glass and cans as well. It’s the first time he has used google to look something up, and paid attention!

Then, Saturday afternoon, Steve took Michael to the pool. Michael finally made the connection between the flag on our license plate and the flag flying on the pole. He spent the rest of the day talking about the US Flag and the Maryland flag. We looked them up on google images and printed him off 4x6 flags that he could carry around. I am planning to make a little photo album of state flags and throw in capitals too. Who knows, maybe he’ll learn some geography.

Michael has always ‘known’ that his grandparents live in Pennsylvania, and that his other Uncles are in Florida and Massachusetts. After the flag discussion, Michael wanted to talk about other states and look them up on the map. He looked all over the map, found states he knew, and asked lots of questions. I thought I was going to burst!

That was pretty much the weekend. Today, we took Michael for a follow-up appointment with Dr. Megson. It was a wonderful appointment, and she had a ton of great things for us to try. We always follow the low and slow rule, but it’s still a lot of stuff for the next few months. One of the things I’m most excited about is trying OSR. I’ve heard so much about it, but didn’t know if she would be willing to try it. Lucky for us, she had participated in a Defeat Autism Now! Think Tank over the weekend and was really excited by it, too. So, as soon as it comes in, we’ll be trying it.

The very best thing was last. After Michael’s appointment, he was in the waiting area while I checked out – playing with another boy!!! Appropriately!! They were playing in a little ball pit together, throwing and rolling balls, jumping, and laughing together. They even had a few short conversations about what they were doing. I was so happy, I didn’t want to leave. But, then the other boy left and it was time to go. I think I floated out of the building.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Just when I was starting to trust the government...

Ok, so maybe not. But still. Read this article and let me know how this can happen? I'm so frustrated and angry!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Team Mom and Dad

When your child is first diagnosed with autism, you start assembling your team – doctor, neurologist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, special education teacher – the list seems to go on forever. But one team that often gets overlooked is the Team of Mom and Dad. I know that autism can drive a huge wedge between parents, especially if they disagree about treatment options, school choices, etc. Then, when you throw in the financial burden of just living with an autistic child, many marriages disintegrate.

I hear so many stories of fathers who can’t cope and abandon their wives to ‘deal’ with their child. So many moms are isolated and alone, trying to navigate the system by themselves. Today, I want to thank all the Dads that stick around, actively participate in their child’s education, treatment plan, and life. I can’t express how grateful that I have a husband who supports Michael in everything – he is involved in every aspect of daily life, treatment decisions, and messy cleanups. Truth be told, he handles more of the messes than I do.

I can’t imagine going through this journey alone, or with someone who disagrees about the fundamentals of treatment. I would go nuts if I couldn’t bounce ideas off Steve, see if he is seeing the same things I am, etc. Between the two of us, we have a good handle on Michael’s progress, moods, future direction. There is so much more I want to say, but mostly, just Thank you, Steve, and Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A spoonful of sugar

I apologize that I disappeared this week, and for a very stream of conscious post to follow. It's been a pretty good week for Michael but a pretty rough one for me. They announced a huge downsizing at work, and it's just been very sad. Thankfully, I still have my job, but a lot of very good people will be losing theirs.

One of Michael's new favorite movies is Mary Poppins, where losing a job is a very minor part of the movie. It's just a few short scenes in the movie, but does make me sad every time we get to that part. On the other hand, Dick Van Dyke always makes me smile. After watching him play the ancient curator in Curious George, it was hysterical to see him playing a similar role all those years ago. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, rent both movies – they will definitely make you smile.)

Steve and I were talking about getting some other Dick Van Dyke movies for Michael to watch (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is now on order) when we realized that in some ways, Jim Carrey is a modern day Dick Van Dyke - very funny and, more importantly, a very good person.

If you didn't see it posted, Jim Carrey has set up a $50 million trust for Jenny McCarthy and her son, Evan. They have been such a wonderful team making people realize that autism is treatable, and raising money for Generation Rescue. I love to hear good stories about them. Plus, it's really wonderful to see someone care that deeply for a woman and her son – especially when the child isn't his. After hearing so many stories of celebrities running amok, it's reassuring to see that there still are a few role models left.

I should be getting my mind back together soon, and hopefully will get back to a better posting schedule. In the mean time, have a great weekend!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Lend 4 Health - 2009 Goals

This is a short video that Tori made to tell you all about Lend 4 Health's 2009 Goals. It's a quick video, but really explains the concept and how you can help. I'd love to see her meet her goals and really expand the concept!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!!!!!

Happy New Year! This one really started out nicely for us. Michael came in this morning and I told him "Happy New Year". Most days that would be enough to inspire an upset "Happy 4th of July", but today I got "Happy New Year" back. What a wonderful way to start the year!

I thought I would list off the best interventions of 2008 first:

GFCFSF Diet (Plus more) – This has to be the biggest win for us for the year. Once we figured out everything Michael was allergic to, and got everything eliminated, we saw a ton of gains. I always knew it was going to be a huge amount of work, and definitely not cheap, but absolutely worth the effort.

Adding Dr. Megson to our team – Another huge win. With Dr. Megson came mB12 and diflucan. Michael is a much happier child with the yeast under control, and the B12 has been fantastic.

Going to the Spring DAN! Conference – It was so inspiring to be in a huge room with so many other parents and practitioners fighting the same battles. It was hard to leave Michael and Steve for so long, but well worth it.

Continuing Auditory Integration Therapy – This wasn't new, but it is so important that I had to mention it. Every time Michael goes for a loop we always see something great.

And our biggest hopes for 2009:

CranioSacral Therapy – We actually started this at the end of 2008, but I am really hoping to see great results. The first couple sessions started off rocky as Michael transitioned, but the last few times have been fantastic.

FAR Infrared Sauna – Thanks to a loan from Michael's grandparents, we were able to get a sauna! We are still trying to make room for it, but hope to have it set up soon. I am so excited since I know that Michael has a lot of metals floating around that need to go. And sauna is such a gentle form of detox, I have high, high hopes. Thank you Mom!

Autism One – Steve and I both will be going to Autism One this year. Dan has volunteered to keep Michael, so it will be a learning vacation for us. If we can learn as much as we did at the DAN! Conference and the Pittsburgh Autism Expo, Michael will be one lucky little boy.

So, 2008 was a wonderful year but I am really looking forward to seeing everything we can accomplish in 2009. I wish you all a happy and healthy new year!!!!