Monday, March 26, 2012

Why are we afraid?

Those that know me, know that I am determined, feisty and even a bit pushy when it comes to my kids.  Most of that I owe to my mother. (Well, the pushy part is a little my dad).  I am one of three girls and all of us are now mothers.  We are all strong in our own ways.  Especially when it comes to the health of our kids. 

Growing up in the 70’s, we weren’t given medicine for fevers or pain.  When my mom didn’t like the idea of numerous vaccinations, she didn’t take us back to the doctor.  I only remember going to the doctor once while growing up.  We always ate dinner together.  Homemade meals.  Nothing fancy….but a meat, starch and vegetable always.  We played outside.  We did most everything as a family. And most of all, my mother taught us to think for ourselves.  To consider the source when gathering information.  What does the source have to benefit? These are lessons that have served me well in my daughter’s recovery from autism. 

I hear so many parents of children with autism say “I saw the pediatric neurologist and he told me that there is nothing that can be done.  He told me that there are no studies that show the benefit of a GFCF diet so he didn’t recommend it.  Then he made me feel like it was my fault for having a child when I was so young….or too old….or I am just not disciplining correctly.”  To them I say, “bullshit.”  Stand up for yourself.  Stand up for your child.  Are you seriously not going to try a new diet that thousands of parents have found beneficial because your 70 yr old doctor told you to wait for the studies?  Who has time to wait?  Who is going to pay for a study on food?  There are no pharmaceutical companies to benefit so I wouldn’t hold my breath. 

So why are we afraid to question our doctors?  Have we been so conditioned to believe that their knowledge is the only knowledge that is worthy of our time?  I am a firm believer of being respectful of everyone’s opinion but that does not mean I have to follow their advice.  I collect data myself.  I stay up late researching efficacies of different therapies on pubmed.  I see the nutritionist, the chiropractor, the neurologist, the OT and anyone else that has any information to share and then weigh my options.   My daughter’s recovery is at stake.  And for that matter, the health of all three of my kids. 

In my battle to recover my daughter, I have found that the most important tools are an incredibly healthy diet, free of any allergens or food that triggers a reaction, very low sugar intake, getting the GI tract healthy with probiotics and daily magnesium citrate, supplementing with vitamins and minerals, and listening to other moms’ success stories.  Finding out how other kids have recovered. And keeping the faith that it can be done.  Autism is treatable.  Of course it is. 

It is a different world now than it was when I was growing up and only 1 in 10,000 kids was diagnosed with autism.  But we can learn lessons from those days.  Days of less doctor visits, less vaccinations, less medicine, fewer antibiotics, more family time and healthier meals. 

We don’t need to be afraid of doing our own homework.  We don’t need to be afraid of asking serious questions at the doctor’s office and changing doctors if we get a response that makes us unhappy.  We don’t need to be afraid of putting our kids on a dairy-free, gluten-free diet for fear that it is too hard or that our kids just won’t eat if we don’t let them eat things that are toxic to them.   Our kids are counting on us.  There is no time to be afraid.  Every minute counts.  Every meal counts.  Let’s stand up for our kids and do what our mothers taught us.  To be strong.  To be brave and to fight like crazy for our kids.    

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