I am blessed to be married to an optimistic man. Every problem (or opportunity) is met with: “It’s good to have options.” Or “We can handle this.” Or “It’s okay to feel how you feel. Now let’s figure this out.” His attitude tends to rub off on those around him.
The best advice I ever got when starting on this journey of recovery was to keep a journal. To keep track of progress. To see what works and what doesn’t. To keep a log of your child’s behaviors – both good and bad. To watch the progress and the setbacks. The leaps and the regressions because all this knowledge can lead you to the next step.
Recently, I took some time out to review old journals. They date back almost ten years now. They are mostly just notes from when I first started giving her supplements. The first was fish oil. She was non-verbal then and it was a really tough time. In my head, I remember how awful it was -- But as I read my journal, I read things like:
11-30-04 (age 2)
“When reading a book that had a baby’s eyes highlighted, she pointed to my eyes. Did great at TEACCH. No crying spells and did almost all her tasks!”
12/9/04 (age 2)
“I asked Marley what a ladybug says and she made a squeaking noise! This is HUGE because she did something on command. YAY Marley!”
And the entries go on like this…..highlighting all her accomplishments – no matter how very small. I actually cheered her on in my writing with YAYs and WOWs!
Then I cried as I read about how she gets sicker and sicker. How I suspected seizures because of the blank stares, flickering eyelids and terrible tantrums followed by a “what-the-hell-happened” look on her face. Then I started timing the tantrums and noting how long they go on (over an hour each time) and how very violent they are and noting her triggers….being pulled out of the bath tub & changing her diaper could set her off for an hour or longer.
Her bowel movements were sometimes up to 10 per day. Her poor butt was burning. Nothing I did could control her unstoppable GI problems and messy stools.
I wrote about how I discovered DMG could help kids with seizures and how I was elated when the DMG stopped her tantrums…..but made her extremely hyper. I was doing all this on my own. No one to guide me. But I recorded all my notes….all the studies I was reading and my heartache when I took her to the neurodevelopmental pediatrician who doubted every last thing I told him about her improvements on fish oil and DMG.
But then I found a new doctor and the happy, positive entries came back:
4/8/05 (age 2 ½)
2nd day of methylfolate and no DMG & new diet with no white sugars or white flours and only two pieces of fruit per day. For the first time today, at Little Gym, she stopped when the teacher said, “Freeze”. She did this THREE TIMES. Awesome! She also began to walk on the balance beam with me holding her hands. YAY!
Changes since adding methylfolate (FolaPro) Chris and Nana both notice more babbling, good spirits and generally happy and starting to walk down stairs. Go baby!
I was cheering her on in my writing again. With every successful intervention, I got more and more excited. You can see it in my writing. “I can do this….she CAN get better” was the sentiment. Little by little, I gained more confidence as I could see her slowly, slowly blooming. There were lots of lows along the way but we just kept plugging along and what I learned was….Attitude is EVERYTHING.
If you want something, go get it. Hire a good doctor that will stand behind you. You are going to hit bumps in the road…but without the bumps, the little things are not worth as much. This journey is not what I wanted for myself (or anyone else), but I have learned so much. I have learned the importance of the right foods. I have learned that the body can heal itself if given the right tools. I have learned that you have to fight for what is right. I have learned to follow my intuition. I have learned that love is there…even in the darkest hours. I have learned to trust the man I love because he has got my back. And I have learned that it is all about attitude. Being grateful everyday for your blessings is essential.
So be grateful. Be mindful. Be positive. You can do this.
***This post is dedicated to the Steffens family who have made positive thinking an art. They taught my husband how it is done and he taught me. And to my father-in-law, who would have celebrated his 69th birthday today. I love you. And attitude IS everything. ***
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people act a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our ATTITUDES.” -Chuck Swindol, Author of “Attitude.”