So, I'm long overdue for an update on my cute son & our family's battle with Autism and other health issues. The last time I updated you was in December, when I told you about his overcoming many social, communicative, and behavioral issues when we dropped wheat & gluten from his diet. I also told you about an awesome book that changed my way of thinking about foods forever.
Let me take you back to March 2012. Thomas was suffering with horrible, horrible eczema. It was so horrible & inflamed that I took a picture of his leg- the place that was affected the very most. (*Warning: This may be painful to look at. I can't imagine what it felt like to my little boy.)
I felt like I was doing everything right: he was eating only whole foods, no processed sugars and no gluten. I gave him his prescribed supplements in a smoothie every night and morning. It turned out that the smoothies were the problem.... they were mostly made from dairy products & berries. I'll explain.
Since moving back to Utah in 2011, I was on the search for a new dentist. I happened to see a reference to Dr. Jared Nielsen on the Real Foods Facebook page and thought I would look him up. He's not a dentist, however, but lectures on dental practices. I looked through his website and found this page on "Free Forums"- I found that he had a video on Autism.
WOW. WOW. WOW. If you have a child with autism or know someone that does, I guarantee you will be blown away by these videos. He was describing my child EXACTLY. I knew I had to meet him.
We did visit with Dr. Nielsen in April and showed Thomas' legs to him. As soon as he saw them, he said a couple of things. "Because his legs look like this, this is what the inside of Thomas looks like, too. His brain probably feels like it's on fire." and.... "It looks like he is having a reaction to dairy and strawberries."
Hmmm.... really? He suggested that we see his brother, Dr. Brandon Nielsen, in Lehi to get a Zytoscan to see what his food sensitivities are. This was (and is) the easiest, non-invasive way to find out your food sensitivities. Thomas only had to put his hand on this contraption:
The results? YES, he was definitely reacting to dairy and to berries. The cure? Thomas was given a treatment used to kill Candida, a yeast that grows inside the body and can invade tissue and the brain. Besides causing eczema, Candida can also cause acne, be a companion to fibromyalgia, and a host of other health problems. Candida feeds and grows on sugars and yeast. So, Thomas was given a "Cleanse" or "Detox" diet to kill this horrible yeast growing inside his body.
Alright, this is where it gets HARD. Because Candida lives and thrives on sweets and sugars, we had to eliminate those completely. That's right- NO sugars, not even natural sugars in fruits & no artificial/substitute sweeteners either. Plus, he needed to follow this diet for 6 weeks. It was overwhelming to me just to hear this and think of how we had to change things even more for Thomas.
Instead of telling you the long list of things he could not eat, it's easier to tell you what he could eat with this prescribed diet: (1) Vegetables (organic- no sprays), (2) Meats not treated with antibiotics (because antibiotics wipe out your good flora, too!), & (3) Coconut oil & plain coconut milk. That's it.
Thomas was also prescribed some supplements and shake mixes, sprays & ointments to help heal his insides and outsides. This was hard for our family to adjust to. As a Mom, I had to figure out what to feed him! I went to the produce section of the store (Smith's has a pretty good selection of organic vegetables) and went to work cutting and chopping. I bought the grass-fed and organic meats at the Real Foods store in Orem.
After 6 weeks of following this diet, we went back to Dr. Brandon Nielsen for a check up. His eczema was healing (the red bumps had scabbed over), but, Thomas wasn't ready to eat fruit again. Dr. Nielsen asked us to leave any and all sugars out for another 2 weeks. Luckily, I had a back up reward of a double-bladed light saber for him in the car after our visit. :)
Things were going well, until.... my husband and I went on a vacation at the end of May. Thomas still needed to stay on his strict diet while we were gone. When we got back from our trip, however, we could tell that we would have to start over with his cleanse diet once again- his legs looked so painful: scratched up, red bumps everywhere, and he was constantly picking at the scabs. Here we went again with tightening up on the diet!
But now.... I'm happy to tell you that all the hard work and sacrifice paid off! We visited Dr. Jared Nielsen in July and he adjusted Thomas' supplements even more, saying he was starting to react to a few of them. He must have hit on the right combination, because after that visit we saw marked improvement in Thomas' legs. Time to celebrate! YES. This is how they look now, I took this 'after' picture yesterday 9/4:
This is a before/after of his arm from the same time period:
Is this not exciting?! It really is exciting to me and our family, this is something that we worked and worked on for what seems like a long period of time. Thomas is so happy to get to eat fruits like pineapple, watermelon, and even apples again! I must say that I am SO very PROUD of my son, he was willing to do something that most adults probably would refuse to do. I do know that when things get tough, you are in a position to do the hard things to get better.
Is Thomas healed? Only time will tell. For now, I'd say the answer to that question is a YES and he's enjoying much better health overall. He's not coughing or wheezing anymore with his asthma either. I am especially happy because this was a real heal, not a cover-up of the symptoms with a steroid or steroid creams.
If you're wondering if we found a dentist, we did! Dr. Jared Nielsen recommended Dr. Robertson in Spanish Fork, he practices a kind of dentistry that I didn't know existed. Check out his website for more information. We started our dental work with him and he is going to remove all my kid's old metal dentistry work. (Did you know it's illegal to put mercury in your pet's teeth, yet they use it for children?! Yikes.)
Also, working with Dr. Jared Nielsen led us to the work of Dr. Robert Melillo, the author of a book called Disconnected Kids. I purchased this through Amazon.com and it had many, many "ah-ha" moments inside for me. This book is designed to help children with a spectrum of disorders including Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, Dyslexia, ODD, and more. It's all about brain balance and if you have or know a child with any of these afflictions, I highly recommend looking into his work.
Please pass this along to family & friends, and please feel free to ask me any questions. In short, the update on my Thomas is that he is getting happier and healthier everyday! He is a joy to everyone that knows him.