Monday, March 29, 2010

How autism is helping me become my true self!

When I was a little girl my parents told me stories about how they protested the Viet Nam war up against military police, people getting arrested, beaten or even killed for their cause.  A group working together for a common goal defying authority and popular opinion for justice, to save lives and restore faith in our country.  Eventually as we all know historically speaking the Viet Nam war did end after the popular opinion began to sway and most Americans eventually became opposed to it.  As a young person I longed to be a part of something so important.  I fantasized about joining the peacecorp or being one of the brave Greenpeace protesters who places their ships in front of the whalers blocking them from harpooning the whale.  When I was in highschool I became an avid opposer to the Gulf War even organizing a walk out in my school.  I was on the news a couple years later at a protest for the Rodney King verdict.

As I started entering my 30's I realized that I was probably not going to join the peacecorp or ride a Greenpeace ship.  I had started building my family and became a wife and mother of two.  As many moms experience raising young children you begin to feel overwhelmed, isolated and exhausted (if you have a child with autism this period does not end).  The only thing you have time for is to "tend your own garden".  My new fantasy was to raise great children and I believed that to be equally important.  I made efforts to keep my children safe and well.  I breast fed both boys for two years each and had them wear cloth diapers until they were ready for potty training.  I researched the best car seats available and made certain they would always have them even if we couldn't afford it.  We took frequent trips to the farmers' market and it would be years before my kids were allowed to eat candy.

Despite the fact that I loved being a mom I slowly began to forget who I was.  On second thought, I probably didn't know who I was at all.  I had just traveled through life knowing certain things made me feel good, others didn't and most things went unnoticed.  Today at the age of 36 I have began to evaluate what all these things mean.  I recently changed my facebook profile picture from a picture of myself to a picture of Linda Hamilton in Terminator.  One day I just decided that I didn't feel like the person in my picture anymore.  Not on the inside anyway.  I couldn't identify with the person that I saw because my true inner being was beginning to bubble up to the surface.  The outer appearance is a shy, non-confrotional, nuturing, caring and loving mom and while I maybe all of the those things there is another side that rarely gets noticed by anyway even myself.  For example, growing up in the '80s like many young girls I loved Michael Jackson, Duran Duran, Cyndy Lauper and other mainstream pop artist.  My brother on the other hand was into Metal.  I would hear him blasting this music that sounded more like noise but the energy was something that made my bones shake.  I felt it.  When my brother wasn't home I would go into his room and listen to his records.  Records by Led Zepplein, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Guns n' roses, Black Sabbath... you get the point.  What was it that drew me to that music and in secret no less?  Today I embrace my love of metal, punk, grunge and all around protest music but somehow it continues to go against what people think of me.  My husband the other day turns up the radio as a song by Taylor Swift comes on the saying "you love this..."  shocked I replied, "do you even know me?"  Of course not, I don't know me but that's changing.

So what does this have to do with autism?  After I changed my profile picture on facebook I became more active upping my friend count from around 20 to 100.  I began to speak my mind in ways I had previously been afraid to do.  At this time I understood why I had chosen the picture of Linda Hamilton's character Sarah Connor.  When I first saw the picture I just knew that was how I felt but as I saw the change it made in me, I became more aware of how exactly I identified with her.  In the first Terminator movie Sarah Connor is an ordinary woman who falls in love with a guy, gets pregnant and as she discovers her fate she begins to understand her true self.  As a mom she must protect her son against obstacles greater than that of the average mom.  By the second movie she has become a gun toting leader of the movement to restore life.  As a mother of a child with a special need she finds her true worth.  Now I know I'm no Sarah Connor but I relate.  As much as I wanted to be apart of something important I never would've imagined it would happen because I became the parent of an autistic child.  Today I realize that I do still need to "tend my own garden" but my garden is larger than what I originally thought.  I recognize that my anger isn't something to be afraid to express.  Of course, no one wants to be around someone who's angry all the time but I see that I must embrace this hard side as well as my softer side for it is this that helps me to remember my true passion in life.  The passion that I've always had but went dormant for years and while I thought parenthood would replace this it has only fueled it more than ever.  I am more determined now to do all in my power to show my son the road to recovery and along the way I will get the word out as best I can about the injustices happening to all people via herd medicine.  (Would we be as concerned about national health care if there weren't so many sick people?  But that's a rant for another time). Today I am enjoying being myself.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Don't wanna be an American Idiot...

Do you ever feel like you're living in a Science Fiction movie?

Friday, March 5, 2010

Mad As Hell

There are many blogs out there about RDI (Relationship Development Intervention), Bio-medical interventions for autism and/or vaccine related injuries (some of which I follow); however, this is not one of those blogs.  I merely write about autism as it is for our family.  I will sometimes talk in great detail for those interested in the dangers of vaccines or ways to start a RDI program but I don't claim to be an expert on any of it.  I am not a teacher but merely a student of it all and I discuss the progress, mis-steps, regressions, joyful, hopeful, and tear filled moments as I see them in relation to my family and myself. 

Having said that I'm about to discuss what I'm feeling today and today I feel angry.  Wait, let's back up and start from the beginning.  Two and half years ago when my son was diagnosed with autism I had great hopes.  I went to the pediatrician's office to talk to her about what I already knew.  I said, "he isn't talking and he walks on his toes.  He doesn't play with his older brother or other children."  She referred me to the regional center.  I told her I already had an appointment with them.  At this time she went on to say some very reassuring things.  She told me that autism has changed.  The diagnosis used to mean we had to start looking into group homes, institutions, etc.  She said this was no longer the case and that many children have a reversal of the diagnosis by the time they go to Elementary School.  She told me not to freak out when the regional center told me my son had autism (and I didn't).  What she failed to explain was that you had to work your ass off to accomplish this but in the moment I left feeling o.k.  I went home to enter the University of Google and got to work.  What to do next?  Diets-check.  Therapy-check.  We got the official diagnosis on September 18, 2007.  That was the same month Jenny McCarthy's book "More Than Words" was released.  I contemplated for a while introverting and not telling anyone and just quietly disappearing while I made plans to recover my son only to re-emerge when recovery was complete.  I decided not to do this and that night I went online to my MomsClub and put the word out that I was looking for information on the GF/CF diet because "my son has autism".  Within hours I had several responses.  Most of them were apologies and words of encouragement.  A large number of the responses sounded something like this: "Did you hear about Jenny McCarthy?" "Did you see Jenny on Oprah?"  "I heard she cured her son's autism with a special diet."  My first response was "oh, good for her, she's rich and famous and can afford all the best, how fortunate."  A few months later I read her book.  After reading it I realized that she was not so different than me.  I felt with all her advantages I would not have wanted to be in her place especially when watching her son go into cardiac arrest.  I felt fortunate that my son did not suffer seizures.

Fast forward to a few months ago my son receives a full scholarship to attend Jenny's school Teach2Talk Academy.  While there he made great progress and even became potty trained which was phenomenal.  The first time I met Jenny she had a big smile on her face and opened her arms wide to greet me walking up the stairs at the Generation Rescue building.  I think I surprised her when I reached in for a hug but she went with it and hugged me back.  I didn't say much but I felt confident that she'd heard it all.  I had held off on reading her other books about autism because I had so many others to read.  I thought, if I'm going to read a book about autism it's going to be a book that will tell me how to heal my son.  I don't need to read a collection of stories about other moms; while I empathize with their situation, I only have energy enough to handle what's going on in my own home and most of the time that's too much.  After meeting her and seeing how sweet she was I felt bad that I did not read her other books.  I knew she had co-authored a book about bio-medical treatment with Dr. Kartzinel and I decided to read it but first I thought I'll read "Mother Warriors" just to read them in sequence.  I checked it out of the library and read it over a few days.  For me a self proclaimed slow reader, reading a book over a few days is a good review.  It was Saturday afternoon and I was nearly finished with the book.  I sat in bed with my son next me and read these stories of inspiration and recovery.  I was on the last story about Elias and if you've already read the book you know where this is going.  For those of you that haven't read the book, the story of Elias does not end well.  I read along as Jenny describes this family's story in a foreboding manner.  I felt it was painful to her and this frightened me.  I didn't like where it was going.  Elias' parents go on to talk about how their beautiful healthy son gets sick repeatedly after being injected with several vaccines.  On and on this goes until he enters the world of autism.  Eventually the story concludes after Elias suffers a terrible sickness, cardiac arrest and eventually dies.  As I was reading this story I felt it was different then the others but since all the other stories had ended on a high note, I figured this one would too, it didn't.  As Elias' mother describes her son's death, she says "he died..."  I couldn't continue.  I slammed the book shut and threw it across the room.  I cried for a very long time and had to walk away and stare out the window just so I could think of something else.  As I starred out at the children in our apartment complex playing in the pool I was able to focus on them and not on what I had just read.  I stopped crying and walked across the room to pick up the book I had flung.  I picked it up with shaking hands.  I couldn't do it.  I still could not finish reading the book.  I started to cry again and this time, I felt someone watching me.  As I raised my head I saw Aydan's face with a wrinkle on his forehead and a look of concern.  I began to smile because in this moment I saw a glimpse of Aydan's recovery.  I had never noticed him feeling sympathy before.  I kissed him as he watched me carefully.  I sat down and finished the book.

Now why do I tell you this story?  What I experienced while reading this book was an emotion I did not expect.  I thought I knew these stories.  I understood what vaccines were doing to people and I knew that some were dying.  So why did this story cause me to break down?  I'm not quite sure.  Partly I think it was fear.  Mostly I think it was anger.  I didn't want to know these things.  I didn't want to feel this way.  I even felt angry at Jenny for making me see it.  I'm not sure I had really paid attention before.  I knew there was a danger to our children lurking and looming but had I really taken it in or had I just skimmed the pages?  I know this wasn't the first tear I had shed over autism and I know it won't be the last but I realized that day that it was no longer enough for me to sit in my house and quietly cure my son.  What kind of world was I planning on releasing him into?  What if he never recovers?  What if he does?  When is the time to use my voice if not now?  I vowed that this would be my life.  I vowed never to turn away and to never stop telling truth.  I prayed to God to please give me the strength to never give up on my son and the thousands like him.  Now isn't the time for political correctness.  We have an epidemic on our hands that is larger than anything we've ever seen.  If you think the numbers for autism are high, check out ADD/ADHD, Asthma, Allergies, Alzheimers...  and those are just a few of the As.  Vaccine induced illness has created this generation of the "diagnosed".  The odd thing about all of this is that it actually is a blessing.  Our eyes are wide open and we're doing something about it.  We're cleaning up our diet, our air, our water, our products and even our clothes.  We're making changes that may have prolonged our own lives and while I know that we are turning lemons into lemonaide.  There is still much to do.

I can't help but to ask myself why I was called into this world.  To what greater purpose?  Would I have cared about vaccine induced sickness and death had I not been in the position to witness it?  I doubt it.  The baby boomers thought they had an uphill task of ending the Viet Nam war, well they haven't seen anything.  Unraveling the truth about autism, autoimmune and vaccines will not be easy but we must stand strong.  Do not forget what you saw with your own eyes.  We are not crazy. 

Picture this: You take your son to the doctor because he burns his hand on the stove.  The doctor says, "that burn didn't come from the stove."  You say, "of course it did, I saw it."  Doctor replies: "No, burns like that don't happen from stoves." You answer, "But no doctor, I saw it with my own eyes, look at his burn, it's clearly from a stove."  Doctor: "No, it's not possible, we don't exactly know why burns like that occur but we know it's not from stoves."  Imagine five or six different doctors telling you the same thing.  After a while you may start to doubt yourself but we can't allow that to happen.  We don't need a double blind placebo study to prove the stove burnt our hands.  We know the truth and we will reveal.

Since I usually like to include a picture or video in my posts, I will leave you with this.  No one has said it better: