Sunday, March 10, 2013

A New Path

In the more than seventeen years since Alex was diagnosed with autism, I’ve found myself spending a great deal of time searching for resources to help him. Often, looking for people and methods that may help him takes tenacity and patience because those answers aren’t readily found. Other times, things seem to fall into place with such ease, and then I know the hand of God is at work in our lives.

Shortly after we discovered that Alex had autism, I began reading Dr. Andrew Weil’s book Spontaneous Healing, looking for ways to make Alex as healthy as possible. In one section, Dr. Weil discusses cranial therapy, a gentle manipulation of the head believed to improve wellness. At the end of the book, a resources section provides contact information to find practitioners who can provide the holistic approaches Dr. Weil describes in the book. After more research, I decided that I would like to try cranial therapy for Alex and wrote a letter to the address provided in the book requesting a referral.

When I received their response, I was pleased and surprised to find a local doctor of osteopathy who did cranial therapy with her patients. This began a decade long relationship with an outstanding doctor who worked cooperatively with us to help Alex. With her expertise in nutrition, chelation, and cranial therapy, she provided Alex with the care he needed to deal with his food allergies, heavy metals toxicity, and other health issues related to his autism. When she had to retire a few years ago due to her own health issues, we felt a terrible loss, and when she passed away last fall, we felt deep sorrow.

Without the guidance of Alex’s beloved doctor, I have been searching for another doctor who would take a holistic approach to his health and would be willing to follow biomedical methods found to be helpful to people with autism. In the past few years, we have been fortunate to find compassionate and competent medical professionals for Alex; however, other than his psychiatric nurse practitioner and a chiropractic internist, their background with autism has seemed rather limited. Moreover, we have sensed that they were more concerned with treating the symptoms than looking at underlying causes. For example, Alex has been diagnosed six times in the past eighth months with thrush and cheilitis, or yeast overgrowth in and around his mouth. While treating the yeast with Diflucan helps the symptoms and makes them better, something is causing the recurrence of this problem. I knew we would need to get to the bottom of this problem, but I was having trouble finding a doctor who would take a more holistic approach. Feeling frustrated, I have prayed for patience and an answer.

Several days ago, I picked up a magazine advertising local business that had come in the mail a few days earlier. Thinking it was junk mail, I nearly threw it in the trash, but I decided to take a quick look. As I flipped through it, I noticed a picture of a building I recognized: the office building of Alex’s former doctor. A closer look at the ad revealed that a new medical practice had been established in that office building by a father and son who are doctors of osteopathy specializing in nutrition and wellness, like Alex’s doctor. After consulting their website listed in the ad and discovering that they offered the holistic approach I had wanted for Alex, I decided this was an answer to prayers.

Without hesitation, I called their office that Friday afternoon to see if they would accept Alex’s insurance and take him as a new patient. After confirming that they could see Alex, the receptionist was able to schedule us for an appointment for Monday afternoon. Last weekend, I felt hopeful that this new doctor would be able to help Alex, and I looked forward to meeting with him. On Monday, we were pleased we didn’t have to wait for our appointment, and I was immediately impressed by the doctor’s manner: kind, understanding, and compassionate. He interacted with Alex easily, and Alex felt comfortable with him during the examination. As Ed and I discussed our concerns about Alex’s repeated bouts with yeast overgrowth, he listened carefully and explained his ideas clearly regarding what he thought was the cause and what we could do to help Alex. Not only was he likeable, but he also inspired confidence, making us feel that we had brought Alex to the right place.

His assessment is that Alex’s immune system has been weakened, leaving him vulnerable to infections, such as the fungal thrush, the bacterial folliculis, and the viral chicken pox, all of which he has had recently. To strengthen his immunity, the doctor recommended high doses of vitamins C and D3. To address his yeast overgrowth, the doctor suggested that Alex take a prebiotic supplement in addition to the probiotic he has been taking, which will help balance his digestive system. To ease the mouth discomfort the yeast causes, the doctor recommended an old herbal remedy, gentian violet. Armed with this information, we have gradually implemented the recommended protocol, starting with vitamin D3, then gentian violet. Next, we will add the prebiotic, followed by vitamin C.

With Alex, we have learned that adding only one new thing at a time is crucial to measure its effects upon him, whether positive or negative, and the doctor wholeheartedly supported our gradual approach to the new supplements. He wants to see Alex in a month to check his progress, and we hope and pray that the next time we see him we can tell him how much Alex has improved, thanks to his help. The way things have moved quickly and easily into place with this new doctor reminds me that God is in control, and when the timing is right, He will bring the right people across our path and give us a sense of peace, knowing that everything will be all right in the end.
“Your own ears will hear Him. Right behind you a voice will say, ‘This is the way you should go,’ whether to the right or to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

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