Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Whole Story

Our family returned from the Creation Museum in Kentucky not too long ago, and was blessed to see a re-creation of the Garden of Eden. It had a beautiful scene of all of the creatures and plants and trees, and, of course, Adam and Eve (modestly presented), in the very first garden when things were very good.  I so enjoyed being in this part of the museum, to think of how things must have been, and to imagine the perfection of it all. 
We turned the corner, however, and the next room was “corruption”. It had scenes of death and pestilence and horrible things—all brought about by the choice to disobey.  I really just wanted to turn around and go back—to go no further on the tour but stay there with the smiling couple and all of God’s wonder.

That day of the fall, when Adam chose to willfully disobey God, there was a curse placed on the creation.  That was the day we became separated from God by sin. That day was the day we began to die…physically and spiritually.

Hebrews 13:5 “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” Allow me to praise Him at this time and share with you what my God has done for our family.

About a year and a half ago we discovered that James had a high functioning form of ASD, which is autism spectrum disorder.

Right after the birth of my fourth child, Ruth; after moving; after Christmas and being readmitted to the hospital on Christmas night with a c-section incision infection; we realized something was happening with my then 2-year-old, James.  I was sick, tired, and sore trying to keep up with a new baby and get well myself.  James had stayed with Jim’s mother through the last two weeks, and she made a comment at the time that, honestly, made me angry. She told me that she and her mother, Jim’s Grandmama, had talked about how James was wasting away.  I am now so thankful for the comment.  For all that was happening at that time, I don’t know when I would have noticed on my own.  James had always looked healthy to me, had muscles in his legs and arms, but it wasn’t so anymore.  I remember the day that I changed his clothes and saw how small and bony his legs and arms were, I saw the frail body and the pallor of his skin—it happened so quickly… and I was afraid.

We had been seeing other things in him that were very different.  He, all of a sudden, was very disobedient.  Before, he might not be happy about what I told him to do, but he would mind me.  An example of that was a time that we were at a friend’s home that had a wonderful tree house with a very tall ladder.  James was in the backyard headed for the tree house.  I made him come inside and talked to him; I told him that he could not go outside if he was going to try to get in the tree house, that it was too dangerous by himself.  He cried and was sad for a while, and stayed inside for quite a long time.  Then he straightened up and went outside, and never tried to go to the tree house the rest of that evening.   In his new disobedience, I could tell him to “sit here” and instead he would sit beside the spot to where I had pointed.  When I tried to discipline him as I had before, he would just throw an even bigger fit. We were having trouble getting James to listen—we said his name several times before he would look at us.  He would go out into the yard and just look at me strangely and often I would have to go get him. 

We had tubes put in because he showed to have moderate hearing loss in one of his ears.  That was no help; in fact, it shut him down even more. 

James could speak: not well, but he was able.  Earlier, at about one-and-a-half years of age, Jim and I noticed that he wasn’t really saying anything—when he did, it wasn’t always in context.  My mother helped to point this out.  Our mothers are wonderful--I didn't usually want to hear what they had to say at first, but it was always wise to listen, and I am thankful for them.What was worse was that we kept waiting on progress, but there never seemed to be any.  I used a natural heavy metal detoxification product on him at that point, and he did begin to speak more and more.  I put away the product after a few months, not realizing until later the impact it really had.

I remembered a beautiful young boy that came to church a few years ago that was autistic.  He spun his hands and made some funny noises, and was really busy.  I was teaching Sunday school at the time, and I honestly did not know what to do with him.  The family went on to visit other churches, but I always remembered that handsome brown-eyed, Logan.

After James’ ear surgery, he still seemingly couldn’t hear us, and his actions became more unusual.  One day I noticed him walking around saying, “Look mom, I’m a horse.”  He had his arms bent and hands flapping-I couldn’t imagine how that was a horse!  Then I saw the one little spin of the hands and my heart dropped.  The thing I had thought of before I felt like I knew at that moment: we were dealing with autism. 

The Lord was very gracious to our family, and used many ways to direct us.  Proverbs     3:6 reads, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” It seemed as if no matter what search I put into the internet that it took me right where I needed to be.  This was all God’s hand at work.  I saw an excerpt from a book that perfectly described my boy: drinking almost a half a gallon of milk a day and hardly eating anything else.  I learned of the “mischievous little proteins” of which thousands of moms and dads around this earth are well-acquainted-they are not broken down well in these little sick bodies and as a result act on the brain as morphine.  I ordered about four different books, which was the beginning of my education, and have been reading and learning ever since.

We took James to a Defeat Autism Now! doctor in Montgomery, had many tests run, and started him on nutritional supplements and a detoxification program.  She instructed me to go on a gluten free/ casein free diet to protect Ruth from these proteins while nursing. We saw great improvements in James and praised God for it. I began to relax a little. That was the Christmas of 2011.  Christmas 2012, I received another surprise.

A couple of weeks before Christmas this past year, I could tell something had gone very wrong, though at first, I didn’t know what.  All of a sudden, James looked worse and was reacting very strongly again to foods to which I had been able to begin giving small amounts.  I was able to eat fruit before, but not anymore.  Ruth was the one with the most profound changes.  She lost muscle tone, turned a yellow orange color (that wasn’t associated with vegetables), she quit saying the 5-6 words that she was able to say, she quit babbling, she quit cruising, in fact, she quit moving all together.  She quit.  We could put her on the couch walk around the corner, come back, and find her in the same place staring.  Before she would have scooted off the couch and been calling.  I decided one day in the midst of this that I should really teach my children about the dangers of mercury because of the things I had been reading and learning.  As I was telling Reed and Kaelyn about the heavy metal, what it looked like and where it was found, they chimed in and said, “Yes, and it makes tiny silver balls and it cleans up really easy with paper towels.”  They had broken an old, large candy thermometer just a week or two before—there was my answer for the new symptoms.  The reality of this hit me about the time of our New Year’s revival.  I finally figured out Ruth’s issues weren’t going to just pass. This was a change.  I cried, and called out to the Lord.  Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.”  I told him Ruth was too little, she couldn’t tell me anything, I couldn’t see what was happening with her the way I could with James.  He impressed on my heart that I already knew what to do, and to do it.

I’d like to mention at this point some other things that the Lord showed me along the way.  Kaelyn was having trouble with her health, though I had not realized it.  When we began removing foods/adding foods it became apparent that she was reacting to the gluten and casein proteins in the same way as James.  I had seen her go through emotional issues that I didn’t know how to handle.  She would be silly and wild, and then be as mean as a hornet, then be accusing and weepy and finally sleep, and I would attribute this to being tired—but it was happening quite often. I thought maybe it was a phase, “a hard time,” with her.  When we discovered this health issue and stayed away from the foods containing gluten and casein. As a result, I got my old Kaelyn back. 

The Lord also revealed to me at what point her health took the downward turn.   At six-years-old, Kaelyn began complaining about her eyes being blurry, so I made an appointment with an eye doctor.  Her eyes checked out fine.  When we began to eat a gluten free/casein free diet and would have an accidental infraction, I noticed my eye would get blurry, and Kaelyn’s would, also.  One day I was thinking of her, and the Lord laid an incident on my heart—then a light bulb went on. 

Reed has a live trap and had caught a raccoon.  James was a baby; and I was inside changing his diaper.  Before I knew it, Kaelyn and Reed were running in the house screaming and crying—Kaelyn had gotten her hand too close to the trap and the raccoon bit her.  We had to call animal control, and they recommended a tetanus shot.  I was already wary of shots, but this seemed like one that we needed to get.  I was offered a mixed DT or an individual tetanus shot at the doctor.  I had always heard that separating the vaccinations were easier on a child, so I opted for the tetanus by itself.  I learned later that this is one of the few available that still contain thimerosal.  After Kaelyn received that shot, she had a huge immune response that lasted several days.  I remember her arm being hot and swelled.  She was supposed to be going to her Grandmama’s a few days after, and I almost didn’t let her go.  The swelling eventually went down, and we thought nothing more of it.  When I thought of this incident, I said, “Kaelyn, how old were you when you were bitten by the raccoon?”  “Six.”  “How old were you when I took you to the eye doctor?”  “I was six, but my finger (from the bite) was all healed up by then.”  It was after the tetanus shot that my girl began to have her trouble.

I might as well tell you that I am the source of all of the difficulty.  I had a baby tooth with no adult tooth behind it—it was the only cavity I ever had, and I was probably about ten at the time. I had chipped it on a popcorn kernel and it resulted in an infection.  When they discovered it at the dentist, they decided to fill it and put on a crown.  About the time that I was married to Jim—we were both 20-years-old, I really started having trouble with it.  The tooth would hurt, but we didn’t have a lot of money and I was determined not to have to do anything with it.  I chewed on the other side of my mouth and took ibuprofen off and on when it was painful.  Finally between Kaelyn and James I decided to have my wisdom teeth out, and to go ahead and get the crowned tooth out, also.  That was about four years later.  The baby tooth was hurting continuously with the pain going from my tooth up into my temple.  I thought if I had the tooth pulled that the pain would go away—I thought wrong.  It wasn’t as intense as it had been, but I still had to take pain reliever often to soothe the aching in my gums and head.

When James began to have his trouble I was determined to find out what had happened. I have written in my blog about immunizations, but I will copy and paste it here, just for the sake of having it all together.

I gave my first two children vaccinations without question.  I had heard of other families who had chosen not to do so, but I had a "medical background" and never thought to do otherwise.  There were four years difference between my second and third children, Kaelyn and James, and I began to hear a lot more about the "whether or not to immunize" debate.  About the time I was taking James for his 3 months, and then four months vaccines (which were not even a whole month between shots, by the way) I really became uneasy.  I attribute this to the Holy Spirit: I had never been concerned before, but now it was overwhelming.

At that four month check up, I voiced my apprehension to my pediatrician, whom I had used from my first child on.  He spent a good ten minutes with me giving me articles, telling me I was, "smarter than that," assuring me that my other kids had received them and were OK, etc.  I went against my sense of alarm and allowed the shots to be administered. 

Between these immunizations and the next ones due, I couldn't shake the feeling that something had gone seriously wrong at that visit.  I began to pray that the Lord would show my husband, Jim, if we should not get the next set, which included the MMR.  He answered in a great way.  Jim is not on Facebook anymore, but during this time he came across a friend from high school named Jennifer Hall, who is now Jennifer Young.  Jennifer had a YouTube of her little girl with pictures that clearly showed her regression immediately after the MMR vaccination.  After he saw this, Jim started hearing more about other children who had done the same.  He decided that we should not vaccinate James anymore.

When I began to research to try to find what had gone wrong with James’ health, I was so sure that aluminum must be the culprit, since it is still widely used in vaccinations today.  As I studied, though, I found that his course of illness from supplements down to food intolerances all pointed to mercury poisoning—but where did it come from?

It was at an autism support group meeting that I finally found my answer.  Dr. Gregory Hyde, an allergist from Nacogdoches, was speaking at the meeting that night, and I made sure that I could be there.  That night he spoke about many things, but one had the greatest impact on me.  He said, “You ladies are concerned about shots, and you should be, but what you don’t realize is, the amalgams in your mouth have probably caused the most of your problems.”  Dr. Hyde went on to tell of a conference that he had attended.  There they had asked for a show of hands for all who had amalgam fillings in their mouth, and gave each a piece of gum to chew.  After about a 15 minute break, they blew on a machine that recorded the amount of free mercury vapor, and he was amazed at the results.  Dr. Hyde related that most would have needed a hazmat team if reported properly.  The Lord used this to confirm to me the mercury source. 

I have since found that two-thirds of a mother’s metal burden is passed on to her child.  Most would relay this to their first born, but since I had the problem tooth removed before my third child, James, that is where the bulk of my metal load landed.  There are biological dentists that remove fillings with special precautions: I did not know this before.  They put up rubber dams and use special air filtration, patient masking, etc. to ensure that any metal vaporized is taken up and removed instead of just releasing into the patients’ systems.

Mercury poisoning can cause optic neuritis, and a wide array of many well-known diseases, three examples of such are fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.  Most of these chronic diseases have gut health as a factor, and many with these types of illnesses are unable to breakdown numerous different foods including the gluten and casein proteins.  Schizophrenia and paranoia can be caused solely by inability to process these proteins in particular.  There was a time that I began having issues with these proteins, and didn’t realize the impact of it on my health until we changed our diet.

What I have learned:

Mercury poisoning looked the same as autism in two of my children.  I am thankful to tell you that today Ruth is walking and beginning to talk again.  After our setback, it didn’t happen until she was 17 months of age, but I praise God for it.  James is talking well and interacting well, unless he gets food that he does not need.  We are using many products to heal his gut and get it in working order, and we can see progress.  This is taking a while, but I have total confidence that he will be completely healed.  I am also using some different things for myself—I didn’t realize how sick I had been until I began to get better. 

We have learned many comparisons to be realized and applied in our Spiritual life:

People can look well and healthy on the outside, but be terribly ill inside.  (I call it survival of the sickest)  These kids (and grownups) many times don’t look “sick” on the outside, but have huge breakdowns in many body systems inside.  Many people we come into contact with every day look spiritually happy and well on the outside, which leaves us to conclude that they must be okay.  The reality is, unless they have Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, they are terribly sin sick and lost; they are in need of healing.

Conforming to “normal” behavior will not fix a problem. Sensory processing, obsessive/compulsive disorders all have very specific behavioral therapies available. There are websites too numerous to count that have people that are “so happy they have found others like themselves” that have odd habits or strange sensitivities. If there are biochemical problem/toxicity causing these behaviors, many times the outside does not have to be “fixed” if the inside is addressed. Just touching metal causes symptoms in most in our family, which I have been told by a doctor just indicates high toxicity.  We could spend our time and money trying to learn to avoid metal, or learning to change our behavior when we come into contact with it.  The best solution to me seems, though, to remove our metal burden on the inside. In like manner, our society spends lots of money trying to remove “symptoms” of sin—the best way to handle it is to allow the Lord to change from the inside out. 

Accepting “abnormal” is not a right response.  There are many folks that believe that it is wrong to try to help these autistic kids, that they should just be accepted as different. Trying to help a person that doesn’t know the Lord is oftentimes taken as offensive—they should be deemed as different and left alone.  Proverbs 11:21 states, “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished…”  We are a people of acceptance today, which is in some ways wonderful—but oftentimes we accept things that God’s Word warns against. We could have left James to express himself differently and accepted him in his sickness.  It seems only right, though, to try and heal the physically ill, as well as the spiritually.

In our experience, treating one particular “disease” will not do.  As I mentioned before, several things go wrong—the whole body system is out-of-whack in the case of autism. Treating one disease leaves you vulnerable to other types of disease which will overwhelm you. Just the same, treating a sin will give rise to other sins. Spiritually, people are affected by many different devices, but all are really sick with the same thing: sin.  By your nature or nurture, you will react to different things in different ways, but the main point is you are sick. Treat a sin, another will take its place.  Treat a sinner, he is saved by God’s grace.

It hurts just as badly to “lose” one child as it does another.  I almost expected for Ruth to go through somewhat the same health issues as James, but when it happened it could not have hurt any deeper, and I did not sorrow any less.  I can only imagine the anguish our Heavenly Father feels over the loss of one soul.  He said that He was not willing that any should perish, but that all would come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Don’t think that you are of any less worth to our Lord.  When someone dies and goes to an eternal hell, it grieves Him more than anyone could comprehend.

Truths that have been reinforced:

Always stay within the leadership of your husband. I reflect sometimes and wonder if Eve would have had children before being tempted with the fruit, if she might have made a different decision.  Many times my children’s consequences from their actions have sobered and reminded me how extremely important it is to obey God!  Eve would have been safe if she would have followed the command not to eat from The Tree of Good and Evil.  Through this process I have not been perfect.  Sometimes Jim would say no about a therapy or about a direction of treatment, and I was kicking and screaming inside.  As always, though, being obedient to the authority God provided for me was my protection.  I could always see later why there was a, “no” or a. “wait” answer.

God’s love for us has been reinforced, and His ability to work in us both to, “will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)  When Jim was confronted with these kids that had regressed after their shots into autism, he looked at me from behind his desk one day and said this: “I wish there was some way through our church that we could help these kids and their families.”  At this point James was still small, I had no idea what was to come.  I agreed with him, but wondered in my heart how that could ever come about—we knew nothing of the needs of these families.  When I realized that James had indications of autism, I thought, “Jim!” I would blame him, not God.  But it was God’s desire placed in Jim’s heart, and our journey to learn.  I can now honestly say it has been a blessing.  Though I would not ever compare my son to the perfect Son, Jesus—praise God my son didn’t have to die for me, but his sufferings have certainly benefited us.  James’ health was gone in what seemed overnight, but the things we have learned through this are immeasurable.  I would have never understood what to do to keep Ruth safe from harm, or how to help her in time of trouble.  I would have thought that Kaelyn had just become difficult, rather than understanding she had some serious health problems to contend with.  I would have continued to go downhill and finally most likely gotten to a point where I was of little use to my family or my church.  Instead of bitterness toward God for James’ circumstances, I praise Him for revealing all that he has through it.  The sickness was there, we just had to see it and acknowledge it.  Now we use the things we are learning for His glory, and prayerfully to help ourselves and others.

If you don’t know Jesus as your Saviour, you need Him.  He’s the only cure for spiritual sin.  Physical health matters only for a little while, but spiritual health matters for eternity.