Seriously. Yesterday I went to the library and brought home her book Mother Warriors. I sat down and read it cover to cover, crying my eyes out the whole time. Today, I went back to the library, returned that book and took out Louder Than Words, brought it home, read it cover to cover, crying my eyes out the whole time.
Let me back up a little bit. As some of you may know, a few years ago I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. An illness caused by your immune system attacking itself. I sat in a small exam room of a doctor I had never been to before, waiting for her to return with some blood test results. She walked in, said “you have such and such, there is no cure but here is a prescription. You will have to stay on this for the rest of your life. Come back in six months.” That’s it. Literally. There was no explanation of the disease or what to expect, no sympathy for the news I just received, no discussion about the medication. Nothing.
Needless to say I never saw that doctor again. After probably a year of suffering, hopelessness, finding new doctors and taking medication twice daily that didn’t seem to be doing anything except make my hair fall out, I just knew there had to be another way and I knew that I was going to have to figure it out myself. I enrolled in what Jenny calls in her books the University of Google. I searched for answers, alternative treatments, whatever I could find. I downloaded online books, tried eliminating things from my diet, and found out about different doctors and different books to read. All of that led me to changing my diet completely and I started to feel better. Eventually, I went off my medication and never looked back.
You may be wondering what any of this has to do with Jenny McCarthy. No, she hasn’t (as far as I know) been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder. But she does have a son that was diagnosed on the Autism spectrum and has written books and spoken out about her journey with her son, Evan. I learned in these books that Jenny wasn’t content to hear that there was no cure and that there was not much she could do to help her son other than use medications to help some of the health problems associated with Autism, such as seizures. She knew in her gut that there was more she could do and she would not stop until she figured out what that was. She spent endless nights researching online to learn everything she could. She tried conventional, holistic and biomedical treatments even when doctors told her that some were ‘bullshit’.
I am not a parent of a child with Autism, I am not even a parent at all. I endured a much less difficult, but similar battle though and it is that to which I can relate. She went against the norm, despite what people said or thought because she had faith that it would help, and it did. What baffles me is that story after story in her book parents talk about how doctors told them that changing their kids’ diet was too dangerous. Dangerous?!?! How is something as simple as removing dairy or wheat (foods that may be toxic to some people, especially autistic children) or whatever from someone’s diet dangerous, but pumping them full of drugs, chemicals and toxic levels of heavy metals is perfectly safe??? This is something I will NEVER understand about the medical profession. Don’t get me wrong, we as a society would not be half of where we are today without modern medicine, but at some point we need to be realistic and we need to draw the line!
Ok, I will step down from my soap box to get to the point of why I started this blog in the first place... My journey with my own health issues has lead me down a path to wanting to help people heal from modern diseases, especially auto-immune ones in the same way that Jenny’s journey lead her to be the unofficial voice of parents of Autism. And so in my journey I have had some interest in the theories behind what causes Autism and have paid some attention to what Jenny has brought to the table, but I had not focused on it too much. Fortunately some recent circumstances have peaked my interest, which is why I ended up at the local library seeking out Jenny’s books and a few others. I have to say that I already have a new found interest in this epidemic, and i am actually amazed at its similarities to mine and other auto-immune diseases in its digestive and immune issues as well as causes. And so I am not at all surprised in the success of the more non traditional treatments that many parents are trying in reversing Autism, the way that I feel that some auto-immune diseases can be reversed. Yes, I said reversed.
My point is this: If you are a parent of children on the Autism spectrum, or parents of kids with even ADD/ADHD or you yourself are suffering some type of auto-immunity, please please please do not accept the ‘there is no cure and not much can be done’ answer. I am not a doctor, and I will say that not everything works for everybody. There is no one-size-fits-all answer (which is how I feel doctors treat these things) but if there is even the slightest hope that something as simple as trying a gluten-free diet or taking a natural anti-fungal can help, don’t we owe it to ourselves and our kids to try it? Is going to the health food store and looking for alternative food choices really more inconvenient and unbearable than accepting and suffering from disease?
I am going to continue to read and learn about Autism and other similar disorders simply because I am so interested and would love the opportunity to one day help people suffering from them in any way I can. But, please know there are tons of resources out there for us and we should take advantage of them! Here are two that I learned about from reading Jenny’s books that I find inspiring:
Keep it fresh!