Those Doubts Are Gone. From a Mainstream Perspective, I Get Crazier by the Day

Remember my doubts about Heilkunst homeopathy?

Heilkunst is about supporting the body’s natural healing power, allowing its own return to health. I had to go through the dreadful process of enumerating, in reverse chronological order, the many insults to Martin’s immune system, from medications and illnesses to vaccines to home remodeling while I was pregnant. For eight months we’ve done a “clear” every two or three weeks, working backward through what might be hampering Martin’s recovery.

Immediately after we began the first clear, which addressed coxsackie, Martin vomited and woke the next morning with a mild coxsackie-like rash on his hands. Since then we’ve seen what appear to be “healing reactions” of all sorts. Itchy neck. Inner-ear swelling. Tired allergy eyes. More vomiting. ROOS. Ugh, ROOS.

At the same time, Martin has been getting better and better. Seriously, he’s having a homerun 2015. I’ve been “reasonably convinced” the Heilkunst is doing what it’s supposed to.

Time to scratch the “reasonably.”

Our last three clears have been MMR, the H1N1 vaccine, and antibiotics we used when addressing SIBO. The antibiotics actually should have been addressed much earlier, in terms of chronological order; I realized only recently, from reading comments in an on-line group, that antibiotics need to be cleared.

I had a hunch that H1N1 clear would be a tough one. The H1N1 vaccine—why on earth did I fall prey to the unnecessary frenzy over that illness?—was the only injection from which I saw a noticeable difference in Martin, beyond the fever-crying-and-blues we are supposed to accept in a recently vaccinated child. He received the H1N1 shot in November 2009, when he was almost 17 months old. (According to his medical records, a “second” H1N1 shot was administered in January 2010. I have no recollection of that.) The shot was not a bad one, in terms of Martin crying or acting out. Instead, he became very quiet and withdrawn, and then, the same afternoon, I noticed him engaging in repetitive behaviors: moving toddler chairs into formation, stacking them, moving them. It was the first time I’d ever noticed such behaviors. Do I know that the onset of repetitive behaviors was tied to the H1N1 vaccine, instead of coincidental? No. But the timing raises red flags. Plants a whole row of red flags.

So I went into Martin’s Heilkunst H1N1 clear with trepidation. The clear involves three wafers given over three days, and then a two-or-three-week waiting period while Martin’s system works through the effects of the H1N1 shot.

As to what happened, here is the update I sent to Martin’s Heilkunst practitioner following the H1N1 and MMR clears:

With the H1N1, Martin was crabby for more than a week. He also had trouble sleeping and reverted to some behaviors we haven’t seen in a long time, such as uncontrollable perseveration and also verbal stimming (he says “goo-HEN-duh-may” repeatedly, and tries to get others to say it also, by asking, “What did I just say?” or, “Is ‘goo-HEN-duh-may’ a word?”). One afternoon he was super crabby and tired, and at dinner he said abruptly, “Mommy, I need to throw up.” (I feel bad: I didn’t believe him, because he frequently says that when he just doesn’t want to eat, doesn’t want to go to school, &c.) Then he vomited, twice, all over the dinner table and floor. After I got him cleaned up in a bath, he seemed to be feeling much, much better. He asked if he could have dessert even though he didn’t finish dinner, and then he went to bed and slept more peacefully. No trouble after that.

I waited another week and then did the MMR. Martin did not get as crabby, but one night after I bathed him, I noticed a bright red, raised rash on one half of his backside. By morning the rash was gone. Also, one day later he was covering his ears and saying they hurt. I put some Hyland’s earache drops in them, which seemed to help.

Overall, Martin is doing very well right now, with a big increase in conversation skills and some in attention. Socialization remains tough.

I should add that the rash I saw on Martin while we were clearing MMR was a mild measles-like rash. I know, because I had measles when I was 12. (I lived in a semi-rural area where, as far as I know, vaccination rates were near 100%. I caught measles despite being initially vaccinated, and later hit with a booster shot. I’m resisting the urge to make this post about vaccines.) In regard to looking like measles, Martin’s rash was clear and distinct.

Let’s agree on this: I don’t have my doubts about Heilkunst anymore. These wafers are doing something.

Let’s follow up with this: I don’t know how Heilkunst is working, or exactly what these wafers are up to. I know that the principle is “energy medicine.” Each wafer delivers a minimized, harmless form of what insulted the immune system, to help the body recognize and expel the toxin. But how does the wafer acquire that energy? At AutismOne, out of lingering curiosity, I crashed the Homeopathy Center of Houston panel discussion and asked questions. We don’t use the Homeopathy Center of Houston, buy hey, same idea as Heilkunst, right? Or close? The lovely ladies of Houston explained about dilution and formulas and administration and many other procedures, and my little brain left the room as uncertain as ever. I may be violating my own policy of comprehending any treatment before we begin; in the case of homeopathy, I consulted as many parents as I could find and also searched online for reports of negative or adverse reactions to sequential homeopathy. Having found nothing substantial or substantiated, I proceeded.

My online searches did yield studies (and straight-up arguments) concluding that homeopathy in general is bunk, just so much ineffective snake oil peddled at high prices. I took those accusations under advisement.

And now I feel comfortable saying: They’re wrong.

Year 2014 in Review

A year ago, I woke up on New Year’s morning with the conviction that 2014 would be a banner year in Martin’s recovery.

It’s time for a look back at 2014.

Martin and a boy he played with on the beach, Florida Keys, New Year's 2014.

Martin and a boy he played with on the beach, Florida Keys, New Year’s 2014.

We started several interventions to which, for a change, Martin plainly seemed to respond. (I write “for a change” because these were some of the few times when I was able to isolate particular interventions that helped. More often, it’s just something in “the whole package.”) When I posted in late July about five treatments that were “working now,” I also posted my frustration in jumping to conclusions based on initial positive results. I’m going to report now that at least two of those five “what’s working now” treatments, six months later, still are kicking autism’s butt: camel milk and Candex. Martin’s language took off immediately following the introduction of camel milk, and it hasn’t stopped since. Did you Tuesday’s post about the conversationalist? How cool was that? As for the Candex, Martin still has yeast flares. (I’ve come to accept that candida overgrowth may be a battle we fight for many years. Therein may lie our war.) Since we started using Candex, however, those flares have been milder and of shorter duration. They’ve been manageable.

Martin with his cousin Mandy in the snow, February 2014.

Martin with his cousin Mandy in the snow, February 2014.

And the other three “working now” treatments, the GAPS diet, Enhansa™, and MitoSpectra? We are still on all three. I modified the GAPS diet by adding quinoa and reducing Martin’s meat consumption to one meal per day. (The reduction of meat isn’t particularly a “modification,” I suppose, though it felt that way.) I think Martin’s gut health is better than ever, though I wish he weren’t still prone to yeast flares. As to Enhansa, Martin’s chronic inflammation appears to have eased; I can’t say whether the Enhansa is responsible, or general improvement in gut health. I may stop the Enhansa, as an experiment, and see what happens. I plan to keep the MitoSpectra, for the time being. I reduced Martin’s dosage when a blood test revealed high levels of carnatine, and I feel like I could be doing more for his mitochondrial functioning (hence the quinoa). I’m keeping the MitoSpectra because I haven’t yet discovered that next best thing.

Martin at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York, Spring 2014.

Martin at Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park, Oyster Bay, New York, Spring 2014.

In the second half of the year, after my “What’s Working Now” post, we started vision(-ish) therapy with Dr. Deborah Zelinsky; Heilkunst homeopathy with Rudi Verspoor; and a weekly facilitated social group with local kids. So far, I give all three a big thumbs up. We are in another period when “things are going well” but I’m not totally sure why. I may be observing a slight uptick in Martin’s eye contact and attention span. I’ll give that development to Dr. Zelinsky. Martin had a fever and apparent healing reaction over the Christmas break. That goes to the Heilkunst. As for the social group, that’s a confidence-builder. Martin is happy to have friends of his own. Last week, for the first time, he asked to bring a game that everyone could play—the lovely wildlife bingo set his uncle Eddie gave him.

Martin rock climbing at a birthday party, July 2014.

Martin rock climbing at a birthday party, July 2014.

Did I make mistakes in 2014? Of course I did. I think the straight-up GAPS diet had too few carbs to meet Martin’s mitochondrial needs. I know there is debate on this point. For my child, I should have known; way back in 2011, when we first went grain-free, Martin showed signs of mild ketoacidosis, and we had to add a few gluten-free grains back in. This time around, I should have guessed that he would need more carbs than GAPS allows.

Martin with his uncle Rudy, Strasbourg, France, August 2014.

Martin with his uncle Rudy, Strasbourg, France, August 2014.

I rushed treatments. The mother who launched our biomedical journey cautioned me against the urge to do everything at once. Nevertheless, when I find an intervention that excites me, I might move too quickly. Even today, four years into Martin’s recovery, I’m prone to that amateur mistake. Other times, I just fail to pay attention and mistakenly start two treatments together. C’est la vie.

Martin looking over St. Bartholomá church, on the Königsee, Berchtesgadan, Germany, August 2014.

Martin looking over St. Bartholomá church, on the Königsee, Berchtesgadan, Germany, August 2014.

Despite my tendency to rush, though, I think honestly I can peg 2014 as the year when I internalized “marathon not sprint.” Sure, for years now I’ve parroted the mantra. Autism recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. Autism recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. But what kind of marathon did I really envision? In my “banner year” post, last January, I wrote, “I now understand ‘the long haul,’” and “I no longer fear that some mythical window will close while Martin is five . . ., or seven, or any age.” Even after I wrote that, however, the notions took some time to sink in. It wasn’t until November, when I wrote the “Journey” post, that I finally abandoned the idea that this process will have an end date. Striving for better health may well be a perennial task, one that Martin needs to continue even after he becomes responsible for his own care. Autism recovery is not a sprint. It isn’t even a marathon. Autism recovery is a lifestyle.

Martin hiking in the Adirondack mountains, near the Great Sacandaga Lake, August 2014.

Martin hiking in the Adirondack mountains, near the Great Sacandaga Lake, August 2014.

Behavior-wise, in 2014 Martin took new interest in socializing with other kids. Although he still isolates himself when he becomes overwhelmed, for the most part he wants to be near his friends, even if just to play side-by-side on iPads. Late in the year, Martin also (finally) made progress on nighttime potty training. He wakes now when he needs the potty, and yells for me. “Thanks, kid.” Language-wise, in 2014—well, wow. Martin has been asking “why” questions (like, gazillions of why questions) for a long time now; in 2014, he started answering them, coherently. He’s become conversational, staying on point for multiple exchanges. He can talk on the phone. This afternoon he’s going to call Uncle Eddie and wish him happy birthday! And the perseveration has decreased. Did I mention that the perseveration has decreased? Yeah, the perseveration has decreased. Such a relief.

Martin, on the left, with his cousin Luke, in the Florida Keys, New Year's 2015.

Martin, on the left, with his cousin Luke, in the Florida Keys, New Year’s 2015.

I am pleased to conclude that 2014 was a banner year in Martin’s recovery. All signs point to significant improvement in health, and corresponding changes in behavior.

May it be one banner year among many.

 

TWIFU

TIFU. Know what it means? Click here (at your own peril) if you don’t.

Now take the T (“today”) and substitute TW (“this week”), because the events I’m about to describe happened on Monday.

In yesterday’s post I talked about starting Heilkunst. Martin’s first two clears arrived last week. I waited to start them, because I hadn’t had time to peruse the instructions for the clears, or to revise Martin’s daily supplementation sheets to include the clears and the accompanying drainage formula. Monday I had the time, got everything prepared, and decided to start Martin’s first clear.

By Monday we also had been waiting more than a week, since our visit to Dr. Zelinsky, for Martin’s new glasses to arrive. Martin, with characteristic precision and fierceness, had said he wanted his glasses to arrive “on Saturday, November 1 and no other day!” They didn’t. So when the glasses finally appeared on Monday, November 3, I was eager to present them to Martin and let him start wearing them.

Here’s what happened after the school bus dropped Martin off Monday afternoon:

3:50 pm. Martin put on glasses for the first time, agreed to wear them generally.

3:50-4:20 pm. Martin played, read, and drew pictures, wearing glasses. He took his afternoon supplements.

4:20-6:20 pm. We went to social-skills group. Martin wore glasses. On the way, he drank his camel milk. The group leader reported that Martin had a great session and participated well.

6:30 pm. Driving home from social-skills group, we pulled into Stop & Shop for Martin to pick out his own Lärabar®. Even though we have Lärabars at home, Martin takes great pleasure in going to the store and choosing one. (No doubt he also likes that Stop & Shop stocks “cherry pie” and “pecan pie” flavors, which I don’t keep at home.) Martin, glasses on, seemed energized, if not decisive. He ran back and forth between the standard Lärabar display and a temporary rack of “seasonal” flavors like “pumpkin pie” and “gingerbread.”

7:00-7:30 pm. Martin sat at the dinner table. His dinner was bone broth and pasta with squash and cauliflower. While Martin sipped his broth, I assembled and administered his evening supplements, including for the first time the Heilkunst drainage drop and a Heilkunst clear. He took them without issue.

7:30-7:45 pm. Although Martin loves pasta, after just a bite or two he pushed the pasta bowl aside and said he wanted to finish only his soup, which he did. He also requested dessert and ate a small piece of chocolate. Then he said he didn’t want to wear his glasses anymore, didn’t want to take a bath, and was going to get ready for bed.

8:00 pm. In his room, teeth brushed, pajama-clad, without glasses, Martin scrunched himself into froggy position on the floor and said his belly hurt. Did he need to return to the potty? I asked. Could I get him a drink of water? Would he like more soup? No, no, no, Martin answered. He climbed into bed and asked me to read him a story.

8:20 pm. Martin was in bed, lights out. From the kitchen, I heard him calling me. I walked down the hall to his doorway. “Mommy, my tummy hurts,” he said and smacked his lips. I realized what probably was coming and started toward his bed. Too late. Within seconds, Martin, his pillow, his sheets and blanket, several stuffed animals, and a small part of the mattress were splashed with vomit. In the mess I saw several undigested supplements, along with the few bits of pasta he’d eaten.

Martin almost never pukes. I think it’s happened maybe two or three times in his life.

And I didn’t know what caused it Monday. That was the TWIFU. I know that I should separate new supplements, treatments, therapies, and even vitamins by at least two-to-three days, in order to pinpoint the cause of any reactions. I know that. What did I do Monday? Without a second thought, I let Martin wear new glasses for several hours and started the Heilkunst. When he reacted, when he puked all over poor Curious George, I couldn’t isolate the cause. Was wearing glasses too much stimulation for Martin’s brain stem? Did he get dizzy? Or did the first Heilkunst clear cause his body to reject something? How could I tell?

I’ve been working at Martin’s recovery for four years. You’d think by now I’d have a clue.

P.S. Because of my carelessness, I had to undertake some additional investigation. By the time I finished cleaning Martin, washing linens, and doing my best with the mattress and pillow, it was late evening. (Admittedly, I would have been awake anyway. The Rangers went to a shoot-out.) I didn’t want to bother Dr. Zelinsky or Rudi Verspoor at that hour. Instead, I texted with another Dr. Z mom I know and posted an inquiry in a Heilkunst group on-line, which generated immediate responses. By the time I went to bed, I was 90% confident that the vomiting was unrelated to the new glasses and instead was a proper reaction to the first clear, which was a clear for the coxsackie virus Martin had two years ago. I was even more confident when Martin woke the next morning with a slight rash on his hands, a much lighter version of how he’d looked during the virus. Still, I can’t be 99.99% confident, and that bothers me.

So Here’s Something Else New We’re Doing

We have started Heilkunst, a form of sequential homeopathy. We’re working with Rudi Verspoor of Ottawa’s Hahnemann Center.

Four years ago, when we started the process of recovering Martin from autism (as opposed to helping him live with autism, through traditional therapies), Adrian and I resolved not to go too far “out there.” The first MAPS doctor we brought Martin to is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Massachusetts General. These credentials were important to us, because we didn’t want to be dealing with, as I put it, “a graduate of the Pacific School of Holistic Touchy-Feely Medicine.” (Let me also add that Martin’s first MAPS doctor is empathetic, intuitive, and utterly knowledgeable, and that we switched doctors only because that one moved to California.)

We’ve been through a lot in the years since Adrian and I resolved not to go too far “out there.” We’ve used two homotoxicologists, one in New York City who did not work out well—part of the problem could have been me not understanding homotoxicology at the time, and her not explaining the process in a way I could grasp—and for the last two years Lauren Lee Stone in Connecticut, with more success. Martin has participated in craniosacral massage, muscle testing, naturopathic assessment of food allergies. He’s drinking camel milk daily. He’s slept on a grounding sheet, inside an RF-blocking tent.

I suppose I’ve strayed pretty far “out there” with Martin, and Adrian hasn’t stopped us. When your son stops running in circles, and starts talking, and stops thrashing around in his bed, and starts realizing when you’re in the room with him, then you pretty much go where the journey takes you, and go gratefully. I still care, a lot, about credentials and science, but you could say my horizons have expanded.

On an “out there” scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being ABA and MiraLAX® for autism, and 10 being having Reiki vibes telepathically sent from Mongolia, I would put Heilkunst at about an 7.73. In their book Autism: The Journey Back, Rudi Verspoor and Patty Smith describe Heilkunst as a “comprehensive, integrated system of Western medicine based on the principles of natural law regarding the removal of disease (cure) and the restoration of balance in our functioning (healing).” As I understand the process, Martin will progress through a series of homeopathic “clears,” one every two or three weeks, to alleviate the insults to his immune system, from pre-natal development through today. The insults to Martin’s immune system have been many, from his traumatic birth to vaccinations to living in a home under renovation. I had to list all this out in order to begin Heilkunst. It was not a fun process.

Now, let me add this: Scoring Heilkunst an 7.73 on the “out there” scale does not mean I don’t have faith in the process. To the contrary, Heilkunst is energetic healing, and I am administering it to Martin, and I think my faith therefore is necessary to its success, and I would not have proceeded if I didn’t expect results. I’ve talked to many families whose children have progressed with sequential homeopathy. I’ve witnessed their progress. Plus, sequential homeopathy makes sense to me. I know many of the factors that affected Martin’s immune functioning; I’m eager to help him work back through what happened.

I’m also glad we did not start Heilkunst sooner. We needed first to get the biggest stuff under control: his digestion, his ability to rest, his communication skills to participate in the process.

And we had some mental blocks to remove. Mine.

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