April 17, 2011

~Our Story~

13 years ago I gave birth to my first child, Johnny. It was a relativity easy delivery. I used no pain meds and was in labor for only about 4 hours before he was born. Johnny was 6lbs 7oz. right off the bat he wouldn’t latch on to nurse. So I pumped the first night and bottle fed Johnny. My doctor set up an appointment for a lactation consultant the next day. So we began working with her. When we got Johnny, home he was very colicky. He fussed all the time and slept for about an hour at a time. Several weeks into working with the lactation nurse and Johnny never “learning” to latch on we gave up and I just kept pumping for 5 months (I felt he really needed my breast milk to ensure a good start). After the 5 months life was pretty much one fussy baby that never wanted to sleep (my son never slept a full night until he was 12!). He was constipated often and also burped up a lot. As he grew over the months we introduced the fruits, veggies, and rice cereals. He always ate well, but was still fussy and constipated.  By the time he was 2 and 3 he was your typical toddler—into everything. However, Johnny would never entrain himself (set some toys on the floor and let him play while I cooked dinner…he never did this). He’d get very frustrated and wanted to do things his way. I’ll fast-forward to kindergarten because that’s when he was diagnosed with ADHD. I began reading everything I could on ADHD. We began using rewards charts, were very structured, really worked with is teacher, and his manners / behavior…etc
By 1st grade the teachers couldn’t handle them so we gave in and tried medication. We tried Ritalin for two weeks and took him off it. He would spin around in circles on the floor (something he’d never done) and he only slept four a few hours each night. The doctor thought it would be best to try a different medication over the Christmas break. So we gave Concerta a try. My son was a zombie and didn’t even participate in opening presents. He was six years old and he had no desire to play with his gifts. That’s when I swore off medication (yes, I know it takes time to get the right levels, and there are many different medication out there, but I just didn’t want him medicated.) By second grade I dreaded school because all I ever heard from the teachers was; Johnny can’t focus, he is disruptive, and he needs to be on medication. We tried Biofeedback therapy for the 2nd grade year. I never really saw much change in him (we went twice a week for an hour at a time). By 3rd grade I knew I didn’t want to spend the year hearing how “bad” my son was so I pulled him out of school and began to home school. This was a life saver for my family! We chose a home school program that is through our local public school—basically he is a public school student but we take all our books and assignments home and complete them there. We meet with his teacher every two weeks to turn in assignments.  We love this format of schooling and have been doing it since third grade (Johnny will be in high school this next year and we plan on homeschooling until he graduates).
Over the years I’ve spent countless hours reading, surfing the net, talking to other parents, seeing specialists, just trying to find something that would really help my son and his ADHD.  Johnny has gone to brain specialists, allergists, neurologist, counselors, and biofeedback sessions— all the while we’d see little improvements but nothing significant as far as really helping his ADHD.  He was still fussy, love to line things up, drew repeated patterns on paper all the time, had allergies, had headaches daily, stomach hurt often, dark circles under his eyes daily, constipation daily, was up 3 and 4 times a night just wondering or sleep walking, hyper, unable to focus, sometime he’d break out in hives or a rash, …I know I leaving other symptoms out but you get the picture. This is how it was for him from birth to age 12.
 Now I must point out, Johnny is very intelligent (most ADHD kids are) we even have a prescription for an IQ test from his pediatrician (I have it in his baby book because we never went and got his IQ tested. To me a label is a label. He is a “genius”…he has “ADHD”…to me it makes no difference how smart he is or isn’t I just want a happy child who would be successful in life).
When Johnny turned 12 he was going through a growth spurt and eating all the time. He was eating lots of granola bars, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, tuna fish, pretzels, fruit, yogurt, bean burritos, pizza, etc… I’m kind of a health nut so it’s worth mentioning that we eat mostly organic, hormone free, and usually whole wheat. The granola bars were either Kashi or organic ones from Trader Joes. The PB&J sandwiches were eaten on whole wheat sprouted bread and the peanut butter was organic from Trader Joes and the jelly was homemade by me. The pretzels again were whole wheat and from Trader Joe’s. The Pizza was Amy’s brand (chemical free).  Milk, cheeses, and yogurts were organic/hormone free. Johnny never ate junk food. No soda, very little sweets, and lots of fruit and veggies.  Johnny love’s veggies—he’s never been a picky eater.  About this time he was walking through the house with his shirt off and I noticed he had a ton of ting bumps on his back. I took him to the doctor who referred him to a dermatologist. The dermatologist looked at the bumps and said, “He’s having a reaction to something he’s eating”.  I told the doctor that we had him tested for food / pollen allergies last year and nothing significant came up. I also told him what our diet was like and that we ate very well and took vitamins daily. The doctor shook his head and said, "I don’t’ care what the tests said or how well you eat this boy’s body is having a hard time and it’s showing on his skin.” At this point I’m very frustrated because I feel like it’s never ending in this poor kid’s life. In complete frustration I looked at the doctor and said, “if Johnny was your kid what would you do.?” The doctor looked me right in the eyes and said very seriously. “I’d never feed him any type of wheat, soy, or dairy in any form ever again.”  I left the office stunned. Johnny and I talked about what the doctor said on the car ride home. Johnny said he wanted to try and eat that way. So guess what Johnny did…he instantly went wheat, dairy, and soy free. And it’s the BEST thing he ever did! This dermatologist changed our lives!!! This blog is dedicated to the one thing that has actually work and totally improved my son’s ADHD!

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