Saturday, September 14, 2013

Mission: Self Care

I think the topic of self care is so important for anyone. Any mother out there knows that life changes when you have children. And if you happen to be a mother who has a child with a disability, like autism, well the idea of self care can at times feel non existent. It least, in my case that is how it has been.

I have been challenging myself these last few months to care about me. To really understand that I deserve to feel good, to be happy, to do things that aren't autism related. I can honestly say that I feel like I am a shell of my former self. I don't even recognize the face looking at me in the mirror. I have gone to battle and my body, my energy shows it. I don't want autism to destroy me... I don't want autism to win.

And it is this simple:

Happy and healthy mother= Happy Noah

Happy and healthy wife= Happy husband

I deserve to be happy and healthy. I am an important piece to the puzzle of my son's recovery.

So, what have I been doing to change this?

Well, it has been baby steps. About 4 months ago I was treated by our homeopath for depression, anxiety and hormonal problems. I can honestly say this alone helped me tremendously.

I also have been on a mission to reduce our toxin exposure (see previous post). I went on a detox and boy did I detox! We are utilizing respite and going out as a couple more. I am reaching out to friends and mother's in the autism and CEASE therapy community. I feel so much better knowing I have people who can relate to what we are going through. I am starting to exercise again on a regular basis. I am rejoining the world of the living in a way. Grief and depression took me over for a while but I am coming out of it now.

I hope this post encourages others to put themselves back on their "to do" list. We are important.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Our "Wish List" for the DTaP Clearing and a Few Updates on Noah

I am so thankful that we are finally moving past the bad weeks we had with Noah. I still am not sure what caused the issues we saw (vomiting, loss of appetite, intense stimming, a weird rash on his back, increase in sensory issues etc). Was it due to the Hep B clear we just wrapped up? Was it a virus? Regression? A mix of all? What I find to be the most interesting is that Noah appeared much worse (behavior, sickness) during our break than any time during the Hep B clearing. It got to the point where I was considering asking the homeopath to let us continue on with Hep B. I really do believe we will need to revisit this clearing again in the future.

He has not vomited since this past Tuesday. I started to notice that he would vomit when drinking his almond milk, specifically when I would add his daily vitamin c supplement to it. He has never had a problem with his vitamin c... he has been taking 500 mg a day for the last few months... but I googled the symptoms of too much vitamin c and in addition to the diarrhea I had heard about, vomiting and nausea can also result from too much vitamin c. I stopped the vitamin c and have not seen any more vomiting. I hope to start it back in a few weeks gradually. But for now I am giving his stomach a break.

His "food jag" seems to have resolved for the most part as well. His occupational therapist told me that a food jag is when a child limits his foods to only 1 or 2 foods. Noah was always a picky eater, he eats about 10 foods... I noticed over the last 4 weeks that he started refusing his bananas, yogurt, apple sauce, cereal, even his favorite chocolate pudding! Yikes. It freaked me out. Especially when I heard his little tummy growling and yet he still refused almost all foods. At one point I was lucky if he ate oatmeal in the morning and a cookie for the day.  Our OT gave me some direction on how to deal with it. The KEY was to make sure we were always changing the foods he did eat--- for example, every day in his oatmeal, I changed the time I fed it to him, the bowl I used... I would add different fruits in it each day to change the flavor... I would add almond butter, peaches, apple sauce and slices of banana. It did seem to work because within two weeks he was reintroducing other foods back into his diet.

We also have finally found a multivitamin that Noah tolerates. It is from The Honest Company and it is a powder that can easily be mixed in drinks and foods. So now I can at least know he is getting a supplement to help offset the lack of fruits and vegetables in his diet. And the best part is that the supplement is safe without any harmful ingredients, which is not the case for many children's vitamins.

Another HUGE development for Noah is that he has stopped using a bottle!!!!! SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS ONE!!!!!!!! We were able to discontinue the bottle use during his vomiting and he hasn't requested it. In other news, we just purchased a little boy doll for Noah hoping that he would connect to it better than the boy baby doll he has. It is cute, with crazy hair, and looks a lot like Noah. Noah loves his boy doll. He smiles lovingly at it, calls it "a boy", and just the other day he started moving his arm up and down and saying "Hi" and "bye". He also has given it hugs and kisses. So cute!


We still have a few more weeks before we start another clearing (we got an extension from our homeopath!). We will tackle the DTaP next. Here are the areas that I pray are healed with this clearing:

1) Eye contact- Noah goes through periods of amazing eye contact and then it stops. This is a hard one for me. Who knew eye contact was so important!? When he won't look at me I feel disconnected from him and I realize how much he is missing out on by not looking at people. I pray his eye contact improves during this next clearing.

2) Sensory issues-- this is a big one for Noah. Grooming and eating are big issues that we struggle with, all related to sensory overload. Brushing his hair, brushing his teeth, cutting his nails, bathing, washing his hair, eating are all impacted by this sensory processing disorder. I pray that this clearing helps these issues as well.

3) Developmental delay and speech- Noah still struggles to communicate... he is doing great with labeling and repeating what he hears but he struggles with using language to communicate. Echolalia is emerging. If I ask him a questions he will repeat back to me the last word. He still struggles to understand what people are saying to him. He also does not have much imaginative play.

4) Rituals/OCD behaviors--  this has emerged over the last 6 months and it is becoming a pretty big problem. Every song Noah hears he has elaborate rituals that he does to the music. A stranger may not notice him even doing it but I have realized that as soon as we get to a certain point in the song Noah will go to a certain area of the room, touch a chair and then move to another area and touch his toe to a spot on the area rug. He flips out when I disrupt this ritual. He also is turning in circles and doing side eyes throughout the house on a regular basis.

5) Insomnia- I pray that with this next clearing we will see some change with his sleep problems. During the Hep B it was a constant issue for us. I know this is a big area that needs healing-- he did not sleep for the first 15 months of his life. I pray that his insomnia resolves and he begins to sleep through the night.

I know this is a big list and may seem unrealistic to those reading. I just know that with God ANYTHING is possible. I am praying for miracles, for healing. I am trusting that the Lord will continue to direct our steps and lead us to the best interventions for Noah. I know in my heart that CEASE therapy is one of those interventions. I am certain if we continue on we will continue to see more healing and recovery.