I often get the question, “So…how did you get involved in this?”
My family’s journey started in 2010 when my baby fought ongoing severe respiratory issues. After over a year of searching for answers within the medical community, I gave up on medicine and decided to ditch the drugs and specialists (very hard decision for a registered nurse) and give natural therapies a shot as we had no other options…weeks later we had a perfectly healthy baby and she has never developed any further respiratory issues, despite the fact that the pediatric specialists had all told us that we would be dealing with this for her lifetime as she had suffered lung damage from a virus. As a registered nurse, at the time working in cardiothoracic and vascular (open heart, lung and blood vessels) surgery this experience led me to question everything…my entire identity as one who had landed a career saving lives. I have most definitely played an integral role in uncountable emergent and non-emergent adrenaline-rushing, life-saving interventions and even have held a beating heart allowing the surgeon to work on a bypass on the backside of a patient’s heart…but, was I really saving lives or just prolonging a very limited lifestyle? Could I take my passion for caring for others a step further and do more? I wanted to help people identify health risks and eliminate them long before they ended up in the operating room…I wanted to help them lead very full and happy lives, saving for a retirement of cruises vs nursing homes….and here I am….and here’s our story:
My oldest daughter has an ADHD diagnosis on her medical records. Just prior to diagnosis, she began struggling with grades. At one point she was failing, but was also in the gifted program. She just couldn’t remember if she had homework, to finish it or to turn it in once completed. After cleaning out her desk and cubby and turning the work in, she had As and Bs. She basically needed a babysitter by her side at every step to make sure she remembered to take her backpack on the bus, was turning in homework, wasn’t acting out and distracting others, spending twenty minutes singing in the bathroom, etc. She now has not been medicated since 2013. She’s learned to manage her mild remaining symptoms through conscious recognition of her tendencies. I do not believe this would have been possible if she were still being pumped full of chemical-laden foods day in and day out because she could not even recognize that she was a space cadet much less manage it. She’s now on the honor roll, med free. I’ll never forget—at one point in our journey we were in a situation of choosing not to eat all day or do fast food. Reluctantly, we did a drive thru. After eating her first bite, I remember her saying, “Mom, this doesn’t even taste like food anymore. I can’t believe we used to eat this all the time. Gross.” From the mouths of babes; she was ten at the time.
It was my second daughter, though, who truly opened my eyes to the world of food contaminants and the importance of whole and organic foods. When she was about nine months old, she contracted RSV and was very sick for a few very long weeks. After that infection, she never really got well. For over a year she was continuously on antibiotics, steroids and breathing treatments, as well as an obscene amount of other drugs the specialists were prescribing trying to manage the repeat respiratory issues and resulting infections. She would begin to get well. Symptoms would be improving, but before she got well, she’d get sicker. The illness would progress (upper respiratory infections, bronchiolitis, bronchial pneumonia, etc.) to the point that she wouldn’t eat for a few days and then she’d start to get better. But then she’d take a turn for the worse. I was on family medical leave at work, and being a registered nurse, was very concerned about what was happening to my child. We had seen multiple pediatricians, pediatric allergists, pediatric pulmonologists, pediatric this, pediatric that and still had no answers. At one point they tested her for cystic fibrosis because the illnesses were so consistent, persistent and severe. It was so bad that I caught myself praying for cystic fibrosis just to have some answers. You know your child is sick when you find yourself so desperate for answers that such a diagnosis sounds like a positive finding. All we could get for a “diagnosis” was some joke of a term that basically meant lung damage from RSV, but it wasn’t even a diagnosis. It was a word for a group of symptoms for which they knew no real cause or solution. We were told she’d likely continue to have this lifelong lung damage resulting in ongoing symptoms.
After one more specialist visit, one more test, and one more round of steroids, I looked across the room at my baby girl and she literally looked like a zombie child. She just looked so sick…dying sick. I decided at that moment we were done. We were going a completely different route and were going to get some answers. We managed to get in to see a naturopath two hours away in St Louis. After spending nearly two hours with her, she told me my daughter’s immune system was in hiatus. She, through our contaminated and nutrient-void food supply, had developed multiple food sensitivities, which was making her allergic to everything in her environment by keeping her immune system in “respond mode”. Now it all made sense. The only times she did start to get well was when she refused to eat for days because she was so sick. After not eating, she’d start to get well, but then she would eat…a perpetual cycle. We left there with a new plan, which involved stopping the toxic medications she was on and adding a plethora of supplements, herbs and homeopathic treatments. We were to adopt a whole foods diet, avoiding all dairy, soy, whey and wheat. Our real food journey began here with a trip to the local farm where I met Rachel, an encyclopedia for natural health, and was introduced to the works of Dr. Weston A. Price. My daughter started improving within a week and after about 8 weeks of natural medicine, chiropractic care and real food she was well and has been ever since. This was around the year 2011.
My third daughter was born in 2012 with a rare chromosomal arrangement. I’d have to write an entire book on her story, but I’ll share the beginning and end. We had no diagnosis or warning of what was to come—as far as we knew we were going to have a healthy baby girl. The last few weeks presented concerns and she was born at 4 lbs 15 ounces with six heart defects. She was flown via helicopter in her first twelve hours of life to the NICU at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. When she was ten months old we finally received a diagnosis: Inverted Duplication Deletion 8p. Looking at past cases, we weren’t sure if she’d ever walk, talk or eat solid foods…in fact, the odds were against us. The geneticist told us that the kids that have been documented are expected to need one-on-one care throughout life. Now, years later, she is walking, has emerging speech, and is 100% cognitively and socially there! We are on a lifelong journey to support her in every way until she’s reached her goals and dreams in this life. She is a precious angel and we are so blessed to have her.