Thursday, November 5, 2009
Saturday, June 7, 2008
The doctor listened to his lungs, looked in his ears, and gave him a very thorough exam. Diagnosis: a no name virus not requiring antibiotics. I was both relieved and disappointed. Of course, I was relieved because my son’s condition wasn’t serious and also because I dread antibiotics given our history of chronic systemic yeast and spectrum issues. On the other hand, I was disappointed but not because I wanted antibiotics to eliminate my son’s health issue. I was disappointed in myself for reverting to allopathic medicine when the going got tough. At the time I rationalized my son was seriously ill and for whatever reason I thought allopathic medicine was most necessary in the face of serious illness.
I must preface this by saying even today if my children are very ill and not recovering the way they should, I will still take them in for a doctor visit. I may not ever fill the script if one is prescribed but I think maintaining my child’s health is far and away more important than maintaining my ego as a homeopath. But as time went on, I began to realize, perhaps when things become more serious is precisely the time I should be running to homeopathy, not allopathy.
History has shown us in serious epidemics such as the 1918 flu pandemic, homeopathy saved more patients than allopathy. In fact, the mortality rate for homeopathic patients was 1% while the rate for conventional medicine patients was over 30%. This realization simply meant I had to re-examine what exactly my “comfort zone” was and why when pushed past it I thought allopathy was the better choice.
I was given this opportunity later in the year when my oldest daughter developed a critical illness called Henoch Schonlein Purpura (HSP), possibly as a latent consequence of vaccine reaction. Starting as just a rash on her lower legs, she eventually became covered in bruises, was bleeding internally from the kidneys and intestines, and paralyzed from the neck down. We rushed her to the hospital when it became clear something was seriously wrong with her. In fact, she made 5 visits to the ER that week for IV fluids.
Unfortunately, (or perhaps fortunately) allopathic medicine offers no treatment for HSP. Steroids and chemotherapy are their best offerings and neither result in a quick or permanent cure. In many studies, steroids provided absolutely no benefit but doctors continue to prescribe them. The kidney specialist we saw told us it would take one to two years for the steroids to stop her kidneys from losing protein and bleeding. We were told without a biopsy and immediate steroids, my daughter’s kidneys would be permanently damaged. I’m not sure how a year or two of steroids would somehow prevent this if the need for treatment was so urgent. However, I do know the right homeopathic remedy stopped the protein within 3 days. She quickly regained her health and has never been better.
The list of side effects for steroids is a mile long. The specialist guaranteed my daughter would experience weight gain, fatigue, a swollen face, stomach pain, nausea, lowered resistance to infections, and mood swings. She spoke for 5 minutes about the various side effects, some of which can be permanent. Worst of all, there was no guarantee the steroids would even work.
Along with unpleasant and perhaps long lasting side effects, allopathic medicine can often make us sicker. Recent studies indicate acetaminophen can deplete glutathione levels decreasing immunity and the body’s ability to detoxify. Depleted glutathione levels have also been implicated in autistic spectrum disorder. Accidental acetaminophen overdose has been identified as the number one cause of acute liver failure in the United States. Ibuprofen has also been cited as creating serious adverse reactions in children who are mildly dehydrated, and can cause two rare but serious disorders. While many studies show the use of these two over-the-counter medicines as mostly safe, the very act of using them to suppress the illness or fever can have consequences. A series of studies show using acetaminophen during the flu can prolong the illness by up to 3.5 days. And giving these medicines to children to treat a fever, robs the body of its natural defense to fight off the illness at hand.
Usually, allopathic medicines don’t cure illness. They simply suppress symptoms. Antibiotics, steroids, even acetaminophen and ibuprofen can drive an illness deeper so eventually a more serious issue may develop. A prime example of this is children who develop asthma after using corticosteroid crèmes to treat eczema. Instead of using the skin to express dis-ease in the body, the lungs now become the target of this expression. Most of us were never taught the symptoms are not the illness itself, but manifest as the way our bodies attempt to restore health. Some medicines can even create the need for more medication.
This is often seen in the elderly who are put on one medication after the other when each new medication brings new side effects (symptoms). Thus each new “symptom” results in a new medication until they are on 5 or more different medications. In 2005, senior citizens averaged over 27 prescriptions annually!
This is not to say allopathic medicine does no good or there isn’t a need for certain medications. For many people, allopathic medicine is a true lifesaver. But for many others, it creates the ill health it endeavors to appease. I turned away from allopathic medicine for these very reasons. It failed me and it failed my children who experienced severe and long lasting ill effects as a result of their routine infant vaccinations.
As a homeopath, it is very frustrating that it is all too easy to turn away from homeopathy in times of illness and put our trust and faith back in allopathic medicine. As a parent, I completely understand this response and would never criticize another parent for choosing what they think is the best care for their child. In fact, I encourage parents to see a doctor to ensure their child is receiving timely care. Overtime though, my own “comfort zone” has shifted and I now believe homeopathy is the right choice for my children even in times of serious illness, actually, especially in times of serious illness.
The problem is all the moms and dads out there don’t have access to a skilled homeopath for acute treatment. What do they do? Homeopathy takes years of training and acutes are often especially difficult as so many remedies begin to look the same as we search through books with bleary eyes and a spouse in the background yelling at us to just give the kid some ibuprofen or the antibiotic so everyone can get some sleep. For some parents, the ideal situation is to treat our kids the easiest, fastest method possible and then use homeopathy to clean up the fallout. In times of serious illnesses, as a parent, it doesn't matter what kind of medicine makes our children better, it only matters that it does.
But are we trading the quick fix for more serious chronic illness? At what point will homeopathy not be able to address the suppression of allopathic meds? Many of the chronic illnesses experienced today are a result of suppressed symptoms/illness. Continued suppression makes the homeopathic case that much more complicated and difficult to cure.
Additionally, we are already seeing antibiotics fail and more and more virulent illnesses which don’t respond to any allopathic treatment. Thankfully, homeopathy can frequently treat that which allopathic medicine cannot.
Many come to homeopathy as a last resort because all else has failed. This has made many a believer in homeopathy. Perhaps it is wishful thinking for me to hope some day homeopathy will be the medicine of first choice, not a treatment of last resort.
Truly, Erica McPhee
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
This has scared the you know what out of me! Not to mention enraged me and saddened me. But when I watched the State's Attorney talk about the situation, it became clear this was really a case of semantics. Unfortunately all the hoopla was really about making a decision and complying with the state law. It wasn't that the children weren't vaccinated per say but that they did not file the proper exemption forms if that was their choice.
I know many will think I am nuts for saying this but I can understand if that is really what it is about. They want to have their records straight - either the children are vaccinated or their parents have filed an exemption. With no exemption filed, these parents are not complying with state law. Believe me, I am the first one to advocate our rights to an exemption but to just not comply was the problem.
The enraging part is the forced compliance and the lack of informed consent regarding parents' legal rights. So basically the parents who were not in compliance were duped into vaccinating their children. But what would we expect? If the state law mandates all children be vaccinated for a specific disease, clearly they enacted this law because they believe it to be a good idea (or for more sinister reasons which are beyond my speculation). So, why would they then promote filing the exemptions? They wouldn't because this would go against their goal of having all children vaccinated. Come now - has *any* doctor, school nurse, or other "official" *ever* offered up - "oh by the way, you don't *have* to have these shots - you can file an exemption." Probably not! We, as parents, uncovered it on our own. I dare say the majority of doctors out there don't even know there are exemption laws!
However, the bottom line was - either have your child vaccinated or file your exemption - just don't not comply. No one was saying you can't file an exemption, your child has to be vaccinated. Just like they weren't saying you can. They just weren't saying it! That's the dubious part. Of course I do not agree with their scare tactic method. But I can understand them wanting to have compliance - whether it be to be vaccinated or to file your exemption. And according to the state attorney (who seemed completely baffled that this was truly a big deal! - Duh!) they had tried several times to send messages home for compliance to no avail.
The conspiracy part of me believes this was a test run to see how far parents could be pushed. I also question if the school district would be as concerned if they weren't in jeopardy of losing funding for reaching a certain vaccination compliance rate. And for those whose records were supposedly lost requiring they be revaccinated - that's tragic as they were backed into a corner. Unfortunately the onus is on the parents to provide the documentation from medical records, not for the school to maintain those records (that's a completely different discussion on its own because as I parent I would be furious if they lost the records). But as we all know with paperwork - keep your copies! Don't just have your child vaccinated again because the school lost the records. Obtain copies of your child's medical records! If you can't get those, then file an exemption. (This would truly be a case where the parent is forced to either comply with the vaccine or file an erroneous exemption.)
Additionally, for those of us that put our guts up and filed our exemptions (in almost every case going against the grain), it is a cop out for those that just don't vaccinate and don't claim exemption. In my eyes, the more parents that file exemptions, the more it reinforces a larger consensus that vaccinating for some is not the best choice.
Monday, November 19, 2007
The Children's Health Environmental Coalition states:
The amount of lead in the lights and other consumer products with warning labels may vary considerably. It is not clear if the amount of lead that is released poses a risk to human health. Some tests show that lead could come off in the hands. Note that nearly all appliance cords are covered with PVC that contains lead."
See Arkansas based Walmart's response to the light/lead concern:
"It is our understanding that the manufacturers' use of lead in these products is to improve the safety of the lights. We are told that the use of lead is required by Underwriters Laboratory, an organization that certifies the safety of lighting products in the United States. The amount of lead used is a tiny amount and does not exceed any applicable federal guidelines. Our holiday lights meet industry standards and are compliant with state and federal regulations governing their sale.
However, the State of California requires a warning label on any product that contains lead in amounts that exceed California's very low threshold for warning of the presence of lead. The warning doesn't indicate that the product is illegal to sell. It only indicates that the product contains a substance, which California considers to be hazardous. At the present time, no other state requires a similar warning. To avoid separate packaging, many manufacturers place the Californian-required label on product they ship to other states."
So, unfortunately, there are no completely lead free lights. Even lights manufactured in the U.S. contain lead (in the cord). It is one more thing that can be added to our never ending list of things to worry about.
sources: http://www.holidaycreations.com/wheretobuy.html Some Ace Hardware, COSTCO, Hobby Lobby, Kroger, Long's, and Lowes stores may carry them as well.
NOTE: I have not used these and cannot attest to their performance! I have no connection with the sites linked and accept no responsibility for them.
These lights are also very energy conscious. Instead of burning the typical 350 watts for a 70 light set, the 100 light set burns only 3.6 watts. That means if a traditional wattage set is used 8 hours per day, for 7 days a week, at an $.08 electricity rate, you will save $33 every month!
If you already own an artificial tree, you can have it tested for lead. You can order a test kit from the Environmental Quality Institute at the University of North Carolina. Mail a check for $15, made out to the University of North Carolina-Asheville, to:
- Do not allow children to touch the branches.
- Do not allow children to touch or handle the lights.
- If you touch the tree, wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
- Do not vacuum dust from under the tree which could then spread lead dust throughout your home.
- Use a tree skirt which you can remove and wash weekly.
- Avoid lights made in China or other foreign countries which do not restrict the use of lead.
- Wearing gloves, gently wipe down all presents under the tree with a moist cloth on Christmas Eve.
While this is something to be considered seriously, for our family it falls under the "minimum exposure, minimum risk" category. We will still have Christmas lights at our home. But I'm on my way out to purchase a lead-free tree and LED lights.
However, if your child is seriously heavy metal toxic and/or has a known toxicity level of lead, you might think twice about using traditional Christmas lights. Wishing you a safe and happy holiday!
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Speaking of which, last month another child punched Kaiden in the stomach at the bus stop for no apparent reason. Kaiden was taken by surprise and extremely upset. I decided not to say anything at the school as I realize at some point he will need to start sticking up for himself and he is going to encounter bullies his whole life. Although this was extremely difficult for me - it's hard to let go of the parent advocate role - I also realized this is "normal." Kids fight, kids get bullied. It is not about where he came from or what he's been through. No one here knows that. It's about being just a kid. So we talked about the best ways to deal with issues like this, what bullying is, what *not* to do, and when it is appropriate to "tattle", etc.
While his father and I had a few carefully selected, "choice" words about this child and had to stuff the defensive parent instinct, Kaiden took a different approach.
A few days later he says at dinner time, "Hey you know the kid ... the one who punched me in the stomach?"
"Yes..." we all said hesitantly.
"Well, we're friends now."
"Really?!" I said very surprised. "How did that happen?"
Kaiden responded, "I just asked him. We were riding on the bus and I said, 'Hey, do you want to just forget all this and be friends instead?' and the kid said, 'Sure.' So now we're friends."
That's Kaiden! I suppose "the kid" could have just as easily clocked his block as said, "sure" but he didn't and the situation was nicely diffused. I was so proud of Kaiden! Nice kid - 1; Bully - 0
On another note, while socially Kaiden is flourishing, academically he's faltering. Just a few years ago Kaiden was reading dinosaur encyclopedias and naming states on the map. But we said goodbye to most of his "super" learning when we said goodbye to autism. Now in first grade, his teacher just informed me at his parent/teacher conference that Kaiden is behind in reading skills.
I felt just like Kaiden did at the bus stop - sucker punched in the stomach. It seems in all our worry about how Kaiden would do socially, we forgot about keeping up with his academic skills. He is so bright and verbally is on par with most adults we know! I guess we just let the reading thing slip. Math is clearly a strong point and comes very easy for him.
There is also a part of me that thinks we lost the first few years and forget that he's now a 1st grader. This was a huge wake up call for me as a parent - the job is never done! So we've stepped up the reading at home and put Kaiden back on a new chronic remedy. The teacher said she saw a huge leap in just two weeks.
Do I think the reading issue is related to his previous autism? Maybe... I have always suspected he is dyslexic. He still has problems with letter reversal but I have been assured up until now this is "normal" learning behavior. I've noticed when he reads he sometimes makes the "M" sound when he sees "W" or the "D" sound when he sees "B." Is this normal? I don't know! Is it relevant to his past? I ask myself that all the time.
I have decided it isn't really. What matters now is that he's a 1st grader who is behind in reading - for whatever reason - not that he is recovered from autism and now having reading problems. It is in some ways, so hard to let go of that past but I cannot let it haunt our future. It clearly is not who he is now.
So what's the plan? We'll keep working on the reading and we'll step up the cod liver oil. We'll continue to thank God daily for his recovery. We'll watch out for sucker punches to the stomach. And most importantly, we'll celebrate our two-time student of the month!
Friday, September 21, 2007
But, homeopathy really isn't a miracle. A miracle by definition is an effect or extraordinary event inexplicable by the laws of nature and ascribed to a supernatural cause or act of God. Homeopathy, on the other hand, works precisely by a strict set of guidelines - based on the natural laws of physics. And it is not directly an act of God, but God's given gifts of nature that allow us to make remedies.
Though it may sometimes seem like we magically get better, homeopathy is far from magic. Magic is an illusion (something presenting a false impression of reality). Unlike in allopathic medicine where (toxic) drugs are used to suppress symptoms and give the illusion of wellness, homeopathy cures symptoms and allows true health and healing.
Now that we live in the Bible Belt, I'm saddened by the realization there are some people completely opposed to homeopathy as they believe it to be "the work of the devil" or occultist in nature. This is simply not true. There is much confusion in the general population about what homeopathy is and what it is not.
Religion is a personal issue - one I have no desire to debate. What I do want is to help people understand what homeopathy really is (and isn't) so that those who follow a strict religious code can decide whether homeopathy is a good choice for them and their family. There is so much misinformation out there about homeopathy, many people may miss out on true healing because of misconceptions and false information.
Homeopathy is not "New Age." In fact, it is over 200 years old and based on physical and scientific principles realized more than two thousand years ago during the time of Hippocrates, a Greek physician known as the Father of Medicine. Though remedies are made from natural elements of the earth (plant, mineral, or animal - usually milk - in origin), homeopathy is NOT herbs or crystals. True classical homeopathy does NOT employ muscle testing, kinetic energy, altered states of conscious, or any other astrological, or psychic healing techniques.
Homeopathy is a science-based medicine following a strict set of rules and principles layed out by its founder, Samuel Hahnemann (a medical doctor who became dissatisfied with the effects allopathic medicine was having on his patients). While religion has no role in homeopathic medicine (training or practice), I have heard from many who receive homeopathic medicine talk of their "spiritual awakening" meaning, they have found a stronger connection to God and their religion. This is healing, not spiritualism or occultist influence.
Homeopathy does not diagnose illness nor should a good homeopathic practitioner ever direct someone away from their medical physician. Homeopathy is a treatment - a medicine - a tool used in healing. It is as much art as science in its method of restoring good health. Although all homeopaths should follow the aphorisms of The Organon, (the guidelines to practice layed out by Hahnemann), the quality of homeopaths varies just as no two doctors practice exactly alike. If you've ever seen a different physician for a second opinion, you can get two completely different answers and recommendations from two different physicians for the same illness. This is where the finesse of practice distinguishes one from another but does not take away from the science of the medicine.
So while some may dabble in other modalities, true classical homeopathy does not. It follows the tried and true guiding principles resulting in repeatable cures when the remedy is matched to the person's unique symptoms. It is safe and effective. It's goal is the speedy, gentle, permanent return to good health. Homeopathic medicine *is* an amazing alternative in today's world where many are searching for a miracle.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
My heart goes out to both of these amazing women for sharing with the world. It isn't easy. I struggle every day with whether I should continue sharing my son's journey and I am small potatoes compared to these two women. I'm no one from no where and don't make my career based on the media and people's opinions of me.
Since moving to Florida I have wondered whether we are doing Kaiden a disservice by continuing to share his story. But then I hear from another mom who says our story has helped their child and I know God has shown me our purpose in this life. Kaiden does attend traditional school with no mention of autism. He is doing fantastic and has many friends. No one here knows he "used to have" autism.
The thing that makes my heart race when I watch these moms on Oprah... if only they knew about homeopathy. What more could be done for their sons? I feel it's my personal responsibility to tell them and everyone about homeopathy because it is the one thing that will not only address the current issues but address the weakness that made our kids vulnerable in the first place. Without that, they are still susceptible to the same toxicity somewhere down the line.
Vaccines are not the only impetus to autism. It is the biggest, by far, but I know from watching my 3rd child - now almost 2 and completely unvaccinated that the underlying predisposition is sometimes so strong, it won't take a vaccine to cause autism. I do believe my son's autism was triggered by his first and only round of immunizations. But I saw my beautiful, unvaccinated daughter at 6 months old when we introduced food start walking on her toes and stop sleeping. I even saw a headbang here and there which, believe me, sent me into a state of post traumatic stress so bad I was nearly paralyzed. Within a month of starting her on a constitutional remedy, she began sleeping through the night again, stopped her funky behaviors, and stopped her chronic runny nose.
But even now at 2years, 1 month, she is slightly speech delayed. She's never been vaccinated but she was predisposed. I believe most likely from my disastrous MMR revax in college. "Science" shows no correlation between vaccines and autism... well, maybe not. But who is to say, these children aren't predisposed because *their* parents were vaccinated. Where are the studies showing how vaccines effect our immune system in the long run or even how they effect our DNA.
The late Dr. Edward Yazbak dedicated much time and effort studying the correlation between mothers who were revaccinated with the MMR vaccine as adults and then going on to have a child with autism. So even though my son never had the MMR vaccine, the MMR revax I received years before I even had him may have contributed to his susceptibility. And of course, my own mercury toxicity certainly contributed to all three of my children's developmental "issues."
So we can target this or that as the "one" thing that caused our children's autism. But in the end, it is really our own genetic weaknesses which leave us vulnerable. We cannot escape it. Only homeopathy can help us heal it.