Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Breathe...

As I sit in my chair on this crisp evening, I take a deep breath. I feel like I have to keep reminding myself to do that over the last few weeks. My four year old son, Mason has been dealing with motor tics for about a year. He would tense up and do repetitive motions that he couldn't control. They began to get worse, much worse in fact that each time he had an episode, I would be in tears and he was left frustrated. The movements were changing and becoming more obvious. They happen randomly, when he is tired, excited, quiet, it really doesn't matter.  He was also showing other signs of a behavior issues. He would be bouncing off the walls, not sleeping, and breaking out into inconsolable (and sometimes violent) tantrums.  I finally decided that something had to be done. And this is the beginning of my story...

About a month ago, I called Mason's doctor to set up his four year checkup. I had planned to bring up the tics at this appointment. I briefly spoke to the nurse who told me just to ignore them. Over the following two weeks, the tics began to change. Usually his movements were around his face. Now I started noticing that he was putting his hands behind his head. I tried to put off my worries until his appointment. Talk within my family started to wear on me. Words like "autistic" were being thrown onto the table. How could my perfect little boy be having issues like this? Then the bad night happened. My family went out to dinner. We don't do this much since is difficult with Mason's normal behavior.  He was the worst I have ever seen him. Non-stop tics, crying, frustration... It was a mess.I decided that night that I needed to be a little more diligent in finding a solution. The next morning, I called his pediatrician. We had an appointment in a week, but I was hoping they could maybe fit us in earlier. I wasn't sure my nerves would take another week. The nurse got me an appointment the next day with a different doctor in the practice. As I hung up the phone, I felt at least some relief knowing I only had to wait another twenty-four hours. My phone rang then, with the same nurse on the other end. "I'm sorry Ms. Weaver, this doctor won't see your son." At that instant I couldn't control my emotions any more. I sobbed while this nurse on the other end of the phone tried to console me. Compassion did not seem to be one of her positive personality traits. She was extremely condescending and kept telling me in a tone that "It's not like its life threatening." She also questioned if I was mistaking these tics for "typical four year old behavior." I wanted to throw my phone against a wall. I wanted to hang up on this nurse. I wanted to drive to the office and make her cry. I hung up, leaving the conversation that we would just come there in a week.

My grandmother called me about a half hour later. She had called a holistic doctor the next town over to see if she would at least try to figure of what was causing these issues. We had an appointment the next day. That morning I tried to wake up a little more positive. I believe in the power of natural medicine and healing. I have experienced it first hand. I knew she would try to find the root cause instead of just medicating the symptoms that most traditional doctors are doing. Mason sat on the floor her office, playing with her little medicine bottles and doing lots of tics. We went over everything in his history, his diet, what cleaning products I use, and so forth. Her determination was that his nervous system was not functioning properly because some of his glands were out of whack. She stated that these were due to a virus he developed due to his vaccinations. She also believed it was because of the tooth he is missing. Her recommendations were to do a detox remedy (drops to put on his wrists) and to do a complete diet overhaul: no dairy, wheat, sugar, or processed  foods. He also left with some vitamins and supplements. Everything she was telling me seemed to make sense.

I felt great leaving her office. About a mile down the road, everything started to hit me. What am I supposed to feed my hot-dog-pop-tart-frozen-waffle kid? Then the guilt arrived... I am such a bad mother! If I just took a minute to slow down from work, meetings, PTA, I would have caught this sooner. If I would have paid more attention to the food I was buying, I could have prevented it from getting this bad.  My kids are full of chemicals and crap from all the horrible "food" they eat. They are moody and hyper and hard to deal with sometimes. Wait a minute... I am the same way. An epiphany... right there in the car. The food issues are not just Mason's problem. They are a family problem. And we are going to solve this problem as a family.

After two days of the detox drops, Mason got pretty sick. This is common when detoxing though so we just got through it the best we could. I knew that even though short term it was making him upset, the long term benefits would outweigh the bad. Luckily all this was happening on a weekend so I could be home. I had no idea what to feed the kid so I just made due with anything I could. I am confident that I went to the market every day for five days.

Monday was the day. It was the day that I knew this was the right path. Every day Mason brings me white sheets of paper home  from daycare with scribbles that can not be interpreted. Monday he brought me a white sheet of paper with a person and a flower. The rest of the days that followed that week, his pictures changed into his family, a firetruck and a house. I have heard each day from his daycare provider how much she sees him changing. He can focus. He is calmer. He wants to play games with other kids. He has less outbursts and tantrums. All good news and this mom's heart was happy.

I will spare you from the long version of the horrible experience that happened at the appointment with his regular pediatrician. My concerns were completely dismissed as well as the progress he was making. I got more condescending remarks while expressing my feelings regarding the nurse on the phone. We left with indirect diagnosis of ADHD (followed by a talk of sedation medication) and a referral to a neurologist and a child psychiatrist. Oh yeah, we also left with a real desire to find a new pediatrician.

 So I am left today with a new outlook on food, good parenting, and traditional medicine. I am uncertain where this leaves me with this blog as well. It is in my heart to write and share my experiences but I think I am being pulled more to documenting our health journey. I will sleep on this a few nights and be lead with my heart.  I think I need to do more of that.


  1. I don't see why you can't do both. Your family's health is part of your experiences, too. I'm interested in reading both.

  2. All I want to do is write. I want to make sure I can manage both though. BTW, I like your new blog!

  3. Tracy, I'm on the back side of raising kids. Well, almost. I am now helping with raising a rather rambucious eight year old grandson. My heart goes out to you as a mother of a child with a condition that doesn't fit well with our culture. First off, you are not a bad mother. We all have the pull of society on our lives whether it's work or activities, life is about choices of what we do with time. You are making the right choice to pursue a direction that's helpful for your child.

    In my humble opinion, the most interesting blogs are about real life and how it's lived. The direction of my blog has changed many times. It's more about a life journey than any perticular subject.

    I hope that things work out for your little guy.

    Have the best day that you can.