Monday, January 14, 2008

A Happy 2008 so far

We've done it – T is off all dietary restrictions. No more Specific Carbohydrate Diet or Gluten Free Casein Free diets. And the great news is that we've seen no negative side effects since reintroducing normal foods back into his diet…in fact, he has had completely normal poops for nearly 10 days now. He smiles a lot, looks at us more, makes more attempts to communicate, and is SO happy when I put that peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread in front of him. Glorious! I'm so happy for him, and I'm so glad to have my life back after months of making so much food from scratch. I would have gladly done that baking for the rest of my life if we had seen improvements in T's behavior and poops, but we didn't, and I'm not shedding any tears over the diet chapter of his life being done. We will continue to feed him as clean, organic and chemical-free a diet as possible – that's good for anyone – but no more autism diets. THEY DIDN'T WORK FOR HIM!!!

Ah, the double edged sword of these biomedical treatments: they give you hope, but they don't always work. I have a friend here who humbles me (and honestly, concerns me) with just how far she's willing to go with the biomedical interventions. Her beloved son is 4 and they've done over 2 years of biomedical treatments on him, with little to show for it. Her heart is breaking, and mine breaks for her. At coffee this morning I told her just how dedicated she is, and how blown away I am by her drive and energy and willingness to try anything to help her little guy. "You've tried everything", I told her. "And it hasn't made one bit of difference", she said, eyes lowering and holding back tears. To you, dear friend, I say, OF COURSE it's made a difference! You know what doesn't work! You love your son! You've TRIED, and can have some peace of mind knowing that at least you've left no stone unturned. But it doesn't matter to her. She's devastated, and it makes me so angry for her. The DAN! Approach does offer hope for improvement, and many children have been helped, but on the other hand, when nothing else has helped and this carrot of hope is dangled in front of you, always just out of reach for some, it hardens the blow when these interventions don't work either.

I haven't had the same reaction this friend is experiencing. I'm relieved that we tried it, and equally relieved that it didn't work. I know that we gave it as close to a scientific trial as we could have, and we didn't see the results we were supposed to. It's going to allow me to have more time to be a mommy to T instead of cooking all the time and mixing supplements into nut butters. We aren't giving up on all the DAN! Stuff, we're just stopping the special diets.

T and I made chocolate chip cookies on Saturday. We hadn't done that in 11 months. He remembered though, and reached up for the mixing blade when I was done mixing the batter. I paused for a moment, wondering about the raw eggs in the batter, and then thought "What the hell? He's been deprived for so long, and I have eaten WAY too much raw cookie dough to have any reasonable argument as to why he shouldn't have any." So I handed it to him, and he was in sheer 6 year old bliss for about 15 minutes, carefully fingering off each little smear of dough. I'm so happy to have these moments with him again.

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