By Cathy Jameson
Things usually happen in threes, so I’m told. You hear about a death of a famous celebrity and before week’s end two more keel over. With autism, the three things that made me go ‘hmmm’ was learning about the gut-brain-immune system relationship. In those early days of wondering what happened to my child, I realized that Ronan had a messed-up gut, lived in a brain fog daily and went between hyper- and hypo-immune responses. Initially, I would read almost three hours each night and finally the day came when I linked my son’s issues to his vaccine injury. It was the triple vaccine, the DTaP, which contributed to the roller coaster ride from hell we’ve been on the last three years. Add Hep B and the flu vaccine, and well, there you go, that’s three environmental triggers, the shots that wounded Ronan and blindsided us.
We’ve seen three neurologists in the last three years. All three wanted to do oodles of tests and ultimately pushed prescriptions on us. I asked, begged, no, PLEADED, “Aren’t there vitamins, supplements or a diet that can help my child?” Nope, toss those three useful alternatives to prescriptions drugs out the window, these docs said. One neurologist shook his head, looked me in the eye and said, “Just fill the script, Mrs. Jameson.” Walking quickly out of the exam room, he left me crying my eyes out. How do you like that for modern medicine?
It took three tries to find a DAN! doctor that fit our son’s mold. We know that old phrase, “When you’ve seen one person with autism, you’ve seen one person with autism.” Until I figured out what my child needed (yes, little ol’ me had to do the majority of the research), I knew we had to leave the two practices with the cookie-cutter one-treatment-fits-all kids-on-the-spectrum. We had to find someone who could meet our child’s needs and not the other way around.
The third doctor finally saw Ronan as an individual who had made some progress already. From the beginning of Ronan’s third year doing biomedical intervention, we have seen improvements, and we remain more hopeful that this third physician walks with us, not doing circles around us.
In the meantime, family life goes on. When my busy day is just about done, and I’m about to collapse, there’s more to check off on my to-do list. I have to grab the kids’ jammies, lay out tomorrow’s school clothes and get two school meals ready for Ronan. He’s just turned five and is lighting up our evenings more and more which leaves me little time to goof off. Now, Ronan wants attention, seeks me or Daddy and actually plays again. He spoke three times last week saying ‘aa-waaa’ for “water.” He also said “owl” while watching a Winnie the Pooh movie with Owl in it. Oh, and Ronan said the letter “T” as he attempted to say Thomas! The child who used to flick my light switches on and off incessantly now attempts to make the Sign of the Cross as we begin evening prayers. He lays down without a fight to get his diaper changed and even gives me kisses on the cheek WITH a hug before it’s time for bed. Don’t pinch me yet, I’m more nervous than excited that my son is actually recovering!
Nightly, I peel myself off the floor from sheer exhaustion; trying to get one last hug or snuggle from the kids, we get the little ones ready for bed. We start the bedtime routine while changing diapers. Ronan wears the largest size diaper we can find, plus a diaper insert and a pull-up. We call this the triple threat as it one of the most important parts of nighttime security for us. We’ve always said if you look at Ronan, he’ll pee. At night, the kid is a faucet, and we find a well-soaked boy each morning. The triple threat relieves the nighttime waking to change a fully soaked diaper, boy and bedding.
I hope one day, that Ronan figures out that a wet diaper is uncomfortable and that the stinky poo diapers are just not fun to hang out in. He still doesn’t ‘own’ the potty training cues yet, but hey, the kid is just now coming back into our world. He’s got awareness of others and is attempting to talk so maybe potty training can be that third ‘happening in three’ thing for him down the road.
Ronan is working the hardest. He’s putting in the most effort as I revel in this wide-awake time. As a new five year old who seems to be acting like a typical two and almost three-year old, I’ll give him a few more months to catch up to his peers. He’s got three years of serious catch-up time to do.
Three cheers for Ronan, you keep on inspiring those closest to you!
Cathy Jameson and her husband have 4 children and one more “waiting in the wings.” They get all kinds of giddy watching Ronan and his three siblings interact. The siblings get as much encouragement as Ronan lately as they have quickly become his teachers and cheerleaders as Ronan is more aware of his family!