There’s a lot to say about Adahlia’s current health status.
First, she’s really very sick right now. She had a temperature of 102 about a week ago, which went down after about 30 hours, and due to the amount of drooling that accompanied it, we attributed to teething. But though the temperature dropped, she remained very irritable. Very clinging to me. She was very pale. And then two days ago, her nose started running a copious amount of clear discharge. Her diapers had been a mess since we started the homeopathic spagyrics but the mess recently went up a notch on the nasty scale: very stinky. Dark orange, green, and even blackish. Watery. And then, around the time of her nose beginning to run, they began to be full of clear, stringy mucus.
Meanwhile, my throat had started to hurt too. It was a particular sort of raw that I hadn’t felt in more than a couple decades, and reminiscent of when I was a kid: it felt like strep throat.
Here’s a little more backstory. You see, Adahlia and I had both unknowingly been exposed to strep over Christmas, while visiting relatives. (Now, strep of course, does not cause runny noses. But remember that this did not develop until at least 5 days after Adahlia’s other symptoms, and once one infection takes hold, the body is less able to fend off others.)
When I found out that this relative that was under the weather actually had strep, I took measures to clean out our tonsils and prevent it from lodging with us. When my throat began to hurt, and Adahlia continued to look awful and sleep too much and cling to me, I decided we needed to have strep ruled out. So, the day after New Years, just to be safe, I went in for a quick throat check and rapid-strep test. The nurse said my tonsils were red and looked inflamed, but there were no white patches. The test for strep was negative.
That afternoon, I then took Adahlia to her pediatrician to rule out strep throat for her, too. The pediatrician (one substituting for our regular pediatrician) was unconcerned about strep, saying that the CDC says that children under 3 do not get strep throat. They can only be carriers. Adahlia refused to open her mouth for him so he checked the other typical orifices (ears, nose, eyes) and listened to her chest. He pronounced her situation viral (relying heavily on the most recent development of a runny nose and mucus in the diapers, which had started that morning). He agreed with me that she did look rather sallow, and did a quick test of her hemoglobin.
It was only 8.6 and she is just 2 weeks post-transfusion.
This isn’t necessarily a good news story. In the last 6 months, Adahlia has moved from needing transfusions every 5 weeks, to every 4 weeks, and now down to every 3 weeks.
And today, she has a wet-sounding cough full of phlegm, and her nasal discharge is yellow and thick, no longer clear and running.
Clear signs of an infection.
But there is more to this story, and the “more” is what has me hoping that it is, in fact, a good news story.
As I said earlier, when we arrived back to Portland from visiting said relatives, I had taken measures to prevent strep from making a home with us. Specifically, I had added a medicine to Adahlia and I’s regime as a preventative measure. (After all, adding an infection of streptococcus to chronic kidney disease or auto-immunity or bone marrow failure could be a really dangerous development.)
So, in addition to the homeopathic spagyrics to detoxify and stregnthen our livers, kidneys, and lymph, and the ones to clear out excess iron, build new blood, and remove heavy metals, I added a homeopathic spagyric to detoxify, drain, and clear the upper respiratory tract, including the tonsils. We started taking this immediately upon return and about 24 hours before Adahlia spiked a fever. And then she started acting sick, and I started feeling exhausted, and my throat began to hurt.
Coincidence? I think not.
Did we get strep? Of course not.
So what’s happening?
The medicines are working, and I had not anticipated how much they would move. In my case, it is clearing out the cellular “memory” of strep throat from my tonsils, along with any cellular or energetic lingering affects of the multiple strep infections I had as a child. Basically, it is doing what it is supposed to – clearing out and resetting my tonsils and upper respiratory tract.
But its effect is so much more extreme for Adahlia. Is it clearing out a lingering viral agent? Perhaps one lodged in her marrow and brain, like a herpes virus?
I believe so.
It could also be that she is weakened by all this detoxing, and that she has contracted a virus. But, I don’t think that it is as likely. After all, Joe and I are not sick like she is (at least not yet). And we are kissing her little snotty mouth all the time.
But, if she has a lingering, sub-clinical viral agent, what about the heavy metal intoxication?
Well, it is possible to have both. After all, once the terrain of the body is compromised, all sorts of things can go haywire. It gets very chicken-and-eggy.
So, about the heavy metals: we found out that Adahlia has high levels of mercury, antimony, and silver in her system.
How, of course, everyone wants to know (including me) did this happen?
The short answer is that we may never know.
The longer answer is that we need to be realistic. Our country is very toxic. Our world is very toxic. Antimony is a heavy metal toxin similar in its potency to arsenic. It is found in plastics and in materials used in paints and strippers, amongst other things. Did I become exposed to it as a child while my parents were remodeling? Did I become poisoned with it when I refinished my bathtub and painted my walls in my last house in KC? Or perhaps, it was when I painted my walls here in Portland? Perhaps my apartment was toxic? Perhaps the pipes are bad? Who knows.
Mercury, of course, can be found in fish. Japan recently had its big nuclear disaster, which occurred shortly before I became pregnant. We do eat a lot of fish – particularly salmon – though I do not honestly eat much in the way of canned tuna. But there are other places where you can get mercury poisoning. Again, as a child, I once broke open a thermometer and we watched the mercury roll around. I don’t remember touching it, but who knows. Would that really have been enough? As an adult, I mostly have white fillings in my cavities, but I did have a couple that were originally amalgam (mercury), and I still have one that has never been replaced. Is that the problem?
Silver? Well, I enjoy wearing silver jewelry more than gold, but that’s about all I can say about silver.
Yes, it certainly is confusing, especially as we aren’t the types of people one could easily point to and say, “well, they live an unhealthy life.” We eat organic fruits and veges. We eat free-range, organic, or natural chicken and other meats. And it really can’t be the vaccines, because they don’t put mercury in vaccines anymore, and Adahlia has only had one shot of one vaccine, at any rate. (But I’m so glad now, that I did not give her more!)
There are lots of thoughts on what could be to blame. And while I’m not big on fear, I am big on realism, and again, the truth is: None of us live a toxin-free life. If this could happen to me and to Adahlia, then it can happen to anyone.
Now, I was recently informed that there are several people who think that the Chinese herbs I am taking are to blame for Adahlia’s heavy metal situation. And I must admit, this greatly disappointed and saddened me. I had thought that these particular people supported me and believed in the intelligence of my efforts. And I realized that if these people think the Chinese herbs might be to blame, then surely, there were others.
So let me clear it up:
On one hand, I understand the concerns. China has some very serious pollution issues.
However, I very, very, very strongly doubt that any of our problems are due to the Chinese herbs.
Here’s why: For one, the herbs I receive for Adahlia and I are from a world-renown, well-respected physician, and the herbs are independently tested for pollutants and toxins. If there are top-quality herbs out there, Chinese or otherwise, these are them. Second, China is a big country. Most medicinal herbs grow in very specific, wild places. Saying that all of china is polluted is like saying that there are no organic, non-gmo foods in the US because so much of it is gmo and cross-contaminated. So, if we are going to say that all of China is polluted, then we need to also say that all the US is polluted and can’t be trusted, either. Third, the herbs I have been taking have helped her. Of course, you’d have to go on my word on that. You weren’t here when she was a newborn and absolutely crazed and clawing at her head and screaming, with strange tics, unable to breastfeed without doing something that looked like swimming freestyle, and other behaviors that clearly told me, if no one else, that something was not right in her brain. You haven’t witnessed her getting better firsthand, and unfortunately, there’s no measurement for preventative medicine, because there’s no way to say how bad things could be right now if we hadn’t taken the herbs. But I tell you: she would not be who she is today if I had just let things go.
Ok, so is the toxicity due to the Chinese herbs I took when I was pregnant?
No. Why? Because, first of all, I wasn’t taking any herbs or medicine at all – Chinese or otherwise – when I conceived Adahlia. I was not, and still am not, a huge fan of taking a bunch of supplements if you have reason to believe you are in a good state of health. (Too much of anything can be detrimental to the body, and it is possible to over-supplement.) About a month into the pregnancy, I began taking Chinese herbs because I was feeling very weak and exhausted and I had a sense that I needed help to carry this pregnancy to term. (Given what happened, with my episodes of kidney failure, I’d say I was right on.) I was under the care of the foremost practitioner of Chinese medicine for pregnant women here in the NW – a woman who teaches at both colleges of oriental medicine here in Portland, and who has helped hundreds of women over the past few decades conceive and carry to term healthy, happy babies. She has helped infertile women who have tried everything else, including fertility drugs and invitro fertilization, and were unable to conceive until she gave them acupuncture and Chinese herbs. She has helped women carry to term when they have miscarried multiple times before. The herbs she prescribes do not result in a bunch of babies with genetic or other problems. The herbs she prescribes save babies and make women into mommys.
So, please, folks: stop blaming the Chinese herbs.
It is like in the Superman movie, when people react with fear and hostility towards what they don’t understand, towards what threatens their perception of safety in their world.
Don’t be the masses, folks. Be Lois Lane. Chinese herbs are amazing. Learn about them before you disparage them.
So how DID Adahlia get heavy metal toxicity?
I don’t know. My best guess is that it is environmental toxicity built up over the last couple generations or that I was unknowingly exposed to something a few years ago. Think of all the plastics, pollutants, chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, and GMO foods that have been developed and distributed since 1900. How many generations of people does it take eating, drinking, and breathing, teeny-tiny amounts of poision and heavy metals before it starts to build up and affects the genetic code? How many generations can eat genetically modified foods before you start having a bunch of genetically modified people? My guess is that there are a lot more people out there with heavy metal toxicity than we’d like to think. And if I had to do it over again, if I were planning to get pregnant, I would do a full detox beforehand. I would flush everything, in every way, heavy metals and otherwise. Because at the time I conceived Adahlia, I thought I was healthy. I was part of a healthy, active community and I ate organic, health-full foods. Adahlia and I’s health collapse was a surprise to everyone.
The truth is that given the state of our environment, the question of how Adahlia got heavy metal toxicity is somewhat immaterial. While I will try to figure it out, the most important thing is for me to figure out how to get it out of Adahlia.
And that’s what I’m trying to do with the homeopathic spagyrics.
What’s amusing (sort of, and mostly sad) is that so many conventional, biomedical doctors discount homeopathy. After all, homeopathy is effectively just the energy of the plant, not the plant itself. In other words, there’s nothing measurable in the medicine.
And yet, these homeopathic spagyric medicines are clearly doing something. The one I took for helping me sleep has worked for both my mother and myself. The ones for alleviating stress have helped both my partner and myself. The ones to boost immunity have helped Adahlia’s white blood cell counts come up. And these latest ones have certainly kicked up some dust in Adahlia and I’s respiratory tract and tonsils.
So, there’s every reason for me to believe that the one for removing heavy metals will work, too. And, hopefully, also they will remove the excess iron from her blood.
After the toxicity is gone, viral or metal or otherwise, hopefully Adahlia’s bone marrow will kick in.
If these medicines aren’t able to remove the heavy metals, we will have to resort to very powerful IV medications to leech out the metals. Unfortunately, such drugs are toxic in themselves and patients using them need to be monitored closely to watch for liver and kidney failure. As of yet, I have no idea if a doctor would even agree to administer them to a toddler, especially a toddler with bone marrow failure. It could simply be too dangerous.
So, hopefully these homeopathics will work. There are signs that maybe they are working: the stinky, dark, discolored poop in her diaper, for example.
If these medicines are working, you might ask, why is Adahlia needing transfusions more frequently?
I am thinking that it might be because her system is under strain from the metals being pulled out from her tissues. In her blood stream, they wreck even more havoc than they did when they were stored. But they must be pulled out in order for her elimination organs to then push them out of her.
It is obviously a very tenuous and tense time. She looks awful and I am concerned.
It is very difficult to be both medical practitioner and mother to a very sick child with a unique and life-threatening illness. Looking at her, part of me starts to panic. The other part of me urges me to remain calm, to remain observant, and to rely upon the theories and understandings and wisdom I have learned about the body and am applying to her. And yet, as difficult as it is to balance these two sides, it is also a blessing. Because when she is very ill and refuses to eat anything solid, as mother, I can breastfeed her, and nap with her, and hold and comfort her. I have my mother’s intuition, which has never once, not yet, failed me. And as an integrative medical practitioner, as the one directing the blending of these therapies from all these different traditions, from conventional to herbal to spiritual medicine, I have the best chance of finding a cure for her.
And that’s what its about for me.
That is my life, nearly every waking moment of it (and many of my dreams).
I will find a cure for her.
If these medicines don’t work, I have more tricks up my sleeve.
There are more rabbits to chase.
There are more trees to sniff up.
More holes to slip into and shine a light around.
I do hope researchers find a cure for DBA.
But if they don’t, I will.
And if I don’t, I will make such a ruckus that eventually, someone will.
At the last transfusion, Adahlia’s doctors were pushing me to start her on steriods. I asked them which forms of DBA respond to steroids and which don’t and they said that no one is tracking that information. In other words, while we know that there are different genes that have mutations associated with DBA, such as RPS19 and RPS26, they aren’t recording that so-and-so, with the RPS19 mutation, didn’t respond to steriods, while this guy over here with the RPS26 mutation, did.
I was astounded. Wouldnt that be valuable information? I asked. Its not like it would be impossible to track. We know who has various mutations. Couldn’t we make a table of whether or not they responded to steriods and see if there is trend? Maybe that would help parents (and doctors) decide if putting a child on steriods is the right decision or not. I mean, to have the information and not track it… well, that is just bad science.
The doctors response was that they wished that such information was tracked, but: “honestly, no one’s invested enough to do that.”
….. Invested enough?!? In the lives of children??
Well, if its a matter of investment, no one — and I mean no one — is more invested than I.
It’s only been 2.5 weeks since Adahlia’s last transfusion. And she needs one. She very clearly feels rotten. I watch her closely and constantly. I wonder how fast, exactly, is her Hb dropping? Will she make it to Wednesday? What will her count be by then? Is she in danger? Is this detox maybe too much for her system to handle? Can her heart take it? Her kidneys?
Tonight, as I tucked Adahlia’s feet into her pajama footies and rubbed castor oil onto her belly, I told her: “I’m not giving up. You hang in there. We’ll get you through this. And if this doesn’t work, I have more ideas. There are other things we can try. I’m not giving up on you. We will get you better!”
And I know one other thing: she’s as tough and spirited as they come, and she’s not giving up, either.
If you read this blog, and you’ve read this far (bless you!) please pray for Adahlia. Keep her in your prayers for the next 4 days, until she has her transfusion on Wednesday. Send her your angels and protectors. She needs your light and love and strength!!