What a freaking day.
I took the boys to see their developmental pediatrician today, which is always a treat. Don’t get me wrong, I like him, it’s just always overwhelming, discouraging, enlightening, hopeful, and depressing all wrapped into one.
For Jack it was more of a “tune up”; try these supplements, let’s get a few more tests, progress is there and we’re happy. Not to poo poo it, because there were significant changes to be made, but it was all stuff I can handle. And we also don’t want to make too many changes right now in light of the study.
Nathan was a different story. I pretty much laid it all out for the doctor (mind you, this is a two hour appointment, not your typical doctor’s visit). I continue to be extremely worried about Nate’s lack of progress. I am worried about language and skills, but most importantly right now I am worried about his stimming. How frequent it is, how intense it is. I mean we don’t even notice some of it anymore because it’s just the norm- the lap running, the waving things in front of his face, the humming, and the repeating of sounds over and over again. The constant need to be squeezed- arms, legs, sometimes head. And I have described this before in these appointments. But Nate hates any doctor’s office and usually curls up on my lap. Today he seemed to relax a bit- he’s been to this office a lot now, and he got restless after we were in that small room for a while. He got down; he ran his laps, made his sounds, waved his fingers. The “full Monty”. And the doctor saw all of it. You could see his level of concern growing as he watched- as were the number of recommendations he was writing down.
One of the things he said is something I have been saying all along. This just feels like yeast- the stimming, the grainy poop (sorry), the crazy laughter. The fact that he improves on nystatin but then immediately reverts to his old behaviors when it’s stopped. All of these things point to yeast. Not to mention that this issue tends to crop up in kids (note that these kids also have a genetic predisposition to this stuff) who are on lots of antibiotics when they are very young, and also on nebulizers. Yes, Nate was on both. Repeated upper respiratory and ear infections. Lots of wheezing, which has since resolved. The antibiotics kill off all of the good bacteria in the gut and leave it vulnerable to yeast growth. Repeat this multiple times and you could have a real mess on your hands. That’s where the doctor thinks we might be. If I could offer any advice to parents of little guys (and I usually don’t dispense advice in this blog) it would be this: put your kid on a probiotic. They have powdered ones you can mix in with breast milk or formula or even water. Give your little one the good bacteria. It’s a relatively cheap way to prevent this yeast overgrowth. Our world is TOO antibacterial at this point and I really believe it is causing more harm than good.
Long story short, the doctor wants me to send Nate’s urine for amino acid testing. The results of this testing show if certain byproducts of yeast or clostridium (another chronic gut infection) are present, and thus confirm the presence of the issue. There are few direct ways to test for this, but this is one of them. Of course this is not covered by insurance. We have put it off and treated empirically for suspected yeast. It’s time to bite the bullet and send off a check for $300 to have my kid’s urine tested. It’s just time. So he has his specimen collection bag on tonight- plus two diapers and zip up pajamas and tomorrow FedEx will pick up his pee (still makes me giggle). Once the results are in we will use them to guide our next steps- likely stronger probiotics, a stronger round of fluconazole, flagyl if needed for clostridium.
The other step we decided to take today was to start a “mitochondrial cocktail” for Nate. This sounds scary somehow right? But really it’s just a certain combination of supplements that help Nate’s mitochondria to function better. Apparently some of Nate’s more recent lab results have been pretty indicative that this is a problem for him. Here is a little more info on what that means:
What is the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in ASD?
All ASD is not mitochondrial disease. However, mitochondrial dysfunction has been found repeatedly to be prevalent in this group of children and adults. The brain and muscles require a tremendous amount of energy to function normally. Deficiencies in the ability to fuel brain neurons – as may occur with mitochondrial dysfunction – could lead to some of the symptoms of Autism.
Because mitochondria make ATP, as well as perform vital cellular tasks, mitochondrial dysfunction can result in less energy available to fuel the high-energy needs of the brain and muscles, and also leave free radicals in the system where they can cause damage. Overall, there is a large and growing body of research showing that individuals with ASD often have significant mitochondrial dysfunction, which may be a cause of, or contributing factor to, their development disorder.
So here is what the “doctor ordered” (before reading take a deep breath- I know I have to):
Carnitor 3 tsp 3x a day
Ester C 1000mg 2x a day
Vitamin E 400 IU 2x a day
Bcomplex 100mg 1-2x a day- B1, B2, B3, B6 (already gets B12 injections)
Alpha Lipoic Acid 1000mg 3x a day
Biotin 10mg 1x a day
saccharomyces boulardii (second probiotic)
and continue everything he was on previously
And to be honest, there are 2 more that I, the nurse, cannot decipher due to his chicken scratch so I will have to call the office about those.
Can someone explain to me how on earth I am supposed to get all of this into a child who doesn’t swallow pills?? Seriously? I decided to experiment with different substances to mix these with this evening- thus far he has rejected almond butter, chocolate syrup, and applesauce. Yet he somewhat accepted fish oil, which he gets every day. Any
suggestions are welcome.
I want to thank Nathan for stimming in the office today. I think it was a very good thing for the doctor to see him in action. I think it pushed him to be a bit more aggressive.
That’s about it for tonight. Excuse me while my head explodes…