Mike was now unemployed and home all the time, searching for jobs. As the weeks turned into months, after sending 264 applications with no interviews, he officially became the autism whisperer. He was there to rock Tula through her difficult meltdowns and irrational outbursts. He would hold her while she screamed and hit him, and he sang sweetly to her relentlessly. These were some of the hardest months, but I was grateful to have my calm and loving whisperer home with me, who also helped with the driving every day back and forth to Tula's ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis).
Tula’s Autism specialist doctor placed her on another round of anti-fungals. She had another die-off, which always caused plenty of stress in the house. At the end of it all, she was only slightly better so I wasn’t sure if the payoff was worth it. One day, I ended up chatting with another mother in the lobby at ABA therapy. This mom was taking her son to the same doctor, but had also flown him to New York to see Dr. Bock at the Rhinebeck Health Center. She told me they were phenomenal. "Are you talking about the author of Healing the New Childhood Epidemics ? The book was given to me long ago by my old boss at the Clinic where I used to work, but I hadn’t read it yet. I had no idea that this doctor actually saw patients!
Back home, I called Dr. Bock immediately to make an appointment, but he was booked for a very long time. I pleaded with the woman on the phone, but she kept telling me his partner, Dr. Compain, would see my daughter. I didn’t know anything about Dr. Compain and reluctantly accepted the slot with him.
How were we going to afford this? With the cost of the appointment and plane tickets, there was no way we could pull this off. But . . . Tula simply had to go. I asked my parents if they could help out financially. My mom was not at all keen on the idea so I asked my dad. I hated asking for anything and I never asked for myself, but when it came to my daughter's health, I had to gulp back my pride. I didn’t know if Tula would ever get better, but I wanted to be able to say with certainty that I had done everything I could to help her. My dad finally agreed to contribute financially, but he unknowingly was signing up for more than he bargained for.
The day before our flight, I came down with the stomach flu and was violently ill—there was no way I could get on that plane. My dad offered to go in my place and went along with Mike. I would be able to listen in on the phone during the appointment.
During the journey Mike called to give me bulletins about Tula's inability to handle the trip very well, and how shocked my dad had been seeing how sick she really was. “Poppy,” as she called him, hadn’t spent a significant period of time with her and was saddened by her reaction to the strange surroundings. Her lack of appetite and the withdrawal into her trance-like state opened his heart with compassion.
Grinding her teeth with anxiety, Tula hung on to Mike for dear life. During a layover, Mike took her into the men's bathroom and the noise of the automatic toilets sent her into an hour-long hysterical fit and she never did end up peeing. (I later learned to bring sticky notes to cover the flush sensor on the back of automatic toilets, but the noise of the other toilets was usually enough to make her run for the door). In an upstate New York hotel room, just before leaving for her appointment, Tula lay down on the bathroom floor, sick to her stomach from all of the supplements Mike administered. She was frightened, not knowing what would happen next. None of this was a shock to me, so I was glad that my dad was able to witness her health crisis and hopefully felt validated that he made the right decision to be there with Tula and help out financially for her benefit.
While I was on the phone during the appointment, I knew right away that Dr. Compain had a kind spirit and was extremely knowledgeable. He never mentioned the word “autism,” but instead referred to it as a GI/Immune disorder. He spoke about all of the strikes against her that Tula had endured. Being delivered by C-section negated her ability to assimilate all of the beneficial flora down the birth canal. The absence of breast-feeding in combination with antibiotic treatments at birth and many times afterward were additionally responsible for degrading her health.
Dr. Compain spoke of Tula’s “default” position: that her system acted as if yeast was okay, and healthy flora was the enemy. Some level of yeasts (candida) is normal in all people. The situation becomes problematic when too much yeast is allowed to grow, further exacerbated by a diet high in sugars and carbohydrates rather than being kept in check and in balance by the immune system. He reasoned that the ongoing accumulation of yeast was the primary issue, and if this problem wasn’t addressed quickly neurological damage would result. (Young children’s brains are malleable and “changeable.” As they age it becomes more difficult to affect a change - but not impossible. At what age this happens is a matter of some debate - I’ve heard age six suggested as a loose rule of thumb.)
The doctor then went on to tell us what the plan of attack would be...
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