Our Story.

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It all started when…

our second child, Cade, was a little over two years old. I had just had our third child and our oldest child was five. We started noticing that Cade was having difficulties at home and he was not socializing very well at school. When we picked him up from school, they would tell us he had a “great day” but when we got home he would begin to tantrum every 3 minutes. At first, I thought we just weren’t disciplining him enough or that it was possibly the “terrible twos'“. Until I realized that anything would set him off into a tantrum. It could be that there was a sudden/loud noise, visually overwhelming environments like grocery stores or malls would set him off, the tag on his shirt would bother him and cause a meltdown, if we wouldn’t let him help us do something - he would spiral into a tantrum that would last for 30 minutes {he is very independent}, if he didn’t get what he wanted a long drawn out tantrum would result. I went to the pediatrician. They told me it was just a phase and would pass in a few months. A few months went by… things only got worse. Not to mention the fact that he suffered from extreme constipation and would wake up 4 or 5 times a night and stay awake for at least 30 minutes at a time. We were exhausted and our family was not functioning. I felt like my joy of motherhood was being stripped away.

Then a friend suggested he may have sensory processing disorder. I had absolutely no clue what that was. During PA school, we had never learned about SPD. So, I got a referral to a sensory trained Occupational Therapist and he confirmed that Cade did indeed have sensory processing disorder {more info on SPD here}. We enrolled him in Occupational Therapy once a week and we removed him from his daycare which was an overstimulating environment and started him in a Pre-K that was much smaller with only 12 kids per class. We saw some improvements BUT we were still waking up 2-3 times a night with him and he would still tantrum every 10-15 minutes. I knew there had to be something more that I could do for him.

My friend whose son was diagnosed with Autism had told me about a Functional Medicine PA that she took her son to and they had experienced a lot of great gains after implementing different diet changes and treating root causes. To be quite honest, it sounded like a lot of work and I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but I was at a place of desperation and I knew that our family could not continue like this so I scheduled an appointment (to the tune of $350/hr consultation that lasted for 2 hours… you do the math..). We went to the appointment not knowing what to expect. The PA told us there were likely many things going on in Cade’s little body that were causing some of the problems we were seeing on the outside. We started on a gluten and dairy-free diet as well as several basic supplements and pursued stool, urine and blood testing. After just 3 weeks of being gluten and dairy free, his teacher at school came up to me one morning and said Cade was a completely different child in class. He was no longer afraid of the other children and withdrawing from the loud crowds or noises. He was actually talking and interacting in circle time. He wasn’t tantruming with any small stimuli. At home we had seen huge improvements as well. He went from waking at least twice a night to only waking once - and when he did wake, he would fall back to sleep quickly. He started using his words and telling us what was bothering him before he would get upset. He was starting to realize how his body felt and what he needed. Although loud noises were still an issue, it was as if someone had turned down the dial on how severely loud noises affected him.

Then we went for the follow up appointment to go over his results. His results were a MESS!! His gut was highly inflamed from the overgrowth of yeast and bad bacteria in his gut as well as from the foods he was sensitive to that he was eating. The PA explained to me that this definitely contributed to his sensory issues and tantrums because when the gut is inflamed, the brain also becomes inflamed through the gut-brain axis {more about that here}. He was EXTREMELY nutritionally deficient even though on the outside he appeared to eat well… his gut was so inflamed and damaged that it was unable to absorb the nutrients that he was eating. He also had extreme amounts of oxidative stress which basically means that his body was having a very hard time eliminating toxins and free radicals {this could eventually lead to many different diseases like auto-immune disorders or cancers}. We also learned that he was allergic to egg and was sensitive to gluten, dairy and beef. We performed urine toxin screens and he was off the charts high in different pesticides and herbicides like 2-4D and glyphosate as well as many different gasoline additives. When we were going over his results, I was a little overwhelmed but also SO thankful that we decided to look for root causes of what was causing some of his behaviors.

As we began to implement the new treatment plan after these findings, we saw Cade flourish more than ever before. In 3 months, he had a massive growth spurt and grew almost 2 inches. He no longer looked pale with severe dark circles under his eyes. His bloated little belly had gone down. He was having normal and regular bowel movements. His imagination and creativity were reignited and the little boy who could hardly express what he was feeling now became a little chatter-box!!

Fast-forward a year and a half, our lives have completely changed in many ways and we are continuing to thrive. Cade will start Kindergarten next year and I have 100% confidence he will excel. I co-sponsor a mom’s support group on facebook with a few other mom’s to empower and equip mom’s who have kiddos that struggle {link to this group is here}. My career trajectory has COMPLETELY shifted and I now practice functional medicine treating many adults and children who suffer from ADHD, Autism, SPD, auto-immune disorders, chronic fatigue etc {link to my practice here}. I have created an online platform for education and awareness of sensory processing disorder, ADHD and other special needs with a passion to show parents that there are other ways to see their children thrive. I speak to different therapy groups, schools and local support groups on a regular basis. When I think of all that has changed and transpired over the past few years, I am in complete disbelief that God took our lowest moments and transformed them for His greater purpose of serving others.

I hope this blog provides you with resources, answers and hope. And my desire is that regardless of your story, you will be inspired to ask “why” and challenge what you are told is “common”.

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