[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]So you may have read our previous story. I last wrote about Charlotte when she was two years old. She’ll be five in November. Though we stopped tube feeding her before her second birthday, the battle with reflux continued. In the last six months or so we’ve taken a bit of a different approach and I wanted to write it down so that others who are interested can pursue their own research and have a place to start and those who haven’t heard of this approach (as I hadn’t) can learn a bit more.

Up until 6 months ago, Charlotte’s battles with food continued. She didn’t like eating. Her diet was extremely self-limited and also limited by intolerance and allergy. If she got a cold or flu she would stop eating and drinking entirely and wind up in hospital on IV fluids. But her behaviour was the most challenging. What I know now is that she probably has PANDAS (Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), an autoimmune disease on the autistic spectrum, which, in my view is caused by her chronically awful gut. She would repeat questions incessantly, not respond appropriately to lots of situations, had severe separation anxiety and a range of behaviours that could be identified as obsessive / compulsive. Her neurosis and strange behaviour around food extended to other areas of her life and I couldn’t really identify how strange and frankly, really weird and irritating her behaviour could be, until it had gone. I know lots of reflux parents who can’t understand why their kids seem to be that much more “hard work” than other kids and I really think that the long term agitation and damage to the gut has an effect on the brain in lots of our kids. It turns out there are scientific reasons for that.

Anyway, I really feel like we’ve got our Charlotte back. Or should I say, we’re meeting her properly for the first time and she’s just a delight. She is sweet, kind, intelligent and actually not unimaginably annoying.

Those of you who are RISA members and part of our main Facebook group might remember that we started on a path with an integrative medical practitioner (“biomed doctor”) around 8 months ago now. Its been a long road and a steep learning curve. We decided to try this approach because although we were pretty good at managing Charlotte’s reflux symptoms or at least we’d reached a status quo, it wasn’t a great status quo and she wasn’t actually getting better. She just wasn’t getting worse.

We also went because a friend of mine highly recommended this doctor and was having great success treating her boys – who admittedly weren’t as severe as my kids but still pretty darn severe. Also, I was getting increasingly worried about “leaky gut” or intestinal permeability and its possible effect on Charlotte’s behaviour and, if I’m honest, the possible link to auto-immunity and chronic disease which is rife in our family. My mother has Systemic Lupus Erthematosus (SLE), my father suffered recurrent stroke not associated with lifestyle factors, my mother-in-law has rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune condition) and my father-in-law has colon cancer.

I was sceptical but determined to at least give it a go. We had exhausted pretty much all conventional approaches at this point. It must be said that we are also in the very fortunate position to be able to afford to. So she’s been on a regime of various supplements to detoxify her body but particularly her bowel, restore normal bowel function, support her immune system, restore some balance to the acidity and alkalinity of her body, restore her leaky gut and her blood brain barrier and mainly to kill off the massive overgrowth of streptoccous in her gut. It has involved quite a bit of testing that isn’t covered by medicare or private insurance and the consultations and supplements have been expensive. In the first few months, the regime was so complicated that I was overwhelmed by it and found it difficult to stick to and I didn’t see much change, if anything it felt like she was much worse.

I now can see that that was part of the detoxifying process and bacterial die-off that she was riding out.

She is a changed kid. Not only is she off all reflux medication and laxatives but she’s CALM. She’s reasonable (I wouldn’t say compliant, she’s a red-head after all) and she is caring. She looks after her baby sister. She plays games! She plays with her toys. She doesn’t just watch videos incessantly. She doesn’t just watch youtube she now makes her own youtube clips. “Hey guys, welcome to todays episode of Charlotte TV…”(No I don’t upload them and she doesn’t have her own channel – much to her disappointment!) She even plays with lego differently. Before if she played with lego it was one single tower of one shape of lego and that was it. Now she builds hospitals or trains and rides her shopkins on them. She is more willing to try new foods. She is happier.

All of her stranger behavioural traits have disappeared. She no longer asks the same question 50 times or until I tell her to stop asking or I’ll do something drastic. She no longer antagonises her older sister (I’m talking 6 years difference) to the point of tears (older sister tears not younger). She is happily toilet trained including overnights. She says, unprompted “l love you mummy”. She looks after her baby dolls. I’m trying to think of the most tangible examples I can think of. Suffice to say she is a totally different kid. We’ve got a way to go still with food but I feel like we’ll get there. She asks to help with the cooking. She touches textures she would never have dreamed of being in the same room with. She goes to the toilet normally. Like, normal stool. Not several times a day diahorrea because she’s on so much laxative because otherwise she couldn’t move it at all. We don’t use laxative at all now – or very rarely when SHE thinks she needs it. She didn’t stop eating and drinking through her winter viruses (last winter required 3 trips to ED for IV fluids).

I guess you could say it is just developmental. She’s a bit older. And I’m sure age does account for some of the difference. But not this big a difference. We were on the cusp of having her assessed for support for her to begin school. She now ASKS FOR MORE FOOD – genuinely has an appetite!

I know its not for everyone but I really want to shout it from the rooftops. I especially want the mums who have behaviourally challenging kids to know more about it. I’m certain there’s a link. I reckon we’ve got an epidemic of reflux kids on our hands because our food and medicine is riddled with antibiotics, hormones and hormone disrupting chemicals. Its destroying parents and in turn their children’s gut flora and its affecting not only their guts but their brains and their overall immunity to lots of other things.

To say nothing of the amount of pesticides we all eat and drink on a daily basis unless you’re living in a commune.

I’ve had to be careful how much I tell our conventional medical doctors as they seem to think all biomedical practitioners are cowboys and I’m quite possibly some are. But I am equally sure there are plenty of conventional medical professionals who are cowboys too. It doesn’t mean they all are. And we’ve just had the most remarkable turn around. I really wish all the good ones – conventional and a bit left field – would just talk to each other.

So much of what we face as chronic disease in our kids comes down to bacterial overgrowth I think.

Its the only approach that I felt was actually getting my kids healthy. Not just alleviating the symptoms, but trying to address the cause of the symptoms. Healing their bodily systems so they wouldn’t have the conditions they suffered with any more.

Part 2: The Theory

Part 3: What we actually did and used[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]