Earth Day 2011

22 04 2011

Earth Day began on April 22, 1970 in the United States and went international in 1990. It is a day that is “intended to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s natural environment.”

It would be difficult to calculate the number of people who actual recycle because many take their waste to other places because curbside service is not offered. There are estimates in percentages that 77% of the US recycles (which I would beg to differ with if you saw how many people on my block did NOT participate in fantastic curbside service). Australia is only 7%. Ireland is approximately 90%. Of the United States figures, 88% of the eastern part of the US recycles, with 86% of the western part, followed by 70% of the Midwest, followed by 68% of the south (come on Texas–we’re at the BOTTOM of ANOTHER list?).

The Woodlands, Texas, my current residence, provides wonderful opportunities to recycle practically everything. At curbside, the only things they don’t pick up are plastic bags, shrink wrap, Styrofoam, computers, TVs and electronics, ceramics, Pyrex, windows and mirrors. We have two recycling complexes located conveniently in the community. Out of the previous list, the only things they don’t take are the ceramics, Pyrex, windows and mirrors. Printer ink cartridges can be returned to a bin in the entrance way of both Best Buy and Target (there may be others, but those are the ones about which I know). Within the city of Houston, twice a year, an H.E.B. grocery store (pharmacy) who will take all prescription medication not being used in order to save our drinking water from being contaminated. I would love to see some place close start taking alkaline batteries. Although we try to use rechargeable ones, I have been collecting the ones I used to use and they are waiting for some place to appear so I can recycle them.

Earth Day The Woodlands 2009

Yet, for the ease and convenience our community provides to our residents, only about 25% of the houses in my neighborhood use their recycling bins. There are a few of us who actually have two recycling bins. Sometimes two bins are not enough for me. I have tried to find reasons why my neighbors would opt out, but either these people don’t recognize the need for recycling or they are just too lazy to develop the habits necessary. It is not a difficult process, but does require a change in habits. Some people refuse out of protest because they don’t believe in climate change.

This isn’t about climate change. This isn’t about Al Gore. This isn’t about the profit some corporations are making off the “green” label. You are a homeowner of planet Earth. Would you let your “home” become dilapidated, in disrepair, rotting away without performing at least routine maintenance? How would you feel when you saw your neighbors not doing things to keep up the maintenance of their “home” which then decreased the value of your home? Think of recycling as basic maintenance of planet Earth.

The world’s bad habits have caused some of these things to happen:

1. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Located in the central North Pacific Ocean, estimated to be twice the size of Texas. Plastic is breaking down, which the fish are now eating–fish that might make it to your dinner plate some day. Add this on top of the mercury toxicity levels in fish. There is now a possibility that the nuclear waste from Japan’s natural disaster will make its way here. We will then have nuclear, glowing fish.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

2. The Atlantic Garbage Patch: Less well known, it made the news in 2010. The highest concentrations of plastic extend from Virginia to Cuba.

Atlantic Garbage Patch

3. Prescription drugs in our water: These are being passed through the urine and also from people putting their unused or expired pills down the toilet bowl. It includes antibiotics, anticonvulsants, hormones, steroids, and mood stabilizers.

Go to this link to see the list of drugs found in the drinking water in several cities across the United States:

Polluted Drinking Water

4. Corporate and country irresponsibility has contaminated air and water supplies and has been responsible for numerous spikes in disease clusters.

While taking on the world is never an easy task, we can break it down. We can claim personal responsibility of what we do in our lives. While I try to be responsible every day in practicing what I preach, there is always room for improvement.

Commit to cleaning up your home, planet Earth, today, before the next landfill is built behind the real house in which you dwell.

For more interesting recycling facts, please visit:

Autism and the Vaccine Controversy, Part 2

20 01 2011

Patrick’s Story Continued

Once Patrick was diagnosed in 1997, I learned everything I could about autism. Truth be told, there wasn’t much on the internet yet about it. When kind people were sending me information, the chances were high that I already read about it. There was an interesting site I found that described different versions of autism. Two of the things on the list were “diet-induced” autism and “Candida-induced” autism (or autism that was induced by a systemic yeast infection. Long before I knew about Dr. Wakefield, I was already reading peer-reviewed research on the role of diet and autism.

When we returned to our pediatrician after the vaccine, and exclaimed, “Where did our child go?”, she ordered an ABR (auditory brain stem response — to check for deafness caused by the vaccine) and some initial lab work which returned showing high liver enzymes and a high platelet count. His pediatrician told us this indicated that his liver was overburdened, processing out some toxicity. This was 2 months after his MMR/DPT/polio. “This happened within 24 hours of the vaccine.  There has to be a connection.”  There was a long pause and a deep breath: “It would correlate” was the response.  A more comprehensive battery of testing was ordered.  While we were waiting to get this back, the psychiatrist who diagnosed him officially with autism also ordered a Fragile X and a few more lab values.   The heavy metal toxin screen came back indicating that he had high levels of zinc, nickel, mercury, aluminum. He had low levels of magnesium, potassium, iron, manganese, silicon, and cesium. He had a high calcium/magnesium, zinc/iron, zinc/cadmium, levels and low calcium/copper, calcium/zinc, and iron/copper. I know that probably is Greek to most people. Low magnesium levels may be implicated in fatigue, muscle cramping, and depression (hyperirritability, hyperactivity, muscle twitching and nervousness as a response). Low potassium may indicate fatigue and stress, effects neuromuscular response, ion transport, and energy production. Low iron most people are familiar with being associated with iron-deficiency anemia whose symptoms are weakness, fatigue, paleness, palpitation, headache and shortness of breath. High zinc levels were associated with poor utilization and may be preliminary to zinc depletion. Pyridoxine needed to be added to help maintain proper zinc levels. Low manganese levels could be seen in connective tissues disorders (this was fascinating to me because of our family history of autoimmune disorders). Low vanadium levels may affect bone morphology and aortic cholesterol. Low silicon levels may be associated with decreased calcification of the bones and teeth and abnormalities of the articular cartilage and connective tissue. It is a biological cross-linking agent in collagen and connective tissue. High nickel levels show high tissue destruction, especially in epithelial tissue. Mercury and aluminum are neurotoxins. 

I learned about a group called ANDI (Autism Network for Dietary Intervention) from the Developmental Delay Registry website which was founded by Lisa Lewis and Karyn Seroussi, parents of children who had changed dramatically through careful implementation of home-based dietary programs. They helped other parents by showing them how to support their child’s immune system, combating yeast and bacterial overgrowths, eliminating certain foods. “Recovery from PDD” founded by Jean Lash had a child with autism who was then considered recovered by professionals. “The Association for the Promotion of Better Health” was founded to help parents interested in homeovitics which aimed to remove a child’s toxin burden.

The file I have on autism is about 2 feet deep just in the research papers I chose to print out. While other people were reading for pleasure, I was reading on how to heal my child.

I journeyed to the site of the highly regarded Dr. Bernard Rimland of the Autism Research Institute. His son had been diagnosed with autism when it was still considered very rare. He earned credibility in his field when Dr. Leo Kanner, a psychiatrist who first identified autism as a syndrome, wrote the foreword in Dr. Rimland’s book which put autism as a neurological disorder, not a psychiatric one. Dr. Rimland went on to co-found the Autism Society of America. His site had extensive information on the biomedical treatment approach to autism. We tried DMG (dimethylglycine) with Patrick but he seemed to have a reaction to it. With no biomedical experts in our area, I decided to place a call to them to see if they had heard of anything since it seemed relatively benign. The woman actually put me through to Dr. Rimland himself. Things were different back in 1997. He suggested that perhaps Patrick was reacting to an additive in the product and gave me a few places where we could purchase it in a pure form. We also put Patrick on a special vitamin product made specifically for children with autism called Supra Nu Thera from Kirkman Laboratories because it was researched that children with autism tended to have low levels of vitamin B and zinc. The list of things we tried for Patrick would blow your mind and I honestly don’t have enough space here to list all the different things and the different combinations.

I have meticulous notes that I have kept over the years. One of these includes a note for Patrick’s well visit in December of 1997 when he was 2 years old. He was being seen twice a week for occupational therapy for 45-minute sessions. Speech therapy saw him twice a week for 45 minutes. He was no longer in day care and home with me and making better progress. I was excited by the following: “Will tolerate us washing his hair now.” “Isn’t catatonic in his winter coat this year (which proves that I saw signs of his vaccine-injury long before his 15-month injection when he totally left us). “Gave me 3 half-hugs in the last 3 weeks.” He still wasn’t stacking things, talking, imitating, feeding himself, drinking from a cup, eating regular food, not pointing to things, not engaging in pretend play. Our concerns were about a rash on his face, biting his fingers. Things that made him dry heave and eventually throw up: A mylar balloon, Christmas tree, a different pacifier, or if he chokes on his own. He could only eat stage 2 baby food. The pediatrician, not knowing a lot about biomedical approaches, but certainly seeing the progress Patrick was making with whatever interventions we were trying, supported us in our efforts. If we needed a prescription for a certain item, all we needed was to send her some case studies to look over and she would let us know if she felt comfortable or not doing it. Sometimes she did; sometimes she didn’t. If she did not, we went on to try something else.

I read testimony from Washington, DC about parents whose children had reactions after the vaccine that were very similar to ours, but more than 20 years previous to my child’s injury.

I need to skip over how we decided on which home program to do because it is not relevant to the topic of vaccines except that the program we did choose had biomedical education as part of its curriculum. After Jeff attended the start-up program in early 1998, we received a letter dated May 1998 from other parents who attended who told us about how changing their child’s diet made huge improvements for them.

In November, 1998, our psychiatrist wrote us a letter for something that made us feel great. “I have examined him over the last year and worked with he and his family regarding guidelines and advance for Patrick. Over the course of our relationship, Patrick has made substantial gains given his parents high level of motivation and interest in his care. It is my opinion that given his parents’ motivation, interest and hard work, Patrick’s prognosis is excellent.”

In January of 1999, we attended our intensive program where we both learned the importance of diet in recovery from autism. Yes, you read that correctly: RECOVERY FROM AUTISM. We also had lunch with the now-recovered child who went on to graduate from Brown University. Can you believe that the medical community was so threatened that a mere parent could figure out a treatment approach that was considered quackery by modern medicine that this family received death threats? We asked him if he remembered any part of his life during autism and he told us of remembering swirls in yogurt.

It was then we worked on changing Patrick’s diet, switching him from his sugar-laden soy baby formula to rice milk. We turned his diet into a gluten-free, casein-free, sugar-free diet.  The child looked like he was on morphine (see picture below) before we started this diet.

Patrick in late 1998 right before we started the diet Jan 1999


Previous to the 15-month immunization, he looked like this:


Patrick with chicken pox March 1997 right before MMR

Patrick with chicken pox March 1997 right before MMR/DPT/polio


By the year 2000, Patrick’s lab values were back to normal. However, the damage was already done.   But by 2000, he was no longer getting sick so often.   No more reflux, no more colds, no more ear problems, no more sinus infections.  Several times we went a whole year without stepping foot in a pediatrician’s office for so much as a cold.  When going for a well-check, the nurse was shocked, “Oh, you haven’t been here in….a year?”  And he didn’t look like he was on morphine anymore. 

Our pediatrician gave us a permanent immunization waiver. In 2002, she wrote this: “Please continue Patrick’s medical exemption from further immunization boosters. For the foreseeable future, the possible consequences of further vaccination appear to outweigh the possible benefits and I have recommended to his mother that we not pursue further immunization at this time. I anticipate this exemption for the polio booster to be indefinite.”

In part 3 of this series, I’ll give you a look at what was being documented at the time in case studies.