Butterfly grew up with food intolerances and was diagnosed with ADHD, Asperger's
Syndrome, and learning difficulties. Now she struggles with OCDs.
This is the story of how we have faced these challenges.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Wiener Incident

Ok, I’ve given this blog post an amusing title, but that’s because humour is one of the coping mechanisms I use to face the challenges of life with an Aspie. It’s also an expression of my relief at so easily determining the cause of the problem and dealing with it. But as mentioned in a previous post, our challenges are far from over.

Here’s what happened, starting with the qualifying preamble: we’re on a pure food kick at our house. This isn’t new, but it’s been an ongoing on-again/off-again thing. I raised my Aspie on pure foods because I’m a firm believer in the concept that we are what we eat. Even though my doctor was dismissive about the possibility that there are toxins in foods made for longer shelf life more than for nutrition and these can do damage to a growing child. If you read this blog in its entirety you will see that I explored this matter in depth over the years and took the advice of an allergist who told me to “trust my own instincts.” One other alternative medical practitioner referred to my daughter’s reactions to some foods as “brain allergies.” That’s a good description. We all have this blood brain barrier protecting our brain from toxins in the environment, including those that may invade our food sources. Any of us can get sick if we ingest obvious toxins, such as botulism, e-coli, etc., but our brains continue to function, even if only in survival mode, because of this blood brain barrier.

Butterfly’s blood brain barrier doesn’t work right. It was damaged somehow. I suspect toxins in vaccines, but it’s actually hard to say if it’s the cause of the breach, or just the first toxin to make an obvious difference. Point being, for Butterfly, vaccines are toxic. So are a plethora of preservatives, flavour enhancers and stabilizers found in so many foods. This includes corn syrup solids, MSG, propylene glycol, and when she was little BHA and BHT and of course, more. (Check out the Resource page on this blog for resources on food additives.) Solution? Don’t feed her foods with those things in them. And so Butterfly grew up on naturally fed and grown beef and other meats and foods that were organically or naturally grown. She developed normally ~ no 8 or 9 year old menses here.

Still, there came some times when Butterfly wanted to eat the foods other kids were eating. Even though she wasn’t in school, she was still with other kids enough to know what kind of stuff they were getting and these things seemed tempting. She wanted “treats” like hot dogs. We live in an area with both a large German and a large French heritage population. Different cultures bless us with different foods. There is this German sausage deli nearby that uses only Ontario pork in the making of its sausages and franks. When she was young, Bud was able to have those wieners without having a reaction, even though ordinary ones were off-limits. So she got her wish, even though for the first while, buns were out of the question. Ever heard of piggies-in-a-blanket? I learned how to make wheat-free crepes for this.

Since then she has grown out of some of her sensitivities. Once the kids bulk up a bit and start putting on those growth spurts that have them standing over you, their immune systems are a bit tougher. Even if she did react to something, those reactions that took four days to clear up when she was little were now pretty much under control in only two. Longer story shorter, Bud was able to “graduate” to a couple of brands of ordinary grocery store wieners and buns and even some lunch meats without any notable reaction.

But segue to the present: Hubby and I watched Food Inc. If you haven’t seen this video, you should. Do you believe that there are no hormones in that chicken? Heh. Don’t. Butterfly didn’t watch it, only heard about it from us. But some of her favourite bands are straight-edge, vegan types and with all the hype, such as Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, etc. added on, she has decided to revert to that pure food diet on which she was raised. She will simply not eat any foods produced in a corporate factory farm setting. This includes fast food. The switch from being bugged for a fast food burger while out, to her refusal to support that industry, was both sudden and welcome. So we have once again gotten to know our local purveyors of naturally grown foods, including local farmers of eggs, elk, beef, organic vegetables, and more. This also meant giving up the Butterball wieners I eventually got them on, because at least turkey wienies have less fat than those other ones. We went back to the sausage deli and bought some of those wieners locally made from Ontario pork.

So there she was, standing in front of me screaming her rage at me. THE WORLD IS GOING TO HELL! IT’S GOING TO END! PEOPLE ARE STUPID! NOBODY CARES! IF YOU DON’T SHUT UP I'M GOING TO WHACK YOU!

Huh? Who is this demon?! This is not my daughter! What’s going on??!!

It happened twice... maybe three times but the first time wasn’t as noticeable or violent. This is the accumulation affect. Something was in her that shouldn’t be. On checking the wiener label, there was a long name I couldn’t pronounce... something new... a preservative of some kind no doubt, that we had never heard of. Short answer: no more "pure" pork wieners.

In a couple of days Butterfly was back to her normal self. She doesn’t really remember what happened except the feeling of all this horrible rage bubbling to the surface. I won’t say the angst is gone now, only that it’s safely parked in that corner of her mind that we all have in our own minds for keeping our angst and fears.

I only just learned how to use some other features of Twitter. I’ve been going along these many months, slowly trying one thing and another to see what all is there. It’s kind of like this computer... there are probably dozens of things it will do, but I use it for only two. Anyway, I just discovered that you can see old retweets. It was sort of a disappointing discovery because while I spend much of my twitter time retweeting other peoples’ tweets that I think are informative, inspiring or somehow worthy, I see that others haven’t been doing the same for me. I’ve been putting up the URL for this blog hoping that others would RT it, so that other parents of Aspie kids at least, can maybe benefit from our experiences. I mean, I'm not alone and there are those with far more profound experiences than us writing about them. But hey, maybe there’s something here that their doctor has dismissed, or maybe something they don’t know about, such as what propylene glycol, found in most versions of Ritalin, can do to their child. Or maybe something else about this blog will give them an idea of something to at least try in dealing with their challenges. Alas, I guess it’s like what I’ve always said of experience: you can teach people how to spell it, but they have to learn what it is for themselves. It’s a little frustrating to not be able to help, but....

Thing is, it wouldn’t matter, except I saw this tweet about a dad who’s in a really bad place with his son’s autism. I feel bad for the guy, for obvious reasons, and also because I doubt he's alone. I don’t know all the details of his particular story. I don’t know what his son has been eating, what he’s been given for drugs. I do know his burdens are great. Wish I could help, but all I have to give is Butterfly’s story. This includes the image of her rage; of her in my face, screaming her angst at me, at the world. And then the realization that this was chemically induced by something meant to make those “pure” wieners last longer. All I have is memories of what the drugs we tried did to her.. how they made things worse. And then her beautiful face, close to mine because of a hug. The rage gone. The angst put back in its place; her voice saying, “good night, Mom. I love you.”

Our humble home.
We live in a tiny cottage. We live pretty much on one income. We are in debt. There’s a lot of things people around us virtually worship that we will never have... no HD tv, no late model car, no fancy washer and no dryer at all. And busy? Got another book out of the library that I won’t get around to reading. One reason I'm so busy is that I don't just stick heat n' serve dinners into the microwave. I cook. I have to. Not just for Bud, but for my health problems. Thing is, all and all, Butterfly is who she is, and as I’ve already said, Asperger's is something that’s happening to her, not something she’s doing to us. She is my masterpiece and I have given up nothing truly important for her, because none of those other things are worth anywhere near as much as, “I love you” coming from her lips. It’s what I’ve got. If this isn’t worthy enough to the bigger world, oh well. I feel blessed.