I’m fortunate to have met some amazing and inspiring people these past few years, and I love the opportunities we have to share our stories and experiences. This is the story of Kristen Wiseman and her daughter, Macie. Their story is moving, uplifting and quite frankly, is one that we should all hear for reasons which will become obvious. Thank you Kristen & Macie for allowing us to share this with our readers. ~ Kristen.
This is Macie. Macie is 11 years old and as you can see from her picture, she is a bright, healthy and happy child. She just graduated from the 5th grade and will be attending Jr. High School as a 6th grader in the fall. She is an extremely bright kid, who was at the top of her class in all subjects, excelling in reading and writing. She is artistic and loves to draw and create stories.Her teachers have all told me that her writing style is superb, and none would be surprised if she becomes a writer someday. She has a funny sense of humor and a quick wit. She ran for Student Council, Vice-President, is a Bronze Award winner in Brownies and has played on various soccer and softball teams. She is self-taught on the piano and has perfect pitch. She has taken acting and modeling and was scouted by several talent agencies in Los Angeles. She has dozens of friends and was voted Best Smile by her peers. She loves cats, Radio Disney, Starbucks soy hot cocoa and fights with her little sister, but defends her to the end. She is, to all who meet her, just a normal kid.
Macie was diagnosed with PDD-NOS (Pervasive Developmental Delay, Not-Otherwise specified) which is an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, just before her 3rd birthday. She had developed normally, hitting every milestone until her shots at around 13 months. She got a 5/1 combo, the MMR and shortly after, a flu shot. The doctor told me I might as well get them over with and save myself an extra trip. For a long time, I felt so much guilt about her diagnosis, but I just wasn’t educated about vaccines. She was my first, and I was just doing what my doctor told me to do.
Almost immediately, we started to “lose” her; loss of eye contact, loss of words, tantrums. She went from being a truly happy baby, to one who developed rashes on her face, body, diarrhea, and would only eat certain foods. She cried constantly. She would spend hours spinning in circles in the corner of a room, playing with her fingers and babbling. She rarely responded to her name, other kids, her pets and had no expressive or receptive language. Echolalia ensued, repeating some single words over and over. She became extremely over-sensitive to sounds, like the toilet flushing and had inappropriate behavior, such as laughing when someone was crying or hurt themselves. She rarely smiled, but just had a constant blank stare about her. She really was in her own little world. It was a daily struggle and I began to hate going to the park each day, watching the other children run around and play and listening to the other moms talk about their child’s newest accomplishment. Those were tough times, and looking back now, I realize how utterly helpless I felt.
Upon diagnosis, we were told that we should prepare ourselves emotionally and financially for the possibility of having to find someone look after her when John and I passed away. That was hard enough to hear, but later, when a doctor told us that Macie might never have friends, I lost it! It was that statement that sent me on a quest to find a way to heal her. I remember telling the doctor that he was simply “NOT allowed to ever say that to another parent” and walked out.
I called my dad, crying, venting, not knowing what to do and he told me he knew of someone that might be able to help. 3 days later, my stepmom flew out to watch our new 3 month old and John and I boarded a plane with Macie to Texas to go visit Dr. Mary Ann Block of the Block Center. She lectures around the world, has written several books and follows the DAN! (Defeat Autism Now) protocol, among other therapies.
I am so thankful we took those first steps to meet Dr. Block. Turns out, Macie was LOADED with metals, had various food allergies, was deficient in all kinds of vitamins and minerals, and was full of yeast and bacteria. Her gut was a mess. For the first time, I felt like I at least had some answers and a place to start. After feeling helpless for so long, now I could finally do something to help my child feel better.
I dove into research. I spent countless hours, night after night till 3am, sometimes staying up all night. I read everything I could on autism, gut dysfunction, food allergies, supplementation, chelation, HBOT – anything and everything I could find. I joined chat groups and started asking questions of others who were already on “the journey”. I was empowered. We began implementing the G/F C/F diet and giving Macie some supplementation. It wasn’t easy. Macie only wanted to eat cheese, pasta, goldfish crackers and eggs – all the things she was actually allergic to. There were tears and tantrums (from both of us), but I knew that I couldn’t give up, no matter how heartbreaking her cries. She didn’t eat for several days and I wanted so much just to give her the macaroni and cheese that she was screaming for. I made a GF/CF version that I must admit, tasted like crap, but it was the best I could do. The problem was, not only did I have to change her diet to new things that didn’t taste the same, but I had to add supplements to the food as well, which only made the taste worse. Macie eventually began to eat some, but then I never knew how much of the vitamins and minerals I had hidden in the food, she actually had eaten. It was a vicious cycle and I truly began hating meal time. My kitchen looked like a chemistry lab and I was constantly running around trying to get her to take bites of this or that just to help heal her gut. After just a few weeks I noticed the rashes had disappeared and Macie’s eyes seemed more focused, clearer. Even her sounds were becoming clearer, easier to understand.
When her vitamin/mineral levels were better, we started chelation, which is a form of heavy metal detox. Again, this was not easy. Macie was still not potty trained and we had to use suppositories. Here we were trying to teach her to push her poop out of her bum and yet, we were putting things into it. It took 2 people just to hold her down and I cried every time we had to do it, but I couldn’t give up on her, I wouldn’t. Rather quickly, her sound sensitivity decreased, the tantrums became fewer and her words increased. At this point, she actually looked like a healthy kid and friends and family noticed improvements.
We tried all of the then latest therapies, TTFD, secretin, natural chelators, digestive enzymes, herbs, daily methyl B-12 injections, small changes ensued. Her teachers at school, who had been so skeptical of what I was doing with her, began to see marked improvements. I became the local “autism mom”. I could barely keep up with all of the phone calls, emails and chat groups. I joined Generationrescue.org as a “rescue angel,” sharing my story and giving others hope. I never promised that other children would respond in the same way as Macie, but I did let people know that there were things they could try with their child, that autism wasn’t untreatable, that there was hope.
We kept with treatments to drain her heavy metals (chelation) and with each session, Macie “woke up” more and more. It’s the only way I can describe it. We would chelate for a few weeks and then take a blood/urine and fecal tests to register the amount of metals she was pulling out of her body. After a couple of months we took a test and the mercury literally was off the page. She pulled so much, the test couldn’t measure it all! She was pulling mercury, lead, aluminum, nickel, tungsten, uranium, thallium and others. It was insane! Where did this stuff come from and why was it in my daughter’s body? We kept at it. Taking breaks to “beef up” her vitamin and mineral levels so we weren’t detoxing her too quickly or overloading her system. She was doing much better, but we still had a ways to go.
At this point, Macie was in kindergarten. She had some words and could communicate, but there wasn’t “conversation”. She had a hard time staying on topic and our “chats” were more like statements about a particular thing, if that makes sense. But she looked healthy. No more dark circles under the eyes, no more diarrhea. She even knew how to monitor her own food and knew what she was allowed to eat, and what wasn’t good for her. She knew if there was a birthday party that the teachers had special cupcakes that the school allowed me to keep in the teachers freezer. She never felt left out. She put up with everything we asked her to try because at this point, it was part of her daily life and she instinctively knew, it made her feel better.
The summer before 1st grade we tried HBOT (Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber). Five days a week, I would drive 40 minutes, climb in the chamber with her for 1 hour and drive home. It was grueling, and expensive, but it was the newest therapy and there were some promising stories of other kids doing quite well with it. After our first week or so of almost daily HBOT, we were driving home on the freeway, and Macie said, “Hey mom, see that big crane over there? What do you think they are building?” I nearly ran off the road. Literally, I had to pull over on the freeway. Cars were speeding by and I just sat there, bawling my eyes out. I pulled myself together enough to tell her I had no idea and asked her what she thought they were building. She responded, “I don’t know, but it looks big”. It was at that moment, I knew Macie would be okay. I knew she would have friends, lead a normal life.
We moved onto intravenous chelation and grabbed more metals until our pulls were smaller and smaller. We purchased an infrared sauna, and now and again, Macie will detox here and there, but for the most part, we are done with all therapies. In fact, Macie has lost ALL of her food allergies, and no longer needs to prescribe to a special diet. We watch her sugar intake, as she is susceptible to yeast and we feed her organic as much as possible. She still takes supplements daily, but aside from that, Macie is recovered.
Macie has often described that time in her life to us as, “being lost”. One day I was watching a documentary on autism. I walked away and I guess Macie continued watching. When I came back she told me a little bit about each child’s story and said she wanted to write a letter to the President of the United States and tell him “not to make kids get shots anymore because it makes them get lost like I was.” It breaks my heart to know that she felt that way and it makes me wonder if other autistic children sense or feel “lost” too? Macie worked very hard to come back to us. She rarely complained, but simply followed along and did whatever we asked of her even when some of the things were difficult for a young child, like blood draws and IV’s. It’s hard to believe all the things we went through as a family, but at the end of the day, it made us much stronger and much more appreciative of what we have. Macie taught me about faith, perseverance and acceptance. We never gave up and she never stopped trying. She is a strong, determined little girl, who has endured more than most her age, and we are so proud of everything she has accomplished.
Macie’s life and future are no longer uncertain. We now know that she will be able to achieve whatever she sets her mind to and that she will have all of the opportunities that “normal” kids have. Because of her, my life is forever changed and she will always be my hero and the person who has most influenced my life in the most surprising of ways.
Autism is basically considered “untreatable” and yet Macie is a shining example of what autistic kids are capable of. And she has proven, like so many others, that autism is treatable and that recovery is possible.
Autism affects 1 in 88 U.S. kids and 1 in 54 boys and the numbers continue to rise. Those are staggering numbers and we need to all be aware that this is an epidemic that needs our support and attention. We are sharing Macie’s story to show others that there is hope for these children. With the proper interventions, nutritional support and therapies, these kids can go on to realize their dreams and potential.
Kristen Wiseman has worked with a Supplement company to develop Mit-A-Mins, a range of supplements for children on the Autism Spectrum and continues to help families who call and write, working as a Rescue Angel for Generationrescue.org. Most recently Kristen has joined us as a member of our team for Natural Parenting Tips and has launched a new online business, www.familynutritionals.com, offering quality supplements along the lines of the Mit-A-Mins product, for both adults and kids.