In 2016 I found myself waiting at a Colorado doctor’s office with my 12-year-old son, hoping to qualify for a cannabis prescription for him. I had traveled a long way from mainstream medicine in ten years. As a West Point graduate, Army Medical Service Corps Junior Officer of the Year and Medical Intelligence Officer for NATO Peacekeeping Forces, none of those experiences adequately prepared me for the greatest medical challenge and controversy of our time. My toddler son had suffered a vaccine induced brain injury from the MMR vaccine in 2005.
The Harvard trained physician I was meeting with had been practicing medicine for 30 years. The media was giving this particular doctor attentive reporting for his cannabis research. He was prescribing cannabis to his patients with various disorders and seeing amazing neuroprotective and potent antioxidant effects. His open mindedness made him a prospective doctor for my son.
My first lesson learned from the functional medicine approach is to vet out medical snobbery. In reality, it is the awareness that many doctors do not actually serve their patients, but rather, are the handmaidens of the health industry. I carefully observe a doctor’s interaction with patients before he can earn my trust. Does he offer a few approaches to the decision maker or does he push a profitable one-size-fits-all treatment plan, usually the sale of a pharmaceutical product?
IT TAKES ONE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
For this doctor who appears to serve his patients and not profit, I have brought a two-page summary of my son’s medical records from the previous decade. I also brought binders with his lab results and office visit summaries. The doctor appreciates my efficiency, and he begins a conversation that I am certain altered his medical paradigm forever.
Doctor: “You know that vaccine and autism stuff was all made up, right?”
Me: “What exactly are you referring to regarding vaccines?”
Doctor: “That one doctor, it was all made up.”
Me: “Dr. Wakefield?”
Doctor: “Yes, I believe that is his name.”
Me: “Refer to my son’s esophageal micro-erosion and small intestine ulcerations confirmed visually by pill camera during a colonoscopy and endoscopy at age three, with extremely elevated measles titers 1.5 years post-vaccination indicating an active lingering infection, with biopsy results confirming vaccine strain measles RNA in his gut, resulting in a diagnosis of encephalopathy (brain injury), and all of which correlated with his regression at 15 months of age after the MMR vaccine.”
From there, I explain Dr. Arthur Krigsman’s clinical research on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) in autism, with a unique viral etiology, called autistic enterocolitis. The manifestations of this Crohn’s-like disease are chronic pain and nausea which are qualifying debilitating conditions for cannabis. Along with these symptoms, my son has a Crohn’s positive serology report, from age two. I can only imagine that I appeared to be a living, breathing urban legend to this shocked doctor.
VACCINE INJURY: NOT A MYTH
This brings us to my second lesson learned about mainstream medicine. Be skeptical of diagnoses of “sudden onset anything.” My toddler was raised with healthy food; we shunned sugar, dyes, and fast foods. Yet he developed sudden onset of IBD. This IBD with chronic diarrhea coincided with complete regression in development, including loss of speech and loss of eye contact.
Over the years I have heard many parents describe how their healthy school-age child, shortly after receiving an influenza vaccine, developed a rare “sudden onset seizure disorder.” Highly vaccinated overseas missionaries describe “sudden onset auto-immune disorders.” Mass vaccinated veterans acquire “sudden onset ALS” or Gulf War Syndrome. An honest scientific medical approach would demand scrutiny of all the variables involved. Vaccines, however, are almost always immune to any scrutiny.
I made no attempt to try to persuade this doctor (nor the readers of this magazine) that vaccines cause autism. Rather, I made my case that my son has documented chronic debilitating gastrointestinal pain which sometimes resulted in irrational behavior. I explain to the good doctor that physical pain has been documented in research as the root issue for irrational and self-injurious behavior. We also learned that his immune system was compromised so that he could not fight off a simple Strep infection, resulting in a diagnosis of Pediatric Auto-Immune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (P.A.N.D.A.S.) and a year of IVIG treatments.
Disruption to the gastrointestinal microbiome in a child under three years of age is devastating to the development of the brain and immune system, and researchers have found that it is extremely sensitive to diet, stress, infection, and pharmacological interventions.
This doctor asked plenty of questions, while he searched the internet to confirm what I am saying: Dr. Krigsman, autistic enterocolitis, P.A.N.D.A.S. He acknowledges that he is talking to a medical maven by saying, “Well, you have given me some things to look up later and learn about.” We became his first patient with “autism.”
TURNING TO HOLISTIC MEDICINE AND TREATMENT
This leads me to a third lesson learned about holistic medicine. The correct diagnosis of the root cause is the most important step towards recovery of any disease. My son has never been diagnosed with “autism” which is a psychological disorder. My son has never been treated by a psychologist who offers Band-Aids in the form of SSRI medications.
Autism is a label describing a list of impairments in three categories: language, social interaction, and behavior. An autism label does not consider any medical variables such as: gastrointestinal inflammation markers, elevated measles titers, elevated IgG antibodies to gluten and casein proteins, fungal and bacterial byproducts, methylation disruption, immune impairments, and inability to excrete heavy metals. Psychologists who prescribe pharmaceutical products do not apply the scientific method with laboratory analysis to determine root cause; instead they use trial and error with drugs. No child has a Risperidone deficiency.
It has been a year since my son began using cannabis oil. His anxiety and OCD behaviors have been greatly reduced and the physical symptoms of pain and gastrointestinal inflammation have also markedly decreased. In fact, the reduction of his pain and inflammation has resulted in many cognitive and social gains. But you will never hear our story in a television interview with our pharmaceutical sponsored media networks.
I am sure that our cannabis supporting Colorado doctor does not want to become like “that one doctor” whose career suffered from his audacity to examine all of the variables, including vaccines, in disease onset. That British doctor reported in 1998 that active measles virus were in biopsies of children with autism. He simply observed that these children suffered from both inflammatory bowel disease and developmental regression. His US counterpart, Dr. Krigsman, briefed the US Congress in 2002 on his similar findings.
Now you get to decide what paradigm has earned your trust. Should psychologists be treating children with sudden developmental regression and gastrointestinal disease? Shouldn’t doctors question the variable of vaccines, which are pharmaceutical products with known contraindications and adverse reactions?
Or will it simply come down to someone listening to “that one mom” who had nothing to gain by telling her son’s MMR vaccine injury story inspiring one more parent or one more doctor to take pause.
- Maloney RD, Desbonnet L, Clarke G et al. The microbiome: stress, health and disease. Mamm Genome 2014; 25: 49-74.
This article originally appeared in the Q3 2017 edition of Regenerate Magazine.