Henriksen, Heather – Surviving Mesothelioma

Henriksen, Heather

I was a young lady with digestive issues and PCOS, making it difficult to become pregnant. I was given Metformin. During my first pregnancy, I daydreamed of my beautiful baby cooing and smiling at me but instead I had a baby cried all the time. At three months I was beside myself. At one year I was hopeless. My baby would sleep 20 minutes and wake up screaming again – round the clock. A few times during her first year, I tried to keep a diary of her sleep – awake – cry – calm cycles. After days of entries such as cry – 45 minutes, sleep 15 minutes, cry – 10 minutes, play 1 minute, cry 5 minutes, play 30 seconds, cry 15 minutes, and on and on. Doctors first diagnosed colic, then reflux and gave her the standard meds from Zantac to Prilosec which were minimally helpful. At 2 1/2 she finally began to sleep more than 45 minutes at a time. Just about then, I discovered I was pregnant.

Our son showed signs of reflux by four weeks and he was placed on Prilosec immediately. He was the opposite of his sister, mellow, quiet, easy going. Then his seeming good nature took dark turn. His eye contact declined, and at one year he lost all his babbling and early speech. He also became flaccid and had little energy. Occasionally he would walk on tiptoe. These are red flags for Autism. Meanwhile his sister was still very sensitive and often in the midst of a tantrum though she didn’t complain of tummy aches as often. My son’s digestion was worse than hers with constant diarrhea. As I stared at the specter of a son with autism on top of my daughter’s chronic hyper sensitivity, I prayed for help more than I ever had before. Doctors were vague, stating they had no tests that could define autism prior to age 2. I would just have to wait. I determined to find out the cause of my children’s problems. Waiting was not an option. I researched hundreds of medical studies, books by physicians in and outside the US, websites, mothers groups, online libraries in different countries and cultures, and health food gurus.

Finally after months of hunting and my mother’s anguished cry to the universe for help, I had a dream of bulldozers clearing land followed by a planting of flowers. I woke up to the memory of those waving flowers and knew it was connected to my children’s health.

I dug further into the serious research around gut flora and digestive processes. Finally I began to add some recommended digestive enzymes and probiotics to my children’s diet. Enzymes clear out the bad flora and help the body digest food when the persons gut has been damaged. Probiotics are the gut’s good flora. It sounds fairly simple at this point, but the puzzle has hundreds of tiny pieces that all need to interconnect. One of the puzzle pieces is the condition of my own health. Metformin was one of the causes of the problem, antibiotics was another. The deficiency of B12 was another piece of the puzzle for my son. Magnesium was another. For each new piece of information I carefully tested the change on myself before doing a trial on my kids. I consulted with several alternative medicine doctors and Phds in the field. Finally I would try the enzyme, supplement, or dietary change on my children.

My daughter’s digestion improved and so did her behavior, and my son’s speech started coming back. His speech and eye contact were fully restored by the time he neared two. Because I chose to take the situation in hand, and not rely on expert opinions of others, I was able to make informed decisions for the children’s health, not just give them pills because they were offered. After I became more confident with the results of my investigations, I volunteered my time on the Ovusoft mother’s forum, helping other mothers of children with digestive issues including those that go with autism. Many, like my son, did not have the formal diagnosis yet, but showed all the signs of the coming tragedy. Many others were just getting the final judgement after living for months with early symptoms that indicate Autism. I was able to help many of the mothers live with the difficult diet regimen and change their children’s lives. My first advice to them was to follow their own instinct and do their own research. Do not depend on my opinion or that of anyone else when it comes to their chldren’s health. FIND OUT! One of the comments I will always cherish is from a mother who thanked me and said after starting the supplements and diet, her son just spoken his first word in 7 years.

Since my research into digestive enzymes and diet for my children, I have assisted my father, and others with varying illnesses. My father had ulcerative colitis and had to resort to a full colectomy several years ago. Even the surgery did not resolve his digestive illness, but he is now restoring his health on the program. My mother has life threatening lung disease, though not cancer it is caused by environmental damage similar to mesothelioma. She was told by her doctors that her only hope was a lung transplant. Instead she began the protocol my children were on, as well as further alternative therapies we researched. Her lung disease is in remission since her addition of enzymes, probiotics and dietary and lifestyle changes.

In 1984 my grandfather began the battle with colon and liver cancer. He had surgery in October, and was given three months to live. He was given the option to undergo chemotherapy in the hope of a miracle. At the same time my grandmother decided to research alternative health avenues to help him. In spite of the crushing effects of chemo, he remained strong from the strict health protocol she kept him on. The family watched as this struggle ensued. Finally, after nearly two years, he succumbed to the cancer. I believe the alternative, body strengthening, life giving protocol could possibly extended his life further if it had been the primary focus. As it was, he amazed the doctors with his strength throughout the process, as well as how long he extended his life.

I am honored to write about people like my family overcoming their health problems through their own intellect and efforts, and about James Rhio Oconnor and his fight against cancer, (mesothelioma). By educating himself and finding alternatives to the standard issue medical protocol, he opened doors for many others to find hope where none was given by the medical world. I was encouraged by his story on the website https://survivingmesothelioma.com/rhiooconnor.cfm.

I believe we are each given the grace to find solutions to our health, and we have the obligation to take charge of our own futures. I congratulate all those like James Rhio Oconnor who are determined not to take a diagnosis as a final sentence and “standard protocol” as the only way to regain health. Since these events, I have now become a single mom and am retuning to college while raising my two children, ages three and six. I plan to work as a registered dietitian in a functional medicine clinical setting. Also, an important part of my life change is that I meditate and seek peace in my life in all things. Although my financial life is difficult, my family health is joyful now that I have the keys to the puzzle.

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