How one mother unearths the solution to daughter’s failing health.
Tears streamed down her cheeks, numbness overcame her body as thoughts about what doctors at West Parry Sound Hospital had just told her ruminated in her mind. Cindy Miller faced what many parents would consider their worst nightmare – the prognosis that her six-year-old daughter had leukemia.
Little did she know her daughter’s plight would lead her to spend the next six months piecing together a puzzle of symptoms and circumstances that would unveil the truth about her daughter’s health condition.
It was in July 2006, while at their cottage in Dunchurch, just outside of Parry Sound, that Miller and her husband first realized something was drastically wrong with their then six-year-old daughter, Brooke.
Only a few days before, Brooke had been seen by their family doctor because of increasing concerns about pain that was developing in her body – pain that appeared to have manifested in Brooke following a severe bout of food poisoning.
“She would whimper, ‘Mommy my legs are sore, my back’s sore,” and she’d be crawling to the bathroom,” Miller recalled. “I took her to see the doctor and he said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with her. They’re growing pains and there’s nothing we can do about it.”
The pain that particular day in mid-July intensified. “Her whole body from head to toe was white. She had inflammation in her eyes. Her eyes were red and blood shot and there were big dark circles under her eyes. Her lips even went white. She was as white as a ghost. I took one look at her and realized something was wrong.”
Miller and her husband rushed Brooke to West Parry Sound Health Centre. This, on the heels of a recent bout of food poisoning from undercooked pork, an illness which the whole family had muddled through, seemed like too much, too soon.
They were advised to rush Brooke to SickKids Hospital within 24 hours as the symptoms suggested Brooke may be a victim of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or even worse, leukemia.
At SickKids doctors forged ahead with a battery of tests, based on all of her symptoms, which mimicked both diseases. The remainder of the summer was spent at the hospital, Brooke enduring one test after another. The testing continued through till November.
“Near the end she was just running down the hospital aisles, running from the needles, begging not to have any more tests because she had so many needles and tests,” Miller said.
They tested her for leukemia, rheumatic fever, lymes disease, Kawasaki disease, salmonella and e-coli, and a slew of other conditions, and no tests came out positive. She had all the symptoms of leukemia and rheumatic fever.
“You could actually see the deformation of the joints at the knees. They would actually feel hot to the touch. And the pain and the inflammation were staying from the top of her back down. She was in horrible pain.”
“One of the best disease specialists in the world couldn’t figure out what was wrong with her,” Miller said.
Although tests for rheumatic fever were inconclusive, in November 2006 doctors opted to remove her tonsils and adenoids with the premise that if her condition was rheumatic fever then the tonsils and adenoids were likely harbouring the infection.
“That’s when I became so upset. They tested her for everything under the sun. The leukemia was a continuous test, and she was seeing a heart specialist, and no one could give me an answer.”
Urging doctors to consider the possibility there was a link between the food poisoning and her daughter’s condition, Miller decided to take matters into her own hands.
“I could just no longer take having no answers at all. So I finally thought if there was a parasite that got into the body and started to attack the joints then there’s got to be a way to get it out of there.”
Brooke had also been placed on a lifelong prescription of antibiotics. The reasoning, Miller said, was that if it were rheumatic fever it would protect her until she was 18.
“I took her off the antibiotics. I couldn’t take it anymore. It was so stressful. Every day I was just thinking that this can’t be good for her system.”
In December, after much research, she started Brooke on a 15-day parasite cleanse and probiotics, and had also enrolled Brooke in energy martial arts. Brooke continued to have inflammation flare-ups after the first treatment in December, but they appeared to decrease in intensity and frequency.
She repeated the parasite cleanse once again in June 2007. Brooke has had no inflammation, no health complications or symptoms of disease since the cleansing in June.
Miller suspected at the root of Brooke’s complications was the breakdown of healthy bacteria in her gut, stemming from antibiotic usage. Every year from September through to June Brooke seemed to be riddled with a cold, and asthmatic-like symptoms. Just prior to the food poisoning Brooke had just finished a prescription of a potent antibiotic. This, Miller suggested, set the stage for a parasite to set into her body.
By Sari Huhtala, Publisher, Alive+Fit Magazine
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