Nico was diagnosed with ITP on the 30th of June, 2002. He was getting increasingly bigger bruises, a few nose bleeds at night and was very irritable. ITP kept us in a state of constant fear and apprehension for intracranial haemorrhage although that never happened.
The worst step to take was to get him tested. People were thinking he was abused. The stress mounted in our house over disregarding the whole thing, an approach that was continually pursued by my partner through the whole illness. “He will get better, don’t do so much”. I realized that we all have different ways to cope with our fears. Either we throw ourselves into mad action or we become passive, almost frozen. This was finally a determining factor in our separation and later divorce, so I advise that you discuss and get help as a family. When one part gets sick we are all bound to suffer the consequences. Family therapy may be a good idea.
After I first noticed the symptoms I started reading from the only reference book in the house on illnesses that cause bruising, “Recipe for Nutritional Healing” by Balch and Balch. It stated that excessive bruising could mean a very low amount of Vitamin C in the body and that further, it was a sign of very serious illness. This antioxidant theory would prove very helpful later in my search for a cure when I learned that scurvy had been compared to ITP.
Finally, confronted with the truth that Nico was ill, we spent Canada Day, July 1st at the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg. I did not understand what he had since I had never heard of it. A nurse gave me a list of sites on the internet and an explanation. As soon as we got back home Nico had food poisoning and really bad diarrhea so the next visit to the paediatrician I asked for a stool sample to be taken. It seemed that even before this poisoning Nico had e-coli in his intestinal tract. A test revealed a toxin called veritoxin which remains in the system after that type of infection.
Nico was admitted to hospital with 9,000 platelets. An IVIG treatment raised his count to 400,000 but only lasted for 4 weeks. He then plummeted to 14,000. That was the only round of plasma he ever received.
I decided that crying was not going to solve anything and pursued every avenue possible, spending long nights awake at the computer doing research. The PDSA site helped me realize there were so many kids so much worse off. I started calming down a bit. I was completely convinced from the first week I had done research that I would not treat Nico with steroids or plasma. The side-effects were too dangerous. They did not constitute a cure. I believed intrinsically in the power our bodies have to heal themselves if given the right tools. I also fundamentally changed my perception of what an illness is and what it means to be sick. This more holistic approach did not match what I was pushed to do by doctors or my own partner.
I had our dog tested for the ehrlichia, a disease transmitted by ticks, based on a link from the PDSA web site. The test came back negative.
We tried the Chinese herbs that are prescribed for ITP by Dr. Ba, though the recipe is widely available through the Chinese medical establishment. They tasted horrible and Nico would not take them.
Nico also had three months of weekly Reiki treatments. Reiki is a type of channeled healing that flows through the healer into a sick person. It is based on the principle that Chi or life energy. He usually became very calm after the sessions and fell asleep. You can also learn these techniques and apply them yourself but a good practitioner is best.
Healing Music was introduced as well. I heard this wonderful music by chance on the radio one day and instantly phoned the artist at her home in Maui. This music is very special. Music therapy also had amazing effects on Nico, calming and relaxing him. A calming atmosphere is fundamental since the serotonin of an ITP sufferer is very limited prompting a hyperactive and easily irritable child who will have difficulties calming down and sleeping. So honor this as part of the illness and don’t try to punish or change it, as this will set you in conflict with others. You can become an advocate by carefully explaining the turmoil you know he or she is battling in his/her own body.
I painted and redecorated Nico’s room in soft green and hung all his favorite things on the wall. There was no TV or anything disturbing. I even burned a lavender candle at night after our story. Lavender is calming. You can also use the essential oil on the pillow to induce sleep.
My next step was to try Ayurveda which originated in India. I found a practitioner in Canada who used ancient recipes with oils and lip balms to help his bleeding lips and cracked skin. She also suggested a diet for Nico.
We started taking Nico to a hematologist at Cancer Care but the atmosphere was depressing. At that point I had fallen “off the system” not really believing that allopathy offered any hope to cure cancer or ITP. We did not have a good rapport with the specialist. There was a push to treat and we refused. At this point I stopped listening to others and trusted myself to know what I believed was best for my child.
I suggest you make sure you have a good relationship with your doctor, and if not, remember that it is your choice to change. Don’t feel guilty about this. You are a fundamental part of his or her healing and must be listened to and respected in all decisions made on her/his behalf. Testing will be pushed but it is your decision when to do it. Our paediatrician was very open and I was able to do blood tests on request. is your choice not the doctor’s. If you test less you have a chance to try different treatments and fully understand if their work. Base yourself on the symptoms not on the numbers on the test. This approach to illness is hard to change but fundamental for the wellbeing of the child. Poking hurts, is invasive and does not respect the time that the body needs to heal itself.
We travelled to Mexico on a vacation in order to give Nico some sun so that he could be free on the sand and the beach, saving him from having to hear mum say “be careful” every two words. This was a good decision that helped the whole family cope.
I started Nico on megadoses of antioxidants until diarrhoea occurred and then lowered the doses. The Naturopath also recommended a hair analysis. I had suspected metal poisoning as a cause too. The test came back with high levels of metals. Doing research on the Internet I discovered Chlorella, an algae with amazing properties that has the power to cleanse the body of toxins. I started Nico on Chlorella daily, 1 pill open with honey together with 30mg of zinc, 400mg of Vitamin E and about 1000 of Vitamin C.
This would seem horrendous to most of you out there. All I could read in the discussions were the endless lists of blood thinning foods and supplements that I should stay away from, but I had a hunch that Nico’s body was not processing nutrients very well and in reality he was severely depleted of them. Dr. Vergara confirmed this for me. You will notice that nobody really explains this to you so make sure you understand it clearly. Vergara compares ITP to scurvy as it presents the same symptoms.
The Naturopath gave Nico an allergy test done through a blood test. Allergies to wheat, dairy and a million other things came up. In this respect the allergist who we consulted soon after made it very clear that allergies come and go in our bodies and that under the stress of ITP Nico’s body had developed apparent resistance to certain foods but that he was not really allergic. I decided to believe the allergist, continuing with the theory that nothing was “normal” in his body under the stress of ITP. We reintroduced the foods and there was no change to his counts.
At the same time we went on a diet transformation for the whole family also induced by my readings on the macrobiotic diet, my own vegetarian diet and the books and sites that suggested getting rid of refined sugars, canned and processed foods and other toxic ingredients. Nico started a daily diet of brown rice, vegetables, organic meat only once a week, home made yoghurt and granola with flax. I learned a lot about nutrition, raw juices wheat-grass, and distilled water. His counts improved, his looks improved, but nothing would become as clearly effective as homeopathy.
A homeopath in the US did a “constitutional remedy” on Nico, a remedy based not only on the symptoms but also on his whole medical and life history. After the first take his counts had doubled! A skilled homeopath can treat someone with homeopathic remedies without seeing them in person. The principle of matching the illness to the remedy can be done by filling out an extensive questionnaire that will guide the homeopath.
Homeopathy works in a completely opposite way from allopathic medicine. The remedies ,which are centesimal dilutions of plant, animal or mineral sources are prescribed by giving the body exactly the same symptoms the body already is presenting. Like two batteries of the same charge, when the two meet in the body they destroy each other. Homeopathy deals with the symptoms on a given individual and does not prescribe by the name of a given disease. If we compared notes, all ITP sufferers would have slight differences in the symptoms, their concomitants, the way in which the disease makes them feel emotionally etc. would be slightly different.
But it is not that simple. The art is to choose that exact remedy. Two hundred years ago the German doctor Hahnemman discovered this by taking a dose of “Peruvian bark or “Chinchona Officinalis”, quinine to the rest of us. In a medical treatise he was translating he found the claim that quinine cured malaria due to its bitterness. Being a pharmacist and medical doctor himself he did not trust this claim. He then proceeded to take quinine himself. To his amazement he started developing the symptoms of malaria. To him, this discovery meant that quinine cured malaria because it gave the body exactly the same symptoms as the disease itself the principle of cure in homeopathy.
The homeopathic process can be slow or fast. The key is to give the sufferer of a specific condition one and only one remedy at a time and repeat the dose only if the symptoms present themselves again. If the symptoms change during the course of an illness a new remedy is introduced and the other left behind.
I am witness to Nico’s case and to the myriad of times I have used homeopathy on my family. We do not go to the doctor anymore. We do not use any other form to cure ourselves. I now have become a certified homeopath myself.
Nico had been poisoned by antibiotics all his little life, and probably vaccines and chemicals. I was so unaware of the dangers inherent in all of these so called treatments until he became severely ill. I would not have known before. Why would I? Everyone was doing it around me? Why should I have questioned it? It takes a lot of courage to go against the system we have culturally grown to respect and believe in but that will become your call.
All I can say is he is a living proof that this horrible condition can be cured if only we dare say we will try something else. Nico has FULLY recovered.
To me the solution is to see our minds and bodies as a more holistic set of components, not focusing on why and how to get rid of it but rather focus on what is necessary to do in order to restore balance. This is a chance for you to honor your self and your child in a very special way. I took it as a chance to learn very deep lessons and re-structure the way I saw the world. I am now pursuing a PhD in social anthropology because I realized how culturally bounded we are and want to understand why.
Nico has 3 siblings. Everyone is healthy. This was a miracle. I have learned from it more than I will ever know. I thank Nico for it.
UPDATE - February 2020:
Nico is now 20 years old and completely recovered.
ITP Natural treatments
Online office of Elaine Lewis the homeopath who helped Nico.
A site to start reading about nutrition.
Inform yourself before you vaccinate