9 ways a Naturopath can help with tics and Tourette

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Today I took Stink back to Dr. Carroll. It had been more than 3 years. Instead of fitting halfway on his exam table, Stink took up the entire table, his size 8 mens Nike’s hanging dangling off the edge.

As usual, Dr. Carroll was calm, cool and collected. Just walking into the office I felt a sense of peace. I’d call it the placebo effect of Mama about to get some help, but Stink himself barely ticked at all.

Note to self: We need a calmer environment at home. Working on that.

Note to readers: Here are things Doctor Carroll had to say about tics: Continue reading

FantasTIC Friday No. 1: Tic, tic, tic … BOOM!

For myself, as much as to benefit others who might be looking for tic reduction, I am dedicating Fridays to all things FantasTIC about TS. This is included, but not limited to:

  • Stink’s tics
  • My emotional journey
  • My book
  • My husband’s dog
  • My beautiful daughter
  • My job search
  • My crazy nut job pit bull mix, and more…

Tics are through the roof — the worst yet

I swear, we had a great run. I mean, super great – to the point where I kind of thought “Ha ha! Stink is dodging the tween bullet of escalating tics! We’ve escaped!”

But then the school year started and he began stinking like a gym bag and eating more food than the rest of us combined, including our ridiculous buffoon of a dog. Puberty is on. And so are the tics. Really excessive vocals that sound like quacking and “hey hey hey” over and over. Head shakes. Eye rolls. Rapid talking verging on hyper. All started Monday.

My emotional journey — skip this part if you’ve had enough wine for the night

While I’d love to say I’ve remained calm, that is not true. I had a full scale melt down on my spouse yesterday. I mean, epic. It went something like this:

Me: Do you hear those sounds? They are non-stop. I’m really really worried.

Him: Yes, I hear them.

Me: But are you worried? I mean, aren’t you kind of freaked out?

Him: No, I’m not freaked out. (side note: my husband must be a robotic deaf automaton) But yes, they are bad. (side note: at least he can recognize the increase so I’m not completely nuts.)

Me: OK, we need a plan. WE. NEED. A. PLAN.

Him: We can’t fix the tics.

Me: I know! But what about a plan! Something! Anything! How about looking into medication if it doesn’t bet better?

Him: For him, or you, because this kid is fine. It’s not affecting him.

Me: It’s affecting me!

Him: Then go get some pills!

Me: How about I just start downing copious amounts of liquor! And smoke a bowl of high grade doobage. Hey, I hear doobage is great for tics.

Him: How about you just calm down and get out for a while.

Me: Fine! I will! But if this continues, and we don’t medicate it, I’m going to be getting out of this house every day for the rest of our life and that sucks!

Other choice words followed. It was not exactly Fantasy Island.

Continue reading

Don’t be afraid to try other things to help your kids

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted, so I checked out what you all are interested in most. Turns out I get the most clicks for:

  • Supplements
  • Acupuncture — does it work?
  • Dr. Sims and Dr. Stacks — dentists who claim to fix TS with mouthpieces

Clearly, the “how to cure tics” theme is huge for many of you. It was a big theme for me in the beginning, too.

Cut to almost eight years later, it’s not that big of a thing anymore. I don’t say this to sound cold, heartless or un-empathetic to those of you still in the pit of “This sucks” despair. But I say it because of one big reason:

I couldn’t fix it.

Nope. All the acupuncture, all the supplements, all the homeopathic visits that caused fighting with my hubby over finances. All the money spent on the best food out there… it didn’t stop the tics.

For us, it went like this: Mild to medium, back to mild and now kind of mediumish.

What’s he on supplement wise now? Nothing.

What’s he eating? Gluten free, no exceptions (except for one week of camp this summer. Wish us luck.)

Did we ever try the dentist? Um, we can’t even afford braces right now, let alone a trip across the country to get a mouthpiece for tics.

Here’s what works for us: Lots of laughter, lots of good sleep, lots of good food, minimal video games, maximum acceptance.

Should you try other things? YES! Many of my friends have really helped their kids through all the items I mentioned above, but TS is not a one size fits all program. For us, we found just keeping the stress down was best. If his tics go back up, we’ll look into supplements again, along with medication if needed.

I just wanted to say that if you’re out there and fearing for your kid, please know that while you might not be able to stop those tics right away, you can do a HELL of a lot by encouraging him or her to be the best human being they can be, tics be damned.

That’s all I have for tonight.

Skating in circles, not getting dizzy

pic for youSunday after church we took the kids ice skating. For those of you who live in beautiful wintry wonderlands, picture a frozen pond surrounded by snow capped trees and cardinals.

For those living in the city, like us, picture a mall with busy traffic on one side and a parking lot on the other. Picture kids in shorts and parents in tank tops. It wasn’t Norman Rockwell holidays In Dreamland, but we had a blast.

With Stink’s tics in high gear these days (lots of head shakes forward and back, side to side and strained speaking that sounds a bit screechy) I was only too happy to get on the ice and go round and round – getting that pent up “Ooooh, I wish it would stop” energy out.

Lord knows my head had been going in circles as well. “Oh, no, does he need to be put on medication finally? Should we not have taken him off the focus pills? Is it too much gluten? Do we need to go back to the supplements again? Acupuncture? Me going back to work?”

While all of these concerns are valid, I can’t let them define my life or his. The reason? His tics don’t bug him. They only bug me. Which, again, and I fully admit this, makes me a narcissist. BooIt’s why I’m bringing this up now – and I really want your opinion, as it relates to my book. (Yup, more about me. Narcissist!) Continue reading

Updated supplement list

Many of you have asked about Stink’s Supplement List. I have written several posts in the past about it here. But here is an update.

Please note: This is what works for Stink, but might not work for you. TS is wonky, with some folk needing specific supplements for their kids with OCD or ADD or more. Although you can do what I did and fight with your husband about wacky supplements you buy off the internet, vitamin shops or simply the hippy at the Renaissance Fair who claims to cure head nods through hemp and organic whale balls, I suggest you go through a homeopathic doctor or expertly trained nutritionist.

Neurologist Warning: Do not expect a Western Medicine trained neurologist to tell you how to help your child naturally because they will look at you like you are a Cling-On and write you off as Jenny McCarthy’s best friend with more conspiracy theories than Shirley McClain.

Dosages (Taken morning only with food)

  • 1 Chewable Suntheanine Natural
  • 1 Nordic Naturals Children DHA – 250 mg
  • 1 Magnesium Citrate – 200 mg
  • 1 Taurine – 500mg
  • 1 Vitamin Code Raw B Complex
  • 2 Juice Plus Fruit Chewables
  • 2 Juice Plus Veggie Chewables

Diet: In addition to supplements, Stink is 80 percent gluten and dairy free with loads of fresh fruits and veggies. We are working our way into the “Organic Only” zone, but I have to do this slowly or my head will explode which isn’t amazing for tics control.

Update on Stink as of September 2013: He was on 2mg of Intuniv for focus but now is not as it made him very tired. I will consider something else for him if his academic and personal life are adversely affected. Also, he is only taking the Juice Plus now as we have been lazy and so far tics are still very manageable. As soon as there is a spike we will go back to the regular routine again.

Replace fear with faith

I speak to so many of you worried mamas offline. I was once like you — scared about the future, dreaming of fearful “what-if” scenarios, wondering if my kid jumped up and down in excitement over a surprise Disneyland trip if this might, in turn, make him jump up and down 1,000 more times and he’d develop a compulsive tic that resembled a springy clown from a jack-in-the-box.

In fact, what if he started obsessing about clowns or, worse, started shouting the word “Clown! Clown!” when he was supposed to be sitting quietly on the tram or paying attention in Circle Time?

I want to tell you that none of those things ever came to pass which is a great thing for me, my kid, and any people on public transportation or at public school who have a terrible phobia of clowns.

What I did start doing, however, was the best thing that could ever have happened since my son’s TS diagnosis. It was a cure I didn’t think would be more powerful than a Tic Tamer, Bonnie Grimaldi Vitamins, NAC or Gluten Free/Dye Free/GMO organic elephant poo from India — but it really was magical. It was called Faith over Fears.

“Oh, man, this is not what I wanted to hear,” some of you might say. (In fact, you one mama in the Midwest who has been Googling for cures all night… I just heard you groan from here.)

To your “arrgs” I want to say, “I know. I wouldn’t have wanted to hear my advice at the beginning either. But I wish someone would have told me anyway, because it’s the best cure there is.”

It looks something like this: Continue reading

What are you looking for in a Tourette Syndrome blog?

Greetings from Los Angeles. As of today, tics for Stink remain at a minimum. (Knock on fake wood desk.) I need to make a few gluten-free sandwiches with natural strawberry jelly and carrot sticks (can you feel my son’s excitement?) so I’ll keep this short:

Is this blog enough? Assuming I continue to write a couple of times per week, I really want to know: Why do you come here or to my Happily Ticked Off site?

  • Tips on diet?
  • Emotional support?
  • Doctor referrals?
  • Homeopathic aids?

I ask because I’m considering doing another site – a kind of “upgrade” support-group type site. Continue reading

Happy Holidays! Care for your kid your way

It’s four days before Christmas. My mom broke her hip, so we’re not doing the holidays at her house this year. Instead, we’ll have our normal Christmas Eve tradition here, as well as a few merry surprises for the kids, which I’ll share later.

Stink’s tics remain reasonable. They were up a bit the other day. Apparently, macaroni and cheese along with fried breaded chicken sticks aren’t a good combo for our gluten free/dairy free wonder child. But it’s the holidays. I’m over thinking there is a cure out there for TS. I’m going for the bucket theory: Joy, balance and discipline. Shake it all up and do your best.

On a doctor’s note, the good doc at UCLA of months past continued to irritate me last week as I went for a prescription of Intuniv and found he did not fill it. He had never returned my phone calls or e-mails either. This is an all-too-familiar pattern from last year, when he wouldn’t return my calls for an initial appointment, then once we had an appointment (enter me kicking and screaming) he did not follow up a month later as promised.

Three months later, plus a ridiculous dog and pony show for some trial for Asperger’s — which we still don’t know if Stink has or has not — and we have no official diagnosis. What do we have? Some Intuniv that I could have received through a regular physician.

The takeaway from this? You need to be a pitbull with your kid’s medical care. There is no easy 1-2-3, so don’t waste time being frustrated over lack of follow-through from doctors. YOU be the follow through. This is no time to throw a hissy fit.

Another takeaway? Most labels are crap. I don’t know if my kid is an Aspie. If he is, he’s super high-functioning with great grades and friends. What I do know is that he is hilarious, smart, creative and has the soul of a preacher/conman. He’s OK in my book.

Treat the condition, but don’t neglect the spirit of the child. The second will take him much farther in life.

How are you all doing? What are your Christmas plans?

Read my more at my Happily Ticked Off blog.

5 things that can help with tics

When my son was first diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at 4, I didn’t want to put him directly on meds. His tics were mild and simply didn’t warrant them. I was open to the idea of drugs should his symptoms become unmanageable, but until then, I wanted to do something… anything… to keep the throat clears, eye rolls and head nods to a minimum.

OK, who am I kidding? Like a bad high school boyfriend, I wanted those tics banished from my site forever. But to answer Doctor Phil’s question: “How’s that workin’ for ya?” I had to respond honestly, “Not so well. Time for plan B.”

I went through a lot of rumination and spent ginormous hours on the Internet researching sites, supplements and remedies that promised to end TS. Here are five things that actually really helped in my son Stink’s case.

As if it weren’t already obvious with my use of language such as “ginormous,” let me reiterate that I am not a doctor, so please run everything by a practitioner you trust should you follow any of this advice. Continue reading