one tiny chunk at a time. bringing down the wall. of cars. some of it was just pictures. I handed out pieces of the Wall to my friends. I would be a world traveler. chiseling pieces of brick and mortar. full of dreams. filling my pockets with pieces of stone. my family. made history. I would leave my mark on the world. with a heady sense that I had been part of something. of flags. of people both famous and not. that I wanted to make more. Some of it was in German. Back home. 1|Page . I was 16. people like me. I would help the poor.I stood with my fellow classmates and exchange students in Berlin. a lot was in English. It was covered in graffiti. but I had the idea that I wasn’t done. I was changing the world. I would build sky scrapers. heal the sick.

Greece." My aspirations. I didn’t feel like I’d made my mark. this primal connection. this love like no other. the way they can only be when you’re 16 and the whole world is laid out before you.The next Christmas. do what I was doing— and just replace me.. were as big as they come. the Parthenon. Tahiti and the Colosseum. I still hadn’t truly found it. I'm gonna build airfields. I'm gonna build skyscrapers a hundred stories high. Was it possible that she was my purpose? Nursing this tiny creature in the small hours. I remember watching “It’s a Wonderful Life. Then. Someone irreplaceable. I'm gonna build bridges a mile long. This. I wanted to be someone. this rush of love. though. I went to college and designed expansive bridges and towering buildings. was this what I had been searching for all along? 2|Page . I certainly felt closer to being irreplaceable than I ever had before. I’d been looking high and low for meaning in my life. George Bailey’s words took on a new urgency: "I'm shakin' the dust of this crummy little town off my feet and I'm gonna see the world. And above all else. I went to law school. the Colosseum. Paris. I’d been to Italy. like George's. I'm comin' back here to go to college and see what they know. And then I'm gonna build things. as the night sky softens just before dawn. And yet. 5 pounds and 15 ounces of sweet baby Caroline came into the world. I want to do something big and something important. Italy. And then.. and I began to wonder. I felt a little like someone else could come along. I travelled the world. This time. Someone unique. on a sultry night in June. even after all of that.” a movie I’d seen a million times.

the ones they hit. 3|Page . She began to demand a sameness in our routine that became debilitating. Or that they need to return a library book. Say the word to an autism parent. thinking about the milestones their children never hit—the ones that meant there was something wrong.--------------Say the word “milestone” to many parents. Caroline was 12 months when she stopped speaking. She became unhappy. say. when she started avoiding eye contact. and they might think of sitting up or walking. Or worse. She lost interest in other people. and you can see the pain flash across their face.” people would say when they couldn’t engage her. resulted in tantrums so severe we’d return home and not leave again until the next day. introverted. “She must just be tired. irritable. and then lost. Leaving the house without her toy rubber duck. though. and then their thoughts might drift to something else—what to make for dinner.

What had happened to the baby I’d fallen in love with? Where was she? Because this child. I’ll never ask for one thing more. I’ll give it all up. this was a different child. everything fell away. 4|Page . Caroline. Just fix her. I prayed.I must have cried a million times. babbling her sweet baby sounds. We immersed her in therapy. now she wouldn’t even look at me. My passport hasn’t seen the light of day in six years. Whatever I was before this moment was gone. hours and hours during the day and into the night.” I would sing to her every day. “Good morning. This child didn’t even call me mama. trying to put the pieces of our daughter back together again. my frequent flyer miles. To God. I gave it all up— my job. I just wanted my daughter back. And where once she would have held out her arms to me. And suddenly. to whomever would listen.

At Christmastime the year we got her diagnosis. I tried and tried but couldn't bring her back to us. praying on my knees. utterly defeated George.” She was in there somewhere. we sat down to watch "It's a Wonderful Life" again. I cried watching George try to paste the petals back on Zuzu’s flower. Show me the way out of autism.Speech therapy. always one of my favorite times of the year. MMMMM. Potter. worn out from fighting an enemy that locked our daughter out of reach. she was farther and farther away. The holiday season. Or maybe it was me. I watched the older.. he prays: "Dear Father in heaven. knowing just how he felt. show me the way. This year. Taunted by Mr.” Caroline still wouldn’t look at me. Mama. Developmental. I was right there beside him.. Broken. On his knees.” I would say. “Come on. had lost all luster. “Mama. that bubbly baby I’d known. “MMMMMMMMMM. I had to find her. 5|Page . I'm not a praying man. But with each passing day. Feeling he could do nothing right and all hope was lost. though. Occupational therapy. but if you're up there and you can hear me [begins crying] show me the way. we were tired. Mama. sweetie. Speech again." Completely forlorn. Physical.

” But early intervention wasn’t working. “Early intervention is your best option. Special doctors who were bucking the system. Maybe it was a wild goose chase. Treatments.” they said over and over. the light gone from her clear blue eyes. More. there was no hope. a whisper traveling from parent to parent. of hope. I was cutting tags out of her clothes. sparkle with life. It was worth a try. Diets. Maybe it was alchemy.” her doctor said. Here it was. “There is no cure. Hope. Caroline’s doctors weren't any help. But it was worth a try. I was 16 again. 6|Page .I didn't watch much of the movie after that. those of us sitting in waiting rooms and searching the internet for something—anything—we could do. “There’s no cure. something I learned made her so uncomfortable she would scream like a thousand fire ants were crawling up and down her body. look back on my daughter’s life and wish I could have done more. The worst thing I could do was nothing. And suddenly.” I looked at my daughter. snake oil. Answers. There were rumors of recovery. “It’s not possible. I decided to throw my lot in with the renegades offering ideas. I felt a galvanizing sense of energy. eyes that used to dance with laughter. and if that was our best option. But there was also a rustling. I had a wall to tear down.

Doctors interested in the gut. How could I sleep when the key to unlocking my daughter might be right here in front of me? And over and over. I read every paper and article I could find. I was up well into the night.--------------I started to do some research. the same two factors kept appearing: vaccines and immunity. the empty fridge.” my husband would mumble. I ignored the toy explosion. “Come to bed.” I would answer. long after my husband and daughter went to sleep. 7|Page . There were doctors interested in immunity. “One more page. the strewn papers.

well. omegas and more. until I could go toe-to-toe with any expert. Mama. “MMMMM. We started a gluten and casein free diet. and if her pediatrician wasn’t willing to research the answers. I read until I saw the path—the one that would heal Caroline. We don’t know why. We had to heal her. Mama. Except that it was. after the 8|Page . But it did.” I’d say. finally. The one all the doctors told us wouldn't work. my bright.” she said. There’s no way that vaccines caused this. there was change. more engagement and attempts to speak! “MMMMMMMMMMM. Autism just happens. And then. There was more awareness.” When it happened. It was! It was right there.Vaccines and immunity. Her pediatrician said no. bubbly baby. And the immunity? An immune disorder? We put our faith in science. Vaccines. We began supplementing high doses of vitamins. more than a year after we lost her. Vaccines are safe. I read until I understood. I was more than up to the task. MMMMMMMM. Unequivocally. The science just isn’t there. one day. “MMM. And immunity. We had to undo the damage that the viruses and the metals in the vaccines did to my baby.

“Hi. It was my chisel finding purchase in that wall. these things were impossible. I rolled up my sleeves. Yes it was. and here I was crying over a simple “mama. It was my birthday. I was crying and laughing at the same time. simple things like putting her in her car seat without a meltdown or a successful trip to.” I said to Caroline. We hadn’t even begun to fight. Sweetie. --------------- 9|Page . Mama. Oh yes.” she said. “Mama. as I declined yet another lunch invitation. though. “Mama. began to happen. well. Finding something that Caroline could eat was just too hard. And with it. anywhere. I held her until she began to push me away. Caroline toddled back to her puzzle. as we tried to penetrate her world.” she said. “I’m coming!" I exclaimed. wrapping her in my arms. “Is that diet really worth it?” a friend asked me. Did she have any idea what a miracle that one word was? It was so hard to know back then what she knew.” It was an energizing force.light went out in her eyes.” it was Christmas. It was the freaking Fourth of July. My friends’ children were asking “wh” questions. this breakthrough. when she looked at me and said. “Hi. Before we started trying to heal her.

I would've stopped long ago. Many days. All of the food is made at home. I began preparing every single morsel of food she ate. All this in addition to the rest of it. Believe it or not. balance can be restored and inflammation halted. The mb-12 injections that improve her methylation cycle and bring us more language. an intensive regimen called the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. The idea behind it is that complex carbohydrates cannot be easily digested by people with damaged guts. Yep. We decided it was worth a try. Those undigested carbs feed harmful bacteria and inflame the intestines. 10 | P a g e . It's a bigger task than it sounds really and if it wasn't responsible for more eye contact. they just go through the McDonald’s drive-through. The hyperbaric oxygen chamber to supply more oxygen to her brain and strengthen connections. The diflucan to combat the yeast her immune system simply couldn't control. since I learned about SCD. it feels like we live on a different planet. in addition to the endless therapies.I stood next to the baggage claim. SCD for short. I wish I’d never heard of it. Where was that suitcase? We had begun a new diet for Caroline. more words and greater health. causing a vicious cycle. panic seeping into the edges of my already frayed nerves. no bread. no restauants. it’s completely grainless. On planet SCD. No sugar. If you starve out the bacteria. there are no drive throughs. more smiles. no rice. every day. So now. The list goes on. Grainless! No corn. the sleepless nights. the research. When friends tell me how at the end of a long day. from scratch. no prepackaged food of any kind.

So as I waited at the baggage claim at the Orlando airport for the suitcases. calling it fraudulent at best.” And they were killing her immune system. Chelation. The average person has an amount of metal in their bodies just from living their lives—eating tuna. her Cinderella dress. Chelation is controversial. --------------We knew Caroline’s challenges couldn't be healed with food alone.Special stews and vegetables. It wasn’t that suitcase I cared about. Tests showed she had elevated levels of metals in her system. Her levels showed that she was more than three times the amount considered “acceptable. Going on vacation is madness. It was the other one. Our local paper ran a series of articles about it. Madness. say or living in an industrial city. I pack snacks and meals and must be prepared in case we get stuck in traffic or a waiting room. and at worst. Her body was so busy fighting battles that she was unable to function as a typical child might. My jewelry. But I didn’t care about any of those things. I became more and more agitated. According to my research. Unending parades of vegetables. there was only one way to remove them. 11 | P a g e . The one full of food. It makes simply leaving the house a feat of planning and organization. To heal it we needed to remove the metals. I’d packed my new tankini with the flattering side rutching. downright dangerous.

How I stay up on the latest research. How I wake up in the night like I did with newborn Caroline. Caroline was making steady gains on SCD. I’d love to call her. The one at 6 a. she was placed in a general-education classroom. The chelation method we chose is low dose and oral. How could I wake up in the night? How could I not? 12 | P a g e . No way was I going to stop now.But the more I read. the one containing mercury.. if my daughter’s ex-physician is awake. The wall was coming down. “The vaccines are safe.m. often reminds me of the flu shot I was told I needed when I was pregnant. she was calmer. I wish she had to stay up all night to rid my daughter of the poison she injected. How I have the energy to blow-dry my hair. TWO YEARS! So every weekend we follow the protocol. the more and more I knew it was a clear choice. on mb-12. the alarm clanging next to my bed at midnight. one piece at a time.” I’d say.” People ask me all the time how I do it. When Caroline started kindergarten last fall after being on the chelation regimen for 40 weeks.m. Because it's so gentle. “I’m awake. in the gray light of dawn after a sleepless night. And again at 3 a. for two years.. too.” she said. She had better eye contact and social interaction. on the endless vitamin and supplement regime. I sometimes wonder. She was speaking better. it requires dosing every three hours for three consecutive days each week. “Thought you should be too.. the more specialists I talked to.

There’s no pill for autism. Is your doctor able to tell you why your child is regressing? No? Ask the lady sitting next to you at the speech therapy appointment. Those days where you have a setback. There’s a pill for strep. you are really left to fend for yourself. That’s because they believe there is no cure.” is the party line. It’s the other parents who become your support. but not autism. it would be impossible to continue without the parent network.--------------When your child is diagnosed with autism. where your kid melts down at the grocery store or reverts to that inward state. “There is no cure. Your pediatrician treats ear infections and strep throat. Sorry. 13 | P a g e . she's likely to know more. and have a nice day.

Isn't that everything?! Caroline was hit hard by every aspect of PANDAS and her obsessive behaviors made everyday life beyond challenging. obsessive compulsive behaviors. the sleep/wake cycle and cognitive and emotional functions. One such time happened last year when Caroline faced a sudden onset of tics. Two steps forward. Another autoimmune disease. What should we do? How do we get started and what to expect? I learned that with PANDAS. They reminded me that healing does not occur in a straight line. they helped guide me to an additional diagnosis. So there I was. I was devastated. "You found your way once and will find it again. regression. Attack the brain? Sounds awful. one step back (and sometimes three steps back) is too often a reality in this game. Not only did this supportive bunch boost my morale. researching again. How can we be going backwards? My fellow autism parents jumped to the rescue. Behaviors we’d left in the dust were back and much worse. But this time I had friends as sounding boards.Along our journey. the parent network has often led to treatments we would never have come across had we been going it alone. PANDAS. Her need to 14 | P a g e . an autoimmune reaction to bacteria creates antibodies that attack the brain. staying up until the wee hours of night. Words like inflammation and basal ganglia damage are hard to swallow. behaviors. the areas controlled by those "ganglia" are motor control." they told me. rigidity. Even worse. learning. We’d fought so hard.

They possessed something the doctors didn't have. They had been through it and knew firsthand. Real life experience. Perhaps the intensity of the tics or the doctor's warning of how serious PANDAS can be. panic stricken meltdowns. And anything not done in the right certain order or not lined up perfectly or tapped the precise number of times resulted in sheer. It was then that I determined – with help from other parents . makes it ideal for PANDAS kids.that we needed to stop the antibiotics and try natural treatments. At first I couldn’t believe she was serious. I'll be forever in debt to one such friend who clued me in to the miraculous healing properties of camel milk. That same friend also steadfastly stood by my side as I ditched the prescription antibiotics and lined up the herbs. I still even had the tendency to turn to mainstream medicine. But. We listened to the PANDAS experts and started her on rounds of antibiotics. The same gut we were so intent on healing. the PANDAS symptoms were nearly gone. But we had no choice. I had to trust the parents. getting dressed) made getting anywhere on time a rare occurrence. Within a week. the antibiotics were harming her gut. Ironic. made things scarier. teeth brushing. The tics calmed but were never completely gone. it’s ability to deliver “mild IVIG” benefits. "Back to baseline" never felt like more of a victory. After weighing it in my mind. 15 | P a g e . I was afraid natural treatments wouldn't be enough and we'd lose the gains we saw with antibiotics. I'll admit.complete an exact order of events before every single routine (eating. of course that after all we'd been through.

to channel our frustration in the face of all of these burdens heaped on an innocent little girl. no matter how small. I am always so. the treatments we’ve tried. At first. Helping ensure that other parents have an easier time getting started on their child's road to recovery is something I do every day. --------------- When Caroline began healing. and I gave up that idea to heal my daughter. Tear down that wall. I hand them their own chisel. through our story. They come to me with their own dreams rearranged in the face of what feels like a devastating diagnosis. although not yet complete. We talk openly of the challenges we’ve faced. it was just so we could record her challenges. I get heartbreaking e-mails all the time from people new to autism. and then a blog. A real difference in her world. Caroline's healing story.And never did I feel so. very grateful for the chance to reach out to them and help. I created a video chronicling her progress. --------------16 | P a g e . the world comes to us. and sometimes. There was a time I wanted to travel the world. the first time they’ve felt hope in some time. “That happened to us and here’s what worked.” I’ll say. but I am also so very. And it’s the beginning of their own journey. We now have followers from all corners of the earth. irreplaceable! With each gain... The video led to a website. Go get ‘em. I know I'm making a difference. Now. I think. is giving hope to many. so sorry to open another email and find out that another child is sick.

I felt sorry for George. something that would touch the sky. A girl who's recovering from autism. My dreams of leaving a mark on this world have come true. Instead. and also wonderful. like he settled. Before Caroline’s diagnosis. But dreams change. I’m healing a child with autism. Plans change. Life is messy and complicated. I'm Caroline’s mom. I wanted to build something grand. much harder. 17 | P a g e . like he missed out on his dreams. and more ambitious. I still watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” every Christmas. I’ve done something much. It’s interesting to me how I relate to it differently as I live my own life.I had this idea long ago about the kind of mark I wanted to leave on this world. I'm somebody very important indeed.

Printed in the United States of America AvantBooks | First Printing. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author. When she isn’t blogging or researching. she’s helping other parents in the community heal their 18 | P a g e . April 2012 Originally published as e-book: www. Blog posts and more.scribd.regardingcaroline. www. Journey to Recovery for Caroline’s Story. The message that there’s always hope is a pervasive theme in her articles. Facebook: Regarding Caroline Twitter: @regcaroline Click to subscribe to blog updates via email --------------- Copyright © 2012 Regarding Caroline All rights reserved. changing the world.This e-book is dedicated to parents everywhere fighting for their children and one stone at a time. --------------- Rebecca Ferguson authors the website Regarding www.regardingcaroline.