In 2006 a peppy 6 year old boy with a head of insanely curly hair piled into the car with his father, his mother, and his adored 3-year old baby sister--who worryingly couldn't yet talk in sentences. The boy's mother was breathing hard and speaking urgently as they hastily drove to a Hospital for Women and Children in Orlando, Florida.
That visit wore deep into the night, yet the boy didn't notice how tired and sullen his dad looked, or how his mother was supposed to be out hours ago. He did notice the Disney Channel on the waiting room TV.
Eventually his dad scooped him and his sister up and checked them into the nearby Ronald McDonald house. There they'd spend the next several days playing Kirby, watching 101 Dalmatians, and trying exciting new foods out (root beer tastes best out of a beer mug). Meanwhile their mother was in critical care and their brother would spend ten days in the NICU, before being diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy.
My mother may have been fighting for her life and my dad may have been coping with this drastic new change, but I was LIVING... IT... UP... at that hospital!
My younger brother's name is Daniel Gwyn, son of Sarah & Brian Gwyn. When my mother's uterus exploded due to neglect from hospital staff and my brother got surgically removed, the doctors noticed a little scar on the back of his brain. On the basal ganglia. That scar means my brother's brain does not have a strong connection with his muscles and organs. The doctors told my parents that--assuming he wouldn't be a vegetable--he'd be in a wheelchair his entire life.
In all the pieces of news in the world that my parents would ever receive, that was the worst.
Naturally they were devastated. But they weren't defeated.
My mother had already been taking my younger sister Rachael to speech therapy to help her talk, so soon after we took him home she began organizing appointments with several therapists. To finish Rachael’s story--after years of tests she was eventually diagnosed with an abnormal EEG, in layman's terms it's underlying seizure activity in the brain that disrupts cognitive function without interfering with the brain's main functions. They couldn't definitively find a cause, but they theorize a botched vaccine schedule she got as a baby.
The triad of physical, speech, and occupational therapies, combined with both my mother and father constantly working with this adorable chubby-cheeked boy made some progress.
But that alone wasn't going to be enough, my mom knew. From then on she spent any hours she wasn't homemaking or schooling me pouring over books on health and wellness. The neglect of the hospital staff had forever damaged her trust in the medical establishment, so when it came to Daniel's health and development, she went off the beaten path.
Learning about the damaging effects of processed food, the McDonalds trips stopped and we went Organic. Wanting to stuff as many vegetables and fruits into her children's diets without making her kids eat salad all day led her to green smoothie making.
Soon after these changes, Daniel grew vibrant. In 2006 and 2007, Daniel couldn't do much more than launch forward on his own momentum to walk, always falling back and hitting his head. A week after addition of chlorella and spirulina in his diet, he began walking without help and without falling backwards.
My parents found help from professionals and therapists whenever they could, but my family constantly moving for my father's job made that difficult. So we learned to be self-sufficient with our health. We've eaten the best food, we've taken the right supplements, we've found the right therapies, and we've found many products and new sciences to keep our family's health in top shape. And now my siblings are living success stories.
My brother is a vibrant, energetic, enthusiastic young man that loves running about and playing with his friends. His dexterity with his hands are such that he can work an Xbox controller well enough to trounce me in his favorite Star Wars games. My sister is very well, very imaginative, with an unbridled enthusiasm for boys, our church, and her jigsaw puzzles she loves so much. (And she can't stop talking about any of them!)
My siblings are a living testament to the flaws of the medical world (however well-meaning they are), and a living testament that we have more control over our own health and bodies than we think. My brother wasn't supposed to ever walk, and now he runs. The doctors didn't do that. My parents, their books, and the therapists that wanted to work with them did.